Top Ways to Keep Your Dogs and Cats Entertained

People often believe that if their pet has lots of love, water, food and proper medical care then they are set for life. Two items we often forget about are:

Giving them adequate physical exercise, and,

Plenty of mental challenges to stimulate their brains.

These two factors can increase their quality of life by leaps and bounds. ASPCA Animal Trainer, Kristen Collins, touts that “Pets need jobs.” Both dogs and cats have a need to be engaged and stay busy. Keep in mind that animals were created to take care of themselves by foraging or hunting for food and shelter. Although our pets have been domesticated, their energy levels and natural instincts still exist. More often than not our pets are bored and spend the day laying around waiting for us to return home from work. This is why animals get into mischief while we are away. They need simulation to deal with the overwhelming restless feeling. Much like children, dogs and cats that are left to their own devices must find new ways to entertain themselves. When you find your cat or dog gnawing or scratching on furniture or shoes, eating houseplants, tipping over the garbage can or spending excessive amounts of time barking or meowing, then it is time to take action (or, consider taking action before these behaviors occur). Several different workouts are recommended:

For Dogs:

Get moving — Healthy dogs need a minimum of one hour of aerobic exercise per day. Kristen recommends breaking this into 2 separate 30 minute sessions. Great ways to burn off that energy are jogging, playing at the dog park and swimming.

Games — Combine exercise with a lesson by involving your pet in structured games. These can be games such as tug-of war or fetch. These types of games teach your dog about impulse control and creates a closer relationship between the two of you. Great items for the game of fetch include items such as an Air KONG squeaker tennis ball, a plain tennis ball, flexible Frisbee for dogs, Flying Squirrel fetch toy, or maybe just a … Read the rest

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4 Tips for Your First Vet Visit

So you just got a pet and you’re preparing for your first vet visit! For many pets, a trip to the vet can be an extremely traumatic experience causing lots of anxiety; unfortunately the reason for this is often unknown other than simple fear of the unknown.   As a caring pet owner, you can’t just avoid the vet as that would put your pet’s health in jeopardy!  But there are some helpful steps you can take to ease your pet’s stress and make the appointment go as smoothly as possible.

1)    Avoid peak hours

Peak hours can vary depending on the day and clinic, however; most veterinary clinics are the busiest early in the morning and in the late afternoon-evening and on weekends.  You may be tempted to schedule your pet’s appointments during these times because they’re convenient.  But this can increase an animal’s stress level due to the crowdedness and other animals that will be around.    If possible, arrange your appointments for a less popular time.  You can even ask an employee at the clinic to figure out a day when there aren’t very many appointments booked!

2)    Bring treats

Dogs and cats love their treats and they are more likely to be obedient towards you if you have a reward.  You can guide your pet’s interest away from whatever chaos is going on around them by offering them treats.  You don’t have to bring treats every time, but consider it for the first vet visit, make it a special trip for your pet!

3)    Familiarize your pet

If you go to a local clinic that is within walking or quick driving distance, it is possible for you to drop by the office casually to get your pet acquainted with the area.  You should first explain your situation to the staff, though, so they know what you are doing when you come in.  By doing this, the next check-up your pet has will go much more smoothly.

4)    Stay calm

Pets can often sense their owner’s emotions.  If you are feeling anxious, fearful or sad, it is … Read the rest

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