How to Keep Your Dog Entertained Indoors During Bad Weather

Well, it’s that time of year where the weather tends to get nasty. And although a lot of dogs enjoy romping in the snow, you still end up spending a generous amount of time inside and that can lead to boredom. We’ve compiled a list with some easy and fun ideas to keep your pooch occupied when it’s too cold to play outside!

  1. Practice training. What better opportunity to practice a little obedience training than on a gloomy day? Engaging with your dog by working on training is an excellent way to pass the time and they love that interaction between you. It’ll help him stay sharp on commands while getting some one-on-one time with his favorite human.
  2. Play find the treat! Investing in a toy, such as a Kong, that you can hide a treat in is totally worth it. Your dog will love searching for the treat and will feel so pleased with himself once he does!
  3. Snuggle up and take a nap with Fido. Seriously – just do it. It’s good for both of you!
  4. Make a playdate with a friend! If you have friends who also have fur-babies, chances are they’re suffering from being stuck inside as well. Invite them over and let them have some buddy time. It’ll get them nice and worn out.
  5. Get the brush out. If you’re like a lot of us, the usual grooming sessions are few and far between. Well, now’s your big chance. Sit down with your dog and take the time to give him a thorough brushing. Chances are he’ll absolutely love the attention from you – not to mention you’ll get to check a chore off the list!
  6. Set up a small obstacle course in your living room. Stack up some couch cushions, or anything you have around that can make for a fun obstacle course. This is a great way to interact and play with your pooch, while also helping them get some exercise and get tuckered out.
  7. Hide treats around the house and let your doggy sniff around searching for them. Get creative with your hiding spots and then just sit back and watch Fido have the best time looking for them.
  8. Get out the toys! Play some tug-o-war and get some energy burned! If you get into it enough, you’ll even burn some calories yourself, so it’s a win-win!

Winter Safety Tips for your Dogs

Winter is a fun and beautiful time of year. Many dogs enjoy the change in weather and love playing in the snow, some even are reluctant to come inside to warm up! While other dogs dislike the cold as much as some people do! Whichever opinion your dog has on the season, it’s important to keep them safe and healthy all winter long.

Protect Their Feet

The cold can be extremely hard on a dog’s paws. Too much cold can cause damage to their feet, just like it can ours. You wouldn’t want to walk around in the snow barefoot, would you? And although most days it’s probably no problem for your dog to run outside to use the bathroom, if you’re going for a longer walk and the temperatures are pretty cold, you might want to consider doggy booties. Even Alaskan Iditarod dogs have to protect their feet from the cold and terrain. During times when the weather is nasty, your dog will really appreciate having just a little bit more protection from the elements and will make your walks much more pleasant for them. And don’t forget to apply dog paw balm when you come inside to help moisturize those paws!

Limit Their Time Outside

Some dogs love to romp in the snow and so it can be easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to their safety outside. No matter how much your mutt loves to frolic in the snow piles – it’s important to always be keeping an eye on them and bring them inside after they’ve had a reasonable time outside to play. Forgetting them outside could lead to serious injuries such as frostbite. Every dog is different and it’s important to understand how your dog behaves in the cold. Some dogs enjoy a nice long play session in the backyard, and others simply prefer to rush outside to the nearest tree before retreating hastily inside. Know your dog’s limits!

Clean Their Paws

The winter can bring a different danger that we don’t always think about – what they’re tracking in! During the cold months, anti-freeze and similar products are often sprinkled on sidewalks and walkways that your dog may be walking on. They get stuck to their paws and then get tracked inside your house. They’re not safe to ingest and definitely a dangerous hazard in your home. So it’s vital to stop your dog as he comes in and give his paws a quick wipe down.

Don’t Leave Them in Cars

It goes without saying during the summer to never leave your dog alone in a hot car – but the same goes for the winter. The cold can be just as much of a danger to your pooch as the heat. So please, please never leave your dog alone in your car!

Be Cautious of Ice

Bodies of water are notoriously dangerous during the winter because sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether the ice is thick enough to stand or walk on. So, unless you’re certain beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s better to just not risk it and never try to cross a frozen body of water. So, keep a close eye on your pet and make sure they don’t try to, either.

Winter can be a wonderful and fun time for you and your pet to spend time together – but it’s important to be ever cognizant of the conditions and always be looking out for the safety and wellbeing of your dog. Enjoy the season!

Get Outside for National Walk Your Dog Week

47410078_l.jpgThe weather is starting to cool down, and this makes the first week in October the perfect time to celebrate National Walk Your Dog Week.

Obesity is on the rise in the US, both for humans and for their canine friends. In the US, an estimated 56% of dogs are overweight – that amounts to about 50 million dogs! Excess weight in dogs can create health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, pancreatitis and cancer. A sedentary lifestyle, which is a large contributing factor to obesity, can also cause behavior problems in dogs, due to boredom or excess energy that has not been burned off in a positive way. Sadly, these behavior problems can sometimes land dogs in overcrowded shelters. What can we do?

In addition to keeping a close eye on a dog’s diet, avoiding unhealthy foods and making sure not to overfeed, one great way to address a dog’s weight problem is to walk with them every day. A daily 30 minute walk will help both you and your dog meet national standards for heart health, and will get you both on the road to a healthier weight. The exercise also has the added benefit of tiring your dog out – remember, a tired dog is a good dog.

You may be thinking to yourself that you have a large yard, and a pet door for your dogs – isn’t this enough? While it is true that it is very beneficial for a dog to have free access to their yard, and it helps provide an excellent foundation for a healthy dog, there is more to the picture. When a dog is outside in their own yard, there is a lot of (valuable) time spent exploring his territory, sniffing around, lying in the sun – all very important activities for your dog. But this outside time doesn’t quite live up to the sustained exercise a dog needs – similar to how the time we spend outdoors in our garden, while great for us, doesn’t quite provide all of the cardiovascular exercise our own bodies need. Also, when you take your dog out into the world for a walk, there are new sights, sounds and smells that stimulate his brain in a different way than his usual scene, which gives him a mental health boost in addition to a heart health one.

You can even get your whole family involved. If you bring your kids along on your walks, you will be not only modeling an active lifestyle for them, but you will also be teaching them how to take excellent care of their own dogs when they get older.

These are all great points, but what if you don’t have a dog to walk? There is a great solution to that problem waiting for you at your local dog shelter. Remember how we mentioned above that some dogs end up in shelters due to behavior problems that have their root in a sedentary lifestyle and obesity? You can find yourself the perfect walking buddy in a dog who needs you to help him get to be his healthiest and happiest self. It’s a win-win!

Responsible Animal Guardian Month

With Responsible Animal Guardian Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Chip Your Pet Month, the month of May is here to remind you to be more aware of your pet’s health, surroundings and happiness. And it is also to help people understand that we are not just “owners” of our pets but rather “guardians” of another life. We would never want to treat pets simply like property to be treated however we want and discarded when we tire of them. When you are a Guardian, you have compassion, responsibility, consideration and love for your pet.

For their health, check them over for lumps, bumps, sores or anything unusual. Our pets are just as susceptible to cancer as we are, they are exposed to the same environmental risks as us. See the vet if you find something. Be sure to feed them a good quality food in the correct amount for them. Always have clean water available for them. Get lots of playtime in, both physical and mind challenging. Remember all of their needs: both physical and emotional.

Do proactive things too for your pet and your community.

  • Microchip your dog or cat. This tiny chip has a unique ID number that can make the difference between your pet finding their way home or being lost forever. Microchips are no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted under the skin at the shoulder blades. Almost all shelters and veterinarians have scanners.
  • Start or participate in a Trap – Neuter – Release program in your neighborhood. This helps keep stray cats healthy and helps to prevent the number from growing.
  • Encourage other pet parents to spay/neuter their pets.
  • Donate funds, supplies or your time to a local shelter.
  • Know the early warning signs of cancer, Learn the 10 L’s

There is so much wonderful information and ideas available that we couldn’t begin to share it all. But here are just a few links with more information:

https://www.puppyup.org/its-responsible-animal-guardian-month/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-traits-of-truly-loving-companion-animal-guardian/

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/guardian-initiative/latest-news/animal-guardian-month/

https://www.puppyup.org/canine-cancer/about-cancer/

https://positivelywoof.com/pet-calendar-may-is-national-chip-your-pet-month/

Don’t forget to consider a Hale Pet Door to give your furry companions a way to get outside for more playtime.

Heartworm Awareness Month

In April, pet organizations nationwide work to bring attention to the prevention of Heartworm Disease during National Heartworm Awareness Month.

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What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that affects dogs and cats, as well as other mammals, and it is spread by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites an infected animal, it could carry microscopic baby worms to your healthy pet. Because mosquitoes can easily get inside your home, even exclusively indoor pets are at risk.

Dogs are a natural host for heartworms, and if not detected early, heartworms can multiply inside a dog’s heart, lungs and associated vessels until there are hundreds of worms, causing severe lung disease, heart failure and other organ damage. Symptoms of heartworm disease may not appear until the disease is advanced, and may include a persistent cough, lethargy, fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight loss.

Because cats are not natural hosts for heartworms, it is less likely that worms will reach adulthood in a cat, and if they do, they will not be as numerous as in a dog. However, even immature heartworms can cause serious health problems for cats, including respiratory disease. Signs of heartworm in cats may include coughing, loss of appetite, vomiting, or weight loss.

How is Heartworm treated?

Treatment for heartworm disease in dogs can be lengthy and expensive, which is why prevention is key. If your dog does become infected, treatment might include medications, surgery and serial blood tests.

Unfortunately, there is no approved drug therapy to treat heartworm in cats, but close veterinary care in these cases is still essential.

Prevention is the Best Treatment

Dogs and cats should be tested for heartworm at their regular veterinary visits, and your vet can prescribe monthly preventatives for you to administer to your pet. It is important to stay on top of preventative medications to avoid a gap that could leave your pet vulnerable to infection.

For more information on how to protect your pet from heartworm disease, please visit the Heartworm Society website.

National Poison Prevention Week

March 18-24, 2018 is National Poison Prevention Week

50174473 - chart of toxic foods for dogs. also available without text.

Remember your furry friends this week and always. There are a lot of different things (plants, medicines, people food, household products, etc) that can make your animals sick or even kill them.

TIPS TO PREVENT POISONINGS

  • Be prepared for an emergency. Keep the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center number at your fingertips by saving the number in your mobile phone: 888-426-4435
  • Practice safe storage habits for household chemicals and other substances that can be poisonous for pets
  • Read and follow all labels and directions
  • Detect invisible threats

36871833 - white cat fight green snake in untidy dirty garden, danger.The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is the best resource for any animal poison-related emergency. They are available at 888-426-4435, 24 hours/365 days a year and staffed by veterinary health professionals. There may be a fee for the call.

The ASPCA has a good page with more information on specific items: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

If you have a pet door, please be aware of what’s in your yard, for their safety and health.

Winter Pet Safety: Top 7 Tips

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1. Get an energy efficient Hale Pet Door

When it’s cold and snowy outside, you may be tempted to leave your dog indoors where you know he’ll be safe from the tempestuous winter weather when you’re away from home. But it’s important that your dog has access to the outdoors to answer nature’s call when necessary. Having to ‘hold it’ can cause urinary tract and digestive issues that can result in much discomfort for your dog and extensive veterinarian bills for you.

2. Don’t leave your pet in a parked car

Your parked car can be a freezer – trapping the cold air inside. It can be just as dangerous to leave your pet in your unattended car in the winter as in the hot months.

3. Give your pet a warm bed

Just as you like a warm comfortable place to sleep, so does your cat or dog. Provide a bed – off the floor if possible – in an area away from drafts. A blanket can help trap your pet’s body heat, so she gets a good night’s sleep for optimal health and wellness.

4. Keep common poisons out of pets’ reach

All medications, antifreeze (just a few licks can cause death), rodent baits and poisons, and some houseplants can make your pets sick. Use only pet-friendly ice melting products that won’t irritate your pets when they lick their paws and stomachs.

5. Prevent hypothermia and frostbite

Let your dog’s coat grow longer for the winter months. If your dog has a short coat, get him a coat or sweater that covers him from the base of his head to his tail and around his belly. If your pet gets too cold and shows signs of hypothermia: disoriented, shivering, lethargic or hair standing on end, get her to the vet immediately. Frostbite can affect the tips of the ears, extremities and reproductive organs turning the skin bright red, pale or black.

6. Avoid electrocution and fire hazards

Chewing on heating pads wires can cause electrocution or shock. Heating pads’ iron oxide pads can cause poisoning. Portable heaters can be both a shock and fire hazard, so don’t leave your pet unattended with one in the room.

7. Bang on the hood

Feral cats and wildlife seek the warmth of vehicle engines. Give them a chance to escape by knocking on the hood before starting your car or truck.

Keep yourself and your best friends safe this winter season.

Get Your Pet on the Path to Wellness in 2017

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A healthy dog is a happy dog

Just as in humans, health is the first step to happiness for your pets. Good pet health requires many of the same things for your pets as it does for you.

Your pet’s health is dependent on genetics and lifestyle. Lifestyle is under your control, and you can make the best of your pet’s genetic strengths and weaknesses by providing an optimal lifestyle for your particular pet.

Overall health encompasses physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Your Pet’s Health Depends on:

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Absence of disease
  • Emotional Wellness
  • Mental health

Finding the Perfect Diet for Your Pet

A good diet is the wellspring for good health. If your dog has itchy skin, a change in diet can lessen or eliminate that condition. Some dogs don’t tolerate grains, while others seem to thrive on foods with grains. Quality is important, but it can take some time to find the right commercial, homemade or combination of foods that are best for your pet. A pet nutritionist or veterinarian can help you create the best diet for your particular pet.

Getting Appropriate Pet Exercise

Exercise is an essential building block of good health. It helps to keep your pet at a healthy, fit weight which in turn lessens the likelihood of excess weight induced lameness or disease. Whether your dog needs to run miles or your cat just needs 20 minutes of intense play depends on age, fitness level, temperament and ability.

Regular Professional Health Care Can Prevent Diseases in Your Pet

Whether you choose a traditional or holistic veterinarian, it’s important for your pet to have regular check-ups to catch any irregularities in your pet’s health early.

Ongoing pet healthcare can include massages, chiropractic, acupressure and energy balancing. Some veterinarians provide these modalities in their clinics, or you can use an independent practitioner.

Keep Your Pet’s Emotions Healthy by Eliminating Stress

Stress elimination can take many forms depending on your particular pets. Some pets need more exercise and play, while others need more quiet time. If your dog is stressed while going for walks because of dogs barking behind fences or loose dogs in your neighborhood, your pet may get more out of ‘nosework’ –sniffing out treats that you’ve hidden in your home or yard, or learning tricks through positive reinforcement in the safe environment of your home or yard.

Proper socialization of puppies can help dogs to understand dog language and not become reactive around strange dogs and people. However it’s very important to introduce your pup to balanced dogs and humans, so that they aren’t frightened by aggressive or reactive dogs – which can create an aggressive fear response in your pup. If you’re not sure how to socialize your pup, find a positive reinforcement trainer who may have puppy classes to give your pup a good start at becoming a balanced, emotionally healthy dog.

Dogs and Cats Need Mental Stimulation to Keep from Becoming Bored and Destructive

Cats and dogs are hunters by nature. They naturally like to rip and chew particularly when they are young and teething, so giving them appropriate, safe toys and objects to gnaw and shred can save your furniture and provide the chewing stimulation they need.

If your pets are ‘thinkers’ you’ll want to provide puzzles for them to solve. This can involve ‘nosework’ as described above, puzzle toys with treats as motivations, and treat dispensing toys which can keep them busy licking and thinking about how to get the treat hidden inside the puzzle.

Providing adequate mental stimulation will keep your pet emotionally and physically healthy.

Give Your Pets a Hale Pet Door for Their Health and Happiness

When your dogs can get outside regularly, they’ll stay healthy in all 3 areas of their lives because they’ll be getting all the physical, emotional and mental exercise that they need.

Check out our Hale Pet Door products

 

 

 

Don’t Forget Your Pets in Your Back to School Plans

LaptopDogSummer will soon be over, and you’ll be focusing on getting the kids—and maybe yourself—back to school. Every change in routine can be stressful, so be sure to plan for those hours alone that your pets will have to endure.

Start Planning Now for a Smooth Transition

Just as you prepare the kids and yourself for a new routine, get the fur-kids ready by starting with one change at a time. Perhaps they’ll have to eat their morning meal earlier than on your summertime schedule, so start feeding them at the school schedule time about 2 weeks in advance. This will ensure that your dog’s elimination will be on schedule when there’s no one home to let her out.

Providing your dog with a high quality Hale Pet Door can save you from discovering unexpected accidents to clean up because your dog will be able to get outside to your safe fenced yard, so he can answer ‘nature’s call.’

Provide Plenty of Toys for the Long Day Home Alone

If your pet will be on its own for many hours, it’s a good idea to offer some new toys that will keep him busy while you and your family are away. When you offer new toys on a rotation in addition to favorites, your pup will be more interested in them than other things she may find around the house to chew.

When dogs can get outside — to run, explore the scents in the air and play with toys they’ll be happier to come into the house to nap instead of finding things to chew and destroy.

Plan for Potty and Exercise Breaks

If your dog is crate trained and you leave her in the crate while you’re gone, remember that during the day 5 hours is the maximum time you can safely leave an adult dog confined. They need to get out to eliminate and stretch their legs, so if you’re gone more than 5 hours, be sure to arrange for a friend, neighbor or dog walker to come and let your dog out.

Puppies need to get out more often depending on their age and bladder/bowel maturity.

When you have a high quality pet door, your dog can get out and ‘take care of business’ whenever necessary, and you can save money on dog walking fees.

Plan Ahead for Success

Your dog is part of your family, and you want him to enjoy the peace and quiet of staying home alone. When you consider your dog’s needs and plan for them, you’ll all have a successful school year.

Check out all the Hale Pet Door models here

Planning Your Vacation? Plan for Your Pet’s Staycation

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Make plans for your pets’ enjoyable staycation while you’re away

It’s great to get away – a vacation can be an experience or just time to relax without the day to day stresses and responsibilities of work and homeownership.

If you’re going someplace that won’t be fun for your pet or the travelling is too stressful, planning a safe and stress-free staycation for your pet is just as important as the destination you pick for yourself.

Options for Your Best Friend While You’re Away

  • Kennel Your Dog
  • Home Boarding
  • Ask Friends, Neighbors or Family to Care for Your Pets
  • Hire a House Sitter: Full or Part Time

Kennel Your Dog

If you just have a dog or dogs to care for, a professional kennel may be the option for you. Be sure to check the facility and staff out in person to make sure that your dogs will have consistency of care while you’re gone.

If you have more than one dog, will they be able to stay together for company? Will the routine be similar to yours at home with plenty of human interaction and potty breaks? Is the kennel clean and climate controlled?

Your dog’s emotional health affects her physical well-being, so visit the kennel with your dog to see if she’ll be happy at the kennel while you’re gone.

Home Boarding is a new option in some areas. Dogs are boarded in a home and live with the family and other pets. Ask dog trainers, your veterinarian or check pet message boards to see if this is an option for you.

Always ask for references and visit with your dog if you’re considering the home boarding option.

Staying with Friends and Family

If your dog feels at home with friends or family, this could be your best option. Just be sure to let your friends know if Fido regularly has to go out at midnight if he’s fed after 5 pm or any other special behaviors that are triggered by any change in schedule.

When your dog can keep his regular schedule, even in a different environment, there will be less emotional and digestive upsets.

Let Your Pets Enjoy a Staycation

If you have other pets in addition to your dog, a house/pet sitter may be the best option for you because you need to have someone care for your cat, bird, lizard, fish, etc.

This could be an extended family member, friend or professional pet/house sitter. When you have a dog door, the caregiver can keep their work schedule while your dog can get out to answer ‘nature’s call’ whenever necessary.

The familiar environment is the least stressful for dogs, and this arrangement can give you the best peace of mind while you’re on your well-deserved vacation.

Check out the many pet door options available at Hale Pet Door Products