What are the best ways to keep your pup — and you — active and moving? Here's five expert tips to get your dog fitter and healthier!
(BPT) - Face it, getting enough exercise is tough for everyone, and it's certainly true when it comes to our pets. The amount of exercise your dog may need varies, depending on the age, size and breed, but most dogs need more exercise than they're getting, especially during the colder months when we all prefer to stay indoors. Consult your veterinarian for guidelines about how much exercise your dog should be getting to stay in top condition, then make a plan to add more pep to your dog's step.
Dr. Jeff Weber, Emmy award-winning celebrity veterinarian, says that play and exercise are key to keeping our four-legged friends healthy: "Just like humans, there is a strong correlation to obesity in pets when they eat more and exercise less. In fact, it has been estimated that up to 50 percent of dogs and cats in this country are overweight or, worse yet, obese. It's important to get your pet up and moving."
What are the best ways to keep your pup — and you — active and moving?
1. Vary your walking route
When you're walking your dog, switch up the route now and then to keep it more interesting for both of you. Work on adding a few minutes or a couple of extra blocks to your walk any chance you get, and you’ll both benefit from the extra steps.
2. Pick up the pace
Rather than just taking a leisurely stroll, walk with purpose, like you’re trying to get somewhere. This will make it a more heart-healthy workout for the both of you. Ease into it slowly, trying 5 minutes quicker, followed by 5 minutes slower, until you both get used to the faster pace. Enlist different family members to join you or take turns at the walks to vary the walking pace your dog experiences.
3. Bring friends along
You’re more likely to enjoy and stick with regular walking dates if you can make some of your walks into a social occasion, whether your friends also have dogs or not. Instead of meeting someone for coffee or drinks, meet up with them for a walk-and-talk with your dogs.
4. Make time for active play
In addition to walking every day, mix it up! Spend a little extra time encouraging active play like a good game of fetch with your dog. You can play fetch at a nearby park or right in your yard, if you have enough space for your dog to run around. Not good at throwing? No worries — a toy like Chuckit! launcher from Petmate can keep your dog engaged and excited to run and fetch for a lively, active play session that will be fun for both of you.
"Fetch play is a terrific way to increase stamina and keep your pup in shape,” says Weber.
The interactive game of fetch encourages healthy movement and cardiovascular endurance for pets and pet owners, especially as active play and movement declines when the weather gets colder. Fetch is also an effective way to help train and develop positive behavior in puppies or newly adopted four-legged family members.
5. Exercise their brains
Create an obstacle course in your yard or use puzzle games to help keep your dogs mentally active — which can relieve boredom for dogs who spend time alone.
Research your dog's breed to discover what stimulus they are most likely to respond to, so you can find new toys and activities your dog will love. Examples might be hide-and-seek games, having them use their sense of smell to find treats or chasing (non-toxic) bubbles.
Spending time playing with your dog is not only fun and a terrific stress-reliever for both of you, but it also strengthens the human-pet bond. Give your pet healthy exercise that every dog needs and your furry friend will be happier, too.
There are many emotional benefits to owning a dog, such as companionship and unconditional love, but a pet can also positively affect his or her owners’ physical health, too. Consider these five simple ways pet owners can take the best care of their dogs.
5 Ways to Help Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy
(Family Features) There are many emotional benefits to owning a dog, such as companionship and unconditional love, but a pet can also positively affect his or her owners’ physical health, too.
According to studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spending quality time with a dog can help ease stress and anxiety for the owner and can even lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. To be able to reap the health benefits of dog ownership, it’s key to ensure you’re taking proper care of your dog with quality nutrition and plenty of exercise.
Veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber offers these five simple ways pet owners can take the best care of their dogs, because when dogs are happy and healthy, their owners can be, too. To learn more about how dogs’ health is linked to their owners’, and for more tips for feeding your pet, visit IAMS.com.
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Bringing home a puppy or kitten can lead to a lot of excitement. However, discussing issues that may arise and preparing in advance for a new pet’s arrival can help make for a smooth transition. Consider these tips to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home a resounding success.
5 Tips to Successfully Bring a New Pet into Your Home
(Family Features) Bringing home a puppy or kitten can lead to a lot of excitement. However, discussing issues that may arise and preparing in advance for a new pet’s arrival can help make for a smooth transition.
Consider these tips from the pet experts at PetSmart Charities to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home a resounding success.
Know that pet parenting is a lifetime commitment. That oh-so-sweet puppy or kitten stage only lasts so long, so be sure that you’re prepared to give a lifetime of loving care. Nurturing the bond you create during the early months can create a foundation for lifelong companionship.
Consider adoption first. There are literally thousands of animals of all breeds and ages looking for loving homes. Consider adopting a pet that needs a home from a local shelter or adoption event.
“When you consider an option like adoption, you can make sure one less dog or cat is living in a shelter while also providing the gift of unconditional love to a furry friend in need,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities, which helps find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. “As a way to make adoption more accessible, we work with local adoption partners to bring adoptable pets into PetSmart stores each and every day, and especially during our National Adoption Weekends, which take place in stores nationwide.”
Select an appropriate pet. Integrating a pet into your household, especially for a first-time pet owner, can take some work. It’s important to consider factors like how often you travel, whether your work schedule will allow a visit home during the day for a potty-training puppy and if you’re willing to provide necessary care, such as daily brushing for a long-haired animal. Also consider whether you truly want a puppy or a kitten; an adult pet offers numerous benefits, such as potentially being house-trained already and more resilient for play with small kids.
Provide structure for your pet. In a new family, a pet will often look for where he or she fits in and try to understand the rules of the house. Dogs, especially, crave routine, boundaries and rules. Cats like to know what to expect, too. When pets don’t understand, they can feel uncertain and some pets might hide until they feel more comfortable. Sensible rules can help pets feel secure in their new environments. Being consistent with training, helping pets understand what behavior you want and providing a solid routine can help them feel comfortable and confident.
Prepare for pet parenting. The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys. Look into training classes and find a veterinarian you trust for regular checkups. Also take time to pet-proof your home, removing items that may pose a health threat or create temptations for undesirable behaviors.
Find more advice on introducing a new pet to your home and locate a local adoption event near you at petsmartcharities.org .
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In many of homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities. In celebration of cities that have become more pet-friendly, consider these ways pets can make people and communities happier and healthier.
5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier
(Family Features) More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.
To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.
“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”
Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.
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According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives. Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients.
(BPT) - For pediatric patients, being in the hospital can be a frightening, vulnerable and lonely experience, especially for those undergoing serious medical treatments. However, research has shown that dogs, with their playful, comforting and loving nature, can have beneficial, long-lasting effects on pediatric patients.
According to Purdue University, interacting with animals in different environments, including hospitals, could improve our physical and mental health, as well as enhance aspects of our daily lives.
Here are a few things to know about in-residence dogs and their positive impact on pediatric patients:
1) In-residence dogs are highly trained service dogs that work in healthcare settings and perform specialized tasks. They are also trained to create an emotional connection with pediatric patients, helping to provide them with joy, comfort and other medical benefits.
2) Different from volunteer dogs that visit a hospital for a short time, in-residence dogs have a similar work schedule as their human counterparts, working closely with their handlers. They often have access to non-sterile clinics and inpatient units.
3) In-residence dogs can be an integral part of a child’s treatment team. They perform a range of tasks that help medical teams achieve their clinical goals. In-residence dogs can be trained to do incredible things like keep kids calm during medical interventions, teach them how to take a pill or model how to put on a hospital gown.
4) In-residence dogs can help lower a pediatric patient’s stress and anxiety by serving as a pleasant distraction. Hospital staff report that children who interact with in-residence dogs often require less medication.
While in-residence dog programs have potential, they are relatively new. Out of more than 220 children’s hospitals in the U.S., only a few have in-residence dog programs. By implementing such programs, hospitals could give more pediatric patients the opportunity to experience the joy and health benefits that come with in-residence dogs.
Dr. Jana Stockwell, a pediatric critical care physician at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, serves as a handler for an in-residence dog named Tidings. “Our Children’s dogs are full-time employees with a meaningful job to do, and on a daily basis, Tidings helps children be more engaged, encourages them to get out of bed, and even inspires them to tell us about a pet at home that they’re missing," she said. "Our in-residence dogs never fail to lift the spirits of kids and adults alike.”
Foundation brings dogs to hospitals
To fill this unmet need and further its mission to bring joy to kids battling illness or hunger, the Joy in Childhood Foundation, the independent charitable foundation of Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, has launched “Dogs for Joy,” a program to bring in-residence dogs to children’s hospitals nationwide.
Dogs in this program are bred and trained as service dogs but “work” full-time in children’s hospitals. Through more than $2 million in initial grants, the program will increase the number of in-residence dog programs in pediatric healthcare settings around the country and the prevalence of animal-assisted therapy as part of treatment.
The Joy in Childhood Foundation invites children’s hospitals nationwide to apply for a Dogs for Joy grant if they’re interested in launching a new in-residence dog program or expanding an existing program. Funds awarded cover costs for launching and maintaining an in-residence dog program at a hospital, including adoption of the dog, training of select staff, dog food, dog grooming needs, dog toys and more. Applicants can apply via www.joyinchildhoodfoundation.org/dogsforjoy.
When it comes to keeping pets at a healthy weight, humans can contribute to both the problem and the solution. Just as people need to control the temptation to overindulge, pet owners need to control the temptation to overindulge their pets. Armed with the knowledge that extra treats and table scraps can have a negative impact on a pet’s health, it’s never too late to make some changes for the better with these tips.
Fight the Beg
Proper feeding habits can help with pet obesity
(Family Features) When it comes to keeping pets at a healthy weight, humans can contribute to both the problem and the solution. Just as people need to control the temptation to overindulge, pet owners need to control the temptation to overindulge their pets.
A survey of pet owners by Royal Canin in 2018 revealed that more than half of cat and dog owners always or often give their pets food if they beg for it, and almost a quarter of cat and dog owners sometimes overfeed their pets to keep them happy.¹
“When sad eyes plead for one more treat or constant meowing reminds you the treats are in easy reach, it’s common for pet owners to give in to the temptation and play into that begging behavior,” said Dr. Eric Mueller, veterinarian and Royal Canin spokesperson. “Unfortunately, in the long run, those quick responses can have some damaging results for a pet’s overall health.”
Estimates suggest that as many as 59 percent of dogs and 52 percent of cats worldwide are overweight1. Yet according to the survey, only a quarter of cat and dog owners describe their pets as overweight. The survey also revealed owners may not understand how much food cats and dogs need or what they should or should not eat.
The strong emotional bond between owners and their pets may be part of the issue. Many owners express affection for their pets through feeding, which can easily lead to the pet consuming more calories than it needs. In the survey, 59 percent of cat and dog owners said they feel rewarded when feeding their pets and 77 percent said their animals get excited about being fed.
However, many owners are not fully aware of the consequences of overfeeding their pets. More than 60 percent of survey respondents were unaware that overweight pets may be susceptible to diabetes and orthopedic disease. Pet owners also reported a lack of awareness in the relationship between their pets’ excessive weight and reduced quality of life, increased risk of heart disease and shorter lifespans.
Armed with the knowledge that extra treats and table scraps can have a negative impact on a pet’s health, Mueller says it’s never too late to make some changes for the better:
Talk to a veterinarian. Obesity is a medical concern. Pet owners should feel comfortable seeing their veterinarian to start a conversation about their pet’s weight. If a veterinarian identifies that there is an issue, he or she can develop a weight loss plan to help a pet reach its ideal weight and body condition, as well as discuss solutions to help control begging during the weight loss process.
Practice smart nutrition. Not surprisingly, proper nutrition is often one of the first solutions a veterinarian is likely to recommend to address a pet’s weight problem. One option your veterinarian may recommend is ROYAL CANIN VETERINARY DIET® SATIETY® SUPPORT cat and dog formulas, which provide great taste and are clinically proven to support weight loss and help reduce begging. The formulas use the highest industry standards and quality ingredients and are designed to help keep pets feeling full and satisfied between meals.
Focus on portion control. Although many varieties of pet food include recommended serving sizes on the packaging, those servings are general guidelines and don’t take into account a pet’s unique circumstances and dietary needs. A better approach when working to bring a pet’s weight down is to measure out the recommended feeding amount directed by a veterinarian.
Encourage exercise. Encourage regular physical activity. This can be anything from brief periods of play to long walks. Remember to adjust the intensity based on the individual abilities of your pet.
Maintain consistency. Changing behaviors can be challenging. Your personal motivation and commitment are critical to the success of your pet’s weight loss program. Remember that a pet is not likely to immediately understand why the treats have ceased or why mealtime looks different. Attention-seeking behaviors may even amplify for a time. Hold firm and be consistent in resisting those begging eyes and you can find the process becomes easier for both of you.
Learn more about managing your pet’s nutritional and dietary needs at RoyalCanin.com .
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images (Dogs playing with ball)
¹ Royal Canin 2018 Online Survey of Pet Owners
It’s always a good time to pay attention to your family’s health and happiness, and that includes your feline friends, too. Regular exercise and wholesome nutritional choices can help ensure your cat is happy and healthy all year long. These five tips can help keep your cat purring for years to come.
5 Health Tips for Your Feline Friend
(Family Features) It’s always a good time to pay attention to your family’s health and happiness, and that includes your feline friends, too. Regular exercise and wholesome nutritional choices can help ensure your cat is happy and healthy all year long.
These five tips can help keep your cat purring for years to come. For more information on keeping your cat happy and healthy, visit IAMS.com.
1. Create a Space for Your Cat – As most cat owners know, cats have energy they need to exert throughout the day. Create a space specifically for your cat that includes a cat tree and toys, which allows them to climb around, expel extra energy or use this space to do what cats do best, take a catnap.
2. Provide Healthy and Tasty Meals – Nutrition is a major player in the overall health and happiness of cats. They are natural carnivores and need the proper amount of protein in their diets. Providing your cat a diet with high-quality, animal-sourced protein, such as IAMS™ High Protein cat food, can help them maintain healthy vitality and fuel their carnivorous spirit.
3. Find the Perfect Toys – Cats are curious creatures and love being on the prowl. Make sure you have a variety of toys on-hand for your cat to play with, including laser pointers, stuffed mice and feather wands. These items will not only keep them busy, but they offer a great form of exercise to keep them active.
4. Give Them Some Love – Spending quality time with your furry friend can be as easy as allowing them to curl up with you on the couch at the end of a long day. Show some love by treating them to a nightly brushing, which can help maintain coat health and shininess.
5. Visit the Vet – One of the easiest, and often overlooked, tips for maintaining your feline friend’s health is taking them to the veterinarian at least once a year rather than simply waiting for signs of illness. Scheduling yearly checkups can help identify any problems that may go unnoticed.
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Introducing a feline into the family can be an exciting time, but it’s important to remember that a new home is often a big change for a little cat. Try these simple tips to help ensure a smooth transition for your new four-legged family member.
Tips for Welcoming a Feline to the Family
(Family Features) Introducing a feline into the family can be an exciting time, but it’s important to remember that a new home is often a big change for a little cat. Whether it’s a kitten or an adult cat, providing your new pet with proper nutrition, the comforts of a good home and engaging playtime are just a few of the key things to keep in mind.
Try these simple tips from the experts at the TEMPTATIONS™ brand to help ensure a smooth transition for your new four-legged family member.
For more tips on taking care of a new kitten or cat, visit TemptationsTreats.com.
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