4 Ways Pets Make Humans Better

While pet owners are responsible for taking care of their four-legged friends, they don’t always stop to think about how their pets take care of them in return. From their unconditional love to their ability to combat loneliness and teach empathy, pets provide physical, mental and emotional benefits that can help their owners be better people.

“We know that pets make our lives better,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “They provide joy and companionship for people of all ages, help keep their owners active and can even contribute to a more dynamic social life. We created the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which advocates for fewer pets in shelters and more public places where pets are welcome, so more pets and their owners can live happier, healthier lives together.”

Consider these ways pets can make their owners’ lives better, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more about the benefits of pets and how pet owners can return the favor to their four-legged friends.

  1. Providing Companionship – Pets love unconditionally. No matter what, dogs are excited to see their owners and never try to hide their happy, wagging tails. The companionship of a pet can be especially beneficial as pet owners age. Pets can motivate their aging owners to stay mobile, help them feel needed and provide structure to their daily lives.

  1. Teaching Responsibility – Pets depend on their owners to provide food, shelter and care. Adding a dog or cat to the family can bring a sense of responsibility to its owners, especially children in the house. Every pet is special in his or her own way, so children can learn about how to be gentle with animals, respect boundaries and understand empathy and responsibility. Adopting a pet can also teach children about helping those in need and giving back.

  1. Increasing Socialization – Whether it’s on a walk or at the dog park, furry friends are almost always up for meeting new four- and two-legged friends, which can help their owners be more social as well. Pets have the ability to bring people together, and their openness and instinctive curiosity can teach pet owners to open their hearts to make lasting friendships with others. In fact, a study from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that kids that grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, enhanced social skills and are less lonely.

  1. Enjoying the Moment – When pets chase their favorite toys, they’re usually stress-free and living in the moment. People, however, can sometimes move too quickly and forget to celebrate small joyful moments. Pets are known to help reduce stress and can serve as a reminder to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally). (Family Features)

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

SOURCE:
Mars Petcare

5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier

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.

  1. Ease Kids’ Minds – Pets are beneficial to people of all ages, but especially young children. Kids with pets tend to have less anxiety and loneliness, as well as greater self-esteem and social skills. Kids have also reported feeling more positive when completing a task if their dog is with them.

  1. Provide Stress Relief – As people get older, pets continue to be there for them. Even in the face of significant stressors – such as the loss of a loved one – pets are by their owners’ sides to help them through times of grief.

  1. Offer Therapy in Times of Need – Disasters can take many forms, and people need ways to cope and make sense of it all. That’s where the healing power of pets comes in. After tragedies, communities have brought in therapy pets to be a source of healing for people coping with hardships.

  1. Encourage Socialization for Pets and Owners – Pets help people connect. In fact, dog owners are five times more likely to know their neighbors than non-dog owners. While dogs socialize with people and other furry friends at the dog park, their owners have a chance to build relationships with other local dog owners. People also tend to feel safer in their neighborhood when walking their dog.

  1. Encourage Owners to Be Active – People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t. Pet ownership can even make a difference in the survival rate for heart attacks. In a Waltham study, 94 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks for at least a year, compared to 72 percent without pets. (Family Features)

Photos courtesy of Fotolia.

SOURCE:
Mars Petcare

Help Pets Ward Off Winter Risks

When temperatures drop, humans know to bundle up and avoid excess time outdoors. The same approach should be taken when it comes to pets. They may be covered by cozy fur coats, but not all of those coats are created equally.

“Hypothermia is a real danger for pets in the wintertime, and despite pets’ natural fur coats, it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in and cause serious problems,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert.

Freeman recommends keeping an eye out for the initial signs of hypothermia, such as skin that’s cold to the touch, pale skin and gums, intense shivering and lethargy. In addition, she offers these tips to help protect your pet from a blustery winter:

Outdoor access: Limit walks in extreme cold weather and monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of stress or discomfort. Never leave a pet outside during a winter storm. Do not let your dog off its leash after snowfall. Snow masks familiar scents and your pet may become lost and disoriented.

Chemical hazards: Snow-melting products like deicers, antifreeze and salt can cause skin irritations and, if ingested, can be fatal. If you live in an area where these products are used, it’s important to thoroughly rinse your pet’s paws and belly after a walk.

Adding extra layers: If your pet is small and short-haired, he or she is likely sensitive to the cold. The same goes for older pets and those that may be frail or ill. You can’t take your pet’s temperature by touching its nose, but a shivering body means he or she needs a sweater. Larger and long-haired pets can usually tolerate cold weather for longer periods of time, and even though you might bundle up, your pet has a long, thick coat prepared for long winter walks. Just remember paws get cold and sharp objects may be hiding under the powder – consider putting booties on your pet’s paws for added comfort.

Skin-saving solutions: Many pets get dry skin during the winter season. When they do need a bath, try using a pet-friendly moisturizing shampoo to help keep their skin healthy and pH-balanced.

In addition, a pet emergency preparedness kit should be packed and contain the supplies needed to help keep your pet fed, warm and secure in the event of emergency conditions such as blizzards and extreme cold weather. Items like a sweater, insulated vest, paw booties or wax, pet-safe ice melt and a heated bed or pad can all help head off risks associated with cold weather.

Emergencies can also create circumstances for pets to become separated from their families. In addition to ensuring your pet is wearing a tag with your cell phone number along with microchipping and registering him or her with current contact information, also tuck a copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records, veterinary contact information and a current photo of your pet in your emergency kit.

Keeping your pet well-fed through an emergency also requires advanced planning. Store a one-week supply of food in a waterproof container, along with bottled water, portable bowls, a manual can opener (if your pet eats canned food) and a list of feeding routines and behavioral considerations in case someone else must take over care.

Also be sure to gather any other care items your pet may require, such as puppy pads, waste bags, litter box supplies and calming spray.

Find more advice for keeping your pet safe this winter at PetSmart.com.  (Family Features)

SOURCE:
PetSmart

5 Ways to Show Your Cats You Love Them

Cats take on so many different roles within their owners’ lives and families, such as cuddle buddies, emotional support animals, quiet companions and purring playmates. Each furry feline deserves the best, so as a cat owner, it’s important to shower your pet with love and make him feel special all year round.

Here are five ways you can show your cat just how much you care. For more information on caring for your cat, visit Sheba.com and TemptationsTreats.com.

  1. Give Them Their Own Space – They may be small, but cats need their own space to exert energy during the day. Provide them with an area to call their own to play with and store their toys. If you live in an apartment or a smaller home, vertical space works great for cats. For example, giving your furry pal a cat tree to climb on shows you understand his needs.

 

  1. Know Nutrition – It’s important to understand the ingredients you are feeding your feline and the effects they may have on his body. When in doubt, look for food and treats made with real meat to provide protein cats need, like the SHEBA® brand. Many of the premium recipes come in innovative, single-serve packaging to provide fresh feline meals every time.

  1. Incorporate Hygiene into Your Routine – Treating your cat to a nightly routine of brushing is a great way to show some love while maintaining hygiene. Keeping your cat’s coat healthy and shiny can also make him an even fluffier cuddle buddy, so you can both benefit from the bonding experience of a nightly brush and cuddle session.

  1. Make Playtime a Priority – Cats have a natural curiosity and love to get their paws on things. Make sure you’re giving your cat lots of love by knowing what kind of toys will give him the best experience, like the TEMPTATIONS™ SNACKY MOUSE™ Toy. It’s a mouse-shaped wobble toy, designed to dispense delicious treats and provide a fun, playful treating experience for both cats and owners.

  1. Stay Proactive with Health – An easy way to show love for your cat is to schedule annual visits to the vet. Don’t just wait for signs of illness; be proactive and keep your furry friend up-to-date on all shots and checkups to help ensure a happy and healthy life together. (Family Features)

Photos courtesy of Fotolia.

SOURCE:
Sheba

Temptations

Patriots and Animal Lovers Unite to Help Guardians of Rescue Save Hilal

The Guardians of Rescue are raising funds to help bring Hilal back to America

Imagine being an American soldier stationed in a part of the world where a “holy war on dogs” has been declared. In America, dogs are considered man’s best friend. But in some places in the Middle East, the complete opposite is true, creating a harsh environment for the animals. One U.S. Army Specialist stationed in the Middle East couldn’t idly stand by and watch a puppy being left for dead. Not only did he step in to save it, but he reached out to Guardians of Rescue to help relocate it back to America, where he will make the dog, he named Hilal, a part of his fur-ever family. 

“He has a heart of gold, has saved this dog, and can’t bear to leave it behind in a place where it will likely lead to its death,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization. “Hilal deserves better than that, and so does this soldier who has served his country and is only asking in return that we help get his dog back to the states for him.”

Army Specialist Joseph Gomez found Hilal as a puppy and saved her from the despair that so many dogs in that part of the Middle East succumb to. While for security purposes he cannot share the details of how he rescued her, he can share the condition he was in. He was extremely dehydrated, starving, and in need of medical care. He rescued him, led him to good health, and has created a solid bond with him. Knowing that he would return to the U.S., he reached out to Guardians of Rescue to see if they could help with the risky mission of helping him relocate the dog back to America. 

“I saved Hilal once and now I’m hoping that through the Guardians of Rescue people can help me save him a second time,” added Gomez. “I can’t live with the idea of leaving him behind, because I know what will happen to him, and we have a strong bond. I need to take him back to Oklahoma with me.”

Guardians of Rescue are experience at helping soldiers bring their dogs back to the country. They have a team of experts who work at every step of the mission to ensure the dog makes it safely back to the country. Hilal will first be flown into New York, and then will be taken on to Gomez’ home state of Oklahoma, where the two will be reunited for good. It’s a mission that is not only risky, but is also costly, which is why the rescue group is teaming up with those in the public who support the mission and can help make it a reality.

“When we pull off a mission like this we cannot do it alone,” adds Misseri. “This is a mission that takes the support of people in the community who want to give back and help this soldier and his dog. Even small donations help, because they all add up quickly.”

This is a time-sensitive mission, so the rescue group will need to act quickly. All donations are welcome and appreciated, with no amount being too small. True patriots and animal lovers who want to help can log online and make a donation: https://guardiansofrescue.networkforgood.com/projects/57164-bringing-hilal-home.

Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets. They are located in Long Island, New York, and have chapters in Louisiana and Miami but they help animals in many places beyond where their chapters are located on a national/international level. They are also instrumental in helping military members with their pets. To learn more, get involved, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.

About Guardians of Rescue

Based in New York, Guardians of Rescue is an organization whose mission is to protect the well-being of all animals. They provide aid to animals in distress, including rehabilitation, assisting other rescue groups, and providing support to families, both military and not, who need assistance due to economic factors. To learn more about Guardians of Rescue, visit the site at www.guardiansofrescue.org.

Keep Up with Your Cat’s Health

(Family Features) Despite the fact that cats are more prevalent as pets than dogs, only about one cat per every five dogs receives regular veterinary care. In fact, some research suggests that as many as 50 percent of cat owners don’t take their cats to the vet.

There are a number of factors that contribute to limited veterinary visits for cats. According to a survey by Royal Canin, two-thirds of cat owners simply believe cats have fewer health issues than dogs. However, according to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), routine check-ups are vital for giving cats long, happy and healthy lives.

Cats age more rapidly than humans, and they are quite adept at hiding sickness and pain, making it difficult to know if there is something wrong that requires veterinary attention. Hidden diseases commonly go untreated for this reason, which is why the Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative was created to spread awareness about the importance of preventative feline veterinary care.

For example, up to one-third of cats over the age of 12 have some form of kidney disease. Managing the progression of the disease, if caught early, can be accomplished with a proper diagnosis and reduced-phosphorous diet. Your veterinarian may recommend an option like one of the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet® Renal Support formulas as part of a treatment program.

Obesity is also a common problem for cats that can lead to more severe health issues down the road. In fact, multiple studies indicate that more than half of the nation’s domestic cats are carrying more weight than they should. A veterinarian can help with dietary recommendations and other suggestions to help trim your cat’s waistline, along with screening for the onset of secondary complications.

Another common cat ailment is urinary stones, which can be extremely painful and cannot normally be detected without professional evaluation. Regular visits to the vet can help assess your cat’s risk for developing stones and determine nutritional changes that may help prevent a problem.

Vet visits are also an opportunity to let your veterinarian know about any behavior changes and implement preventive care measures, which can be more effective than reactive care once a problem is revealed.

However, the very act of getting to the vet can be traumatic for cat owners and cats alike. Repetition is likely to help alleviate those concerns as your cat becomes more accustomed to the process, helping to put you at ease as well. In honor of the Take Your Cat to the Vet initiative, consider these tips and tricks from the experts at Royal Canin and the AAFP to make your cat’s visits to the veterinarian easier:

 

1. Get your cat familiar with a carrier. Getting your cat into the carrier is often the most difficult part of getting him or her to the vet. Start by leaving the carrier out at all times and make it a safe place by placing food or a cozy towel inside. Using a secure, stable, hard-sided carrier that opens from the top and the front that can also be taken apart in the middle is best. When traveling, it’s also a good idea to place your cat in the carrier rear-first, cover the carrier with a blanket and avoid bumping into things while carrying it.

2. Make the vet visit a positive experience. It’s easy to imagine that vet visits can seem scary to a cat. Feeding your cat veterinary-approved treats from carrier to clinic can help create a positive connection with the trip and distract your pet from the busy waiting room or examination.

3. Take advantage of slow times at the clinic. The waiting room of an animal hospital can be loud and full of unfamiliar animals and smells, making it a chaotic and overwhelming environment. Ask if certain days or times are slower than others. Scheduling appointments at those times may help your cat feel less overwhelmed by a new environment.

4. Give your cat practice exams. In the examination room, your vet will give your cat a full examination. To make your cat comfortable with being touched in such a manner, consider giving him or her practice examinations at home and positively reward your pet for letting you look at and touch his or her stomach, feet, face and ears.

5. Talk to your vet. Your veterinarian is your best partner to help your cat feel comfortable inside and outside the clinic. Discuss with him or her other ideas to help make visits less stressful.

To learn more about the importance of taking your cat the vet, visit royalcanin.com/cat2vetday.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

SOURCE:
Royal Canin

5 Tips for Keeping Your Cat Happy and Healthy

While the weather may change from summer to fall, your relationship with your feline never goes out of season. Events on the calendar can seem to pile up as the year goes on, but don’t forget to go the extra mile for your pet and show him how much he means to you.

Whether the sun is shining, the leaves are changing colors or there is snow on the ground, these five tips can help you bond with your cat all year long and make sure he is feeling his best.

For more information on keeping your cat happy and healthy, visit cravepetfoods.com and greenies.com.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Create Space to Play

Just like humans and dogs, cats have energy they need to expel throughout the day. Help your cat feel like a member of the family by giving him a dedicated space in the house where you can play together. It can also double as a place to keep his toys.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

  1. Fuel Playtime with a High-Quality Diet

Even the cutest and cuddliest kitties share a connection with their ancestors, so to respect the animal inside, nourish your pet with his natural desires in mind. One purr-worthy option is CRAVE™ cat food, which is made with high-quality animal protein and no grains. The recipes provide the nutrients needed for a strong, lean body and the energy to chase – even if it’s just a toy around the house.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Toys are a Cat’s Best Friends

Cats are curious by nature and almost always looking for something to get their paws on. Have a variety of toys on-hand, such as laser pointers, feather wands and stuffed mice, which can give your cat the chance to practice his pouncing skills. Not only is this a great form of exercise, but it also allows him to exert his instincts to chase.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Keep Him Smiling

When considering your cat’s health, don’t forget about oral care. Dental treats such as GREENIES™ Dental Treats help freshen breath and clean your cat’s teeth, helping to keep bad breath from getting in the way of cuddles with your favorite feline.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Spend Quality Time Together

Don’t let a busy life get in the way of spending quality time and building companionship with your cat. If your schedule is full, try checking off your to-do list with your cat by your side. Fold your laundry or do work in the same room so he knows you’re there. You can also squeeze in snuggle time as you wind down and watch television or read a book before bed. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
https://www.cravepetfoods.com/

https://www.greenies.com/

5 Ways Dogs Can Improve Lives

Whether playmates or protectors, the human-animal bond is often a powerful connection that goes beyond pure companionship. Dogs typically have many talents and personas – they can be man’s best friend, a canine companion during a difficult time or even a service dog helping veterans and others through daily routines. No matter the relationship between dog and human, these animals can improve lives in numerous ways.

Consider these five ways dogs can make a positive impact on your life and those around you, and find more information at bettercitiesforpets.com.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

  1. Pets make communities healthy

It’s no surprise that dog owners are more likely to get out and take a walk around the neighborhood. In fact, taking a quick walk with your dog a few times each week can increase general health and may help reduce rates of obesity.

Photo courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Dogs can be great icebreakers

If you’re new in town or looking for new friends, use your walks as an opportunity to meet your neighbors and engage with other dogs. Dogs can help make easy introductions to other pet owners and non-pet owners alike, and even potentially help you find your next pet-sitter.

  1. Animals can provide a sense of comfort

Some animals are trained to provide therapeutic aid and wellbeing. Therapy and facility dogs help normalize environments, such as hospitals and universities, by alleviating fear and giving comfort during difficult experiences. For example, Mars Petcare’s Better Cities For Pets initiative is working to bring the healing power of pets to more children and families nationwide, including a partnership with Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to support a dedicated facility dog and staff position.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

  1. Many pets protect those who served

Service dogs can help veterans and others who suffer from post-traumatic stress – yet people may be unprepared to accommodate the unique needs of service dogs. To help educate people on how to interact with an individual who has a service dog, American Humane, which has helped the U.S. military and military animals for 100 years, created a wealth of resources, including these informational videos.

Photo courtesy of iStock

  1. Dogs can de-stress the office

Making the office a pet-friendly zone has its perks. In fact, a Mars Petcare survey shows that having furry friends around the office boosts morale and lessens anxiety, giving you even more of a reason to spend all day, every day, with your pet. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Mars Petcare

Prevent Pets from Fleeing in Fright

Summer social gatherings and celebrations involving fireworks can add up to a lot of fun for humans, but it’s an equation that may test the limits for a fearful pet. The break in day-to-day consistency and the chaos that comes with festivities can cause pets to escape in search of solace, which often times results in them leaving their loved ones behind.

“During the summer months, we tend to take a step away from our usual routines and that can be very unsettling for a pet,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president of PetSmart Charities. “While July 5 is known as a day of high intake for local animal welfare organizations due to the noise and chaos associated with the Fourth of July holiday, even small barbecues and other summer events can cause distress that results in a pet fleeing for perceived safety.”

In honor of National Pet Loss Prevention Month, the experts from PetSmart Charities recommend these tips to prevent your pet from running off.

Practice effective “stay” techniques with your pet: Pets and pet parents who participate in behavioral training courses can learn effective ways to communicate during times of leisure or stress. Knowing simple commands like “stop,” “sit” or “stay” can help prevent a pet from running away.

Ensure your pet has proper identification: Microchips are a great way to ensure your pet is armed with the proper identification. To help decrease the number of pets that enter shelters each year across North America, PetSmart Charities supports low-cost microchipping programs in local communities. Whether you use tags, embroidered collars or microchips, make sure you update the information provided at least once a year to ensure the latest contact information is available to those who may find your pet.

Secure your pet’s surroundings: To prevent your pet from running away, provide a comfortable, yet contained environment that he or she may safely explore. This could include a fenced-in backyard during a family barbecue, the use of a leash at a local parade or access to favorite toys for a soothing escape. Don’t forget an ample supply of shade and water to help your pet stay cool and comfortable in the summer heat.

Inquire about calming solutions: Just like pet parents, pets can become sensitive to unexpected events and develop anxiety over time. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to destructive behavior, excessive barking or panting despite lack of exertion. If your pet is exhibiting extreme behavior, ask a veterinarian if calming solutions are a fit ahead of a large gathering.

Know how to handle a lost pet: If you see a lost pet, check his or her tags and contact the pet parent. If the pet shies away from contact, reach out to your local animal control department for assistance. If you lose a pet, contact your local animal control department or your neighborhood shelter to request assistance.

For more information about helping local pets in need, visit petsmartcharities.org. (Family Features)

SOURCE:

PetSmart Charities

Tips for Welcoming a Feline to the Family

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.

  • Cat-Proof the House – In addition to being constantly curious, cats are also instinctive climbers, meaning no surface is out of reach for your new pet. Make sure any potentially dangerous items – such as wires, cleaning supplies and sharp objects – are behind closed doors and inaccessible to your little climber. You can also provide a scratching post to help prevent your cat from scratching unwanted things, like your furniture.
  • Playtime is a Must – As little as 15-30 minutes of exercise and activity per day can help your cat stay energetic and in shape. Encourage your cat’s natural curiosity with engaging toys, such as the TEMPTATIONS™ SNACKY MOUSE™ Toy. Simply fill the mouse-shaped wobble toy with your cat’s favorite TEMPTATIONS treats and watch them entertain themselves by trying to knock the treats out of the toy and gobble them up. Playing together can also help strengthen the bond between owner and pet.
  • Create Some Comfort – Make your new friend truly feel like part of the family by giving him or her a personal spot in the house. A simple bed to call his own, a cat tree to view his new surroundings and some soft toys to play with are all it takes to provide the initial comfort to make your pet feel safe and welcome in a new home. For cats that prefer privacy when they’re not playing, a covered or hooded bed is a great option.
  • Fuel Your Feline – Taking care of your cat’s health starts with proper nutrition. Be sure to find a high-quality cat food that has recipes that are nutritionally tailored to meet the specialized needs of your cat. A brand like IAMS™ Cat Food fits that bill and has dry and wet cat food options for all stages of life, from kitten to senior, as well as options to aid in oral care, hairball care, high protein, digestion and metabolism.
  • Offer Affection – Always remember to show your cat you care. Whether it’s a scratch behind the ear, a nice brushing or a sweet cuddle session, your cat can feel loved and safe, knowing he or she is in good, caring hands.

For more tips on taking care of a new kitten or cat, visit TemptationsTreats.com. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Temptations