Thursday, December 26, 2013

How Dogs are Good for Your Health

We all feel better with our pets around. Nothing compares to a cuddle with your four-legged friend after a long day. The benefits of having a dog, however, may be more than just mental and emotional. Numerous studies have found that pets may have an impact on our physical well-being. Take a look at some of the recent research and give your pup an extra hug for all the good they bring you!

Dogs lower your blood pressure. Although your stress levels may rise if your pup gets into trouble, a recent University of Maryland study showed that dogs helped to lower their owners’ blood pressure during daily activities. Under normal living conditions, dog owners with regularly high blood pressure saw significantly lower levels with their pet around.

Dogs keep you in shape. Walking the dog may seem like it’s just for your pet’s benefit, but the physical activity that you get in return is good for you, too. Studies from the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine showed that children with family dogs were more likely to spend time being active than those without pets. The studies also showed that adults with dogs walked almost twice as much as those without dogs.

Dogs protect your heart. A report from the American Heart Association released earlier this year stated that dogs may protect their humans from heart disease. While a key factor here is the amount of physical activity in dog owners, decreased stress due to the presence of their dog helps owners keep a low heart rate and lessens stress hormones in their bloodstream.

Dogs are like apples. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” so the saying goes, but could dogs also keep you out of your doctor’s office? With so many specific health benefits to owning a pet, dogs just might decrease the number of visits to your doctor. A national study out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and had a lesser need for medical services altogether. 

So take your dog for a walk, relax on the couch or give your pet an extra pat on the head. It’ll be good for both of you!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Great Holiday Gifts for Pets

The holidays are upon us… which means celebrations, get-togethers and presents for the whole family. When that family includes a pet, our four-legged friends deserve some holiday cheer, too! Wondering how best to celebrate your pet this season? We’ve scoured the internet and picked out some of our favorite toys, treats and products to give your cat or dog. Whether you want to watch your pup unwrap a new toy or hang a kitty stocking above the fireplace, there are plenty of smart, fun options for pet owners this holiday.

Dog Overalls – For the dog who loves the outdoors year round, Hurtta Pet Collection has released a line of outdoor dog overalls. This waterproof and breathable outfit is specifically designed for long-haired dogs to protect their coat and skin from all types of weather (and to prevent the need for extra baths after playtime outside)!

DART DUO – The Frolicat™ DART DUO™ is an automatic rotating laser toy for dogs and cats. With speed and rotation variations, this double-laser spinning toy is perfect for frisky pets who love to pounce. You can even set a timer for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minute play sessions to keep your pet active long after you leave the room. This is a particular favorite in our Kitty Playroom at Morris Animal Inn!

PuppyTweets – Ever wonder what your dog is doing while you are away? Mattel’s Puppy Tweets can give you a look at your pet’s activities by sending you text messages throughout the day. A device attached to your pet’s collar can tell when your pet is napping, playing or barking, and will send messages to your cell phone “from your pet.” As silly as this gift may sound, it is also a great way to see how your pet behaves while they are left alone.

Soggy Doggy – Winter weather means leaving your snow boots at the door for humans, but for our pets, it’s not that easy. A dog who races inside from the rain or snow is likely to leave a lovely paw print trail throughout the house. A gift to you AND your pet, then, is the Soggy Doggy Doormat, a dual-service towel and mat for cleaning pets’ muddy paws. Small microfiber “noodles” make up this super-absorbent cloth, which helps to make drying your dog faster and easier.

Fishbowl Cat FeederPut your smart kitty to the test with the PetSafe® Fishbowl! This feeding toy allows cats to see, smell and even touch their treats, but they must solve the puzzle to get them out. The toy wobbles and rolls, turning eating into a game for your curious cat. The Fishbowl feeder is available in our lobby for a perfect last-minute holiday gift, along with plenty of other toys and treats for dogs and cats!

This is just a start to the many ways to spoil your pets this holiday! What will YOU be purchasing for your pet?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Why does my dog sleep like that?

It’s bedtime and your dog curls up in a tight ball on their bed. Or maybe they sprawl out belly-up on your bed. What makes them choose these strange positions for snoozing? Vetstreet dove into the dog mind when it comes to bedtime and found that a dog’s chosen sleeping position says a lot about their comfort levels, and not just by how fluffy their bed is.

The first reason for curling up is a very logical one – your dog is trying to stay cozy! From their wild ancestors, dogs have a tendency to curl up into a ball in order to stay warm. Wild dogs also tend to burrow into the ground first, creating a nest to further protect them from the cold. This is why you often see your dog circling and digging at the floor, couch or bed before they settle in for a nap.

Dogs in the wild also curl up to protect the weakest middle part of their bodies from any potential predators, offering them a position in which they can feel secure. Being balled-up head to toe allows your dog to feel as safe as they can be.

Does this mean that a curled-up dog feels insecure in their surroundings? Not necessarily. Although a dog who is nervous or in unfamiliar territory will often follow their instincts to curl up, a family pet who always slumbers in this position may just have a stronger connection to their wild cousins.

Dogs who sleep belly-up, on the other hand, are expressing a deep sense of security. Not only are these dogs often relaxed and easy-going breeds that may be more distanced from their wild ancestors, but they are frequently well-socialized and confident in their surroundings.

It’s safe to say that if your pooch is passed out with legs in the air, they have complete trust in you. A sprawled out dog may also be trying to cool down, as the circled position keeps in body heat.

In any position, a slumbering pup is a great companion when nighttime comes around. That is, unless they snore… 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Pet Safety Around the Fireplace

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” may be the soundtrack to your holiday season, when nothing sounds better than cuddling up with your pet in front of a crackling fireplace. This warm winter staple can be all too intriguing for pets, especially those who may not have seen a fire before. Our fellow bloggers at Two Little Cavaliers offer tips on keeping your pet safe around the fireplace. With a few precautions, you, your pet and your favorite hot cocoa recipe can curl up together and enjoy the warmth of a fire this season.

Always use a fireplace screen. This is the easiest way to protect yourself and your pets from the flames but still enjoy their warmth. Invest in a nice screen that can also serve as a decorative piece!

Never leave a fire unsupervised. Not only should you not leave your pet alone near a fire, but an unattended fire period is potentially unsafe. Only set a fire when you know you have time to be home to enjoy it and monitor your pet and any embers that could jump out of the fire.

Keep your pet’s possessions far away. If your pet’s bed, favorite blanket or toys are located close to the flames, this may invite them to get extra close to the fire. Although it’s tempting to set up a cozy bed for your pet in front of the warmth, they can still appreciate the heat from a distance where their tail couldn’t accidentally wag into the embers. As a rule of thumb, your pet should sit as close to the fire as you do.

Remove fireplace tools. These sharp, heavy objects can invite injury to an excited pet who gets too close. Keep these tools in a closet or in a high, nearby place where your pet could not accidentally bump into them.

Resist pretty (smelling) mantelpiece decorations. Although garlands and other drapery might look pretty against the backdrop of a roaring fire, they may be tempting playthings for your pet. Keep decorations taught and high out of pets’ reach.

With a few simple precautions, you and your pet can enjoy this winter weather tradition safely and comfortably. What other wintertime traditions do you have with your pet?