Look To the Western Sky

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

Tag: pets

Recovering From the Indulgence of the Holiday Season

contributed post

Christmas can often be a time of indulgence. We all know this. We’ve all felt the after-dinner food coma, sleeping on the couch with a drink in our hand. We’ve all looked in the mirror and at the scales afterwards and wondered how so much weight came on so quickly. Celebrating with family we don’t see often except during the holidays can make us feel this way, so don’t worry about having a good time and indulging. Of course, we all need to get back on track after the holidays.

Here are some of the best tips  you can use to get back on track for the new year:

Diet

After eating all the turkey, goose, duck, or ham, plus other holiday dinner sides and desserts, you can put on some serious pounds. Drinking beers or cocktails can do the same. You might eat more than you usually do in a week because of special Christmas get-togethers and parties; sugary foods or other such calorific items can make you feel a little bloated. For this reason, going on a diet or making a commitment to eat healthy in the new year is your best bet. Which diet should you go on? Well, there are many things you can try. We’d argue sticking to some basics.

First of all, no fad diet will ever help you as much as watching the calories in/calories out method. Calculating the caloric maintenance you need to stay at the same weight, and subtracting 500 from that a day, on top of a little exercise will always help you lose weight and be healthy, unless you have a health condition. This is as complicated as you need to get.

You can also try intermittent fasting. After all, leftovers from the winter feasts might last a long time, and you might desire them more than anything. Try only eating within an eight-hour window, and fast for sixteen. This sounds quite intense, but remember you sleep eight hours a day on average. That means an eating schedule of 12pm to 8pm is all you need to keep to. There are many health benefits to intermittent fasting, including losing weight and reducing the risk of disease.

It also helps you burn more fat because of the period of time that your body goes without digesting a meal. The process is more complicated than that, but that’s it in a nutshell. Better yet? Intermittent fasting is easier to adapt to out of all the diets you could do, because with many diets, eating a limited amount of food can be dreadfully challenging in the first few weeks.

Detox

Many people consume plenty of alcohol during Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, and of course, this is not healthy. Reducing the damage from an over-indulgent Christmas means limiting your drinking or completely ending it for a time. Think of going on a full body detox because it can truly help your body gain good ground in your pursuits of health.

A detox means preventing any intoxicants from entering your body. No booze, no smoking, no caffeine. Just water, healthy meals and maybe dietary supplements. This, coupled with getting plenty of sleep, walking in nature a few times a week, and exercising can help you skyrocket back to your old self and rewind the damage caused through indulgence.

Pets

That’s right, pets can indulge during Christmas too. You might not have realized how many little strips of meat you might have fed them under the table, or how many extra treats you have given them. Your lack of exercise outside might have resulted in fewer walks per week for them as well, meaning that assessing their health is important.

Consider giving them a different type of food that is more healthy for them. If you have been giving them too much for the size of the animal, consider lessening it a little. You can also try giving them fresh veggies for treats instead of the store bought kind. Check out topdogvitamins.com for some of the best supplements you can provide your dog with, in order to make sure their nutritional needs are being taken care of. Sure, your pet loves the holiday leftovers, too, but an overweight dog can have way too many health problems.

Get Active

Getting active helps to lose weight and feel more energetic. You’ve probably spent many days watching Christmas films and playing on your new electronics over the Christmas period, and now is the time to get outside. Consider going on long walks with your family around your surrounding town or village, and walk your pets more frequently, too. Some people will have to bundle up, but once you start walking, the weather won’t bother you so much.

Connect with family you haven’t spoken to in a while, and plan active outings instead of sitting in their homes to visit. Consider picking up a new habit in the new year. Starting martial arts, yoga or simply heading to the gym more often can do you all the good in the world and are all great ways to get out outside the house.

Catch Up On Professional Responsibilities

Your career has likely been on hold for some time over the Christmas period. This break can be well needed, and it might have completely refreshed your outlook. If you can, however, stay in touch with your business using your home office and catch up with your responsibilities one or two times during the holiday break. Maybe, you have some professional development you’ve been putting off. You might need to catch up with a few old clients or rectify a troubling situation. You might simply need to resolve your taxes before the new year. Make sure you schedule some professional time, too, and take care of anything you most need to. This can give you the best start to the new year, happy that you have nothing left pending or threatening to turn into a bigger issue. This can also refocus your mind in a much more positive way than working on a cold Monday morning when you return to work.

With these tips, your Christmas period should be bookended with positivity to make the entire indulgent period vindicated. We hope you had a blast and an even happier New Year.

Do you have any tips for recovering from the holiday season? 

 

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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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8 Things to Do if Your Dog Has Fleas

I don’t write much about my dear old dog on here, although here’s a photo with he and KT that I’ve posted before. But he’s an important part of my family too. When someone asked if I would consider posting this article, I said: YES! Pets are family members, too, and they need to be taken care of. Here is one of the battles you face when you have a dog (or cat): 

Flea treatments need to be kept up with every two to four weeks, depending on what you are using. Fleas can be picked up from a number of different places, including pet groomers, pet hotels, contact with other animals, and even the grass your dog runs through. It’s actually very easy for a few fleas to jump onto your pet, make themselves at home, and spread the infestation. So your dog may not stand a chance while unprotected. Here’s what you can do if you spot a flea on your dog.

Flea Shampoo

The first thing you need to do is go to the heart of the problem; your dog. Your furry friend needs to be treated before you can hope to get rid of every flea. You can start by giving your dog a bath  with flea shampoo and following the directions on the bottle carefully. Make sure you buy a shampoo that comes highly recommended, rather than one that pretends to be something it’s not. After the bath, brush your dog through with a flea comb and immediately dispose of any fleas. Don’t allow your dog to return to its bed after having the bath.

Clean Bedding

You’ll be surprised how quickly fleas can make themselves at home in your dog’s bedding. You’ll need to either thoroughly wash blankets and beds in hot water or throw them away and buy new ones. Without doing so, you’ll have a never-ending problem. Fleas will be able to jump to and from your dog’s bedding back onto your dog. The same goes for your dog’s toys. If your dog frequently plays with cuddly toys that could easily be a home for fleas, the toys will either have to be washed or replaced.

Clean Your Home

It’s not just your dog that fleas will cling to; they’ll quickly spread throughout your home, too. They like to set up camp in rugs, sofas, and even bedroom mattresses. So, it’s important to keep your home as clean as possible while you’re dealing with fleas. You’ll need to vacuum regularly and clean out your vacuum once it’s been emptied. It’s also important to wash your floors. A strong disinfectant in water on a wooden floor will help to kill fleas quickly. If you have carpet throughout your home, you may want to think about using a carpet cleaner, specifically designed to get rid of fleas, to wash out any remaining pests.

Treat Your Home and Dog

Unfortunately, fleas are a persistent kind of pest; and it can take weeks, months even, to completely eradicate them. It’s something you must stay on top of and the best way of doing that is to regularly treat your home and dog. There are two main treatments for dogs. Take a look at Advecta flea treatment products, where you’ll find tablets and spot on treatments. When it comes to your home, you have several different options. You can buy sprays for your furniture and floors, you can fog your home and evacuate until the treatment is complete, or you can call a pest control company to take the problem off your hands and ensure the job is done properly.

Essential Oils

If you know there are fleas in a certain area of the home, but you just can’t seem to catch them, essential oils are ideal. A few drops of an essential oil, like lemon, ginger or lavender, is an attractive smell to fleas; but the oil is deadly to them. So, if they make the mistake of walking or jumping into the oil, you could be cleaning piles of them off the floor at once. The only problem is, this method is often best used in rooms where your dog won’t venture, as some essential oils can be harmful to your pet, too.

Water Bowl

They may be tiny, but fleas are certainly no fools. They’re usually most active at night time, when you aren’t around to catch them. One of the best ways to catch them at night is to place a small bowl of water  filled with warm soapy water in the center of your room. Fleas are attracted to the water and smell of the soap; but once they jump in to investigate, they’re usually killed. It’s a great way of catching them during the night and finding out how many fleas you still have around. The downside is this trick usually only works on the adults, and it’s important to kill the young fleas and eggs too.

Keep Going

If you think you can clean the home and your dog once and be rid of these pesky creatures, you may be in for a nasty surprise. Many pet owners have made the mistake of thinking one flea bath or treatment will kill all fleas, and the problem has only gotten worse because the fleas have been left to procreate. Even if you believe your flea problem has been resolved, you’ll still need to repeat all of your treatment methods regularly for at least four weeks.

Don’t Forget Your Yard

Your backyard is another place that your pet can spread fleas. Unlike the house, it’s very difficult to know where fleas are in the yard, and getting rid of them can be tricky. But, without the yard being treated, fleas have free reign to jump to and from your dog, making your flea problem impossible to deal with. The best way to get rid of fleas outside is to buy a flea treatment product for outdoors. Many of them are toxic, so it’s likely you’ll have to keep your dog away from the yard for a few hours, but they’re usually very successful.

It takes time and patience to get rid of a flea problem, and you may find yourself going around in circles many times. But to protect you and your pet, the work is worth it.

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