Monday, July 21, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
There are countless articles and books on puppy care, but considerably less advice is available about caring for senior dogs. Senior dogs are wonderful, special beings and they have earned their right to enjoy a comfortable life, yet sadly many senior dogs are left to fend for themselves when they outgrow their cuteness. Older dogs comprise a considerable part of animals shelters because many people simply do not want to adopt senior dogs. Even those of us who lovingly vow to care for our dogs from puppyhood to old age often miss the signs (or unintentionally refuse to believe) that our precious pups are reaching their golden years.
First Things FirstI still call my black lab, Django, “puppy”. Even though she will be turning 4 this fall, I still recall adopting her like it was yesterday and while she is nowhere near a senior, she is far from a puppy. It is difficult for many owners to think of their pups as getting older but the more we prepare ourselves for our dog’s senior years, the more we can provide them better health and comfort.
Is your dog a senior or close to being one? On average, small dogs become seniors when they are about 7, but unfortunately, larger dogs age earlier. A big dog is usually considered old when they turn 6. Check out this chart from the American Veterinary Medical Association and see where your pup falls.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Insomnia is a widespread issue among today’s culture. We all have too many things on our minds, our to-do lists, and our plates. While worry and restlessness are definitely an impediment to a good night’s sleep, did you know that your beloved pooch might also be responsible for your lackluster days after fitful nights?
A new study by the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine presented this week at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies says that pets (dogs and cats) pose a problem to many pet owners who have trouble sleeping.
Friday, June 6, 2014
One of the best parts of being a dog owner is getting to meet other people who love their dogs just as much as you do. There is nothing like a group of like-minded people getting together. I've always thought that animal lovers are a special breed. Our bond runs deep. It's one of the reasons why I was excited to hear about a great festival taking place this September, Pooch-A-Palooza.
Held at the Topsfield Fairgrounds in Topsfield, MA on September 6th and 7th, this two-day outdoor festival is expected to draw over 8,000 people. The goal is to bring together dog overs and dogs in a safe and fun environment while also helping raise money for animals:
Monday, June 2, 2014
|Django, as a pup, before Hayley schooled her in cat behavior|
Here an excerpt from my latest on ASPCA Parents:
We are a multi-pet family. We have two dogs, three cats, two turtles, a frog and some goldfish. Like our human children, our furry children sometimes have trouble getting along. I have to admit that it is easiest to soothe arguments between my human children because we can talk things through. However, when my geriatric cat, Lily, struts across the living room, a place that my three-year-old Labrador claimed as her private territory, there is no time to talk before Django springs up and runs after the little old lady. Sometimes, I see the potential conflict before it happens and say, “Django, be good.” This nearly never works. Of course, my husband just has to say, “Hey,” and she will stop in her tracks.
In all other ways, Django is the sweetest and most loving dog I have ever had—she just will not relent in her pursuit of our cats. She doesn’t bite them or act in a vicious way, but simply runs after them. Hayley, our aging Chihuahua, used to do the same. In fact, it was she who indoctrinated Django at just eight-weeks-old to treat the cats as nothing more than an eternal game of tag partners. But now as Hayley has slowed down, she doesn’t run after the cats anymore. Perhaps she believes she has taught Django well and doesn’t have to do more than supervise.
Read the full post on ASPCA Parents...
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
It’s not surprising that my first dog as an adult was another black shepherd named Roxy. Roxy was my heart. She was the kindest dog I have ever had. She was protective of my kids but loving to all. She has been gone for about five years and I still miss her greatly.
It’s funny how you can attached to a certain breed. German shepherds are easy to get attached to, of course. They are intelligent, fast learners who very quickly ingratiate themselves into a family. They are incredibly strong yet fun-loving, adore kids and have a keen sense.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
It's a beautiful, sun filled day, one that I thought might never come after the long, harsh winter we've had here in New York City. I'm in the third hour of my son’s baseball double-header and all I can see before my eyes are Rawlings cleats, Rawlings gloves and baseball uniforms issued from our league. In school, it's a different story. On gym days, all you see are Nike sneakers. Nearly every kid in my son's class has Nike gear except for my son.
I made it a point to never again buy another Nike product when the company endorsed convicted dog fighter Michael Vick as their spokesperson. Being a pet writer, I have read numerous horror stories of the devastation that was incurred upon countless dogs that were tortured in his multi-million dollar dog-fighting ring that spanned six years. After that, it was inconceivable to comprehend how a company that prides itself on family values could ever want such a person to represent them. My kids agreed with my vow to not patronize a company or anyone that would support dog fighting, and we have.
Sometimes, it is more difficult to stick to our promise.
Monday, May 5, 2014
|8-year-old black Labrador, Lula Bell, is one of the many dogs that work at Sunrise.|
It’s important for people to continue to share bonds with animals as they enter their golden years. For over thirty years, cats and dogs have been an integral part of Sunrise Senior Living communities, allowing seniors to maintain the comfort and companionship of a pet. Community animals encourage residents to stay physically active, promote socialization and even offer health benefits.
Residents decide how involved they want to be. Many take turns sharing walking, feeding and play time responsibilities with fellow residents, and in some communities, residents become the official dog walkers. Pets help make socializing easier for residents — they promote interaction with other people by helping them leave their rooms or homes.
Besides providing comfort and companionship, community animals also offer health benefits. Studies have shown that pets provide benefits including: lower blood pressure; lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as healthier heart rates; increased physical activity that helps promote healthier joints and flexibility; reduced stress levels. Even talking or cuddling with a pet helps ease chronic pain from arthritis or migraines. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, seniors with companion animals are more active, cope better with stress and are healthier overall than their pet-less counterparts.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
When Christina Simmons left for work to tend bar at a Holiday Inn in Clifton, NJ, she never imagined that she would receive a lifesaving gift for her beloved pooch. Just days before, her Great Dane-Labrador Retriever mix, Tucker, had swallowed a tennis ball and was in need of emergency surgery. Simmons had no idea how she would pay for the $2,700 operation.
A lifelong animal lover and a rescuer, Simmons was tending bar when a customer noticed her paw print tattoo and asked her about it. The man and his wife began talking to her about animals and she related her ordeal with Tucker. Simmons, who works three jobs (a full time chef, bartender on Saturdays and food prep worker two days per week) is also a volunteer for a pit bull rescue group and regularly helps find homes for stray animals. Although her husband also works full-time, they had very little left over while raising three children. She knew she had to save Tucker’s life but feared she would never be able to pay for it.
She continued to chat with the couple about many different things that night. At the end of the night when she took their check, she couldn’t believe her eyes...
Monday, April 28, 2014
This great guest post is courtesy of Lucy Postins, co-founder of The Honest Kitchen, which develops natural dog foods, cat foods, treats and supplements that are made only from 100% human-grade ingredients.
By Lucy Postins
Call ahead to be sure you won’t be turned away when you arrive, and check all regulations, (such as size of dog, requirements for containment or leash restraint). It might sound unnecessary, but many parks and campgrounds that are listed as pet-friendly actually have pretty stringent restrictions about where your dog can go. Some campgrounds actually go above and beyond to make sure your pup has a fabulous time on the trip – but regulations still apply.
Make sure you understand the leash laws. Most national parks allow dogs at campgrounds, but require that they are tethered or on a leash at all times. Some pets are fine with this and the squirrels certainly appreciate it, but many dogs can become quite frantic at all the wonderful sights and sounds of the big outdoors, and this can create a stressful situation for everyone if they struggle to settle down and can’t have a good run to blow away the excess energy. Keep in mind that in many areas, dogs are not allowed on hiking trails at all – even if they’re leashed!
Set up your site to be as pet friendly as possible – a shady spot for your dog’s bed or blanket (consider a specially designed camping dog bed that’s resistant to wear and tear) that’s far enough away from food supplies and dangerous food prep items is a must. A longer leash with convenient attachments is great for helping to give your dog a little freedom while secured, without the risk of escape. Make sure you’re comfortable too – a great chair can make a world of difference in your own camping experience!