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The Pros and Cons of Doggy Daycare

The Pros and Cons of Doggy Daycare

Just because you work long hours doesn't mean you can't be a pet parent. Many people think leaving their pet home alone isn't fair. While that may be true, that's a reason doggy daycares exist. While it's a good option for many, it may have a downside that some pet owners don't consider when signing their fluffy buddy up for day stays.

PROS:

-Some pets can be destructive when alone, either as a form of separation anxiety or just plain boredom. They may tear up furniture, clothes, or shoes, dig through the garbage, or look for ways out of the house. Leaving your nosy pup in a daycare where people are around the clock and where they're able to socialize can relieve their gnawing tendencies.

-They're surrounded by people who are generally passionate about animals. They've devoted their career to taking care of animals just like theirs and provide care they would want for them, for you and your pet.

-Your pet can get the socialization with other animals that they wouldn't get at home.

CONS:

-Not all pet care facilities can be trusted. Your pet is your baby: your pet care facility should meet the same standards of any care facility you would use for your own child. Being sure that you aren't registering your pet for somewhere overcrowded or neglectful is important. Take a tour of the daycare, inquire what food they're fed, and ask to see some pets that are current clients in their daily routine.

-While socialization is important, some dogs might develop behavioral issues that affect you at home or in your daily routine. Being around other dogs, they may try to be dominant, mark territory, or bark excessively. While this can be fixed with basic retraining, it's something to take into account.

-Just like in a kid daycare, dog daycares might experience outbreaks of illness. Fleas, ticks, and kennel cough can all be spread easily when dogs are kept so close to one another. Being sure your dog is up to date on shots and flea control is important, but not always most preventative.

Doggy daycare isn't for every dog, but for some could be the best option for day to day care. Taking these pros and cons into account when shopping around for your furry buddy's play place is ideal for a wonderful doggy daycare experience.

  • Kendra Conze
4 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Shelter Dog

4 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Shelter Dog

Puppies are undeniably adorable, so it's no surprise that they're generally the first in line to go to their forever homes when potential families come to a shelter in search of their new pet. However, it's far too often the case that the older crowd of dogs are overlooked and left to sit and wait because people assume that they're either there for a reason, or they're just too old and have nothing to offer. It's important to realize that neither concern is necessarily the case, so here are a few great reasons to consider welcoming a senior shelter dog into your family:

  1. They're Generally Good Dogs: Many people get the wrong impression that because an older dog is in the shelter, it must have done something negative to push the owners into getting rid of them, and that's simply not true. Most older shelter dogs are very sweet, loving, and obedient dogs that have been removed from their homes for a variety of reasons, such as their owners moving to a location that isn't dog friendly, or the original owner passing away.
  1. Previous Training: A great deal of older dogs already know basic commands and leash training. With a senior dog, you'll be able to introduce them into your world much quicker than a puppy, and without having to focus a lot of time on teaching them doggie basics.
  1. Calm Personalities: Senior dogs are just like senior people. They've still got life and excitement about them, but they aren't hyperactive little balls of energy that are going to tear up your property and run through the halls when it's time for bed. Older dogs are much calmer, and much more willing to just lounge around and enjoy your company.
  1. Instant Companionship: Puppies require a lot of things before genuine bonding can occur, such as general training, constant interaction, and time. Older dogs have had an entire life full of experiences with previous owners, so they are more likely to already possess the basic abilities required for companionship. In addition to all of this, there's simply nothing like the bond formed with a senior rescue dog that understands you've chosen to love it no matter what.

Dogs from all walks of life have varying characteristics that can make them a good fit for you and your lifestyle, puppies and seniors alike. The next time you're at the shelter in search of a furry friend to bring home, don't be afraid to say hello to some of the older dogs in the yard. You just might get lucky and have a senior dog decide to adopt you!

  • Kendra Conze
Your Pet’s Pearly Whites: Pet Dental Health Month

Your Pet’s Pearly Whites: Pet Dental Health Month

Many people believe that pets naturally have bad breath. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Odor from your pet's mouth could indicate serious dental damage. The good news is, there are steps you can take to keep Rover's mouth as clean as a (dog) whistle. There is no better time than the beginning of February to update your knowledge on pet dental health: it is Pet Dental Health Month!

Preventative Care

Just like with your mouth, the first step in maintaining pet dental health is regular preventative cleaning. The best way to do this is to brush your dog or cat's teeth daily, although this is not always a possibility. If you cannot perform regular daily brushing on your pet, the next best thing is to do so several times per week. Dogs are generally agreeable when it comes to brushing, while cats are usually not huge fans. It is important to be patient and reward them afterwards.

There are also products on the market that claim to help with pet dental health, but it is best to talk to your veterinarian to get their recommendation first.

Professional Dental Care

Human dental care and pet dental care share another important aspect: they both require regular professional checkups. Make sure to bring your pet to a veterinarian at least once a year, and be sure that the veterinarian checks on your pet's dental health. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, if you notice any of the below problems with your pet, you should get them checked out more regularly:

  • Broken teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Reduced appetite or other abnormal eating behaviors
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Swelling around the mouth

If you have been neglecting to care for your pet's dental health, Pet Dental Health Month is a great time to start.

  • Health Mutt Store Admin
Transitioning Your Cat's Food with Cat Treats

Transitioning Your Cat's Food with Cat Treats

So you're thinking about changing your cat's food. Whether you're doing it for health, you want to change the type of food, or you just want to get your cat onto a rotational diet, convincing your cat to eat something new can be difficult. After all, new is scary! Their instincts tell them that something they don't recognize might make them sick, so they're often skeptical of anything different in their bowl.

While there are many ways to help convince your cat to eat something new, an often overlooked technique is using treats.

When using this method, you want the treat to be high value. Because cats are carnivores, this means that the meatier a treat is, the better.

First, you need to find the treat that your cat can't seem to live without. This can take some time, but we recommend using an animal protein they're already familiar with, and then finding a matching treat. Jerky, dehydrated snacks, or a meaty cookie are all great options.

Next, begin adding small pieces of the treats to the food you're already feeding. Do not give them the treats outside of this time so that they come to expect it with their meals. Just a couple of feedings should be enough.

Third, begin the transition. If your cat has been eating the same food for a long time, you're going to want to take this slowly. While their bodies are quick to adapt, their minds can take some convincing. You'll want to mix 75% of the old food with 25% of the new. Alternatively, for the super picky eaters, start with just a dollop of the new food. Make sure you're mixing in the treats! This will be the familiarity that helps convince them the new food is OK.

Once they seem OK with this change, move them to 50% old food with 50% new food: keep using the treats. Then it will be 25% old food and 75% new food.

After a week or two, you can transition them entirely onto the new food. Just be sure to give them their treats so there's still something extra delicious from their old food.

Finally, you can slowly remove the treats from their meals and give them to your cat as you normally would. By now, your cat should be seamlessly enjoying their new diet!

Now, if you're moving from kibble to canned, freeze-dried, or raw, or you just don't want to get into feeding treats, you can use kibble or air-dried food the same way. We recommend using a high quality food. Using an old favorite while you transition you cats to new textures and types of food (the ultra-scary transition) will really entice them to eat without sacrificing any nutrition or health in the process.

Whatever your reason for changing your cat's food, cat treats can make the transition easy and stress-free for everyone involved.

Happy eating!

  • Health Mutt Store Admin
Could Your Pets Suffer From SAD?

Could Your Pets Suffer From SAD?

Humans and dogs share similar brain chemistry, according to science.

With this being said, one study shows that one in three pet-owners believe their pets suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder: a type of depression that is characterized by multiple symptoms during certain times of year.

Because of the shorter days and longer nights, our biological responses begin to change. We use less serotonin and more melatonin.

Similarly, cats and dogs can also struggle to retain their usual energy and great attitudes because they, too, have the same kinds of biological makeup as far as hormones and neurotransmitters go.

If you notice your pets being a little more tired, a little less hungry, or generally not as energetic as they usually are, there are a few things you can do to ensure they make it through the long dog days of winter.

Proper Lighting

Make the most of the sunlight. Take your dog for a walk or make sure there is a nice, warm, sunny windowsill for Fluffy the cat. Sunlight is an important part of the production of serotonin.

Exercise

Although cats don't care too much for walks outside, they do love playing with toys and chasing lasers. Dogs, too, can benefit greatly from the stimulation of play. This will help them rest fully and wake up more energized and excited.

Diet

If your pets are indoor pets, they may need a slight change in diet because of the lowered amount of exercise they will be getting. Conversely, if your dog is an outdoor type, they may need two to three times more food than they do during the warmer months.

Regardless of whether you keep your animals inside or outside or whether they are SAD or not, there is no doubt the need for your extra attention during the cold months is necessary to keep them happy and healthy.

  • Health Mutt Store Admin
The Joys of Dog Toys

The Joys of Dog Toys

Toys--we all love them! From tiny tots' blocks and teddy bears, to grown ups' cars and tools, toys make life more fun! But you don't have to be human to enjoy the benefits of a good plaything. Dogs love them too!

Providing your dog as a puppy with well-made toys puts him on a path of play for life. A sedentary lifestyle for our furry buddies, as for us humans, can lead to obesity and other secondary health concerns. Regular exercise is important, and playtime is a great way to get that exercise--not to mention the quality bonding time it provides for those who walk on two legs with those who walk on four!

Here are a few tips on how to get your canine pal interested in toys:

  • Show interest in the toys yourself first by tossing it around and being excited when your dog shows an interest, too. Many dogs love silly, enthusiastic voices!
  • Try interactive toys, especially ones that dispense food, to keep him eager to play.
  • Rotate toys if your dog seems to become disinterested in those you've made readily available. Remember that pets can get bored, too!
  • Try playing hide-and-seek with your dog by carrying along a noise-maker. Not only will the treat be finding you, but you can make a big deal out of him finding the squeaky thing as well!
  • If you're playing indoors, encourage your dog to find a toy that you hide under a blanket or small rug.
  • Remember that your enthusiasm will rub off, so really ham it up for your pup!

The advantages of having your furry friend attached to playing with dog toys range from exercise to improved behavior (such as less chewing on shoes and furniture). Well-designed toys last longer than cheap ones and are safer, so the investment is worthwhile, especially since your pooch will receive both physical and mental stimulation from his playthings.

So isn't it time that your hairy best buddy gets a new toy?

  • Health Mutt Store Admin