Where Animal Lovers Pursue Animal Careers

Anthony Franck

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November is Pet Diabetes Month

Living with a Diabetic Pet

Thanks to treatment  improvements, the disease is now very manageable.

By Stacy Mantle

November is Pet Diabetes Month and it’s important for owners to know what signs to look for in their pets.

November is Pet Diabetes Month and it’s important for owners to know what signs to look for in their pets.

November is Pet Diabetes Month and as this is a disease that affects nearly every species, it’s important for pet owners to know a little about it. All types of animals, from ferrets to cats and humans to dogs, can develop diabetes.

To understand the condition, you need to know a bit about insulin. Insulin is a hormone that enables a body to use sugar (glucose), which is converted from consumed food, for energy or save it for use later. Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream from the intestines; it then flows to the body’s cells. If the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin, which acts as a key to open up cells to glucose, the sugar cannot be absorbed by the cells. This results in a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream.  

This buildup is what causes your pets want to eat constantly, but still appear to be malnourished. It is due to the cells not properly absorbing glucose for energy.

If your pet is showing signs of excessive thirst, frequent urination or acting like he or she is tired all of the time, it’s time to get some blood work done. Diabetes is one of those diseases that can sneak up on you and if you don’t pay attention, you could quickly lose your pet. Caught early, and your pets can live a normal, healthy life.

 

Types of Diabetes in Pets

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces no insulin at all. For Type 2, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body’s cells don’t respond well or have become resistant to it.

Dogs tend to develop insulin-dependent diabetes (Type 1), which means they will need injections—probably forever. Cats, however, are more commonly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which can usually be handled with oral medication and diet changes.

 

Diagnosing Diabetes in Pets

If your veterinarian suspects diabetes in your pet, she will likely need to perform a complete blood count (CBC), a serum biochemistry profile and a urinalysis to confirm diagnosis. While this may seem like a lot of tests, they are important as it allows the vet to accurately confirm the dosage levels required to help your pet.

It’s also important to remember that many pets react very strongly to being at the veterinarian’s office, and this can effect or change their actual levels. Running multiple tests will help confirm what is really going on while also ruling out other things that could affect your pet’s health.

 

Treating Diabetes in Pets

After your veterinarian has reached the conclusion your pet has diabetes, she will select an insulin type and dosage for your pet. The dosage needs to be closely monitored for the first few months to ensure it is accurate and effective. Every animal responds differently to the treatment and it’s up to the vet to establish how well your pet is doing with it.

In severe cases, your veterinarian might ask you to leave your pet at the hospital for a few days so she can quickly establish the best dosage through close monitoring.

Learn more about pet diabetes, its signs and risk factors with this downloadable brochure from Merck Animal Health.

 

Diet and Exercise

You might also need to change your pet’s diet to a prescription food or other vet-recommended food. It is very important that you monitor your pet’s diet, including treats, for the rest of his life. You need to be extra careful not to let your pet eat from the table or get into garbage as this can seriously affect his blood-sugar levels.

Currently, most vets recommend that dogs stay on high-fiber diets, since fiber seems to help increase the effect of insulin in dogs. Cats with diabetes, however, should be on a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet. Sugars, obviously, need to be avoided. This is often simple to do for cats, but dogs tend to have a harder time controlling their intake of sugar.

Exercise is also very important. You will want to make sure your dog is getting plenty of walks and playtime to keep him active—it will tremendously help him to manage this condition.  

 

Injections

Most pets could require injections twice a day—after each meal. You might have to modify your pet’s feeding schedule. You will also need to learn how to give these injections subcutaneously (under the skin). This might seem intimidating, but you can quickly learn this simple task. The needles are quite small and, in most cases, your pet will not even feel it—especially after you’ve had some practice.  Work closely with your veterinarian to learn how to give these injections. They are very, very important to maintaining your pet’s health.

In some cases (such as with Type 2), oral medication can be used instead of insulin injections. The treatment plan will depend on your veterinarian and how advanced your pet’s condition is (which is one more reason why you need to catch it early).

 

Glucose Testing

Your pet will need to have glucose tests to monitor his insulin levels. In the beginning, he might need to have a glucose curve established—blood -sugar levels are monitored every 2 to 4 hours for a 24-hour period. This test tells the veterinarian how well your pet is adjusting to the insulin.

After the initial curve is established, you should be able to monitor your pet with ongoing veterinarian appointments or by measuring the levels at home with a glucometer. You’ll want to learn more about this process because many things can affect how your pet responds daily to insulin day.

If you suspect your dog or cat has diabetes, be sure to get him into the veterinarian right away. This is a very manageable disease and the science used in preventing and treatment is improving every day.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

Returning to Standard Time Can Confuse Pets

Transitioning From Daylight Savings Time

How to convince your pets it really isn’t time to eat, sleep or play.

By Lisa King

Even though you now get to sleep an hour later, your cat will still walk on you and purr for attention at the usual time.

Even though you now get to sleep an hour later, your cat will still walk on you and purr for attention at the usual time.

Switching to Daylight Savings Time in the spring is hard on most people. You must get up an hour early, drive to work in the dark, take lunch before you’re hungry, try to go to sleep an hour before you’re tired. It’s like having jet lag without leaving town. The return to normal time and the gain of an hour are usually easier—unless you are making the transition with pets in the house.

Humans are diurnal, which means they are naturally most active during daylight hours. Dogs and cats are crepuscular, or most active around sunrise and sunset. Even though canines and felines in the wild are naturally attuned to daily cycles of light and dark, the pets in your house are following the schedule you set for them. You choose when to turn on the lights in the morning, when to feed them, when to walk them and when it’s time for lights out. A one-hour delay in these activities can cause confusion and stress in both dogs and cats. Extra affection and attention during this time will help them adjust more easily.

On the day after Daylight Savings Time ends, you’ll want to take advantage of an extra hour’s sleep, but your dog will still want to go outside and pee and your cat will still walk on you and purr for attention at the usual time.

The easiest way to help pets adjust is to move activities forward incrementally rather than by an hour all at once. You can transition to the new wake-up time this way. Set the alarm 10 or 15 minutes later each day until everyone is getting up at the correct time. You won’t get that extra hour of sleep, but your pets will have a smoother transition to the new schedule. Feeding time is also easily adjusted this way. These incremental adjustments will also make your own transition to the new time easier.

Since dogs are more attuned to human activities, they will probably accept these changes as soon as they realize their walks are just a little later than expected.

Since dogs are more attuned to human activities, they will probably accept these changes as soon as they realize their walks are just a little later than expected.

Since dogs are more attuned to human activities, they will probably accept these changes as soon as they realize that they will get their meals and walks, just a little later than expected. Cats, on the other hand, are notoriously oblivious to human needs and are more likely to complain loudly if a meal is late. If you free-feed your cat dry food, the transition shouldn’t be an issue, but if she’s made to wait for her breakfast and dinner, you’ll hear about it.

However, some activities must shift by an hour. If you are away from the house at work all day and your dog has to wait an extra hour to go outside and relieve himself, accidents can happen. Be patient with these incidents and don’t punish him. He’ll adjust within a few days and your household will once again run like a well-oiled machine—at least until Daylight Savings Time returns in the spring.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA, and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

How You Can Help Your Local Shelter

Helping Rescues and Shelters

Do what you can: adopt, volunteer, donate, spread the word.

By Audrey Pavia

The most important step you can take toward helping a shelter dog or cat  is to adopt one.

The most important step you can take toward helping a shelter dog or cat is to adopt one.

Every year, nearly 7.6 million cats and dogs end up in U.S. animal shelters; only half of those animals find homes; the other half is euthanized, according to the ASPCA. This means approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are destroyed in shelters every year.

These shocking statistics underline the severity of the homeless pet problem, and drive home the need for pet lovers to do whatever they can to help shelter animals.

The first of November began the National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week, but shelters need help all year round. What follows are some suggestions on how you can provide assistance to shelter pets.

 

Adopt

The most important step you can take toward helping a shelter dog or cat  is to adopt one. Instead of buying a pet, go to www.petfinder.com and search for the kind of canine or feline companion you are seeking. Shelters and private rescues list dogs and cats of all breeds and breed mixes, ages and temperaments on this site. Private rescues can often tell you a lot about the dog or cat because the animal has been kept in foster care for a period of time before being placed up for adoption. City and county shelters might not be able to give you as much information about the pet, but many shelters provide adoption packages to people who adopt a dog or cat, and these often include free or low-cost training.

 

Rescues and shelters appreciated any help you can give, from a few hours a month to regular weekend visits.

Rescues and shelters appreciate any help you can give, from a few hours a month to regular weekly visits.

Volunteer

Most shelters and rescues are desperate for volunteers. Positions that need filling include tasks like office work, pet photography, public relations, attending adoption events, dog training and dog walking. You can spend as much time you like volunteering. Whether it’s a few hours a month or every weekend, rescues and shelters are grateful for any help they can get.

 

Donate

All shelters and rescues are desperate for resources. If you cannot donate money, find out what other items they need. Many shelters and rescues will accept pet food, blankets, carriers, toys, bowls and other pet accessories. If you have gently used items your dog or cat no longer needs, consider taking them to the local shelter. You might also want to buy a gift card to a pet supply chain such as PetSmart or Petco to enable the rescue or shelter to purchase whatever they need.

 

Spread the Word

Get on the mailing list for your favorite rescues and your local shelter, or follow them on social media. Share postings about pets for adoption with people you know. The more exposure shelter pets receive, the more likely they are to get a home.

 

Help Strays

Even though shelters are inundated with homeless dogs, they are there to help animals in need. If you see a stray dog, call your local animal control agency so they can catch the dog and take him to their facility. The dog will be fed and given veterinary care, and kept for a period of time so the owner can claim him. In the event the dog is not claimed, he will go up for adoption. You can request that the shelter keep your posted on dog’s status.

 

Spay or Neuter

Don’t contribute to the homeless pet population by allowing your dog or cat to breed. Spay or neuter your dog, even if she is a purebred. Shelters and rescues are filled with purebred dogs that need homes.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

Black Cats Need Love Too

Black is the New Cat

It’s time to celebrate
Black Cat Appreciation Day.

By Sandy Robins

Black cats should be judged by their personality and innate characteristics.

Black cats need to be judged by their personality and innate characteristics and not superstitions tied to their color.

I know, I know. Another pet related day to celebrate on the calendar. Yet, Black Cat Appreciation Day on November 16 is truly something to celebrate.

Sadly, black cats (and dogs) are far less likely to be adopted from shelters than cats of any other fur colors or combinations. That means the euthanization rate is much higher. Even if everyone knows that black cats aren’t witches’ familiars or minions of hell, there remains an underlying belief that they are unlucky. As a result, black cats tend to be overlooked no matter how beautiful they are or engaging their personalities.

As far as superstitions go, it depends on which side of the Atlantic you live. Black cats are supposed to be unlucky in the U.S; however, across the ocean, the English consider them a sign of good luck. Since anyone who understands even the rudiments of science knows a negative and a positive cancel each other out, we should just let black cats be…well…cats. The superstitious can stick to not walking under ladders or wearing their lucky shirt.

Unfortunately, many people perpetuate the myths about black cats without realizing it. After all, every October we adorn out homes with Halloween paraphernalia and witches and black cats are an integral part of the decorations. Frankly, when it comes to decorating, I think its time to stick to pumpkins. If you really want to bring cats into the picture, consider putting them in a costume. (Shark cat on a Roomba anyone?) You could also turn your pumpkins into Grumpkins, courtesy of the Grumpy Cat carving stencil that came out this year.

living with black cat is like living with a miniature black panther, especially ones with gorgeous gold eyes.

Living with a black cat is like living with a miniature black panther, especially one with gorgeous gold eyes.

Thankfully, animal shelters and rescues refuse to adopt out black cats (and dogs) in October to protect them from falling into the wrong hands. Black Cat Appreciation Day is held the following month to give pet lovers the opportunity to adopt a new friend who is black and beautiful.

There’s no question that living with a black cat is like living with a miniature black panther in your home, especially when he or she is blessed with gorgeous gold eyes.

It is time to stop judging pets by their color and look at them for their personality and innate characteristics.

It is also time to adopt a more European outlook. If a black cat crosses your path, it’is a sign of good luck. You can make that happen every day by bringing a black kitty into your home.

Please Tweet and post positive Facebook messages about black cats on November 16 and dispel the myths associated with these gorgeous creatures. It is no longer the Middle Ages people; time to move on.


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

 

Exciting New Products for Dogs and Cats

Fun, Practical and Just Plain Cool Pet Products

LovingBowl-foodThe Loving Bowl, with its over-sized feeding area, provides an always- exposed slope or ridge that pets will quickly learn to use. Flat-faced breeds will no longer have to chase their food around a dish, but will instinctively use the sides of the bowl to help them grasp morsels of food. It makes a great water bowl, too; the interior slope allows your pet to get more water with less effort. http://Thelovingbowl.com/

 

 

 

BabyBionicBionic Pet Products Baby Bionic toy line is designed for teething puppies and small chewers. The toys are made with a unique rubber material that is soft and chewy but durable enough to last a very long time. The line includes the Baby Toss N Tug, Baby Ball and Baby Bone, which are available in purple or yellow. The company chose easy-to-see colors that are attractive to puppies’ developing eyes. http://bionicplay.com/baby-products.html

 

TwigoTags

 

Twigo Pet ID Tags require no engraving and are instantly personalize-able with a ballpoint pen—simply write on the back of the tag, boil it and then use it. The tag’s slip-loop makes it simple to attach securely to your pet’s collar. In addition, Twigo tags are completely silent—ideal for those who dislike a metal tag’s jingling noise. Designed for both dogs and cats, the lightweight and easy-to-clean tags are available in four fun styles that come in three colors each. www.twigotags.com

 

 

 

 

Pet-ZoneCatTunnelThe new Pet Zone Pounce House Cat Tunnel combines a feline’s favorite pastimes of curling up to take a snooze or being active in running, pouncing and chasing.  It is also portable and collapsible for easy storage. Measuring 60-in. long and 10-in. wide, the cat tunnel provides a snuggly space for hiding and a peephole for quick getaways. The vinyl tunnel has bright colors and great durability for cats who play enthusiastically.  www.petzonebrand.com

 

SoggyDoggyHolidayMats

 

The Soggy Doggy Doormat® sucks water and dirt off paws as the dog walks over it. Made with a super-absorbent, durable microfiber material, it absorbs up to five-times more water and dirt than a typical doormat or cotton towel. The fabric is velvety-soft, remains odor and bacteria-free, and is machine-washable. And, new for the holiday season, the doormats are available in two festive colors: cranberry and evergreen. www.soggydoggydoormat.com

 

 

 

CatDice1

Cat Dice™ from the Jackson Galaxy Collection by Petmate®  feature  are a fun, interactive cat toys that feature Irregular shapes, causing unpredictable bounces that keep cats engaged. Just toss and bounce, or fill them with treats to create a puzzle treat toy. You can also pair the dice with additional toys for enhanced play. Made of nylon and catnip, the toys come in variety of shapes and colors in packs of two or three. http://store.jacksongalaxy.com/

 

 

 

flexiVario

 

The new flexi Vario leash system offers flexibility, security and comfort for your dog and you. The system’s accessories attach conveniently to the leash and include LED lighting and a MultiBox to hold treats and waste bags. Available options include an LED Flash Belt, a Duo Belt for walking two dogs from one leash and a Soft Stop Belt to stop gently and quickly a dog without jolting. The leash system comes in four different sizes—XS, SM, M, L—and six colors. www.flexinorthamerica.com

 

 

PawPodsThe new Heart Pod urn from Paw Pods expands on the company’s line of products that give owners meaningful ways to say goodbye to a beloved pet. Constructed of 100 percent biodegradable, all-natural materials such as bamboo and rice husk, the Heart Pod includes a sympathy card and seeded leaf that can be planted with the beloved pet and will bloom beautiful wildflowers year-after-year as a living memorial. www.pawpods.com

Five Pit Bull Myths

Busting Pit Bull Myths

Pitties are not the dangerous breed many think they are.

By Audrey Pavia

PitBullPit Bulls get a very bad rap. How many times have you heard Pit Bull attack stories on the news? If you only obtain your information from the media, you might think Pit Bulls were the only dogs that ever bite anyone.

The truth is that any breed of dog is capable of aggression. Pit Bulls are in the news more than any other breed because they have the misfortune of being the favorite breed of gangbangers, drug dealers and irresponsible individuals looking for an intimidating, macho dog.

As a result, plenty of myths exist about Pit Bulls. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular untruths plaguing the breed.

1)      All Pit Bulls are vicious. All you have to do is meet a few pet Pit Bulls in person to do discover the falseness of this myth. Pit Bulls are among some of the sweetest, gentlest dogs around. Although they were originally bred in England for fighting other dogs and taking on bulls, the original lines were never bred to be aggressive towards humans. Well-bred modern Pit Bulls are not inherently vicious.

2)      Pit Bulls have the ability to lock their jaws. Veterinary examination at the University of Georgia has proven that Pit Bulls have the same type of jaw mechanism as all other breeds. They do not have a special mechanism that allows them to lock their jaws once they take hold of something in their mouths.

3)      Pit Bulls are able to inflict more bite pressure per square inch than other breeds. Dr. Brady Barr, of National Geographic’s Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr, measured the pressure per square inch (PSI) of the bites of German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Pit Bull Terriers. The Pit Bull had the least amount of bite pressure of the three breeds tested.

PitBullwChild4)      Pit Bulls attack more people than any other breed. Pit Bulls are among the most popular dog breeds in America, so their bite numbers will be high relative to the number of Pit Bulls in existence. (Rottweilers and German Shepherds also have higher bite statistics than many other breeds.) Pit Bulls are also the favorite breed of certain types of people who deliberately train them to be aggressive toward human beings. For instance, drug dealers often keep Pit Bulls as protection dogs, and maintain these guard dogs in residential communities where innocent people sometimes get bitten.

5)      If a Pit Bull is aggressive toward dogs, he will aggressive toward humans. Aggression toward other dogs is common in many breeds, and is a separate issue from aggression toward humans. Any breed of dog can be aggressive toward another dog for reasons of protecting territory or resources, or because of fear. That same dog can be submissive and loving toward humans.

The best philosophy to take with Pit Bulls is to judge each dog as an individual. Responsible Pit Bull owners treat their dogs with love and gentleness, provide them with training and veterinary care and teach them to be canine good citizens.


About the Author: Audrey Pavia is an award-winning freelance writer and author of “The Labrador Retriever Handbook.” She is a former staff editor of Dog Fancy, Dog World and The AKC Gazette magazines. To learn more about her work, visit www.audreypavia.com.

 

How to Help the Feral Cats in Your Neighborhood

Feral Cat Care

You can help homeless, gone-wild felines.

By Sandy Robins

FeralCatDay-1October 16th marks the 14th annual national Feral Cat Day with the goal of bringing awareness to the sad plight of feral cats who are forced to live on the streets of cities and towns across America as well as in rural areas.

Feral or community cats are a “man-made problem” that comes about when people carelessly and ruthlessly abandon cats, leaving them to fend for themselves. Moreover, if they have not been spayed or neutered, their numbers quickly escalate.

The official definition of a feral is a cat who is living in a wild state after domestication. Fortunately, cats quickly revert to their natural instincts in order to survive. However, this doesn’t mean they do well on their own. It’s tough to find food, water and shelter in order to survive, let alone thrive.

Here are some useful tips on how to aid feral cats living in your area.

 

TNR—Trap, Neuter and Return

If you find community cats in your neighborhood, the very best way to help them is to get them spay and neutered. The process of having them spayed and neutered and returned to the area where they were found is called TNR: trap, neuter and return. Not only will this stop the cat population from growing, it also makes the cats healthier and happier because they are not continually bearing litters of kittens. It also stops nuisance behavior such as yowling, fighting, which, of course, can make your neighbors more tolerant of them, too.

Just about every community has low-cost or free spay/neuter clinics to help, and they often offer free rental of trapping equipment. To find one near you, contact your local feline rescue group, Humane Society or SPCA. 

 

Establish a Feeding Routine

Be sure to provide the cats with fresh food and water every day. Since they don’t have “owners,” they rely on the kindness of people to help them survive. If possible, find other concerned cat people in your neighborhood and set up a feeding roster to share the responsibilities.

 

Provide Shelter

This is particularly important if you live in a colder climate. You can make a very simple and inexpensive shelter using a plastic storage bin and straw, or you can build something more sturdy and insulated. Here are several great plans for easy-to-make shelters: www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER

 

Rescue, Foster and Find Homes

FeralCatTrap

Many low-cost spay/neuter clinics will loan volunteers humane traps to catch feral cats.

Many feral cats are friendly and will come close to humans. Where possible, try to remove them from their colony. Very young kittens who are removed early will be easier to socialize in a foster care program. Work in conjunction with a rescue group in your area. Their volunteers will be very willing to teach you the ropes.

 

Encourage Neighbors to Participate—and Spay/Neuter Their Pets

Chances are the feral cats you’re seeing in your neighborhood are the descendants of unfixed domestic cats. By encouraging your neighbors to spay/neuter their pets and educating them about low-cost or free options, it will help prevent the introduction of more homeless cats in your neighborhood.

Cimeron Morrissey, who was named Animal Planet’s person of the Year in 2007 for her tireless work with feral cats, notes the best way to humanely trap cats is to withhold food for 12 to 24 hours and then set the humane traps with tempting treats, such as tuna or wet food.

“Once caught, cover the traps entirely with old sheets or towels, which will calm the cats,” she said, adding that many spay/neuter clinics operate by appointment only, so be sure to plan ahead.

For recovery post-surgery, Morrissey suggests keeping the cats in their covered traps for 24 to 72 hours, taking guidance from the veterinarian clinic and watching for signs of illness or surgical complications (which are rare). Finally, after the cats have recovered, they must be returned to the exact location where they were originally caught.

You can find out more about the National Feral Cat Day along with an interactive listing of events going on around the country at www.alleycat.org/NFCD

Other useful links:

www.alleycat.org

www.feralcatproject.org/aboutthecats_whatis.aspx

www.homelesscatnetwork.com 


About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats

Keep Track of Your Pets’ Activities While You’re Away

Home Alone

How to keep an eye on your pets no matter where you—and they—are.

By Stacy Mantle

HomeAloneMost pet owners agree that the most stressful part of having pets is leaving them when they have to go to work or decide to take a vacation. Whether you decide on having a pet sitter come in to your home, putting your faith into a close friend or relative, or selecting a boarding facility; there are new ways to ensure your pets are safe and secure.

 

Wearable Technology

Technology has come a long way in the past few years. Lightweight GPS locators, individual activity trackers, hi-def cameras, and motion-activated technology are just a few ways you can make sure your pets are in good hands. Here are a few things you can try to make sure your pets are safe while you’re away.

 

GPS Trackers

TaggPetTracker

A GPS pet tracker, such as the Tagg unit the yellow Lab is wearing, helps ensure you’ll be able to find your pet if he goes roaming on his own. Image courtesy of SnapTracs Inc.

If you’re wondering whether or not your dog walker is taking your pets out for the full hour walk they promised, this is now a way you can do that. GPS monitors, such as the Tagg unit, will notify you when your dog leaves a previously assigned “virtual” area (like your backyard or home). You will receive a text message when your dog leaves the area and you’ll be able to track the route your dog is travelling. This works for dogs who are being walked as well as it works for those who escape yards.

Your pets should all be wearing GPS trackers even while they are home with pet sitters. Pets tend to become more stressed when they are away from us, so it’s good to have a secondary method of finding your pets should they escape the yard while you’re on vacation. With GPS trackers, you’ll be able to give your pet-sitter access to the program, or you can just contact your pet sitter after you receive a notification. You can also put other important contacts, such as neighbors or relatives, into your contact list in the event your dog escapes the yard.

 

Activity Monitors

Activity monitoring is another offered feature through Tagg and other companies, such as Whistle, Starwalk, the Spotlight and dozens of others. Each tracker offers individual benefits, so you’ll need to do some research to find the one that best fits your situation.

Activity trackers are remarkably advanced and are now capable of monitoring everything from your pet’s internal temperature and heart rate to the type of activity she is engaged in. For instance, you’ll be able to identify whether your dog is running a fence line, walking calmly through the house in search of treats or sleeping.

 

Wireless Cameras

If you are the type of owner who always worries about their pets while you’re away from the home, a wireless camera can be an excellent way of checking in on them without being invasive. There are a number of cameras that are not only high-def, but also offer infrared technology, which enables you to check on your pets in the middle of the night.

These cameras are affordable (ranging between $80 to $200) and very easy to install. Each camera brand has a free, downloadable app that can access the camera from any device. Before you purchase, be sure to check the following:

  • Does the camera have two-way talk? (This can come in handy if you check in and see your dog ransacking the garbage.)
  • Is the app compatible with Apple and Android? If you have an Android phone and iPad, you’ll want a camera that can handle both systems.
  • Does the camera offer infrared/nighttime vision?
  • Does the camera offer additional functions, such as temperature inclusion? If you live in an extreme climate, knowing what the temperature of your home is may be of value to you.
  • Does the camera offer you control over location? For example, can you maneuver the lens to easily survey a room or do you need to purchase more than one camera to have them strategically placed around the home?
  • Can the camera be used indoors and outdoors?
PetSafeSocialPet

Wireless cameras with treat stations, such as SocialPet from PetSafe, lets you monitor and treat your dog while at work or traveling. Image courtesy of PetSafe.

When selecting a boarding facility, be sure the facility has remote cameras installed that give you access via secured servers. In this day and age, there really is no reason for a facility to not have cameras installed. If they do not—ask them why and decide for yourself if it’s acceptable.

In this day and age, we never need to be far from our pets. While technology offers a lot of advantages, it will never take the place of good old-fashioned TLC and will never be a substitute (or excuse) for leaving pets at home alone. What technology can do is alleviate some of the anxiety we feel when we have to leave town and it might just help decrease your stress a bit while you’re at work, too.


About the Author: Stacy Mantle is the founder of PetsWeekly.com and the bestselling author of “Shepherd’s Moon.” Learn more great tips for living with animals by visiting PetsWeekly.com or get to know a little more about the author at  www.StacyMantle.com

 

Go Walk Your Dog; It’s Good for You and Your Pet

Walk the Dog!

Treat your canine—and yourself—to daily excursions.

By Lisa King

WalkDogCityNo matter what type of purebred or mixed breed dog you own, chances are he’s not performing the duties he was bred for: herding sheep, chasing vermin into their burrows, tracking large game across open plains. Modern life offers few chances for dogs to do their intended work, so how can owners provide the exercise and stimulation their dogs need?

The answer is simple: Take your dog for a walk. A good long walk outside won’t do you any harm. Since October began with Walk Your Dog Week, now is a good time to resolve to walk your dog more regularly.

The frequency and duration of these walks depends on many things, such as your dog’s size, breed, health and age. A young Lab or Shepherd mix can handle much longer and more vigorous walks than an elderly Pug. Ask your veterinarian for guidance and pay attention to how tired your dog is getting. In general, a young athletic dog should be walked for 30 minutes to an hour once or twice a day, while a small lapdog can get plenty of exercise from a 20-minute walk. A dog who gets enough exercise is much less likely to exhibit nervous barking and destructive behavior around the house. Walk him at roughly the same time every day if possible.

Choose a secure collar and, if desired, a harness, plus a study nylon or leather leash. Walking in an urban area requires a shorter leash so you can prevent your dog from entangling other pedestrians, while walking in an open area allows you to use a longer leash. A retractable leash can work well for both these scenarios.

Before leaving the house, provide your dog with proper identification. A tag with the dog’s name and your phone number on it plus microchipping in case his collar is lost are the ideal combination.

To make the walk more pleasant for both of you, teach your dog to heal rather than drag you along behind. If your dog persists at pulling on the leash, try using a head halter, which redirects his efforts so he can’t pull you.

DogWalkCountryFind interesting places for the two of you to walk. Your dog will find plenty of interesting smells and sights in your neighborhood, but once in a while he should get to walk someplace new, such as a park, nature trail, lake or beach. Check first to make sure dogs are allowed at the location you plan to visit. If your destination is a dog park or dog beach, make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs before venturing out.

Walks are when many dogs relieve themselves, especially if they’re apartment dwellers. Besides marking new and old territories with urine, they’re bound to defecate while on walks. Whether you’re on a mountain trail, on a city street or in your own front yard, pick up your dog’s solid waste and discard it appropriately. Carry some type of baggies with you on every walk.

If the walk will be a long one, bring water for both you and your dog, especially in hot weather. Collapsible bowls, soft foldable bowls, receptacles that clip onto human water bottles and many other types of drinking containers are available at pet supply stores. Bring along a pocket full of your dog’s favorite treats, too, to reward good behavior.

Having a dog and walking him regularly not only gives you both much-needed exercise, it facilitates bonding. Dogs look forward with great anticipation to their walks and to spending time exploring the world with their favorite human.


About the Author: Lisa King is a freelance writer living in Southern California. She is the former managing editor of Pet Product News International, Dogs USA and Natural Dog magazines. Lisa is also the author of the well-received murder mystery novel “Death in a Wine Dark Sea” and the recently released “Vulture au Vin.”

Must-Have Pet Products

Accessories for Your Dog(s) and Cat(s)

 

HiLo-FeederHelp ensure your pet maintains good posture while eating with the New Age Pet Habitat ‘n Home HiLo Diner. It elevates two stainless-steel bowls several inches off the floor so dogs (and cats) don’t have to arch their necks as much. It’s made from ecoFLEX, a patented blend of recycled polymers and wood byproducts, which offers a long lifecycle and weather-resistance. Available in three sizes and two colors, the stainless-steel dog bowls are included. www.newagepet.net

 

PLAYsnugglebedSnuggle Beds from P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle and You) feature plush, luxurious velvet on one side and smooth and sturdy canvas on the other. Perfect for all seasons; the cotton-mix canvas is breathable and light for summer, and the velvet keeps pets warm and snug in winter. The beds can be molded into multiple different styles (flat, “cup” or “cave-like”) for ultimate versatility. Snuggle Beds come in two sizes, small and large, and three styles: Truffle Brown, Husky Gray and Charcoal Gray. www.petplay.com

 

barkgenie

 

The Bark Genie™ Handheld Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent from First Alert is designed to minimize excessive barking. The device releases a pet-friendly ultrasonic sound (one that humans can’t hear) with the press of a button to curb barking and other unwanted behavior. It’s a small device akin to a remote control that’s effective from up to 15-feet away, making it convenient for at-home and on-the-go training. www.firstalertforpets.com

 

EarthbathCatShampoo

 

earthbath’s Hypo-Allergenic Cat Shampoo is formulated for cats who may have sensitive skin or allergies. The ultra-mild shampoo is pH-balanced to be especially gentle for even the most sensitive cats and contains natural conditioners and aloe vera to soften the coat, remoisturize the skin and provide brilliance and shine, the company reports. Its fragrance- free nature can also be of special importance in multi-cat households where scent can sometimes lead to feline confrontations. www.earthbath.com

 

 

 

KyjenSloBowlMiniNow you can make feeding fun and healthy for smaller dogs with the Slo-Bowl Mini from Kyjen. The unique nature-inspired designs allow dogs to eat at a natural pace while lengthening mealtimes and preventing canine bloat. The bowl exceeds food-safety standards with BPA, PVC and phthalate-free construction, the company reports. Designed to stay in place via a non-skid rubber base; the Slo-Bowl Mini holds up to 2 cups of dry dog food. www.kyjen.com

 

OurPetsCorknip

 

OurPets Corknip cat toys feature a proprietary material made from North-American-grown premium catnip and natural cork. The toys are specially designed for pet owners who enjoy giving loose catnip to their cats, but dislike cleaning up the scattered mess. The tempting, soft texture of the cork mixed with the catnip gives cats an intoxicating surface they’ll love sinking their teeth and claws into. Corknip toys come in a variety of forms, including wands (with and without feathers and bat-able balls and wobblers. www.ourpets.com

 

 

StewartFreezeDriedFoodStewart® by MiracleCorp’s Raw Naturals™ Freeze Dried Dog Food is made in the USA with human-grade, wholesome ingredients, including single or limited source protein, fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients, according to the company. The food is grain and gluten-free, cold process pasteurized using HPP, a non-thermal process that destroys harmful bacterial and pathogens for added safety. It is available in a variety of all-natural “fresh-to-home” recipes including beef, chicken, turkey, bison, lamb and chicken & salmon. www.stewartpet.com.

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