Top 5 winter safety tips for your pets

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From snow to wind, ice and so much more – there is a lot to prepare when it comes to winters. The cold weather affects your pets as much as it affects you, and they need the same amount of warmth and care that they would need in any other season.

Here are a few simple measures that you should take to make sure your pet stays happy and healthy during the winter season.

  1. Some dogs are more susceptible to the cold than others, especially the ones who are short-coated, thin, elderly, or very young. Limit the amount of time they spend outdoors. Hypothermia and frostbite pose major risks to dogs in winter. Devise some fun indoor games instead, to keep them entertained.
  2. During winter walks, your pet’s paws can pick up toxic chemicals – salt, antifreeze, or de-icers. Be sure to wipe their off their paws when you return before they lick them and fall sick. Or invest in good paw pads that’ll keep them safe. Also remember to check for signs of injury or bleeding paws when you are wiping them.
  3. Cats tend to sleep in the wheel wells of cars during winters to keep warm. If you start your car and a cat is sleeping there, it can be severely hurt. Simply bang on the hood or honk your car to get them out of their hiding. This will prevent injuries of any sort.
  4. Keep them away from metal poles. Metal poles tend to freeze during winters and if your pet tries to lick it, their tongue may get stuck, which becomes very difficult to deal with and causes your pet a lot of trauma. Also use plastic food and water dishes instead of metal ones when the temperatures are low to avoid incidents at home.
  5. Bundle them up in warm, fuzzy clothes. It will not only up their cuteness quotient, but also keep them safe from extreme drops in temperature. A lucky bonus – you can have lots of fun dressing them up.

So, plan ahead for extreme weather, have an emergency plan and make sure they include your pets!

 

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Choosing the right food for your dog

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In a perfect world, all dog food would be equal. However, today dog owners are presented with an overwhelming array of options when it comes to dog food, all claiming to be the best. It seems everybody has a different idea about what’s best to feed their dogs and why, and most information is contradictory.

Wading through this deluge of information to zero down on dog food that is healthy, affordable, and appealing to your pet is daunting. But we have some advice to help you narrow down your options.

What constitutes good dog food?

Most of us feed dogs processed kibble or wet food. While they are not highly appealing, they do contain all the essential nutrients that your dog needs to stay healthy. Plus, most quality commercial foods have undergone rigorous testing by veterinary specialists.

Dogs are not strictly carnivorous. While meat does make up a majority of their diet, domestic dogs can also derive their nutrients from grains, fruits, and vegetables. Plus, they are a valuable source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A good dog food, hence, should contain meat, vegetables, grains, and fruits of the highest quality.

But do remember, the nutritional needs of a puppy are different from an adult dog, which is why it is a good idea to feed a puppy formula or an “all life stages” food to your young dog. If you are unsure about the differences in nutritional requirements between puppies and adults, check this Merck Veterinary Manual.

Check your information source

Follow one simple rule – check your sources. When you do your research about dog food, check to see if the information is supported by a credible source, like a veterinarian, nutritionist, or scientific study. As with any pet-related inquiry, always discuss your concerns about your dog’s food with your veterinarian.

Learn how to read a dog food label

One of the many ways to determine a good dog food from bad is to read the label. Lables can be hard to read, though due to the small print, and also because some labels can be misleading. But make sure it has these eight key pieces of information:

  1. Product name
  2. Net weight of the product
  3. Name and address of the manufacturer
  4. Guaranteed analysis
  5. List of ingredients
  6. Intended animal species
  7. Statement of nutritional adequacy
  8. Feeding guidelines

All this might seem like another information overload, but the good news is that dogs are actually quite flexible eaters. So remember to base their diets around a complete and balanced pet food, and they’ll be fit and fine.

 

Save your pets from air pollution

Can air pollution affect your pets’ health, too?

The answer is a big resounding ‘Yes’! Just like us, pets are also increasingly facing a grave threat due to the poor and rapidly degrading air quality in our cities. A study on the effects of passive smoke on cats also found that such cats began to suffer from reduced lung functioning when compared to cats that lived in a home inhabited by non-smokers. Airborne toxins have a negative impact on animals, especially stray dogs living on the city streets. Cats, dogs and other pets tend to develop asthma, diseases of the nose and throat, and bronchitis when exposed to year-round air pollution.

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So, how can you save your pet from air pollution?

Plant some pots inside the house

While we can’t escape the air around us, we can definitely try and make it a little more cleaner, especially in our homes that we and our pets inhabit most of the time, to minimize the damage caused to our health by impure air. How about planting some trees? A well-ventilated green home can help you and your pet breathe in air that is detoxified.

So, ditch the regular lamps and home decor stuff and opt to beautify your home with indoor plants instead. They will not only purify the air for you and your pets, but also lend it a cozy charm.

Use natural cleaners, eco-friendly wall coverings

Avoid using chemical solvents to clean your homes, rather opt for natural preparations that like white vinegar and baking soda. You can also buy wall and floor coverings that are made with eco-friendly elements. Try not to smoke indoors as it can directly affect your pets. For your cats and dogs, you can also choose leashes, collars and sweaters that are made from eco-friendly material.

Tackle the outdoor air well

Stay abreast of the air quality in your area before you decide to take your pet out for a walk. On days when the pollution levels reach poor or hazardous levels, it is advisable for your pets to stay indoors, or at least away from high traffic areas. Take them to parks instead where they can breathe in some fresh air.

Why grooming matters

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The concept of grooming probably conjures up the notion of daily brushing. In reality, it is a lot more than that.

You may think, “but my dog’s coat looks fine, why do I need to groom him any further? “ Grooming is much more than a quick brush; it is about looking after your pet’s skin, eyes, ears, nails, and even. Brushing is important, but not the only part of grooming.

Here are the benefits of regular grooming for your pets.

Vital health check

When you are brushing your pet, it is the time to find any unusual bumps or lumps on their body that are hidden by its coat. While cleaning their teeth, you may find their gums bleeding, or bad breath. When you are trimming nails, you may come across something caught in the paw pads that is hurting them. All of these issues will only come to the fore when you groom them. It is a through preventive health check-up.

Better appearance

This one’s a no-brainer. Grooming definitely makes your pets look nice and tidy. It can also have a psychological impact on the people your pet comes in contact with. Kids might be scared of an unkempt dog, but one who looks cared for is likely to only invite more love and care.

A clean house

Tired of picking up fur from unlikely nooks and corners? Grooming can definitely put an end to it. The more you brush, the less hair will shed inside your home. This is also important for anyone with fur allergies, to avoid any potential flare-ups because of dog hair on their cushions or curtains.

Great time to bond

Grooming is probably one of the better ways to bond with your pet. It gives pet parents the chance to slow down, care for their furry friends, talk to them and give them love. This will help grooming seem less like a chore and more of a fun bonding session.

It is important to note that not all animals enjoy the grooming process. It might be easier to talk to your vet or find a professional groomer who can efficiently do the task. If you are a new pet parent, please ensure you train them to inculcate the grooming process in their routine so they grow up healthy and happy.

 

Can pets sense you’re ill?

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Have you ever noticed how your pets seem to stick around you and try and comfort you when you are sick? Whether it’s a small cold, fever, or something more serious, your pet always seems to know and ready to shower you with face licks. But how exactly do they know this? Is it your changed behaviour or something else that clues them in?

Dogs, for instance, have an unbelievable sense of smell. Depending on their breed, dogs have anywhere from 125 to 300 million scent receptors. Compare this to humans who have only 5 million scent receptors and you’ll understand why they can detect so much so easily. We are all well aware of how they also have an acute and accurate level of awareness of the types of energy surrounding them. That is why they can detect many types of illnesses including epileptic seizures and even certain types of cancer.

According to some theories, the modern dog’s ancestral grey wolf’s pack survival depended upon the necessity to know which member of the pack was sick. That is also probably how they got this uncanny superpower.

This sense of smell and awareness is not just limited to dogs. Your cats, too, have the ability to detect ailments and diseases. They have an acute sense of smell and have the ability to sniff out a chemical change in the body caused by a disease. Plus, both dogs and cats can sense change mood and behaviour that affects a person’s daily routine.

Don’t believe us? Well, there is an actual story of a cat called Oscar, that resides at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Rhode Island in the United States. The cat gained fame by apparently predicting the deaths of twenty-five residents of the home. The cat who is generally quite aloof, was all of a sudden seen curling up affectionately against certain elderly humans, who then passed away shortly afterwards.

With dogs, research has shown that they can recognize our facial expressions. An experiment recommended by VCA Hospitals will prove this. You can try it out as well. Sit facing your dog and break out a huge smile. Your dog will probably relax his ears and wag his tail. Next make a frown and furrow your brow. Your dog will likely respond to this stern look by backing up a bit and looking guilty.

The next time you or someone in your family falls sick, make a note of how your pets behave around them, and you’ll see the difference!

 

Here’s why you should talk to your dogs

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How many times have you been caught baby-talking to your dogs, only to be told it is silly? We feel you. But the good news is that talking to your dog daily actually has a host of benefits, not just for the pet but also for you.

Don’t believe us? Hesitant to start a conversation? Check out these top reasons that will prove talking to your dog is probably the best thing to do.

It improves human relationships and your bonding with your dog

The bond between humans and a dog is a powerful one. No wonder we think of dogs as our most loyal and trusted companions. Some dogs open up after the first belly rub, but to forge a long-lasting, endearing bond, human voice is essential to put them at ease and make them comfortable around you. People have also been found to use dogs to help resolve conflicts between each other.

They learn through repetition

We are not saying they’ll catch up on language structure and grammar, but they do understand quite a few words, which helps you train them better as well. There are some words like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ that are explicitly taught to them. But there are some others that they tend to learn on their own like ‘treat’ or ‘ball’. The category of word doesn’t matter; it’s all about using those words daily for them to learn and understand what you want to communicate.

It’s good for your mental health

Talking is a great way to put your problems out in the open and resolve conflicts and issues. And who better than a non-judgemental, passive dog audience. Talking it out helps you reflect on facts and work your way toward a solution. Moreover, there are many therapists who believe that talking to dogs helps people cope with difficult situations and manage conflict resolution. Talking to your pet is a good way to vent and maintain mental health.

Want to start chatting up your dog? Great, go ahead! But remember, that while what you say to your dog is important, the tone of voice you use is crucial. Different tones of voice should be used to distinguish between commands, corrections, or praise. While commands require a firm, strong tone, corrections should be a little lower and sharper. Praise can be more excited and pleasant, but not too much that the dog wiggles out of control.

Go ahead, share this knowledge with your other pet friends!

 

The best hacks for tackling pet hair

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“Everything I own is smothered in pet hair!”

Does this sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Most pet parents have to deal with embarrassing fur situations in cars, couches and even their own clothes. But it does not have to be a permanent woe. It’s time to stock up on your brushes and gloves and get down to applying these hacks to remove unwanted pet hair.

Damp rubber glove

Don a pair of rubber gloves, wet it slightly, and get down to gathering up the loose fur you’re finding all over the house. Run your hands over furnitures, or other places you are most likely to find your pet sitting and lazing through the day. After you’re done collecting the fur, and find it difficult to get all the hair off the gloves, toss them in the dryer and get them ready for the next cleaning excursion.

Launder pet bedding frequently

This one may seem obvious, but a lot of pet parents tend to ignore this common advice. If your pet is spending a lot of time in one place, fur is definitely going to pile up there, especially their beds. Wash your pet bed regularly. If you don’t have the time, invest in a bed that has washable slipcovers you can toss in the laundry. If there is a particular piece of furniture that is their favourite resting spot, cover them up in slip covers, too.

Wrap them up in cool T-shirts

You heard that right. A T-shirt is not just fashionable, but also majorly functiona. A T-shirt or a specially fitted shirt can help contain your pet’s fur on their body, instead of the whole house. But do remember to not force your pet to wear clothing. Do it only if it doesn’t irritate them.

Grooming is the key

Don’t wait until your pet looks dirty to groom them. Bathe and brush them on a regular basis. It will not only make them look better, but also get rid of hair that’s about to shed. It will become a lot easier for you to collect the hair from brushes and drains, rather than scouting the entire house for it. The more you groom, the less you’ll have to vacuum.

Invest in a vacuum cleaner

A good vacuum can make all the difference between a house full of hair, and one that is clean. Buy a high-quality vacuum cleaner that has pet-cleaning attachments that instantly sucks up unwanted pet hair.

Any other pet hair hacks that you have? Share with us!