Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: dogs

3 Ways To Stay On Top of Your Pet’s Health, Your Faithful Companion

The photo above is of my dog when he had been sick to his stomach in the morning. I posted it on Facebook because he just looked so pitiful (well and he has a cute face), and I know so many of my friends are dog and cat lovers. He did not want to let me out of his sight yesterday and kept moving closer and closer to me, so finally, I moved his pillow by my desk, and he laid down and went to sleep. He was fine later; he had probably gotten into something in the yard. But anyone who knows me knows how important Chester is to me, so this contributed post has a lot of great points about how pets can help us and how we should take care of them. 

Anybody that’s had a dog or cat knows the emotional connection, warmth, love and support that radiates from their soul; indeed, the love of a pet is one of the most soothing and abundant sources of love available.  Indeed, their love is unconditional. They make a great companion, particularly at this time of year, and of course, dogs offer a fantastic way to keep active due to all the walks they require. Many people recognize the healing power of pets also, as they can have a positive impact on our emotional and physical health.  It’s important we similarly look after our pet’s health, too, though, for instance as a dog ages, it’s necessary to hunt out the best dog bed for arthritis and get annual check-ups, just like we would for a human family member.

In that vein, here are three ways to stay on top of your pet’s health.

  1. EXERCISE

Just like humans, it’s vitally important your pets get the exercise they need to stay healthy.  They can, however, be over-exercised, so this is something to consider particularly if your dog or cat is a little older. Make sure to talk to your vet about the proper amount of exercise for your pet. Exercise is great for your dogs’ physical and emotional health, plus it’ll boost your own mood too.

  1.  DIET & NUTRITION

Cats have specific nutritional requirements as they are “obligate carnivores,” meaning they need animal proteins to stay healthy, while dogs are “scavenging carnivores,” meaning they are primarily meat eaters but can survive on other sources of food if necessary.  That said, feeding them with dog food that is high in animal protein and low in “fillers” is the best bet.

Equally important to food, of course, is hydration… so ensuring an adequate supply of clean drinking water is essential to your pet’s health.  This is particularly relevant during the summer.

  1.  FLEA TREATMENT

It’s wise to consult your vet on which flea treatment is most effective for your pet, as it is somewhat dependent on medical history, and some flea treatments are more effective than others.  A popular option for both dogs and cats is Frontline, yet a number of vets say this isn’t always effective, and a more reliable option is called Stronghold Flea, though this does usually need to be given on prescription.

While flea treatment is highly effective in killing the fleas and eggs on your pet, the challenge is that if your pet is then in an environment where the fleas are still at large, re-infestation will occur.  Here is a good resource on the steps to take to rid your home from fleas.

In summary, pets do have tremendous healing powers when it comes to our mental and emotional health; as their love is unconditional.  It’s pretty simple to keep on top of your pet’s health but vitally important… particularly in terms of regular check-ups with the vet and keeping up with prophylactic injections and parasite treatments.

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Tips and Tools to Keep Your Dog and Cat Safe In the Summer Heat

Keep-Pets-Cool-Infographic-by-John-Moore

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The 100% Five Genuine Health Benefits To Having Pets

(contributed post)

It’s only natural that anyone who loves their pets should see all the benefits when it comes to making room in their lives for a furry friend. But, believe it or not, science is in agreement with them, too. Owning a pet has been shown to have some seriously positive impacts on your health, mentally and physically. Here, we’re going to look at some of the health benefits that pet owners get to enjoy.

Playing off the pounds

Let’s talk about one of the most obvious benefits of owning some of the more energetic pets out there. This might not be true for those with more independent cats or rabbits, but owning a dog, ferret, or any other highly playful animal is great for providing you with a little exercise. If your dog is particularly energetic, then those big long walks are going to play a huge role in helping you manage your weight. With the lower risk of obesity due to more exercise comes the lower risk of several chronic illnesses, not to mention a lower risk of back or joint pain in later life. Walking your dog hardly feels like exercise, too, so it’s easy to get motivated to do it.

Breaking the ice

Isolation is becoming something of a minor health scare as of late. Whether the blame is to be laid at the feet of social media and the internet adding distance between us or the fact that increasingly urban lifestyles have us living on top of one another is uncertain. There has been a marked rise in people who consider themselves “isolated”, however. Pets are great for helping you with that, too. Walking your pet or even going to the vet for your checkups gives you a chance to meet like-minded people just as into their furry friends as you are into yours. There are even social meetup apps for dog owners looking for walking buddies, now.

Making a real positive impact

One of the most keenly felt health benefits a pet can offer, however, is in the realm of mental and emotional health. Animals, like cats and dogs, have been shown to have a truly huge impact in helping with issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. There are even animals like service cats whose role it is to provide those benefits. What is a service cat? Essentially, they provide emotional support, helping people with conditions like social anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD manage their symptoms. Mental health professionals widely acknowledge that simply spending time with a cat or a dog, as the case may be, can help people better come when they are having serious trouble with their emotional health.

Preventing allergies

You may be skeptical of this idea at first. If anything, you have probably met people who are specifically allergic to pet hair. It’s true that pet hair does contain allergens. However, research has shown that children who grow up in a household with pets are much less likely to develop an allergic reaction to them in the long run. In fact, exposure to pets can stop people from developing any allergies or even asthma by improving your gut health. However, it’s worth noting that exposure to pets won’t “cure” anyone who already has asthma or allergies. Don’t go shaking your dog in anyone’s face; you’re just more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than anything.

Looking after heart and mind

Living with pets has been shown to drastically decrease your risk of blood clots for a couple different reasons. Owning a cat has been shown to cut the risk of a heart attack or a stroke by a third. One major reason for this is the stress-busting qualities that pets have, which reduces stroke risk. It also helps lower blood pressure thanks to the production of “feel-good” hormones, like dopamine and serotonin, when spending time with them. You can’t deny the power of the daily walkies when it comes to looking after heart health, either. Physical activity plays a key role in helping to protect the heart. Both physically and emotionally, pet ownership is likely to help decrease your chances of both heart attack and stroke.

If you’re ever trying to convince a partner or family member to let you get a pet, the five benefits above might just sway them a little if you’re lucky. Above all else, it just goes to show the positive impact that pet owners feel simply from having their favorite animal companion in their lives.

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4 Reasons Dogs Can Help You Maintain a Healthy Weight

The above photo is of my dog yesterday, staring out the window, and I thought it was funny, so I took the photo. He sat like that for over 10 minutes! I wondered: What is he watching for? So even though this contributed article is mostly about working out with your dog, which I do take him for walks frequently, even on cold days when I would’ve never went out without him, I wanted to show you my funny boxer just sitting. 🙂 Read on for a more active and healthy post though…

Working out is hard, which is why most of us need a partner to help ease the strain. Not only is it less lonely working out with a friend, but it also drives us to be better. When you let yourself down, you’re letting down the person who agreed to train with you in the first place. And the majority of us feel too guilty to let this happen. There’s a problem, though – who wants to be your workout partner? Everyone has commendable intentions, yet they can go by the wayside when it comes to crunch time. So, where are you supposed to turn? Who is going to help when your friends and family won’t? The answer is the family pooch and here’s why.

They’re Reliable

Humans can overthink things. Exercise is the perfect example because we may not really want to do it anyway–or least make ourselves go to the gym at 5am or after a long day at work. As a result, lots of people decide they will skip and then get into a bad routine. Dogs aren’t like people because they always want to leave the house. If they’re cooped up during the day, they need a long walk to blow off steam and release tension. Going for a jog or fast walk together, then, is a perfect compromise.

They’re Aerobic

Running has its advantages, but most aerobic activity is as healthy. In fact, depending on the goal, it can be better for you than a 10K. Let’s look at exercise helping you to lose weight. After the holiday season or one too many takeout sessions, we can feel the weight start to become a problem. To shed the pounds, the body needs to metabolize oxygen, which is a fancy way of saying you need to keep your heart rate down while moving around. Taking the dog for a long walk, instead of going for a run by yourself, is an excellent excuse. Plan the route so that it includes inclines as well as declines for ultimate results.

 

It’s Fun

Part of developing a  healthy exercise routine is finding a way to enjoy the experience. Because exercise can be difficult, it’s not enjoyable one-hundred percent of the time. The good news is that a dog instantly brings fun to the party thanks to their enthusiasm. Throwing a ball and chasing them around is not only a physical activity for you but it makes them wag their tails. Plus, regular dog activities can take place in beautiful locations such as the beach or the park. It’s hard not to enjoy exercise with your best pal as the sun sets over the ocean.

They’re Vacuums

If the above doesn’t appeal to you, then how about this… 😉 Of course, dogs need their own healthy food–whether you decide to buy dog food or make your own.  Any amazing pet review site will provide info on the best products on the market.  Still, your pooch probably likes human food: chicken, green beans, rice, and salmon, of course. Indeed, if dieters (or kids who don’t want their dinner) should “accidentally” drop leftovers on the floor, with your dog around, you may not need to vacuum! It’s a brilliant method of reducing meal sizes and cutting down on your daily calorie intake. I bet you are ready to rush out and get one of these dogs right now, aren’t you?

Do you need a healthy accountability partner? If you own a dog, the perfect solution is right under your nose.

 

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Helping Your Dog Grow to Be Happy and Healthy Despite a Busy Schedule

So, you’ve welcomed a new puppy into your life , and now you’re committed to giving them the best life possible. You’re committed to seeing him grow into being an adult dog who is both happy and healthy. You want to do everything you can, or everything that your busy schedule will allow, to ensure that your dog grows the way he should and needs to.

But, that’s just it: you can only do what your schedule allows you to do. You can only take your dog on walks when you are not at work. You can only feed him when you are home to do so. Basically, you have to manage your schedule while also doing what is best for your dog. And it is for this reason why you should most certainly look for the easiest ways to help your dog to grow to be happy and healthy; fortunately, some ways to do this can be found below.

Keep dogs active, even indoors.

Ideally, you should be taking your dog out for regular walks every day. If this cannot be achieved because of your work commitments and being away from home during the day, then you should absolutely ensure that he is walked when you return home from work. To try to make up for the lack of exercise some dogs receive during the work day, you can work on ways to keep your dog active in your home too.

Your dog can be kept active inside the comfort of your own home. But, they can only be kept active if the activity they participate in stimulates them enough to do so. This means getting to know your dog and his likes and dislikes and then working from there. If you know your dog to be one that refuses to give in until he gets what he wants, for instance, then play a game, such as tug-a-rope, with him. If you tug at a rope with him, you will keep him active for the length of the game because he won’t give in easily and will continue to fight for the alpha dog position for as long as it takes. Or if you’d prefer an easier game to play, then you can play fetch. By doing this, you can actually be slumped in front of the TV while you throw the ball to one side of the room, wait for your dog to retrieve it and return it to you before throwing it again. Something else you could do is hide different parts of his food around the house and let him sniff it out and find it on his own; this is a great way to force your dog into burning some calories.

Don’t make mealtimes hard

If you have limited time in the morning before work to get your pet to eat, then you want the process to be as quick as possible. Dog owners know that some of them can be somewhat picky eaters. Specifically, this means that it is in your best interest to ensure that they eat whatever is on their plate (or in their bowl) when you are providing them with their meals and treats.

Fortunately, today this means that you can provide them with nice-tasting foods that are still healthy for them to consume. One dog’s food that falls into this category is the Betsy Farms duck jerky dog treats. These treats are sure to make your dog’s mouth water, which means he is sure to eat them, and this equates to a quicker routine in the morning, especially if you are trying to get your dog to go outside to go potty, too, before you go to work. What’s more, these treats, and treats of the like, are made from wholesome ingredients that go a long way in improving and maintaining good doggy health, and you can use them as a reward also when your dog is being obedient, especially during busy times. 

Let them go if that is best for them

One of the best things that you can do to truly ensure that your dog grows to be happy and healthy, if your schedule just won’t allow you to do it, is to give it up. As hard as that may be, for both you and your dog, it simply must be done sometimes. No dog can grow to be all he can be if he is not tended to by his owner. What’s more, no dog deserves to not be tended to by his owner as often and as well as can be. So, if you truly can’t bend your schedule enough to meet the demands of looking after your dog, then simply do not have a dog.

When it comes to doing this, the most important thing to check is that you are leaving him in a safe place that will nurture him and find him a far more ideal home in the future. You must not sell him to somebody you do not know or really trust. And you must certainly not just leave him on the streets to fend for himself; in fact, it is a crime to do this in many countries! You should take your dog to properly licensed dog rescues or general animal sanctuaries or shelters. But, when you do take your dog to any of these kinds of places, make sure you inquire as to whether or not it is in fact a no-kill facility.

Something else you could do is ask family members or friends if they could keep your dog for a while until your schedule calms down; or if you don’t think it ever will, ask your loved ones if they would consider adopting your dog. 

The best thing you can do when it comes to tending to a dog while living by a tight and busy schedule, however, is to assess your circumstances in the first place. Simply, if you know you’re going to be out of the house for long periods of the day, and subsequently won’t be able to provide a dog with attention it needs, then don’t let a dog into your home in the first place or make sure you have the means to hire a good dog sitter who can help you out during the day. 

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Pile In The Pup! Welcoming A New Dog

contributed article

Welcoming a furry friend to your home is always an exciting adventure. From the love and cuteness your dog brings into your life, and the fun you’ll have getting to know your new dog, there’s a lot to look forward to. Of course, though, along with the good times, you’ll also have to think about the work to be done. An animal is a huge commitment, often costing a small fortune in time and money. So, it’s a good idea to consider this before you go out and buy or adopt a dog. To help you with this, this post will be going through some of the key preparations you should make before welcoming a new dog into your home. 

One of the biggest jobs you’ll have on your hands when you first get a puppy is preparing your home for the new arrival. Making a safe space for your dog to relax when they first arrive is a good idea, along with having an idea on how to potty train your dog and where you will take him or her to the bathroom. Young dogs will eat just about anything, too. So, it’s worth making sure everything is nice and tidy, just to make sure nothing dangerous is swallowed. Baby gates can be an excellent way to keep your new friend out of some areas of your home.

Along with the way that you prepare your home, it’s also a good idea to think about the way that you prepare your cupboards. Food, treats, and toys all need to be stocked up to make sure you have enough for your new friend. When you first get started, it’s wise to have a selection of toys and treats to choose from, giving you the chance to find what they like the most.

Once you’ve got the kitchen filled up, it will just be a small matter of doing some cleaning around your home to make sure everything is safe for your new friend. If you have other pets, products like Pet Lock can help to make sure your house and pets are clear of any parasites, as these can be especially bad for a young puppy. Along with this, though, you should make sure that there isn’t anything around, which could endanger your puppy, such as a hole in the fence outside or wires they might chew.

Finally, as the last bit of preparation you should be making, your new friend is going to need some trips to the vet. As a young animal, they should be seeing the vet very regularly until they are fully grown. This gives you a chance to get them vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and of course, will ensure that they are growing well. Even a dog needs to go to the doctor sometimes. So, it’s worth making sure you know the best vets in your area before you begin.

Hopefully, you are inspired to work harder on your home before you welcome your new puppy. Your time with the new pup is filled with excitement and joy, and this is a very good thing. Of course, though, you can’t let the fun get in the way of making sure the little pup is healthy and safe, too. Enjoy the new addition to your family! 

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