Happy National Puppy Day!

Drumroll please… today is National Puppy Day!  Which is pretty much the best non-holiday holiday ever!  You now have an excuse to look at cute pictures and videos of puppies and give your dog some extra attention.

But National Puppy Day is about more than just going gaga over adorable pups.  It also serves as a more meaningful cause.  The day actually has its own website.  Here, there are lots of links to help you decide just how you’ll celebrate NPD.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Colleen Paige, the founder of NPD, encourages adoption on this day. If you can’t, seek out a local shelter and donate a small (or large!) amount of money to them.
  • Get an official t-shirt that says “I don’t deserve this” to take a stand against animal abuse and unhealthy puppy living. It’s really cool, take a look at it here!  You can also use the same logo/message on other types of things like mugs, pillows, wall art and more.
  • Awareness! Spread the word.  You should never buy a puppy from a pet store.  These dogs are unhealthy, and if you purchased them, even to get them out of the situation they’re in, you would be supporting puppy mills, which neglect dogs and their needs.  Adopt, don’t shop!
  • Do you have a friend who’s crazy about puppies? Send them an adorable dog flower arrangement, even if it arrives a bit late!  1-800-Flowers.com makes them especially for NPD!  (You can also use a promo code of 10% off if you type in GOODLIVING)

Another thing you can do is… share a picture of YOUR puppy, young or old, big or small!  Happy National Puppy Day!  Here’s my Herbie…

herbieaw

The Bark of Music

We all know that our mood can certainly be affected by different types of music.  But can this be the same for dogs?

Yes and no.  Since dogs here things differently than we do, they automatically will react to things differently.  Upbeat songs might not sound upbeat to them and slow, sad songs might not sound slow to them.

Dogs have a bigger range than we do, so they can hear different components out of the music that we can’t.  Evidence has shown that dogs react to different types of music in different ways and are capable of not only hearing the music, but listening to it.

Overall, dogs prefer softer tones over upbeat.  Classical music, such as Mozart or Beethoven, will sound most pleasing/comforting to your dog.  In an experiment conducted by Dr. Deborah Wells, it was found that shelter dogs who were exposed to classical music actually began barking less and resting more.

Heavy metal music, as expected, caused a bit of commotion, according to Dr. Wells.  Whether it was heavy metal or death metal, the dogs appeared more agitated and stood up/paced much more.

Now you can get a feel of what kind of music your dog likes and doesn’t like.  So as much as you might rock out to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” like I do, it’s not necessarily the most pleasing thing to your dog, so maybe put your earphones in.  But if you enjoy listening to Mozart on the weekends, blast it (just not too loud)!  It might just get your dog all cozy and relaxed.

Happy National Animal Poison Prevention Week!

It’s Monday, March 16th, which means it is officially National Animal Poison Prevention Week!

This week is all about educating owners on what can poison their dog, what the signs that they’ve been poisoned are, and how to prevent it.

If you dog ingests something poisonous, you need to do something the second you see it happen.  It is never okay to think, “Oh, well, let’s wait it out.”  Chances are, if you’re questioning whether or not something is poisonous, it probably is.  You also shouldn’t wait to see if anything happens.  Many toxins in poisonous chemicals don’t act immediately, so it would not be obvious right away that something is wrong.

If your dog (or any pet!) gets into something poisonous, the best course of action is to call their veterinarian and state that it is an emergency.  However, if your veterinarian’s office is not open, yu can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.  Just a warning that the call is free but you could receive a $65 consultation charge to your credit card.  They will get you in touch with an emergency veterinary clinic near you.  You can also cut out the middle man and look up emergency veterinary clinics yourself.

To be extra safe, have a plan established ahead of time, with multiple phone numbers you can call.  That way, if worse comes to worse, you will be prepared no matter how much you are panicking and you can get your pet help even quicker.

Many plants can be lethal to dogs even when you don’t think so because of herbicides, fertilizers and pesticides.  This is the most common case of poisoning.  Be sure to keep other dangerous chemicals such as detergents, oils, soaps, and rat poison up on a high shelf, closed away.  Large amounts of chocolate a well as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and other over-the-counter drugs can also be toxic to your pet.  Keep those closed away, too!  Dogs are like toddlers!

Help spread this knowledge to your friends as a reminder to keep your dog extra safe from all of those chemicals that can potentially do damage!

Doggy Health Insurance: Should You Commit?

It is commonly accepted, and expected, to have your own health insurance.  But have you ever thought about getting your pet insurance?  Sometimes we don’t think about all the expenses that a pet, specifically a dog, can bring to us.  Here are a few thoughts to chew on if you’re debating getting insurance for your pet.

  • Are you prepared to pay for unexpected health costs? You never know when your dog could fall ill or get in an accident.  Do you have a separate area in savings devoted specifically to your pet?  If not, this is risking using your other savings in order to pay for these unexpected charges.

 

  • Think about how risky your dog’s environment is. Are they a primarily outdoor dog?  This can open them up to more risks than a primarily indoor dog.  It’s good for your dog to get exercise and fresh air, just remember that this might open them up to getting more injuries/picking up diseases.

 

  • Weigh the costs. Do you intend on spending a lot of money on your pet, buying them the best food and getting them the best care?  In this case, buying pet insurance helps greatly decrease your out-of-pocket expenses.

 

  • Peace of mind. If you don’t buy health insurance, you might always wonder, “what if?”  Having health insurance for your pet and knowing they’ll be taken care of without draining your pocket will comfort you.

 

The average cost of health insurance for your dog is $20 – $50 per month.  Think about it this way:  your dog is part of your family!  You’d spend that on a family member, right?  If you want to check your options, here is a website that compares pet insurance costs.

Things That Actually Bother Your Dog

I love my dog, you love your dog, we all love our dogs!  But you know when even your best friend can do those things that actually really bother you but you don’t say anything?  Yeah, it turns out that you can do things that really annoy your dog, too!  They just aren’t able to tell you!  Here are some things that actually bother your dog:

  1. Hugging – We all love to hug the things we love! But hugging your dog isn’t a proper way to show them this love.  While we understand hugs as a sign of affection, dogs don’t register that.  It is not part of their brain programming, so it’ll feel weird and foreign to them.  It can unfortunately even induce aggression.
  2. Laying around all day – Yes, we all know that dogs can be lazy! But they don’t want to be cooped up all the time.  Even if they’re a lethargic dog, they still need exercise or they will get restless and chew up all your shoes or show some other form of rebellion.
  3. Being sick – It sounds weird, but you being sick actually bothers your dog. When you sneeze or cough, this sounds is similar to something called a “tooth snap” which alerts a dog of threat or danger.  Try not to sneeze or cough too close to them!
  4. Using only words as commands – Dogs can learn commands, as we know, but they need more than words. They aren’t meant to understand human language, therefore when you tell them to stay or ask them to sit, it is helpful to make a motion as well since they respond best to body language.
  5. Baby talk – If you say you haven’t baby talked to your dog, you are lying. We all do it, even if we don’t all the time.  However, it’s not the best to use all the time, especially if you use a high-pitched baby voice.  This whiny tone makes your dog think that you are distressed and in turn, they’ll be anxious and worried about you!

Sometimes we have to remember that as though we sometimes see our dogs as our best friend and view them as fellow people, they work differently than humans!

The Global Pet Expo

The last few days, Fresh Patch got to hang out at The Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Global Pet Expo isn’t that well-known to those who are outside the pet industry, as it is an event for those directly involved with the pet market.

But you might be curious as to what happens at The Global Pet Expo every year.  There are approximately 1000 exhibitors, 2,700 booths and more than 3,000 new product launches.  It’s essentially a giant market for pet-product buyers!  About 5,500 pet product buyers attend the expo every year to scope out new products.

There are fun things that happen, too!  There’s an award ceremony that recognizes some of the best new, old and developing companies that is appropriately called the Best in Show contest. There are also networking opportunities and social events that allow those in the pet industry to get to know each other.

The American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) are the producers of the Global Pet Expo.  Both associations are known for their extreme dedication to animal safety.  PIDA has a program called “Pets in the Classroom” that donates all kinds of pets to classrooms to help teach kids about the importance of caring for an animal and to get them excited to come to school!

It’s not only fun, but very important to socialize and network with everyone in the pet products community.  If you want to know more about The Global Pet Expo or the companies involved, go here.

Hero Spotlight Tuesday – Erika

It’s been a while since we’ve had a hero spotlight on the blog, but there are no shortage of heroes!  There is a very special hero in the spotlight today, but not the furry kind.

Two days ago, on Sunday, March 2nd, 28-year-old Erika Owen was out on her usual Sunday morning walk with her dog, Kairos, in Wichita, Kansas, when something went wrong.

Another dog was loose and Kairos got away from Erika.  The dog and Kairos got into a scuffle, running to the middle of the icy pond near them.  Witnesses, who were on the other side of the pond, say that Erika was yelling at Kairos to come back but he wouldn’t.  This is when they say that saw her start to cross the pond’s ice to get to her dog.

The witness, Aaron Frazier, realized he didn’t have his phone with him and ran back to his apartment a few hundred yards away to call the police.  When he got back, with his girlfriend in tow, Erika had fallen in the water along with Kairos.   He and his girlfriend wanted to help but the 911 Operator said help was on the way and insisted they not put themselves in danger.

Tragically, though first responders got there only five minutes later, it was too late.  Erika and her dog, Karios, did not survive.

It is incredibly touching, and tragic, that Erika had such a devotion and bond to her dog.  Her selflessness is truly heroic, and she greatly deserves this spotlight.  May she and Kairos rest in peace, and leave a legacy of a true, loving bond.

erika-owen-and-dog

How Your Dog is Helping You

Clearly, all of us dog owners know that dog owners are the best!  I love every animal, don’t get me wrong, but there is something special about a dog owner.  Not only is it our determination, our compassion, and commitment to our dogs, but it’s… our dogs themselves!

Owning a dog can actually make you a happier, healthier person.  Here are some ways that your dog helps you:

  • Exercise – When you have a dog, you are more likely to get more exercise!  Even taking your dog outside to go to the bathroom is exercise in itself.  And most dogs need more outside time than that, like walks and runs.  Having a dog encourages you to go on that morning jog!
  • Boosting your mood – Everyone knows playing with puppies is ridiculously fun.  Actually a bunch of fee-good chemicals (erotonin, prolactin and oxytocin) are all released into your system after only a few minutes of puppy playtime!
  • Keeping your blood pressure down – Even though owning dogs and taking care of them can sometimes be stressful, there have been studies conducted that have found a correlation between owning a dog and lower blood pressure!
  • Building up your immune system – If you have dog hair everywhere, you’ll automatically vacuum more!  This will keep your house and your lungs, nice and clean!
  • They can sense drops in blood pressure  – Dogs have such a keen sense of smell that they can detect when your blood sugar drops.  This is especially helpful to those with diabetes – your dog could save your life!
  • They can sniff out cancer – That’s right, not only does their nose detect changes in blood pressure but dogs who are trained to can sniff our cancer chemicals.
  • Finally – they keep you social – Because dogs need more socialization and outside needs than cats do, dog owners are automatically forced to be more social!

So we all know your dog makes you incredibly happy, but next time people ask why you’re a dog person, you’ll have some real evidence to show them!

Happy World Spay Day!

Today is World Spay Day, so here’s some education on why you should spay or neuter your pet.

Sure, nobody wants their animal to undergo any unnecessary surgery or pain, but spaying and neutering your dog is something that is really a benefit to them in the long run.

  1. Spaying and neutering reduces the chance of overpopulation of animals. If your unfixed dog gets out, that could mean a lot more stray dogs that you didn’t even know about.
  2. Spayed and neutered animals actually live longer and healthier lives. It reduces their risk of getting mammary and peri anal gland tumors, cancer, prostrate cancer, and uterine, ovarian, and testicular cancers.
  3. Dogs who get fixed will be much less anxious and have less of an urge to run away/roam.
  4. Though the initial procedure will incur a cost, after that, there will be less vet bills to pay because you’ll have a healthier animal!

All signs point to… get your dog fixed!  It really is the best thing for them and you.  Happy World Spay Day!

Doggy Bath Tips

Dogs need bathtime just like humans.  And unfortunately, sometimes it’s pretty hard to get them excited about it, just like it’s hard to get kids excited about baths.  But in order to keep your dog clean and happy, you’ll have to take on the challenege once in a while.  Here are a few tips:

  • Wear clothes you can get wet/dirty/furry because it’s a hands-on process.
  • Empty the bathtub/shower so your dog doesn’t have anything to trip on.
  • Use animal shampoo/conditioner like Mane & Tail or take a vet’s suggestion. Herbal Essence is a doggy-safe human brand.
  • Have this other gear ready: brush, cotton bolls, two big towels, and a non-skid mat to keep your dog from sliding around.
  • Make sure your dog’s nails are trimmed so they can get better footing in the tub.
  • Close the bathroom door! You don’t want a wet, soapy dog running around the house.
  • Putting cotton balls in your dog’s ears (gently) will help keep the water from getting inside.
  • Make sure the water is an in-between of hot and cold.
  • Let your dog feel and hear the water before making them get in.
  • Use your fingers to massage in shampoo and conditioner, starting from the shoulders. Use caution around their face.
  • Once the bath is over, towel-dry your dog as much as possible.
  • Prepare for them to run around the house crazily! Baths can make dogs to strange things.

If you live in a warm climate or it’s summer, it’s often much easier to tie your dog outside and use the hose to give them your bath if you have yard space to do so.

Just for fun, here’s a compilation of funny doggy baths.