5 Ways to Get Your Pet Ready for Fall
(Family Features) Pets provide unconditional love to their companions; in return, it’s important to make sure they live happy and healthy lives by providing the best care possible. This means making sure that in addition to food, treats and toys, they receive daily care for their eyes, ears and overall health.
With a desire to bring a dog into his family’s lives, Albert, a Bausch + Lomb employee, rescued a terrier mix named Watson. However, it soon became apparent Watson needed some extra love and care to help protect his eyes and ears from irritation and excess buildup. When finding a remedy proved difficult, Albert worked with veterinarians to develop Project Watson Health Care for Dogs, a comprehensive line of quality products targeting these specific areas.
To help ensure your furry member of the family has the best head to tail health possible, consider these tips.
Schedule Regular Vet Visits
Routine wellness checks are an essential part of your pet’s care. Annual screenings, even if your dog seems healthy, allow your veterinarian to provide vaccines to combat disease and uncover any health issues that may have otherwise gone undiagnosed until symptoms advanced.
Watch Your Pet’s Diet
Feeding your pet a proper diet based on his or her breed, age, size and lifestyle plays a big role in overall health. A balanced diet that includes high-quality food can lead to a shiny coat, healthy skin, bright eyes and may also help strengthen your pet’s immune system, maintain intestinal health, increase mental acuity, regulate weight, keep muscles and joints healthy and more.
Support Clean Ears and Eyes
Often overlooked, the eyes and ears are vital areas to the overall health and wellness of your pet. To help keep these areas free of any buildup of bacteria that may cause irritation, consider an option like the line of Project Watson Health Care Products for Dogs, which includes an eye wash, eyelid wipe, ear wash, ear wipe and supplements made using high-quality and naturally inspired ingredients.
Excessive blinking or pawing at the eyes can be signs of buildup, irritation or infection. Dirt and debris trapped around the eyes can also clump in fur, leading to skin irritation and infections while excessive tear production can lead to fur staining, which can develop an unpleasant odor. Eye wipes can be used daily to relieve staining and remove excess buildup. Washing your dog’s ears may help reduce dirt, debris and wax buildup; help prevent itching; and reduce the chance of infection while keeping ears smelling fresh.
Create an Exercise Routine
Walks, games in the backyard and social time with other pets can help keep your furry friend in good physical condition. While different breeds and species often have different needs, adequate activity can provide benefits beyond the physical, including reducing boredom, which can potentially lead to anxiety or destructive behaviors.
In addition to regular vaccinations, ensure your pet is up to date on parasite prevention. This includes fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and more which can cause reactions ranging from mild to severe (or even fatal in some cases of heartworm or Lyme disease). Look for pests and skin abnormalities when grooming your pet and contact your vet if your pet excessively scratches, chews or licks his or her fur or ears, or persistently shakes his or her head.
For more solutions to keep your four-legged friend happy and healthy, speak with your veterinarian or visit tryprojectwatson.com.
Bausch + Lomb
4 Ways to Keep Your Cat’s Cool in Check
(Family Features) Cat lovers know that cats are cool – sometimes too cool. They can be hard to impress, and snuggles might have to be on their terms. However, there are ways to keep that cool in check so cat parents can bond with their four-legged friends.
For example, their favorite food can make picky felines lose it over an irresistible meal, throwing all chill out the window. That’s the story behind “Catch a Cat Burglar,” a “true” crime limited podcast series about a kitty culprit doing whatever it takes to get its paws on some TEMPTATIONS Adult Dry Cat Food.
As the “meowstery” goes, a delivery truck carrying the food was ambushed, and all the tasty goods were stolen. All that remained was one bag, ominously ripped open by what appears to have been a claw. Hosting the podcast is “Crime Junkie” co-host Brit Prawat. She’s sorting through the evidence, suspects and, of course, a few twists to figure out the “meowstermind” behind the heist. Cat lovers and true crime fans can listen to the full story at TemptationsTreats.com/Cat-Burglar.
Check out these tips for keeping your little cat burglar’s cool in check – so they don’t take matters into their own paws.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Encourage Playtime to Provoke a “No Chill” Kitty
Few cats can resist the instinct to feverishly swat at a feather on a stick. Encourage their inner kitten to come out at playtime and break out a favorite toy – especially something on a string or one that moves – to watch their coolness fly away quicker than their paws trying to capture their playtime prey.
Keep Mealtime Irresistible
Some cats might ignore their owners most of the time, but once their favorite food comes out, all chill is gone. The maker of America’s No. 1 cat treat brand (based on 2022 consolidated sales data) have expanded its offerings to mealtime with TEMPTATIONS Adult Dry Cat Food, bringing the same irresistibility cats love to their food bowls. The food includes delicious crunchy and creamy pockets mixed in the dry kibble that cats will come running for, breaking down that cool cat exterior.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Let Their Instincts Take Them Down a Peg
Put a bird feeder outside their favorite window seat. Your little lion will think it’s a mighty hunter, but really, it’s just a silly kitty swatting at a window – not very cool.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Curiosity Kills the Cool
Turn on the faucet and watch your cool cat turn into a confused cat. They’ll probably spend the next few minutes trying to figure out where the water came from – and how to drink from it – and forget that they’re supposed to be the coolest one in the room.
5 Tips for Keeping Pets Pest-Free
(Family Features) Naturally curious, many pets sniff and explore other animals and objects, unaware they may expose themselves to potentially harmful parasites and conditions. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 1 in 100 dogs tested positive for heartworm in 2022, and more than 1 in 4 indoor cats were positive for heartworm infection.
External parasites – including fleas, ticks and mites found outdoors or on other animals – and internal parasites such as heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms can wreak havoc on your pet’s health and well-being. These parasites can feed on dogs and cats, causing health issues that range from minor skin irritation to severe organ damage and even death if left untreated. Some parasites can also be contracted by people, making diagnosis and prevention even more important.
Though prevention is the best approach, treatment is sometimes required. Intervention is most effective when started immediately after a parasite is detected. Work with your veterinarian to tailor a program specific to your dog or cat’s breed, age, behaviors and environmental factors, and consider these tips from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations across North America that cared for more than 4 million pets last year, to help prevent parasites in your pets.
Provide preventative medications. Based on their specific risk factors, dogs and cats should be on year-round parasite control programs that treat infections such as heartworms, intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks and more. Parasite prevention medication options range from topical to injectable and oral.
Visit the vet annually. Yearly visits allow your veterinarian to take note of changes in your pet’s health and alter his or her parasite control program as necessary. Your vet can tell you which parasites to watch for based on your location, how these parasites can be transmitted, and which preventative products are most appropriate. Additionally, newer, more accurate parasite tests can also identify parasite strains that may affect people and pets. Remember, dogs and cats age faster than humans, so annual exams with diagnostic testing are the equivalent of humans visiting the doctor every 4-5 years.
Watch for warning signs of parasites. Some pets infected with a parasite don’t show any signs of illness. However, common signs of infection include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite or blood in your pet’s stools. Coughing or difficulty breathing may also accompany heartworms. Also consult your veterinarian if your pet excessively scratches, chews or licks his or her coat or ears, or persistently shakes his or her head. Seeing your vet as soon as possible can get your pet treatment and help prevent spreading the parasite to other animals. Puppies and kittens are especially at risk for parasites since most contract them from their mothers while nursing and their small size puts them at greater risk for severe illness.
Groom regularly. To reduce the risk of coat contamination and increase the likelihood of catching fleas, ticks and coat abnormalities quickly, be sure to periodically groom your pet, or have him or her professionally groomed. It is particularly important to inspect your dog or cat after playing outside or with other pets.
Clean up after your pet. Since most intestinal parasites spread through contact with feces, it’s crucial to dispose of any waste in your yard or pet’s litter box within 24 hours to avoid exposure and reduce the risk of environmental parasite contamination. A contaminated yard can be a source of exposure for many months as parasites can live in the soil for extended periods of time.
Find more tips for parasite prevention and treatment at VCAhospitals.com.
VCA Animal Hospitals
The Fourth of July’s for the Dogs
Please take a little time to make sure that your pets are
safe and secure this 4th of July.
BY MATTHEW “UNCLE MATTY” MARGOLIS
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. — Erma Bombeck
I have a friend, a nervous type, and every time she hears a loud “POP!” or, worse, a loud “POP-POP-POP!” she has a mini-meltdown and rushes through the house securing windows and doors, having come to the foregone conclusion that someone has been gunned down at the foot of her drive and she is next.
Did I mention she lives in the country?
Always — so far at least — it’s a car backfiring or kids playing with fireworks.
And that brings me back to Erma — because Frisbee, potato salad and flies don’t hold a candle to good old-fashioned fireworks when it comes to patriotic displays in the U.S. of A. For most of us, fireworks are the ultimate expression of national pride. Whether or not we draw a connection between “the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air” and our much more delightful version of fire in the sky, the reality is that one kid’s delight is another woman’s terror.
Or another dog’s terror.
If your dog is as delighted by fiery skies as he is by Grandpa’s brisket, great. Count your lucky stars and celebrate with some iffy potato salad — for you, not the pooch.
If your dog is apathetic about the whole shebang, even better. Independence Day is just another day.
If your dog is ambivalent or flat-out fearful of the snap-crackle-pop that goes on all day and into the night, then you need a plan.
That plan could be as simple as staying home with your dog. But many of us like to celebrate, and if your dog has a true phobia of loud noises, he’ll require more than just your presence to survive a lengthy display, particularly if you live near the action.
If your dog reacts to fireworks like deer to wolves, you might want to ask your veterinarian about prescribing a mild sedative to help him sleep. Some dogs react so strongly to loud noises that they literally harm themselves chewing through walls and fences trying to get away from them. This is dangerous not only in the potential injury to their jaws, but also in the possibility of getting hit by a car should they succeed in their attempt. In extreme cases, a mild sedative makes sense.
For most dogs who fear the Fourth’s festivities, a thoughtfully arranged crate or other comfortably secure and familiar area will go a long way to calming his anxiety. Close all of the windows and window coverings, and play some soothing music to drown out exterior noises. Make sure he has access to his favorite toys, cushion, and blanket. If you’re going to be around to supervise, give him something special to chew on. And if you’re going out, secure him in his crate or in the room you’ve made so comfortable.
It might be best to avoid walking an anxious dog on Independence Day, but exercise is a great weapon against anxiety. If you decide to forgo a walk, make sure you get in a good play session in the yard or in the house.
Above all, make sure your dog is chipped and is wearing ID tags that include your current contact information. You can be too full, but you can never be too safe.
Dog trainer Matthew “Uncle Matty” Margolis is co-author of 18 books about dogs, a behaviorist, a popular radio and television guest, and host of the PBS series “WOOF! It’s a Dog’s Life!” www.unclematty.com. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to Uncle Matty at P.O. Box 3300, Diamond Springs, CA 95619.
COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Picture for illustration purposes only
How Climate Change Impacts Birds, Their Feeding Habits and How to Help from Home
(Joan Casanova) Bird feeding is a common practice in the United States, with more than 59 million Americans participating, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. In addition to providing aesthetic and recreational benefits, bird feeding can have positive impacts on bird populations.
According to the National Audubon Society, birds provide important ecosystem services, such as pollination, pest control and seed dispersal. In fact, around 87% of flowering plants rely on animal pollinators, including birds, to reproduce and grow, according to a study published in “Science.” Birds also consume fruits and berries then spread the seeds, which helps maintain biodiversity and promotes the growth of new plants.
Considered good indicators of the health of the ecosystem, changes in bird populations and behaviors can signal changes in the environment, such as pollution, habitat loss and climate change. As temperatures, weather patterns and ecosystems change, it can affect the availability of food for birds, which may alter their behavior.
Feeding birds can be a beneficial practice that helps them cope with climate change. Consider these benefits:
- Supplemental Food: Bird feeders provide a supplemental source of food for birds when natural food sources may be scarce due to prolonged droughts or severe storms. Bird feeding can help birds maintain energy levels, especially during breeding or migration when nutritional needs are higher.
- Range Shifts: Climate change can cause shifts in the distribution and abundance of bird species. Feeders can serve as “refuges” for birds, providing reliable food sources as they move in search of suitable habitats.
- Behavioral Adaptations: Some species may alter their feeding behaviors due to changes in timing of insects hatching or plants flowering, which can affect the availability of natural food sources. Bird feeders can help bridge these gaps, providing a stable source of food when traditional sources are disrupted.
To attract more birds this season, it’s important to offer quality feed in a variety of bird feeder types placed at different heights.
Traditional tube feeders are basic, all-purpose, must-have feeders that work well for finches, nuthatches and other small birds that cling. Made with state-of- the-art materials to prevent warping and discoloration, Cole’s Terrific Tube Feeder features a quick-clean removable base.
Simply push a button and the bottom of the feeder comes off for easy access. Rinse well with soapy water, submerge in a 9-1 water-bleach solution, rinse and dry. Then reattach the bottom; there’s no disassembly or assembly of multiple parts necessary. Regular cleaning of feeders is essential, preventing mold, germs and disease.
Another option, bowl feeders, can serve not only seeds, but also dried mealworms, fruit and suet in cake or kibble form. For example, Cole’s Bountiful Bowl Feeder comes with an adjustable dome cover you can raise or lower to protect from rain and prevent larger birds and squirrels from getting to the food.
In addition to feeders, offering a variety of foods is vital for inviting different species to your backyard.
- Birdseed: Not all birdseed is created equal. Look for quality blends without filler seeds like red millet and oats. All-natural seed, containing no chemicals or mineral oil, is safe and more appealing to birds. Consider researched, specially formulated options like all-natural black oil sunflower, Cole’s “Hot Meats” (sunflower meats infused with habanero chile peppers) or Special Feeder blend, which is packed with black oil sunflower, sunflower meats, black striped sunflower, raw peanuts, safflower and pecans.
- Dried Mealworms: Full of energy, essential nutrients, fats and proteins, mealworms are a preferred food for adult songbirds. Dried mealworms are easy to feed, less messy and lack the “ick” factor of live worms.
- Fresh Fruit: Apple and orange halves and chunks of banana are favorites for orioles and tanagers.
- No-Melt Suet: Perfect for insect-eating birds, high-fat food provides abundant calories and rich nutrition.
Don’t forget, birds need water just as much as humans. Drinking water helps regulate body processes, improves metabolism and maintains health. Birds also use water for preening and bathing, and on hot days, standing in cool water or taking a quick splash can help them keep cool.
Find more solutions to bring birds to your backyard at ColesWildBird.com.
Photos courtesy of Cole’s Wild Bird Products
Cole’s Wild Bird Products
5 Ways to Treat Your Furry Friends
Celebrate National Pet Month with your pet’s favorite toys, treats and activities
(Family Features) May is National Pet Month, making it a “purr-fect” time for families to spoil their furry family members. Americans are no strangers to spending money on their pets, though.
In fact, pet parents are taking greater initiative in providing for their pets’ health and lifestyle. In 2022, Americans spent $136 billion on their pets, up more than 10% from 2021, according to the American Pet Products Association.
From pet food to apparel and toys, Walmart Pet can be your one-stop-shop for all your pet parenting needs, offering hundreds of deals, as you celebrate National Pet Month with these fun ideas.
Going for a walk, heading to a dog park or simply running in the backyard can all provide fun, engaging ways for pets to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. Join in on the action with a game of fetch using your pet’s favorite ball or toy so you can bond with your furry friend all while getting a little exercise.
Feed Pets Their Favorite Foods
Feeding your dog the best food possible, like fresh food, has become increasingly popular. A veterinary-formulated option like Pure Balance Pro+ has its own fresh dog food and is a healthy and affordable option to keep pups satisfied.
Plan a Play Date
Inviting a friend or family member who has his or her own furry friend gives your pet an opportunity to play with another animal while you enjoy catching up with your own companion. Whether you’re in the backyard or at a dog park, it’s an out-of-the-norm experience for pets that allows them to socialize, play and make the day feel special. Just toss out a few toys and let them run or, for a more challenging and engaging day of play, set up an obstacle course for them to explore together.
Support a Good Cause
If you want to shop for a cause to help other pets while celebrating your own, check out Best Friends Animal Society’s line of pet gear, apparel, toys and accessories, exclusively available on Walmart.com. Proceeds support the nonprofit organization and its mission to make every shelter no-kill by 2025. Pet parents can also spread the pet love by using the retailer’s Spark Good Round Up at checkout online or in-app to donate to more than 500 pet charities.
Keep Your Pet Healthy and Happy
Keeping pets healthy is the most important thing a pet parent can do. With innovative cat litter options available in the cat aisle, it’s easy to get the scoop on your cat’s well-being. For example, some lines make keeping track of your cat’s health easier with crystals that detect medical issues by changing colors when something is wrong.
To find more ways to treat your furry family members this National Pet Month, visit Walmart.com/PetSupplies.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images
8 Ways to Make Your Pet Feel Like Part of the Family
(Family Features) It’s said that pets can be people’s best friends, but the relationships between people and their four-legged friends often run even deeper. In fact, many consider pets to be an integral part of their families.
From eating and playing together to matching outfits and more, consider these practical ways to make dogs and cats feel like they’re important members of your household so you can become two peas in a pod.
Playtime is an easy (and fun) way to bond with pets, whether your furry friends prefer fetch, tug-of-war or any other game that keeps you both active. On top of the emotional benefits, it can help keep them in better physical shape – you might even be able to get a little exercise, too.
Feed Human-Grade Food
Sharing a meal with people is a common way to connect, and that same connection can be made with pets. Feeding them at the same time you sit down for a meal can create a special bond. Though it’s tempting to feed them off your plate, consider a human grade food option like Freshly Crafted from Full Moon Pet. Created for pet parents who seek homemade quality ingredients free from additives or preservatives, this fresh frozen food includes 100% human-grade ingredients like real USDA chicken breast and blueberries, meaning it looks, smells and tastes just like food you would cook in your own kitchen while providing complete nutritional benefits pets need to thrive.
With flavors including Homestead Turkey, Ranch-Raised Beef and Free-Range Chicken, these curated meals promote skin and coat health, support immune health and encourage muscle growth.
Set Up a Special Space
Just like humans, pets need a little quiet time now and then. Creating an area they can retreat to with a bed, blankets and favorite toys offers a “safe space” where they can be comfortable. Plus, it’s a perfect spot for them to nap when you’re away and the house is empty.
Schedule Regular Wellness Visits
The veterinarian’s office may not be your furry friend’s favorite hangout, but scheduling regular checkups is an important part of owning pets. A balanced, quality diet can reduce trips to the vet to just essential visits – often annually or bi-annually – and help your pets live happy and healthy lives.
Belly rubs, freshly brushed coats and simply spending time together are all effective ways to show pets your affection. Another way to share your love is to reward dogs with their favorite treats like Full Moon Chicken Jerky, which is a high-protein, meaty treat made with few ingredients, including USDA chicken breast, so you can feel good about providing your pets with a treat that tastes good and is good for them.
Take Pets on Vacation
Skip the anxiety of leaving pets behind during your next trip by letting them join in on the fun. Exploring the world together is an exciting way to bond as you can visit new places, find dog parks and discover pet-friendly restaurants. If it’s your pet’s first road trip, consider a shorter excursion to ensure he or she is comfortable in the car, and make sure to bring all the essentials like food, water, bowls, bedding, toys and medications.
Wear Matching Clothes
When you’re dressed to feel your best, you’re likely to feel more confident in yourself. Provide that same feeling of satisfaction to pets by dressing them in the same clothes you plan to wear for a walk around the block or a trip to the dog park. Next time there’s a family photo session, plan to include furry friends in matching outfits so everyone can be dressed to impress.
Celebrate Special Occasions
Birthdays, “gotcha days” or holidays are perfect moments for celebrating your bond with your pets. Make the day extra special by indulging in favorites like going for a walk, heading to the dog park, gifting a new toy, enjoying specialty treats and more.
To find more ways to bond with your pets, visit FullMoonPet.com.
Full Moon Pet
Go with the Gut: 6 tips for promoting pet health
(Family Features) When four-legged friends are feeling under the weather, pet parents may feel helpless pinpointing exactly what’s wrong. Nurturing your pet’s gut health is one way to protect his or her immune system and to promote overall well-being.
Improve your pooch’s gut health with these tips from the pet experts at Solid Gold:
Recognize the Signs of a Potential Gut Health Problem
While many problems are readily apparent, gut health isn’t one of them. There may be some tell-tale signs like diarrhea or vomiting, but other symptoms like bloating or constipation may be harder to spot. Other signs of gut trouble might include fatigue, frequent licking, restlessness, changes in coat quality and luster, and weight fluctuations. Be sure to talk with your vet promptly if you observe any concerning symptoms.
Pay Attention to Ingredients
Choose a dog food with ingredients that promote gut health. For example, Solid Gold’s Hund-N-Flocken dog food is powered by NutrientBoost, a proprietary blend of ingredients packed with protein and nutrients that help canines thrive. It features crave-worthy taste and ingredients like amino acids, probiotics and proteins that support digestion, immunity and nutrient absorption. Each bite is made with a blend of high-fiber ingredients such as carrot, pumpkin and pearled barley to support digestive health.
Be Conscious of Allergens and Food Intolerance
Dogs can experience allergies just like people. Allergies that affect a dog’s skin are common, but you might also find your dog has trouble digesting certain foods, which can create inflammation and irritation in the gut. Allergy testing or an elimination diet (removing one potential allergen source at a time) can help pinpoint the problem.
Feed Probiotics to Promote Good Bacteria
Just like humans, dogs need a well-balanced microbiome. Probiotics build the microflora in your dog’s system, promoting the good bacteria that wages war on infections and harmful bacteria when needed. Probiotics can be especially helpful if your dog is prone to diarrhea or gas, or if he or she has recently received an antibiotic treatment that may have affected the natural gut flora. You can find probiotics in the form of food or supplements like Solid Gold’s Mellow Belly Gut Health Supplement, which is made with a powerful combination of natural digestive enzymes and probiotics to aid in proper digestion. The entire collection of food and supplements are made with superfoods and probiotics to help support your pet’s immunity and get the most out of every day to keep him or her thriving.
Don’t Forget the Prebiotics
Many people are at least somewhat familiar with the role probiotics play in gut health, but not everyone knows about prebiotics. Prebiotics, which are a form of dietary fiber, function as a fertilizer or food source for probiotics, allowing helpful bacteria to multiply. Look for prebiotic treats, capsules, drops, powder and even specially formulated foods.
Manage Stress with Play and Exercise
If you’ve ever experienced digestive issues as a result of stress, you know mental and physical health go hand in hand. The same is true for dogs, so managing your dog’s stress level is an important step in helping regulate his or her gut health. Exercise is beneficial for your pet’s health in a variety of ways, including suppressing cortisol, which is an inflammatory hormone that may weaken the immune system.
Find more tips and nutritional information to support your pet’s health at instagram.com/solidgoldpets.
Spring Checklist for Pets
6 ways to keep your pets happy and healthy
(Family Features) Warmer weather means it’s time to spring clean, get grooming and prepare your pets’ diets to support them through the season.
Keep your furry friends happy and healthy this spring with these six tips from the experts at Zesty Paws, an award-winning pet supplement brand:
Give Skin and Coats a Little TLC: Many pets form winter coats during the colder months to help them stay warm and comfortable then shed the coats in the spring to prepare for warmer temperatures. Some pets may need extra help maintaining their shiny, healthy coats, especially if mats have formed in their fur or if they are breeds that develop a thick undercoat. Professional grooming, at-home brushing and regular bathing can all be helpful ways to speed up the process to remove some of the extra fur and decrease the prevalence of dander, dust and pollen that can attach to fur and skin through the season.
Add Seasonal Allergy Support with Supplements: Just like humans, furry friends can develop and experience seasonal allergies, too. Giving your pets’ immune systems some extra support can help ease some common allergy symptoms. Supplements like Zesty Paws Aller-Immune Bites for Cats and Aller-Immune Bites for Dogs are chewables that provide seasonal allergy support by aiding normal immune functions, skin health and gut flora, and may also help maintain normal histamine levels.
Ease Back into Exercise: The change in weather means more time for outdoor adventures with your pets, but don’t forget to cool down and warm up as you and your pets ease back into the season. Planning for short, leashed walks and timed play sessions can help your pets gradually prepare their hips and joints for fun, warm weather activities.
Watch Out for Pet Pests: Once temperatures start to rise, the tiny, creepy critters start crawling. Fleas, ticks and other pests can cause serious health concerns for pets. This spring, make sure your pest control programs are primed and ready for added protection. Talk to your veterinarian about the best routine and products for your pets.
Freshen Up Bedding and Bowls: It’s important to keep a clean environment by scrubbing, sweeping and vacuuming regularly to decrease allergens in the home. When you’re tackling this year’s spring cleaning, remember to put your pets’ bedding and bowls on the list, too. Updating or disinfecting your pets’ blankets, litter boxes, toys and other supplies is a good way to keep them feeling safe and comfortable in the home.
Schedule an Annual Vet Visit: Spring is a good time to schedule your pets’ annual vet visits. Make sure they’re up to date on all vaccinations, get their dental health checkups and re-evaluate nutrition plans.
Find more advice for keeping your pet healthy and happy at zestypaws.com.
Your Pets Need an Emergency Plan, Too
BY MARY HUNT
Preparing our homes and families for natural disasters and severe weather is a well-known subject here at Everyday Cheapskate. We talk about it a lot because it’s so very important. But what about your fur babies? Are your pets prepared to face and survive disaster? According to ServiceMaster Restore, 83% of pet owners live in areas impacted by natural disasters, yet fewer than half have an emergency plan for pets in place.
Your emergency plan should address the specific natural disasters prevalent in your region. For example, if you live with your pets in an area with heavy snowfall, you want to prepare for potential avalanches, power outages — even being snowbound for multiple days. Those in the Great Plains should plan for tornadoes, blizzards, floods and severe storms. If you live in an area susceptible to wildfires or mudslides, make sure you have provisions that match the potential threat.
Obviously, it’s not feasible to anticipate every potential disaster, but having a solid yet adaptable plan in place prior to an event can make the process of you and your pets handling a crisis much smoother and less stressful.
No. 1: Microchip your pet
A microchip is an easy, affordable way to keep your pet’s identification on him or her at all times. After your pet is microchipped, make sure to keep your phone number, address and other chip information updated.
No. 2: Always keep a collar and ID tag on
If you get separated from your animals, a collar or harness with appropriate ID tags can help reunite you and keep from a gloomy situation.
No. 3: Identify pet-friendly shelters
Before disaster strikes, it’s critical to seek proper shelter and find possible escape routes that can get you, your family and pets there safely. During emergencies, many shelters are unable to accept pets for public health reasons, so research your area to determine boarding shelters, animal shelters or pet-friendly hotels that can take your pets while the storm passes.
No. 4: Create an emergency kit for your pet
When creating a reliable emergency plan for pets, it’s essential that you have the proper supplies to stay safe if you have to leave home. Make one for each furry member of the family. A pet emergency preparedness kit or “go bag” should include at least the following items:
— Food and water to last a minimum of three days
— Food and water bowls
— Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
— Pet first-aid kit
— Extra collars or harnesses, leashes and ID tags
— Pet carriers
— Photos of your pet for identification
— Copies of vaccination records stored in a waterproof container
— Any medications needed
— Toys and other pet favorites for stress relief
— Litter supplies for cats
No. 5: Get a rescue alert sticker
Rescue alert stickers alert rescue workers that animals may be stuck inside. Stickers are available from the ASPCA (go to aspca.org to locate the shelter nearest you) to be affixed to your front door. Include information such as the types and number of animals and your contact information, and then place it out front before an approaching storm. If your pets are safe, you can simply write “EVACUATED” across the sticker for rescuers.
Remember that if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets, either. Pets left to fare for themselves can easily be injured, lost or worse. The solution is an emergency plan for pets so that no pets are left behind!
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”
COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM
PICTURE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY
LOVE YOUR PETS
Help Pets Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
More than 50% of pets are overweight, but 90% of pet parents with an overweight pet don’t realize it, according to research from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a global leader in science-led nutrition.
To help transform the lives of pets, Drs. Vernard Hodges and Terrence Ferguson, stars of Nat Geo Wild’s “Critter Fixers: Country Vets,” are encouraging pet parents to take a proactive approach to maintaining their pet’s weight.
“As veterinarians, we want every pet to live a long and healthy life,” Hodges said. “That's why pet parents should actively monitor their pet’s weight and address it in real time with the guidance of their veterinarian. We are proud to be a part of Hill’s ‘End Pet Obesity’ campaign to help pet parents learn about the impact of even a few extra pounds and equip them with the tools and resources they need to help their pets achieve and maintain a healthy weight.”
Consider these simple steps to get started:
Take the L.O.V.E. Test
To help assess a pet’s weight, use the L.O.V.E. Test, which includes four simple actions:
Locate the pet’s ribs
Observe from above
View from the side
Evaluate feeding behavior
“Sometimes, under all their beautiful fur, it’s hard to realize our pets have gained weight, and even just a few extra pounds can have an impact on their energy and overall wellness,” Ferguson said. “Taking the L.O.V.E test is an easy way to evaluate a pet’s body condition to determine if it’s time to take action.”
Schedule a Visit with a Veterinarian
Pet parents who have concerns about their pet’s weight should seek their veterinarian’s guidance. Conversation starters include:
Is my pet at an ideal weight?
How can I help my pet reach an ideal weight?
How can food help manage my pet’s weight?
Switch to the Right Food
“Obesity is one of the greatest health risks for pets, and what a pet eats is one of the most important decisions a pet parent can make,” Ferguson said. “Whether your pet is a new addition to the family or has just eaten a little too much, now is a great time for pet parents to reset nutritional habits and make sure their pet is at a healthy weight – starting with the food they feed.”
Pet parents should work with their veterinarian to choose the right food to support their pet’s weight loss journey. Weight management products can help pets achieve an ideal weight, including Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight, which has shown to lead to weight loss within 10 weeks in 70% of pets fed this nutritional food. For obese pets, veterinarians may recommend a therapeutic food.
“We have been studying the impact of nutrition on how pets’ bodies function for over a decade,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, chief veterinary officer of Hill’s Pet Nutrition U.S. “We learned lean pets have a different biology than overweight pets. This guided our development of formulas that both help support a pet’s metabolism for a healthy body weight and taste great. With the guidance of a veterinarian, it can be as simple as feeding the right kind of ‘love’ to lose the weight.”
To learn more and access free tools and resources for pet weight management, visit endpetobesity.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Hill’s Pet Nutrition
PICTURE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY (DOG WITH HEART)
LONGER, BETTER LIVES?
Scientists seek answers to the canine aging process and lifespan
By Kim Campbell Thornton
How long do dogs live? I think we can all agree that it’s not nearly long enough. Canine lifespans vary from as short as 6 to 8 years for certain giant breeds to an astounding 20-plus years for some tiny dogs. Owners of small and medium-size dogs can generally expect their companions to live 10 to 15 years.
Diet, good care and genetics all play a role in the length of a dog’s life, but two researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are hoping to learn more about how dogs age, as well as whether the aging process can be delayed and the lifespan lengthened. The Dog Aging Project (DAP), headed by Daniel Promislow, Ph.D., and Matt Kaeberlein, Ph.D., plans to track 10,000 dogs in homes around the United States to get a sense of how genetic and environmental factors affect aging in dogs.
As dogs — and humans and other animals — age, organs and tissues break down, increasing the risk of age-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Age is a greater risk factor for these diseases than diet, weight and exercise.
“The big picture behind what we’re trying to do is to understand the aging process so we can delay the onset and progression of all these diseases,” Dr. Kaeberlein says. “It’s sort of a fundamental shift from the traditional medical approach, which is to wait until dogs — or people — are sick, and then try to treat the disease.”
The dogs in this observational study will include many different breeds in different environments: short-lived dogs, long-lived dogs, dogs in wealthy households and dogs in more modest households. The researchers will look at not just how long the dogs live, but also at how environmental factors affect them as they age.
Included in the DAP will be a smaller study, with up to 36 pet dogs in the Seattle area. It will look at whether a drug called Rapamycin — used to prevent organ transplant rejection in humans — can slow aging, extend canine lifespans and improve quality of life. The drug has been shown to increase lifespan in many different organisms, Dr. Kaeberlein says, as well as improve cognitive, cardiac and immune function in animals such as mice.
“There’s been accumulating evidence over the past several years that not only do they live longer, but that the aging process itself is slowed down,” he says.
Of the 46 dogs whose owners have expressed interest in enrolling them in the Rapamycin study, only 26 dogs so far have met the criteria to be included: at least 6 years old, weighing at least 40 pounds and with no pre-existing conditions. Among them are golden retrievers, a greyhound, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and mixed breeds.
In both studies, dogs are good subjects because their shorter lifespan allows scientists to see results in a decade or less.
“If we had a large enough sample size, we could know in three years — certainly in five years — the extent to which Rapamycin improved healthy aging in dogs,” Dr. Promislow says. “And for a longitudinal study of age, where we want to follow dogs throughout life and understand the genetic or environmental factors that affect aging and disease in dogs, you can do that in a decade. That’s not possible in that timeframe in people.”
The eventual results could have implications for humans, but the dog-loving scientists say their research is about more than that.
“We’re both determined to find ways to improve the quality of life for dogs,” Dr. Kaeberlein says. “This is not just about finding something that will help people. It might be good for dogs and their owners.”
Photo credit: John Benavente
3 Simple Ways to Support Overpopulated Animal Shelters and Pets in Need
(Family Features) Pets are right by their owners’ sides when they need them. Without hesitation, they provide support, companionship, protection and more. Right now, more than 250,000 dogs and cats are waiting in United States shelters, according to Share the Care, a coalition created by more than 100 shelters and animal welfare organizations. With shelters experiencing overpopulation and resource constraints, these pets need help.
To reciprocate the support pets provide, Mars Petcare is launching Service Humans Needed, its largest shelter volunteer program ever. The company is calling on all “service humans” to support pets in need through acts of service. Consider these three ways to help homeless pets and find more information on how to get involved at BetterCitiesforPets.com/ServiceHumans.
Photo courtesy of Mars Petcare
Volunteer Your Time
Whether a one-time event or on an ongoing basis, shelter staff appreciate volunteer support. There are many ways to contribute, including walking dogs, socializing with pets, connecting with shelter visitors, cleaning pet areas and more. As an added bonus, volunteering at your local shelter can be a way to meet like-minded people in your community while serving a common cause.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Volunteer Your Home
Due to the high number of homeless pets, shelters are experiencing overpopulation and resource constraints, according to Shelter Animals Count. If you have time to commit and are willing to offer a shelter pet a loving home during a time of need, fostering and adopting can help alleviate stress on shelters and create space for more pets in need. Fostering pets and spending time with them at home can also help you determine if you’re ready to become a pet parent.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Volunteer Your Platforms
If volunteering your time or home isn’t doable right now, volunteering your social platforms for the cause can also be an immense help to shelters. In a study by AdoptAPet.com, nearly 9 of 10 shelters and rescue organizations surveyed agreed the simple act of sharing information about adoptable pets on social media can increase the likelihood of them being adopted.