Pet Advice & Ideas

Improving Your Relationship with Your Companion Animal

 

For many of us, the pressures of modern life can be quite taxing, leaving us little one-on-one time with our companion animals. And yet, experts believe that positive changes in your pets’ temperament can be brought about just by your spending quality time with them. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that by enriching the relationship you share with your cat or dog, your quality of your life will improve, too.

The first step in your efforts to enhance these interactions is to assess your current level of personal contact. Perhaps the best way to achieve this is by making a list of the typical weekly interactions you engage in with your companion animal. Once you create the list, grade yourself by asking whether or not you could, or should, be doing more.

If you’re unsure what you might do to enjoy quality time together, don’t worry - here are some tips for making the most of your time together and the best of your dog or cat's time alone. Consider incorporating any or all of these in your daily life …

Set aside a few minutes in the morning to groom your cat or dog. While brushing or combing, talk to them about your plans for the day. If your pets don’t enjoy grooming, spend a few minutes just petting and praising them. Whatever your daily morning interaction, try to do it at same time and in the same place. Your companion will find comfort in the regimen – and so will you.

Leave something that smells like you, like a pillow case or a recently-worn shirt, on or near your pet’s favorite spot. Your four-footer will find your scent reassuring during your time away from home.

If you have an answering machine, call home when you’re away and talk to your pet. Hearing your voice can improve the relationship and be reassuring to them during your absence.

When you return home after a long period away, greet your companions as if you’ve only been away for a few minutes and then do whatever chores are most pressing. Afterwards, do something that he or she will enjoy, like (if you have a dog) a game of catch, hide-and-seek, or take a long walk. No matter what you do together, be sure to tell him or her how much fun you are having. If you have cats, we recommend playing with a ball or using a fishing pole with dangling feathers – you know your cat loves the chase! It’s important to dedicate this time to your pet alone, so consider leaving your cell phone in another room if you’re indoors, or indoors if you’re outside. Take it from me – your undivided attention makes a big difference.

Incorporate teeth cleaning, ear cleaning and/or nail trimming into your new routine. Too often, these health necessities are viewed grudgingly as chores. Commit to making this time as fun as possible. It helps to think of these activities like time at a spa.

Massage is a wonderful way to connect with your companion animals. Check out one of the many pet massage books currently on the market to help you develop a technique that’s easy on you and feels good to them. There is evidence to suggest that massage can improve your pet’s health, and it may even relax you, too.

Whatever you choose to do to improve your relationship, even if it’s just one of these suggestions, will help you and your dog or cat to lead more fulfilling lifetimes.

Thank you for all that you do to make a better world for your companion animals,

Dr. Jane Bicks
HealthyPetNet Product Formulator


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Make the Holidays Safe and Stress-Free for Your Dogs and Cats

If you’re like most people, you’re currently in the midst of another incredibly busy holiday season. With planning, traveling, baking, shopping, get-togethers with friends and family, there seems to be no end to the to-do list … or the holiday stress. Unfortunately, during all of the hustle and bustle, we sometimes forget about the needs of our four-legged family members.

Dogs and cats can be overwhelmed by visitors, the smells coming from the kitchen, and the curious colors and textures of holiday decorations in the home. The holidays offer up unique hazards for our pets. In fact, every year thousands of pets are seriously injured or sickened by dangers that could have been easily prevented. In most of these cases, pet parents are simply unaware of the risks associated with holiday food, treats and decorations. And that’s why we’re so pleased to bring you the following presentation.

In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah details many of these holiday hazards for dogs and cats, including decorations and food risks that might be present in your home right now. Additionally, Dr. Sarah shares easy-to-follow tips on surviving the holiday season with less stress and more joy.

Be sure to share this safety video with your friends and family. Who knows … one of the gifts you give may be saving the life of a furry companion!


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Foreclosure Crisis Leads to More Homeless Pets - The Dr Jane's HealthyPetNet Foundation to the Rescue!

Even though the ongoing housing crisis shows small signs of recovery, another crisis is growing to epidemic proportions. Countless dogs and cats have been, and are continuing to be abandoned by families driven out of their homes due to foreclosures. These devastating situations result in dire circumstances for pets, who are either left trapped inside a foreclosed home with little or no food and no one to provide medical attention, or are turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves.

Fortunately, when a group of real estate professionals in Scotsdale, Arizona, were faced with these heartbreaking situations, time-after time, they decided to do something about it. More...

Eating Number Two is Number One Among Pet Parent Concerns

What is coprophagia? For those of you that have a dog that does it, no explanation is necessary. But for the rest of us…

According to Wikipedia, coprophagia is the consumption of feces, from the Greek κόπρος copros ("feces") and φαγεῖν phagein ("to eat"). Many animal species practice coprophagia as a matter of course; other species do not normally consume feces but may do so under unusual conditions.

Gross!

It is a fact of life: many of us know and love a dog that practices this disgusting gustatory habit, and many dog owners are pulling their hair out trying to get their pet to stop! More...

Foundation Delivers Aid to Retired Racing Greyhounds

Thanks to The Dr. Jane’s HealthyPetNet Foundation, four “retired” Greyhounds have crossed the finish line to guaranteed shelter and care, until they can be adopted into loving, forever families.

Our charitable non-profit’s latest financial award was bestowed upon the Greyhound Adoption of Greater Cincinnati, which is dedicated to saving the lives of retired racing Greyhounds. More...

Not All Dog Treats are Created Equal

For years, holistic practitioners have worked to educate consumers about how even the slightest changes in environment, stress and diet can cause significant changes in health. As a holistic vet myself, I believe that nothing should be overlooked when it comes to ensuring the wellness of our beloved buddies.

Since we know that food is the foundation for a healthy life, most people select the best food to provide the many essential nutritional components our dogs can’t do without. But to make sure they receive the nutrition required to help boost healthy functioning, additional nourishment from healthy dog treats can be just what the doctor ordered.

To that end, dog treats should be selected based upon their nutritional merits rather than on cost, flavor or glitzy packaging.

Your pet’s treats should add the healthy components that are known to support hardy immune systems, strong muscles and optimal health. The nutrients required for superior support of these systems can be found in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as in foods like cranberries, apples, tomatoes, rice bran, whole grains and many others. Unsurprisingly, these wholesome foods appear in the ingredient panels of some of the premium treats I’ve been fortunate enough to formulate for Life's Abundance.

If your dog could decide which treats they’d want, I feel confident that they would choose all of those offered by Life's Abundance, including Antioxidant Health Bars (Oatmeal & Apple Recipe), Gourmet Dental Treats (Honey Peanut Butter Recipe), Wholesome Hearts Low-Fat Treats and Tasty Rewards Nutritional Training Treats.

I feel very strongly that every treat you give your pet should have a health benefit so that at the end of the day, your pet truly is a reflection of his or her food, dog treats and love.

Thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for companion animals,

Dr. Jane Bicks


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Tips for Holiday Travel With Your Pet

If you are like many people, your holiday plans will include some form of travel. Increasingly, travelers are opting to include their dog or cat on their journeys. According to Road and Travel Magazine, 78% of pet owners are hitting the road and soaring through the skies with their furry friends, and this percentage keeps growing! If you are thinking about taking your companion animal along for the ride, keep in mind that traveling with pets usually involves more than just putting them in the backseat and driving off, especially if you are traveling long distances.

If you are traveling by plane, there are many things to consider, including proper documentation, regulations and services, and a special carrier. If by car, consider booking hotels that accept dogs or cats well in advance of your travels. International travel represents a whole new set of challenges, including quarantine periods, a different set of laws and regulations, and special fees and documents.

Unfortunately, some pets become separated from their pet parents during travel – it is important to protect your pet with proper ID. Also, for any kind of traveling, there are certain things you should pack (like food and medication) and other things best left at home. If you aren’t prepared, you may be adding to the stress of the season for both you and your companion animal. The best bet to a safe and hassle-free trip is proper planning and preparation: what you don’t need in the middle of a trip is one more thing to worry about.

In this video, Dr. Sarah details suggested preparations for traveling with your companion animal. From necessary travel documents and how to keep your pet safe, to ideas for easy clean-up so your dog or cat doesn’t wear out their welcome, this video is a must-see for merry holiday travel planning!


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Palm City, Florida – When the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County issued a public plea for assistance, after their dog population doubled in a single day, a company headquarted in Palm City stepped up to the plate … literally.

Seventy-five Chihuahuas and one Pug were dropped off at the shelter on October 19th, when a local breeder hit hard by the economy determined she could no longer operate her business.

Life's Abundance heeded the Society’s call for donations, providing more than 300 pounds of Life’s Abundance Premium Health Food for Puppies & Adult Dogs and Life’s Abundance Weight-Loss Formula for Adult Dogs and 46 pounds of Gourmet Dental Treats – Honey Peanut Butter Recipe. More...

How to brush your dog's teeth

While many people like the smell of puppy breath, the same can’t be said for “Dog breath.” It’s almost universally considered as eye-stingingly unpleasant. This phrase has even been used as a playground insult! While it’s a joke to some, when you look at the science behind foul panting, it’s clear that bad breath is anything but funny.

In fact, bad breath is epidemic, affecting four out of five companion animals over the age of three. Additionally, this condition could be a sign of dental disease, which can lead to health consequences throughout the whole body, not just in the mouth. As some veterinarians have rightly noted, infections of the gums and teeth can spread to other parts of the body, including the heart, kidneys and intestinal tract … even the joints!

Brushing your dog’s teeth and providing them with dental snacks are two ways to help improve the health of teeth and gums, especially in reducing the build-up of plaque. Unfortunately, however, many pet parents find brushing frustrating, which can result in a stressful experience for pets.

Thankfully, Dr. Sarah is here to share with you the proper technique for brushing your dog’s teeth.

If dental health is a priority for you, watch this short, how-to video about dental care, so you can help your pet fight dental disease and bad breath.


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Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease and Stress

As many pet parents know, urinary tract problems are a common kitty complaint. In part, that’s because cats evolved as desert animals, and therefore don’t have a strong instinctual drive to drink water. Not taking in enough fluids can result in a scenario where minerals pile-up in the kidneys and bladder, setting the stage for the formation of stones or crystals.

These problems are common enough that you should be on the lookout for these warning signs:

  • Frequent urination
  • Urination in places other than the litter box
  • If he/she strains to urinate
  • If you see any hint of blood in her urine

And now, there’s evidence to suggest that stress can be one of the primary causes of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Stress can let loose a flood of hormones that could cause the muscles of the lower urinary tract to constrict.  Changes in your routine, a new companion animal in the home, changes in weather and even a lack of attention can increase your cat’s stress level. You can see how important it is to be in-tune with your cat’s emotional state, and take steps to decrease or eliminate stress in her life.

Additionally, you might consider providing water for your cat using a continuous fountain.  The constant motion of the water attracts the attention of cats, hopefully encouraging them to drink more. And, of course, providing fluid-rich canned foods like Instinctive Choice can help boost overall fluid intake, too.

If you take steps now, you might be able to prevent your cat from developing urinary health issues, like FLUTD, helping him or her to live a healthier – and much more comfortable – life.


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