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How to Properly Approach a Dog

 

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The scenario happens all the time: a cutedog out for a walk grabs the attention of a canine-loving passerby. If you have a furry friend yourself, you’re probably very familiar with this encounter. It’s inevitable; people love dogs! We’re not here to change that. But there are a few things to know that will make the exchange easier on both ends…

If you’re the dog-loving passerby:

If you see a dog you absolutely must say hello to, asking permission from the owner is the required first step. No skipping this one! Remember: even if a dog looks friendly, it’s respectful (and wise) to approach the human before approaching the dog. Not only is it good etiquette, but it also sets the tone for the interaction. This article (LINK to Ny mag article) makes a great point: If the dog sees his owner comfortable and relaxed, he’s more likely to be comfortable with you, too.

Another tip we’d add: Sometimes, dogs feel on edge when they’re leashed. Instead of reaching towards them, let them approach you by tapping your thigh and speaking in a friendly, cheerful manner, turning your body slightly to the side. Always let the dog call the shots!

And if you’re the owner:

Look to your furry pal for cues: if she seems relaxed, curious, or initiates the greeting herself, she may up for it. If you have a dog that loves treats, have those on hand for people who want to meet her. Lastly, it’s always okay to politely decline, especially if you have a timid or shy canine. Meeting a stranger can be overwhelming, especially for pups that need time to warm up. Don’t ever feel bad about that!

 

4 Tips for Raising Your Kid with Pets

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There’s a reason security questions often ask for your first pet’s name. Everyone will always remember their first pet – not just their name, but how they kept you company while you were sick, and always knew to come to you for treats and table scraps. Not only has it been proven that having a pet improves motor skill development in children, it increases exercise, boosts self-esteem, fosters social interactions and can even help kids excel in school. Here are our top 4 tips for raising kids with furry friends…

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Fact Vs. Fiction: Grain Free Dog Food

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When I adopted my dog, Juniper, the shelter handed me a baggie dog food and told me they had fed her a grain free diet, so it was best I did the same. They were adamant it would keep her coat shiny and her health in tip-top shape. I was a new dog owner, so of course I took their advice!

For almost three years, I kept the pantry stocked with high-end grain free food, which cost me a whopping $60 a bag. But it was healthy and kept her coat shiny, right? According to this article, grain-free food dominates the top of the niche pet food markets and caters to people like me, without having any scientific evidence to back their claims of being better suited for dog’s digestion. Surprised to learn that? Here are four other things that you may not know about grain-free food, broken down into fact vs. fiction…

Fiction: Grain-free means carb free.

Fact: In most instances, “grain-free” dog food still has carbohydrates in it, usually in the form of sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, and other high-starch ingredients, which are not necessarily better for dogs, and in some instances might be harder to digest than whole grains.

Fiction: A grain free diet will help with your dog’s food allergies.

Fact: In one study on food allergies tested on 278 dogs, beef, not grain, was actually the most common allergen, followed by dairy. Only 7 dogs were allergic to grain (in the form of corn).

Fiction: Grains are bad for dogs

Fact: Rather than focusing on grain itself, pet owners should be considering their furry friend’s entire diet. “Grain-free diets offer no more health benefits than a diet with grains,” states the article, “and each diet should be considered based on the overall nutrient profile rather than individual ingredients.”

Of course, always check with your veterinarian when making an adjustment in your four-legged friend’s diet.

 

 

Your Cat Loves You More Than You Think

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Cats get the bad rep for being the less affectionate of our four-legged pets, but if you’re a cat owner, you know it’s far from the truth. In fact, cats can be the most loving and loyal companions you can have, and new research is here to back it up….

In a new study conducted by Oregon State University, researchers presented 50 felines with four stimuli: human interaction, food, toy, and scent. This study was done in conjunction with dogs, but it was the behavior of the felines that peeked researcher’s interest: across the board, cats were drawn to the social interaction first, even after being deprived of all four for a few hours. It even rang true for shelter cats, too.

So why it is such common belief that cats are not very personable? “This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for,” states the author of the study. We have the tendency, as pet owners, to compare our felines to canines, but maybe that’s where we’re getting it wrong – after all, they couldn’t be any more different (their ways of communicating love and affection are vastly different, too!). While it comes as no surprise that kitties do, actually, seek human contact, we love the attention this study is bringing to the media.

And just for fun, here are some wonderful photos of cats, because we couldn’t love the creatures any more than we already do.

 

2 Ingredient Dog Treats

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We’re doing something a little different today, and sharing a homemade dog treat recipe that wins over even the pickiest canines, and requires minimal effort (no stirring or measuring!). Plus, they’re made with sweet potatoes, which are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins for your four-legged friend. Here’s how to whip them up…

Chicken Wrapped Sweet Potato Treats

2 sweet potatoes
1 chicken breast, fat removed, chilled in the freezer.

Preheat oven to 175 F*. Peel sweet potatoes, and cut them into matchsticks — about the size of fries. Cut them in half or thirds so each one is about an inch in length. Arrange them on a sheet tray and bake for 1-2 hours, or until they start to dry out. They should still be firm.

Thinly slice the chicken breast into strips, as you would for chicken jerky (it’s easier if the chicken is a little frozen). Wrap the pieces snugly around the sweet potato pieces and place back on baking sheet seam side down. Bake for an additional 2 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are soft but somewhat dry, and the chicken is completely cooked and dry in appearance. That’s it! I haven’t met a single dog that doesn’t love these. They should last for about a week in an airtight container. These make a special, healthy treat for your furry pal. Enjoy!

4 Things You Should be Doing to Maintain Your Cat’s Dental Hygiene

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According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by the young age of 3. While certainly troublesome, there’s good news, because dental disease is entirely preventable. The key is to start right away (like today). Here are 4 tips for keeping your kitty’s teeth clean.

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4 Things You Should be Doing to Maintain Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene

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We’ve all heard the theory that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. While we’re skeptical of its truth, we do know that dental hygiene is incredibly important when it comes to not just our own health, but our pups as well. Here are 4 big ways to keep those slobbery kisses clean…

BRUSH. We repeat, brush your dog’s teeth. Yes, we know it’s a pain, but it’s also VERY important. Brushing your furry friend’s chompers will not only prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque, but it will keep Fido’s teeth healthy, strong, and bacteria-free. The next time you feel like skipping it just remember: periodontal disease is the number one killer among cats and dogs. Read how to brush your dog’s teeth here.

Dental treats and raw bones. Synthetic bones are great ways to keep your dog’s teeth clean between brushings. These days, there are plenty on the market that specifically target dental care (we like the Plaque Attacker. And of course, Greenies work wonderfully and double as tasty treats! A quick note: we recommend avoiding cow hooves, antlers, and any other hard bone that could cause teeth cracking or excessive bleeding – especially if your dog already suffers from teeth decay.

Perform routine inspections. After brushing and while you’ve still got your dog’s mouth in your hands, we recommend performing mini inspections. Take a minute to root around in your furry friend’s mouth for any lumps, bumps, or discoloring. While not necessarily pleasant, also make note of any changes in your dog’s breath. To keep bad breath at bay, try Plaque Remover Pet Water or these dental wipes.

Schedule dental cleanings and oral exams with your veterinarian. For older dogs, every 6 months. For younger dogs, annually. Don’t skip this part! Consistency is key for maintaining your furry friend’s dental hygiene.

 

Why Cats Meow at Night (And Tips for Stopping it)

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Picture this: you’re settling in to bed after a long day. The cat is curled up at your feet and you can’t wait to catch up on some sleep. You dose off — only to be awoken in the middle of the night to loud meowing. Your cat sounds distressed and anxious as he paces about the room. You throw a pillow over your head, but your furry companion’s sounds can still be heard. Sound familiar?

This behavior, while common, can be disruptive and, we’ll admit, very annoying. Cats are nocturnal animals, which means (unfortunately) that they’re somewhat hardwired to stir come nightfall. Still, there are a few ways to make it bearable…

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