Look To the Western Sky

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

Tag: dogs

Joint Issues in Pets and How to Deal With Them

It’s interesting when you look at a website’s stats. On this site, one of my most popular posts is an infographic about keeping dogs and cats cool in the summer. I agree I learned something from it when I was asked if I would publish it on my blog, and I even share some information from it with friends! My boxer is currently 9.5 years old, and I can tell that his hip is bothering him somewhat. I’ve tried a variety of things, including anti-inflammatory medicine. But what I decided to do now is try to walk him every single day and work on increasing how far we walk. So, when I saw this article in my inbox, I knew I wanted to publish it. 1. Pets seem important to my blog readers and social media contacts and 2.  My own dog could use some of this advice. So, here we go…

While joint problems usually occur later in your dog’s life, there are some alignment issues that can speed up the process. If you would like to give your dog the quality of life they deserve, it is important that you learn how to deal with joint and mobility issues. For a dog, sitting on the bed all day is not fun, so you will have to do everything you can to get them out there and help them get active, relieve the pain, and make the most out of your time together. Below ,you will find a few tips on making your dog’s life better.

Get Them Checked Out

If your dog is limping or is struggling to walk, chances are that they have a joint misalignment that was not diagnosed when they were a puppy. If they were in the rescue center and you don’t know much about their history, chances are that an old injury is causing them trouble. Some dogs who are confined to small places or are left ill and not moving about will also develop issues. Take them to the vet and find out the underlying cause.

Change Their Diet

In some cases, getting your dogs a better diet and more meat and protein will help with their mobility. If you have a rescue dog, they probably had a very bad diet that impacted their health. There is some special dog food for joint problems that will help you keep your four-legged dog active and happy. Talk to a professional dog dietitian to find out whether improving their diet will help.

Get Effective Pain Killers

In some cases, you simply can’t deal with the cause without an operation or an intrusive treatment. If you would like to give your dog the best life possible, you have to treat the symptoms first. If pain is preventing your dog from moving about, you should get a subscription medication from your local vet to treat it, so you can exercise together.

Home Remedies

There are, of course, some home remedies designed for treating dog joint problems and pain. From anti-inflammatory herbs to glucosamine supplements for dogs , there are plenty of ways you can ease the pain and distress without getting your friend reliant on long-term medication.

Stay Active

If you would like to keep your dog healthy, you will need to make sure that they get enough exercise. Even if they don’t want to go out, you will need to work with your vet to find a safe way to coax them and start an exercise program. If they struggle with the steps, carry them down or get them a doggy lift, but don’t neglect walks. The more your dog’s joints are exercised the better chance they will have for healing.  

Dealing with a dog who is clearly in pain and has mobility issues can be challenging and heartbreaking. Make sure that you get a professional assessment and find out more about the underlying cause of the pain, so you can find the right treatment option. No matter how hard it is for you and your dog, you can help him or her to live a good, active life. 

 

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How to Earn the Title “A Dog’s Best Friend”

As many of you know, I have a dog, and I often write about him on here or share his cute photo on Facebook. I used to believe that maybe I was overthinking how much I walked him or spent time with him, and then his article came in. It made me think: I must not be the only one! Chester does bring so much joy to our lives, and there’s nothing as cute as how excited he gets when I say: “Want to go for a walk?” 

(contributed post)

You know the old saying: “A dog is man’s best friend.” Anyone who has a dog knows this is true. They give you unconditional love and are always there with a listening ear, without talking back! It’s been researched and proven that dogs also help their owners be healthier–they can help with emotional issues, or they help you maintain a healthy weight ; and they are always glad to see you with a friendly lick and a welcoming paw.

But do you qualify as your dog’s best friend? Are you as welcoming to them as they are to you? Are you as forgiving when they leave a mess on your carpet or when they gobble down your dinner? Do you provide for all of their needs? To earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend,” here are some of the things you might be doing:

Hang out with your dog more. The occasional pat on the head or walk around the block doesn’t really qualify as hanging out. You can spend more time by playing games with them, from hide and seek to tug-of-war. Get down on their level for some affectionate hugging and let them know you love and appreciate them. Despite the busyness of your life, never be too busy to hang out with the one who loves you so much: your faithful four-legged friend.

Give your dog tasty food. Dogs will eat anything, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve something that is satisfying to their taste palate and healthy for them. You can easily offer them something both nutritious and delicious. From trudog freeze dried dog food for mealtime to specially formulated doggy treats at other times in the day, give your dog something they will love to eat.

Go for interesting walks with your dog. Walking your dog is a necessity; but when possible, opt for those routes that will give your dog added pleasure. They love to sniff and explore, so choose those places that will give them opportunities to enjoy the scenery around them, to navigate their way through fascinating nooks and crannies, with beautiful sights and smells to satisfy their senses.

Praise your dog. We are often quick to scold our dogs when they do something wrong, but we can sometimes be slow to praise them. It’s all part of their behavior training anyway, but make praising your dog an everyday routine, rather than only doing so when you want your pooch to do as you have told them. A kind tone of voice, a gentle pat on the head, and a tasty treat occasionally will show your dog you appreciate them.

Look after your dog’s health. Your four-legged friend isn’t hot on self-care, so you need to be responsible for all of their health needs yourself. This means feeding them something nutritious and avoiding foods that will harm them. This means keeping up a healthy exercise routine. And this means scheduling regular visits to the vet. Yes, your dog may frown at you because you refuse to give in to their begging, but a long and happy life is a much better gift than a piece of your chocolate!

And if you do all of these things? You will earn the title “A Dog’s Best Friend.” Well done you! While your dog won’t reward you with a medal or a certificate, we are sure he will reward you in his own special way.

What do you like to do with your dog?

 

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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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