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National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike DayThere is something remarkably rewarding about finding a hidden spot of beauty that is seemingly untouched by man. Stumbling upon a cavernous cave, sparkling blue waterfalls, and trees displayed in a tunnel-like fashion aren’t things you see on your daily walk around the neighborhood. These special places are found when you go on an adventure and challenge yourself to go off the beaten path. This is why I challenge you to go on an adventure on National Take a Hike Day, November 17th.

Some of the best hikes I have been on have been those that I didn’t plan. Instead, I drove to the nearest scenic area and looked for a park pull off or simply decided to ‘get lost’ and see where I ended up. These are the times I have discovered the true beauty of the state in which I live. It’s nice to take in the beauty and silence but finding these places is even better when you have someone to share it with. This is why I often take my trusty canine companion with me.

 It is as much an adventure for me as it is for her. My dog takes in the smells and wildlife while challenging me to go off the beaten path in her pursuit of a squirrel. She is ultimately the reason my simple hike becomes an adventure. It’s almost as if she idolizes the adventures of Loki the Wolfdog and hopes to encourage me to follow in their adventurous spirits. Often times we will find ourselves enjoying the cooler weather for miles.

Before you begin your hike make sure you take into consideration your needs as well as your dog’s. Take into consideration that hiking is more strenuous than walking. If you rarely get out for a neighborhood stroll, the odds are your dog doesn’t either. If you decide to take your dog for an initial two mile hike then you might be carrying them on the stretch back. Make sure you pick a comfortable distance for both you and your pet. 

If you are looking for some starting points for your canine accompanied adventure then please consult this general list of dog friendly state parks in your area but before you run out the door make sure you grab a few essentials:

-        Leash

-        Water

-        Disposable bags

-        Collar (a harness typically does best as it allows the most control and comfort) 

Have fun and go take a hike!

Training your puppy means a happier, healthier life

By Kelly Diehl, DVM, MS
Science Writer and Researcher
Morris Animal Foundation

OBTIf you and your family have chosen to bring a puppy into your life – congratulations! Dogs bring love and joy to their families, but choosing a puppy is the easy part. The real challenge begins when we bring our furry friends home and they start learning how to be a part of the family. Time spent training your dog from the day he or she comes home is an investment in a beautiful relationship that will last a lifetime.

Having a well-trained dog not only is good for your furniture, your neighbors, your mail carrier and your sanity, it also is beneficial for your dog. Both animal behaviorists and human psychologists recognize the benefits of a close human-animal bond, and positive reinforcement training provides a way for dogs and their human companions to strengthen that bond. An additional benefit is the mental and physical stimulation that training provides for dogs. (Training your dog also can save their life in more ways than one. Multiple studies have shown that behavior problems are one of the primary reasons people relinquish their dog to an animal shelter.)

House training a puppy is essential, but even learning some simple commands such as “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” can make a positive difference in how a new puppy (or dog) integrates into a household.  Using positive reinforcement is critical; dogs don’t understand hitting or yelling, and often will become more fearful or aggressive with punishment.

In addition to positive reinforcement, most trainers and veterinarians recommend crate training your puppy. Dogs in the wild naturally seek out dens for shelter and protection. A crate gives your puppy a safe space they can retreat to, and that you can use to aid in house training your pup and preventing destructive behavior.

Keeping a consistent schedule, from feeding times to potty breaks, is important for puppies. When you first get your puppy, they need to be taken out frequently to urinate and defecate. Picking a specific area that becomes the designated bathroom and rewarding your puppy as soon as they eliminate are other helpful tips for training. Trainers recommend that you reward your puppy while still outside; don’t wait until you’re back in the house.

There is no getting around the fact that you will need to purchase new gear for your pup. All dogs need a leash and collar, as well as either ceramic or metal food and water bowls. Puppies have a strong instinct to chew, so providing age and size appropriate materials is important. Toys and other play items designed for dogs enrich their environment and provide welcome diversions.

Avoid giving your puppy old, used household items to chew on or play with; dogs are not good at knowing that the old slipper you gave them to play with is different than your expensive Italian stiletto shoes!

From a safety perspective, a well-trained puppy is a safer puppy, particularly around other dogs and people. But even training can’t prevent every incident. Remember to provide your dog with identification just in case the unthinkable happens and your dog is lost. Implanted microchips are the most high-tech options on the market, but even something as simple as a customized dog tag can provide identification. Identification can mean the difference between bringing your dog home and losing it forever.

The companionship dogs provide us is priceless. Bonding with our furry friends through positive training strengthens and enhances that relationship. For dog-training resources, check with your veterinarian, your local humane organization, or visit American Animal Hospital Association’s Healthy Pet for tips and references.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month

_DSC5868We know you’re constantly worried about keeping your pet safe. Here are some helpful tips for keeping them out of harm’s way for National Animal Safety and Protection Month.

  • As the days grow shorter, and the sun sets a little earlier, there are added safety concerns that come with after-work walks with your pup. Reflective products can help ensure that you and your dog will be visible to traffic during hours with low lighting. Lazer Brite® dog collars and leashes are reflective up to 600 feet away and feature fun designs for the fashion conscious. The Coastal® Reflective Wrap Adj. Harness has reflective piping and a patch for added visibility while walking. Other products like the K9 Explorer®, Pro and Coastal® Power Walker® lines feature reflective stitching for an additional layer of safety.

 

  • Pets sometimes escape or become lost, and no one likes the worry of wondering where they are and if they will be found. A pet that is wearing an ID tag, personalized collar or has a microchip is more likely to be returned when they are found than one that isn’t. If your dog is prone to losing ID tags, a personalized collar allows you to incorporate your dog’s name and contact information directly on the collar.  

 

  • Occasionally the biggest harms can come from items in your home. Make your house pet safe by storing common household hazards like insecticides, batteries, fertilizers, cleaners and antifreeze out of reach. Keep your floors clear of small objects that may become a choking hazard for your pet. Before buying a new plant, or giving those begging eyes a bite of what’s in your hand, research what plants and foods could make your pet sick.

 

  • Whether you’re traveling with your pet on a short trip to the vet or taking them on a family vacation, it is important that they are contained in the car. Cats and small dogs may be crated or placed in a carrier to keep them from distracting the driver and contained in case of an accident. Auto harnesses may be used on dogs to minimize driving distractions and protect pets during travel. Auto travel barriers and booster seats are additional ways to keep pets contained while in the car.

 

  • As much as your pet may hate the vet, regular trips can help protect your pet from diseases and health problems. A vet will provide your pet with necessary vaccines to protect them, as well as offer guidance on how to properly care for them. Vets are able to assist if pets become over weight by prescribing a diet and exercise plan that will work for them.

 

Taking the necessary measures to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe will provide you with more years of kitty cuddles and puppy kisses.

Happy Healthy Cat Month

Happy Healthy Cat MonthWe know you’re spoiling your feline friends every month, but show cats a little extra love in September for Happy Healthy Cat Month.

Grab the laser light, it's play time: Play is crucial to having a happy and healthy cat. Having a variety of toys available for your cat will help ensure he doesn’t get bored and is stimulated each time he plays. Setting aside time to engage in play with your cat can help strengthen your bond. Play time helps provide him the exercise he needs to stay fit and healthy.

Nature is natural: The cats’ ancestry is rooted in the great outdoors and that need hasn’t left the domesticated house cat no matter how comfy he may look on that plush pillow. An indoor cat can be taken outside on a harness and leash, which will provide him a secure way to investigate the outside under your supervision. A cat unable to go outside can benefit from a catio, an outdoor enclosure that he can spend supervised time in. Other indoor cat parents may find that providing a perch by a window will help give their cat the freedom to look outside and be engaged by the surrounding nature. Cats love to munch on grass in the wild, so bring the outdoors inside with live cat grass or catnip.  

Open up and say ‘Meow’: Regular visits to the vet will ensure your cat is healthy and give him the preventative care he needs to prevent diseases. A vet should be able to catch and treat ailments as they arise. Vets can assist with questions you may have about your cat’s health and provide guidance.

No one likes a missing pet flyer: No one likes to think about the possibility of losing their pet, but some cats know how to make a quick escape while your guard is down. Take precautionary measures by making sure he is microchipped or wears a collar with an ID tag on it. Having identification will help ensure he is returned as quickly as possible when he’s found.

Staring at the bowl will make it refill: A well-balanced diet of a high quality food will provide your cat the nutrients he needs with none of the extra fillers. A healthy diet combined with exercise will ensure he is a healthy weight. Monitoring the amount of treats he has will help him maintain an ideal weight.  

There’s always room for one more: Cats are social animals and can benefit from having a buddy to play and socialize with. If you have adequate space for an additional cat and the time to properly introduce one into your home adopting a new furry friend may be purrfect for you and your cat.

Pamper away; it may get you extra kitty cuddles.

Training with Chain and Nylon Dog Collars

Choosing the right training collar is the secret to an enjoyable training experience.Chain And Nylon Training Dog Collars

Training with chain is a safe, effective tool with proper use. Chain training dog collars offer a great choice for dogs that need the maximum strength that chain offers. They are argon welded and chrome plated for durability. Prong dog collars simulate a natural pinch on the neck from the dog’s mother to correct unwanted behavior. Chain dog leashes are excellent for dogs that tend to chew on nylon leashes. Chain will not tarnish, rust or break but should not be used for tie out. Remember, you are training the dog to react to the crisp sound of the chain.

The Check Training Collar™ has a limited-closure chain combined with a nylon collar and is also available with a convenient buckle.  Nylon training dog collars offer an alternative to chain. Round nylon training collars are perfect for dogs with sensitive skin. The limited-closure No Slip® collars, with and without buckle, are excellent for dogs that easily slip their collar. Nylon collars also provide gentle correction training that is an excellent way to build a relationship with your dog.  They’re an excellent choice for owners that want a wide variety of color and size options.

Make sure to use these products property to maximize the training experience.  Coastal pet offers several training products and demonstrational videos on how to use the products correctly. 

Lost Pet Prevention

Personalized Dog Collar

There is nothing more frustrating than a Houdini pet that makes a mad dash whenever the door opens and escapes into the great outdoors before you can stop them. According to the American Humane Association, 1 in 3 pets will go missing in their lifetime. To help ensure your pet is returned as quickly and safely as possible put these tips into effect for Lost Pet Prevention Month.

  •  Pet ID Tag – A tag attached to your pet’s collar will help the finder identify your pet and provides a way of contacting you. Make sure that ID tags are always on the pet because you never know when a pet may become lost.
  • Microchip – Microchipping a pet helps ensure they will always have a way of being identified if they become lost. Microchips are a great option for the owner who doesn’t keep a pet in their collar and tags while at home.  
  • Personalized Pet Collar – Creating a collar that is customized with your pet’s name and a phone number ensures your pet is identified right away when found.
  • Proper Collars, Harnesses and Leashes – Make sure your pet is wearing a collar or harness that fits properly so they can’t slip out of them during walks or travel. The leash should be the right size for the environment you’re in. For example, a traffic leash allows you to keep your dog close to your side in high traffic areas and a longer leash allows them more freedom to explore areas that are less busy and pet safe. All products should be replaced if they start to show wear.
  • Secure Outdoor Spaces – Check outdoor spaces your pet may be allowed to roam for properly functioning gates and fences. If you put your pet on a tie out, make sure the tie out doesn’t show any signs of weakness and never leave your pet unattended for extended periods of time.
  • Have All Paperwork Available – Be sure to have vet records and paperwork for your pet to help prove ownership when the pet is found. It helps to keep a current photo of your pet to use on lost flyers, show people or assist in proving ownership.

 

Pet Travel Safety

Travel Products for Dogs

The number of owners traveling with their pets in the car has doubled in the past decade. As younger generations are increasingly becoming pet owners, they are taking their pets everywhere with them. Before departure, you should always determine the right accommodations for your pet and if there are any pet laws in the area you’re traveling in to which you should abide.

In some states, it is illegal for your pet to ride in the car without being restrained. Not only can pets distract you while driving, they also can become a projectile during an accident. Only 28% of dog owners use some type of restraint to secure their dog in the car.

The most common restraint is a harness. Dog auto harnesses are easy to put on, comfortable and still allow your pet to see out the windows. A tether can also be used with harnesses to allow more comfort and convenience. Tethers are also adjustable to control the mobility of your pet. Some harnesses, like the Easy Rider® Car Harness, double as a walking harness. This is an easy way to travel safely and quickly start walking your dog upon arrival.

Dog Booster seats are also great for containing your dog in the car. Bergan® offers the Comfort Hanging Booster and Sitting Booster. The hanging booster is adjustable for different heights and hangs from the seat while the sitting booster has an elevated base that sits on the seat. They both offer storage pockets for travel accessories such as poo bags, water bowls and leashes.

Just like dog owners, taking a cat along in the car is more common among younger generations. Bergan® Comfort Carriers™ are great for small dogs and cats. They are often used for everyday errands or vet visits and are airline compatible. These soft-sided carriers feature mesh panels for maximum breathability and a washable fleece travel bed for convenience.  Some also come with wheels for easy mobility.

Don’t forget to give your pet plenty of water if you are traveling to the park or in the car for long periods of time. Collapsible bowls are easy to carry and store to keep pets hydrated.

Traveling safely with your pets, whether going to the park or on vacation, will make all trips more enjoyable. Learn more information at Coastal Pet’s Pet Travel Safety education center.

 

National Pet Preparedness Month

National Pet Preparedness Month

 June is National Pet Preparedness Month. As June is the first month of summer and hurricane season, this month urges pet owners to make preparations for their dog or cat should an emergency happen. This includes planning for hurricanes, tornados, floods, fires and other natural disasters.

These simple preparations can help keep your pets safe in the event of an emergency.

Identification:  A well fitted collar with an I.D. tag attached or personalized with a contact name and phone number is one of the easiest ways for your pet to be returned to you should they get lost or separated.

Awareness of Pets: A window cling or sign will let rescuers know how many and what types of pets you own to conduct a search.

Local Safe Zones: Learn nearby exit routes in your town and the locations of local shelters, pet friendly hotels and friends that can temporarily provide a place of care and safety for your pet.  

Keep Calm: Pets can sense your emotions. If you’re worried and stressed, your pet will feel the same. Be as comforting and calm as you can be given the situation.

Pet First Aid Kit: Build an emergency supply kit for your pet that all family members can locate. The kit should be clearly labelled for the pet and easy to carry. Contents should include:

  • Water and dry pet food to last 3-7 days
  • Extra pet collars and leashes
  • Copies of veterinarian and medical records
  • Bedding
  • Toys
  • Disposable garbage bags and disinfectants

Seek Immediate Veterinary Care: Emergency situations can expose your pets to stress, water, smoke and other harmful toxins. Taking your pet to the vet as soon as possible will help reduce further health issues.

Creating a pet preparedness strategy can help keep your entire family safe.

Unite to Fight Pet Cancer with Morris Animal Foundation

Take a walk for health and help fight canine cancer.Unite To Fight

What’s better than taking a walk on a beautiful day with your favorite four-legged friend? When that walk can raise money to fight pet cancer! On May 22, grab a leash and join Morris Animal Foundation’s third annual Unite to Fight Pet Cancer Virtual Walk.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs and cats. Each year, nearly 12 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer. Despite tremendous improvement in our ability to diagnose and treat pet cancers, we still have a long way to go. Morris Animal Foundation has been a leader in pet cancer research since the foundation funded its first pet cancer study in 1962.

 The foundation’s Virtual Walk helps in the fight against pet cancer, and also reminds you of all the benefits of walking your dog daily, including:

 Keeps your pet healthy, agile and limber (and you, too!)

  • Helps with weight control.
  • Aids the digestive system.
  • Prevents destructive behavior (a tired pup is less likely to find ways to entertain himself!).
  • Helps calm your pet.
  • Promotes a strong bond with your pet.

 Whether you want to walk solo, on a team, or with friends and family, register for our Virtual Walk to help Morris Animal Foundation increase awareness and raise money to help support pet cancer research. Your Virtual Walk can take place “virtually” anywhere you are. You also can ask friends and family to donate to your virtual team. Every dollar that you raise, including your registration fee, will be matched up to $50,000.

 Take a walk today! You’ll make a difference not only in your pet’s life, but in the lives of the dogs and cats diagnosed with cancer each year. It doesn’t matter how far or fast you walk, your registration fee adds to the money we can spend on cancer research, bringing us closer to saving more animal lives from pet cancer.

National Pet Month

PetMonth

We love our pets year round, but National Pet Month calls for a pause to truly appreciate all the ways pets enrich our lives.

The benefits of owning a pet are endless, but here are the top five reasons for letting a furry friend into your life.

1. According to the American Heart Association owning a pet can help lower the risk of heart disease. Pets may provide social support for their owner, which will help them stick with or adopt healthy behaviors or habits. A pet can help lower stress, which may result in lower blood pressure. People with dogs tend to be more active because of the exercise their pooch requires.

2. Pets can help an owner that is feeling blue through unconditional love. A pet may also give an owner a sense of purpose that will help if they are feeling down. Pets provide companionship, which keeps you from feeling lonely and can improve your overall mood.

3. Having a pet may expose you to more social situations, such as training classes or being out in a park. A pet can provide a topic of conversation when trying to get to know new people. Pets are sometimes used as ice breakers to get a conversation moving.

4. Children growing up with pets benefit in numerous ways. They can learn more ways to express themselves and caring for a pet can help to teach responsibility. Having a pet can improve a child’s immune system and prevent allergies.

5. There is nothing quite like the unconditional love a pet can provide. A pet is willing to play when you’re feeling energetic and adventurous, sit by your side and listen when you need an ear and offer a snuggly cuddle when you’re feeling down. When properly cared for a pet can provide years of companionship, health benefits, love and affection.

 Take a moment to show your pet extra love this month with a bonus treat, a few more throws of the ball or five more minutes of cuddle time.