Thursday, March 26, 2015

10 Ways to Jazz Up Your Spring Walks

As spring slowly arrives, it's now time to get back into a regular dog walking regimen! Does walking your dog the same route every day feel like a chore? There are many ways to change up your routine that are fun for both you and your dog! Here are 10 ways you can put a little "spring" in your steps! 

1. Socialize. Stop and talk to your neighbors who are also out walking their dogs. If both of your dogs are friendly, it's a great opportunity for both you and your dog to brush up on your small-talk skills! People seem to be chipper when the sun is shining! 

2. Make a pit stop. Decide that your walk will be to a certain destination such as a friend’s house, the pet store, an ice cream shop or a dog-friendly patio. If you can accomplish an errand like mailing a letter or picking up some produce from the farmer's market, even better!

3. Walk with friends. The time you spend walking your dog is also a great opportunity to bring friends along and catch up. Bring some to-go drinks and enjoy a stroll with some of your favorite two-legged and four-legged friends!

4. Take a new route. Both humans and dogs are creatures of habit. Why not reverse your routine by starting off in the direction you normally finish, push on one block further or explore a brand new part of your neighborhood? New scenery keeps it interesting for you both!

5. Bring another dog. Offer to pick up a friend or family member’s dog and take them along for your journey! Walking with some new company allows you and your dog to spice things up a bit.

6. Change the pace.  Mix up your pace and walk faster or slower, or even jog a little bit. Quickly changing directions helps to teach your dog to pay attention to you. Mixing up both speed and direction can make a walk even more stimulating and exciting.

7. Stop at an off-leash neighborhood park. Allow your dog to let off some steam before continuing on your way. Off-leash play is a great time for your dog to truly burn off some of that excess energy. No off-leash park in your area? Pause for a tug session. Tug of war doesn't take up much room but does take quite a bit of energy!

8. Take the time to train. Dog walks are a great time to brush up on some basic training and improve your bond with your dog. Training in a stimulating environment away from your dog's comfort zone will help improve their ability to concentrate and listen your commands. Ask for and reward desired behaviors—stop, sit, look at me, wait—during your walk. Learning plus treats equals a good—and productive—activity.

9. Take time to smell the roses. Smells are extremely important to your dog. If you usually don't let your dog stop and sniff, give them a chance to have some moments to fully enjoy it. Think of pee as a dog's way of communicating with other canines in the neighborhood. It's like checking Facebook. It's his pee-mail! The information he's taking in is a lot for a dog's brain to process, but that's a good thing - your walk drains more energy!

10. Play "find it." Most dogs are natural-born scavengers. They love the thrill of discovering something really great to put in their mouth on the sidewalk. It's like the dog lottery! Make your walk like a treasure hunt by periodically tossing treats in front of you, and then give the cue "Find it!" to let them know that the hunt should begin. This game can help you control scavenging and allow your dog to better fulfill his scavenging needs!

Source: Modern Dog Magazine

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

10 Things You Didn't know About Your Cat's Nose

In the pet world, dogs have received more attention for their sense of smell…but what about cats? A cat uses their nose for a wide variety of things.  With the help of, here are 8 things you might not have known about your cat’s nose!

1. The nose is the most important sense organ. Cats have 200 million scent receptors! Most dog breeds don’t have even close to that number. Your cat’s sense of smell can:
  • Guide them to prey
  • Determine if food is edible or toxic
  • Discover where you've been
  • Help your cat find home if they get lost!
2.  A cat is born with a great sense of smell. From the moment they are born, a kitten already has a highly developed sense of smell. This provides them the ability to distinguish their mother's smell and to locate where to nurse even when their eyes are shut!

3. The color of a cat’s nose is directly related to the color of their fur. Black cats have black noses, white cats have pink noses, orange cats have orange noses, gray cats have gray noses, and so on. And if your cat is multicolored, they might just have a multicolored nose, too. Some kitties also have freckles on their noses.

4. Cats wear leather in every season.  The naked skin around a cat's nostrils is called "nose leather."

5. Cats have “nose prints.” Just like humans' fingerprints, every cat’s nose has a unique pattern of bumps and ridges. There has apparently been some talk about using nose prints as a form of identification, but good luck with getting your cat to tolerate having their nose inked and pressed against a piece of paper!

6. The nose tells your cat about other cats and animals in the area. Outdoor cats mark their territory with their eliminations, so if your cat goes outdoors, they can tell if anyone’s been intruding in their space!

7. The nose stimulates your cat’s appetite. Cats have very few taste receptors on their tongues, so it’s the smell rather than the flavor that stimulates the sense of hunger. That’s a big part of the reason why cats with respiratory infections or other nasal blockages stop eating; if they can’t smell their food, they won’t get hungry!

8. Mutual sniffing is a feline greeting. When two cats approach each other, they sniff one another's noses, sides, and rear ends, and then go on about their business together. This is the feline equivalent of saying, “Hey, how’s it going? Whatcha doin’?” 

9. There are smells cats really don’t like. Because cats’ noses are so sensitive, very strong odors are distasteful and even painful to smell! Be cautious with scented cat litter; the smell might be nice to you, but it could be overwhelming for your feline friend’s nose. Cats are also known to dislike the smell of citrus, mint, eucalyptus, lavender and tea tree oil.

10. Does your cat lick their nose? The reason is still unknown. Some say it’s like a reset button for a cat’s sense of smell. Licking the nose removes any residue such as pollen that may linger and interfere with the cat’s need to smell other things. Others say it’s a sign that a cat is anxious or nervous and has no connection with the sense of smell at all. What do you think?


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tips for a Pet-Friendly Garden

As the snow begins to melt and the ground begins to thaw, it will once again be time to start working on our yards and gardens. While gardens are a beautiful addition to your outdoor space, they can also harbor dangerous toxins for your pet. Here are some plants and garden essentials to be cautious of when working this spring.


  • Baby’s breath. This flower can wreak havoc on your dog or cat's digestion, causing gastrointestinal upset, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Daffodil.  While Daffodils are a common staple for any springtime garden, you might want to think twice if you have a curious pet! If ingested, daffodils can cause severe gastrointestinal upset, lethargy, sedation, lack of appetite, convulsions, shivering, abnormally low blood pressure, kidney damage, muscular tremors and irregular heartbeats. To stay safe, yellow orchids look very similar and are non-toxic!
  • Lily. So many lily varieties are extremely poisonous to cats. If you’re in doubt, don’t plant any of them! Ingesting even the tiniest bit can cause kidney failure! Oddly, lilies are non-toxic to dogs. If you have a cat and a love for lillies, resurrection lilies are safe to plant.
  • Morning glory.  Distinguished by opening its bloom in the morning and closing it again at night, this flower is like LSD for your pets. Ingestion can cause delusions, stupor, or hallucinations. You may also see an increase in aggression, inability to stand or lethargy with excessive panting. Petunias stay open all day and present no harm to dogs or cats.
  • Oleander. This pretty bush should come with a warning sign to ward away both humans and animals. Every part, from flower to root, is highly toxic and should be avoided. Ingestion can be fatal. Plant Ixora instead.

  • Cocoa mulch.  The theobromine (found in chocolate) and caffeine contained in this mulch can cause adverse reactions in dogs and cats. While many cocoa mulch manufacturers claim to have changed their processing methods to remove these two compounds, the safest route is to avoid it entirely.
  • Pine, cedar and hemlock mulch. Choking or allergic reactions are a possibility with these natural wood mulches. Some mulch pieces, if ingested, can also puncture a dog or cat's stomach lining. If using these mulches, make sure your pet is always supervised!
  • Rubber mulch. Similar to the wood mulches, the rubber variety could present a choking hazard!  Many of these types claim to be chemical free, but they are far from being natural.


According to Pet Poison Helpline, many fertilizers can cause drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal posture due to abdominal pain, difficulty breathing and “muddy” colored gums.

Fertilizer manufacturers that produce “pet-safe” fertilizer base their safety claims on the absorption speed of the chemicals into your lawn. When heavy rainstorms come, however, some trace amounts of the chemicals may surface. 

Regardless of what you use, keep your pet away from any fertilizer until it has been completely worked into your grass so that none of it can be eaten by your dog or cat.

With a little knowledge, caution, and effort, your garden can be both beautiful, blossoming and pet-safe. For a full list of harmful plants and toxins, visit the ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants or Pet Poison Helpline website.

Source: Pet 360 & Pet Poison Helpline

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pets vs. Snow

Ever wonder why your pets love the snow so much? There may be no definitive answer, but many experts believe that because pets have different sensory intakes than humans do, the snow is invigorating and exciting, especially for predatory animals like dogs and cats who enjoy a variety of environments.

It's similar to why some of us like frolicking in warm and shallow waves at the beach. Doesn't that sound fantastic right now? The sensation of the water feels good as the sand squishes between our toes. It is the same with the fluffy snow for your pets. A pet's body temperature regulates differently than ours, so the snow isn't as cold to your dog and cat as it is to your bare skin!

At this point, we can only laugh about the seemingly never-ending snow as we wait for spring. One of the things snow is good for is building snow people, animals, and structures. Here are 10 pets who wish these snow creations would melt already.

1. The dog who is not so amused by his hat

2. The cat as the hat who is over this snow

3. The dog who is trying to tell the snowman to go away, while also snacking on his nose

4. The cat who is mid-tackle

5. The puppy who wishes this snow person would stop following him

6. The dog who doesn't see the resemblance.

7. The dog who wants her scarf back.

8. The cat who wishes the snow person outside would stop staring.

9.The dog who also doesn't see the resemblance.

10. Finally, the dog who tells it like it is.

So laugh, stay warm and take advantage of the last real days of winter before we all start complaining that it is too hot! We will soon see the grass again, although looking out the window right now we can't promise anything!