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!

Celebrate National Craft for Your Local Shelter on July 21st

Local shelters and humane societies are always in need of financial or volunteer assistance and supplies. Crafters are always keeping busy with their favorite type of hobby. In 2012, Sew Doggy Style created National Craft for your Local Shelters Day on July 21st to combine the best of both worlds.

It is designed to be fun and affordable, simple and meaningful. No matter what type of crafting hobby you enjoy: sewing, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, etc. or even if you have no formal “crafting” skill, anyone can make something to donate to your local shelter.

Hale Pet Door is headquartered in Canon City, Colorado, and we interviewed Ann Goldman, owner of Yarned and Dangerous (our local knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, and fiber arts store) and Doug Rae, Executive Director of the Fremont County Humane Society to see one example of this special day in action.

Ann Goldman tells us: “What to do when you knit, love animals, and have spare time? You knit cat mats!

Here at our Local Yarn Shop, we get lots of donated yarn. We have many who love to knit but don’t need another hat, scarf, or afghan. So we pair those avid knitters with the donated yarn and the results? 100s of cat mats. We love knitting for our kitties housed at the Humane Society of Fremont County. We’ve been told they love our cat mats. These many cat mats have been turned into hammocks, nests, cocoons, or just nice blankies. It is our joy and pleasure. I found 2 pictures that show off the cats with the mats.

The little one with attitude is Felix. The older cat chilling is Aerosmith. They are available for adoption now. Of course, their mats go home with them.”

Executive Director Doug Rae adds: “The Humane Society of Fremont County relies on private donations on many levels. One such level is when local residents take it upon themselves to do something for the shelter animals. Ann and her gang from Yarned and Dangerous in Canon City regularly knit blankets for the shelter cats. Every cat in the shelter has one of those blankets in their kennel, and when the pet is adopted, the blanket goes home with the new adopter and the cat. One walk through cat adoptions and you’ll see how much the cats love these donated blankets.”

“Dick Ward has been making handmade animal puzzles out of wood for quite some time. A few years back, Dick and his wife Korla came to me with their offer to make puzzles for the shelter so we could sell them and turn the puzzles into cash for the animals. Dick’s puzzles are for sale for $10.00 each in our retail section.”

“Moreover, Dick has a similar set-up with Cup & Cone here in town. Dick provides Cup & Cone with his puzzles and almost every month, the shelter receives a check in the mail from the sales of Dick’s puzzles at Cup & Cone! I have offered to pay for the wood Dick uses for his puzzles, but he politely declines and will not take one penny from the shelter.”

“Deanna Jacobs donates her hand-made jewelry to the shelter. Deanna made this jewelry for a special event the shelter held. After every item sold at that event, Deanna gave the shelter enough of her to jewelry to fill up a large jewelry display in the lobby. All of Deanna’s items, whether it be bracelets or earrings, has something to do with the animals. Like everyone else, Deanna won’t take a penny from the shelter for her donated jewelry.”

What a wonderful testament to the giving spirit of these talented people.

If formal hobbies aren’t your style, you can make simple cat toys out of toilet paper tubes and kleenex boxes; you can make dog toys out of ropes or plastic water bottles; you can make beds and blankets out of old t-shirts and pillows. The ideas are endless.

For some more ideas and instructions on how you can participate in this holiday check out some of the following articles:

Your Craft Skills Can Help Shelter Cats

http://www.sewdoggystyle.com/p/craft-for-shelters.html

https://www.petguide.com/petcare/dog/6-easy-crafts-can-make-help-local-animal-shelter/

https://iheartdogs.com/10-ways-to-craft-for-your-local-shelter-on-july-21st/

https://www.vet-organics.com/blogs/news/national-craft-for-your-local-shelters-day

https://www.sitstay.com/blogs/good-dog-blog/help-your-local-shelter-with-these-fun-craft-projects

July Is Pet Loss Prevention Month

July is National Pet Loss Prevention Month, and even though the majority of us are responsible pet owners who care deeply for our furry family members, 1 out of 3 family pets will go missing at least once in their lifetime, potentially ending up as one of the 7.6 million dogs and cats who enter shelters every year.

July is an especially risky month for lost pets, because of the 4th of July holiday. More pets go missing on and around the 4th of July than any other day of the year, due to anxiety caused by fireworks. A mild-mannered dog might panic and claw its way out of a crate or crash through a glass door or fence, and could be running on the streets within moments. But it doesn’t have to take something dramatic – there are many reasons well-behaved pets might wander, even if it’s simple curiosity.

You can help reduce the stress of a lost-pet situation by taking a few steps ahead of time:

  1. Make sure your pet has up to date ID tags and a secure collar. This goes for cats, as well as dogs. A pet with a collar will be more easily identified as a pet, as opposed to a stray, and having your pet’s name and your identifying info clear to the person who finds your pet will help immensely with getting your pet home.
  1. Have your pet microchipped. Because collars can come off, another important step is to have your vet microchip your pet. If your pet were to be found and turned in to a shelter, they will be scanned for a microchip. Make sure you keep your info up to date at your microchip registry so that you can be reunited with your pet quickly.
  1. Get a GPS tracker for your pet. To help you track your pet if he or she does get out, there are several brands of GPS devices that are designed to attach to a pet’s collar.
  1. Be prepared for riskier times for pet loss. Make sure you have a plan to keep your pet safe and secure during holidays like the 4th of July. It is best to keep your pet home from 4th of July events, and it might even be a good idea for you to stay home with them. For more information on keeping your pets safe during 4th of July, the ASPCA has some great tips in this article.

Be Prepared to Care for Your Pets in a Disaster – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 12

85018767_l cropPrior to 2005, not much official consideration had been given to the needs of pets in a disaster situation. But when more than 150,000 pets perished in Hurricane Katrina, largely as a result of there being no provisions for the rescue of animals, this critical concern was brought to national awareness. In addition to legal measures being passed to protect the rights of animals to be rescued by officials in disasters, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established to help educate the public on the needs of animals in these situations.

Your pets are a part of your family, and just like any other family member, planning and preparation for unexpected situations is important. Here are some ways you can prepare to care for your pet in a disaster:

Be Aware

  • While you can’t predict every potential problem, it is important to know what the most likely dangers are for your geographic area, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc.
  • Know what the local disaster evacuation plans and routes are for your area.

Find Safe Havens

  • Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as they will be unable to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. However,
  • It is important to have a Rescue Alert Sticker on your windows to alert rescuers to the presence of your pets, in the event that you were separated at the time of evacuation. If you evacuate with your pets, and there is time, write “Evacuated” on the stickers to let rescuers know that you are all out.
  • Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so it is very important to research where your pet could board in a disaster.
  • Know which hotels in the area would accept you and your pets together in a disaster.
  • Designate a trusted friend, neighbor or family member that can come into your home and help your pets if you are away in a disaster.

Pack an Emergency Kit

  • Make or purchase a first aid kit for your pet. If you make your own, ask your vet for advice on what to include for your pet to meet their individual needs.
  • Keep a 7 day supply of food (both canned and dry) and water for your pet in waterproof and airtight containers that are easy to transport. Rotate these every two months.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date and secure to their collar, and consider microchipping. It is also a good idea to include a recent photo of you with your pet for visual identification in case of separation.
  • Include a copy of recent health and immunization records in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Pack an extra leash and collar, along with their carrier. Dogs will need crate liners, and cats will need a disposable litter tray and a supply of cat litter.
  • Pack a few comfort items – blankets, a couple of toys.

Add to this list anything that is individual for your own situation, as you best know your own pets and their personal needs. For more information on how to keep your furry family members safe in a disaster, please see these helpful articles on the ASPCA and the Red Cross websites.

 

 

 

National Kids & Pets Day

52399292_lIt’s National Kids and Pets Day! Send us a picture and/or short story of your kids and their pets.

What’s not to love about kids and their pets? The bond between a child and their pet is almost magical, bringing love, laughter and happiness to all who are around them.

But having a pet(s) brings so much more to our kids. Here are a few highlights of how they change us:

  • With their unconditional love our pets give support and help children develop self-esteem and confidence. And instills our kids to have compassion for animals and people throughout their life.
  • Pets – whether they have fur, fins, feathers or scales – teach responsibility. They need to be fed, their area cleaned, walked, played with and taught manners. They also need regular visits to the vet.
  • Children and families learn safe handling of pets. As well as how to keep both your child and pet safe in different situations.4539143 - a little dog licking a young boy's nose
  • They give your kid a playmate. Even if your child has siblings and friends a pet gives them another friend. One to learn new games with, like fetch and tug-of-war. And a friend to make them smile if they’ve had a bad day.
  • They also help kids understand the different stages of life. Life has lots of different happenings – birth, health, illness, growing older and death. With having a pet, your children will experience some or all of these different events, which are both happy and sad. Though no parent wants their child to experience illness or death, they will be better able to cope with life because of experiences with their pet.

Enjoy the smiles, laughter and heart tugs you feel as you watch your kids grow with their pets.

Ultimately our wish is that our pets help our children become kind, caring and compassionate adults – making the world a better place to live.

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.