Kids and Pets: Talk about Buddies!

April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, recognizing the incredible bond pets and children share in an effort to prompt pet adoption. We all know how heart warming it can be to watch a child interact with an animal, but the real magic is happening on the inside. In honor of Kids and Pets Day, here are a few pawsitive impacts our pals have on children.

  • Self Esteem. Caring for a pet teaches children that what they’re doing truly matters in the life of something they love. As an added bonus, studies show that pets help children in school by lending a quiet, comforting ear to help practice reading aloud.
  • Less stress. Brushing, patting, petting, and bonding with an animal is proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress – and that goes for parents too!
  • It’s inevitable that caring for a pet will give children a sense of responsibility and teach them that being kind, gentle, and empathetic matters.
  • Better Immune System. Studies have shown that children who grow up around pets are less likely to develop common allergies and be healthier in their first year of life. (Of course, some kids are legitimately allergic to dogs/cats, so be aware of that before bringing a pet into your home.)
  • Bonus Perk: Studies have shown that children with autism smile more and cope better when in the presence of a pal.

PAL Pro-Tip: Always research your breed to ensure they’re a good fit with your family’s lifestyle. It’s good to know that some breeds, like Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Labs, Wheaton Terriers, and Boxers, are known for being wonderful with children while others, like Weimaraners, Akitas, and Australian Shepherds, are notably not. Of course keep in mind that every home, child, and dog is different, so no ‘rules’ are ever set in stone.

Do you have a drool-worthy pic of your kids with their pet? Share with us on Facebook!

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Properly Identifying your PAL

Imagine being lost. Imagine searching frantically for a glimpse of familiarity while unknown people approach, trying to help, asking you your name. Imagine not being able to tell them – you want to, but you simply can’t muster an introduction.

This is how a lost pet feels.

Now imagine how wonderful it would be to hear your name amidst a sea of unknown – how much closer to home you’d feel in that moment.

This is why we I.D. our pets.

This year, approximately 5-7 million dogs and cats will end up in the shelter, many of which are companions that got out and were never reunited with their families. April 17-23 is Pet ID Week, intended to remind pet owners of the importance of tags and chips.

The best way to make sure your pet is properly ID’ed is to choose tags and a microchip, because collars and tags can fall off. A microchip is a small chip (about the size of a grain of rice) that is painlessly inserted into the thick of a dog or cat’s neck and houses all of their necessary information. Nearly all veterinary offices and shelters have a chip scanner, making it easy for people helping a lost pet to access the info. In a recent study of 7,700 stray dogs, only 22% of un-chipped dogs were reunited with their owners; the same study found that those that were chipped had a 51.2% chance of being returned home – almost 30% difference. Talk with your vet about microchipping – it’s an affordable, reliable, and comforting way to make sure your pet is always spoken for.

And let’s never discount the classic collar and tags! Not only are collars a way to express your pet’s personality but, with tags, the information is easily accessed and doesn’t require anyone to transport the animal (which can be a challenge.) Whatever method you choose, we hope you take the opportunity to make sure your PAL’s ID is up-to-date and available so they can always come home where they belong.

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Let’s Talk PUPPIES!

March 23 is National Puppy Day, and this is one internet-inspired holiday we are all about. We’re not going to sugar coat it: puppies are genuinely hard work, but they yield a dog that is tailored to your lifestyle and habits, making your bond even stronger. If you’re considering bringing a sweet, wrinkly, curious little PAL into your family, we wanted to share a few tips we’ve acquired in our experience to help you raise a wonderful dog.

  • Crate training. Unless you’re working 16 hour days, crate training can be one of the best decisions you make for both you and your puppy. Not only does it alleviate the anxiety of wondering what your youngster is ruining while you’re away, it gives puppy the opportunity to relax in a space that’s all his own. Never use the crate as punishment. You want your puppy to welcome going into their space without feeling rejected or disregarded, as that can break their spirit and yield a timid, withdrawn dog.
    As an added bonus, crate training can help set the foundation for potty training because most dogs will refrain from soiling their place. As soon as you get home, let puppy out of the crate and take him outside; once he does his business, give him ample praise so he knows he did good. Keep doing this and, eventually, your dog will develop the routine that once his owner is home, it’s time to go potty. Badabing! Your dog’s well on his way to being potty trained.
  • Nutrition. Just like babies, providing young dogs with the proper nutritional foundation plays a big part in their development and health. Most companies make diets that are specially formulated for puppies, but don’t take it at face value; it never hurts to research optimal nutrition for pups and always read the label for ingredients.
  • Bonding. As far as your puppy’s concerned, you are their whole world. Don’t just feed them twice a day and let them out, be there for your animal. Be enthusiastic when you see them, pet them, play with them, praise them, correct bad behaviors, and don’t hesitate to get involved if something is scaring your little pal. A few years of this and you’ll both have the companion of a lifetime.

If you welcomed a puppy into your family recently, show us! Our Facebook community loves welcoming new furry friends!

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Who Needs Shamrocks When We’ve Got Pets?!

When March rolls around, we can’t help but think of St. Patrick’s Day and the good ol’ luck o’ the Irish. While the Irish may have luck on their side, we find there are few things that make us feel more fortunate than the companionship of a pet. There’s something about bonding so closely without verbal communication that makes us feel like the luckiest humans in the world. Whether it’s your dog’s excitement when you walk through the door, your cat nuzzling up to you after a long day, or your guinea pig greeting you through the cage, make no mistake about it: you are so lucky to be loved by your pet. A few ways you can make your pet feel lucky to be loved by you are by taking time to bond specifically with them, whether it’s through a walk, cuddle session, or treats. Greet your pet enthusiastically and make them feel like they’re the most special thing in your life (because they are.) And make sure their living space is clean – be it a crate, cage, or litter box – your pet deserves the comfort of a clean and odor-free environment.

This St. Patrick’s Day, we hope you take a little time away from the parades and Irish jigs to show your pet how lucky you both are to have one another. Have a happy holiday!

Does your pet partake in the St. Patties fun? We’d love to see them on our Facebook page!

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Who Needs a Human? Your Pet is the Only Valentine you Need!

Around this time of year, we can’t help but notice how many people focus their energy on the idea of love between two people – which isn’t a bad thing – but we know where to find the true love of your life, and they’re probably within arms’ reach right now…

YOUR PET! (C’mon, you knew we were going there.)

But really, the unconditional love of a pet comes second-to-none when considering fulfillment in a relationship. Will your boyfriend or girlfriend lick your plate clean before it goes into the dishwasher? It’s possible, but it wouldn’t be nearly as cute. They probably don’t warm your feet at bedtime, either. And what about all the times you just want a little silence, but also some companionship at the same time? Plus, do you really want to brave the restaurants on Valentine’s Day? We say throw a little something special in your pet’s bowl and enjoy the soup du jour in the comfort of your own home.

Here at the Pets Add Life headquarters, February 14 is just another day – because we show our appreciation to the four-legged loves of our lives every day. You do too? Show us! Feel free to share pictures with our pet-loving Facebook community!

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When it Comes to Pets, Being Responsible is Key

Ever heard the saying that “sometimes love isn’t enough”? The same can be said for pet ownership – while your love and affection is irreplaceable, being responsible is the most important thing for your pet. You may think responsibility naturally comes with the territory, but there’s actually a lot more to being a responsible pet owner than having your heart feel full. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, intended to bring awareness to the importance of not just loving your animal but caring for them to a degree that keeps everyone safe and happy. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to demonstrate being a responsible pet owner:

 

  • Spay/Neuter. This isn’t just to prevent unwanted litters; it’s a matter of health, as intact pets have a greater chance of developing cancer in their reproductive organs.
  • Be sure your pet’s tags and microchip information are up to date; if your address or phone number change, changing your pet’s tags should be just as important as updating the information with your bank or credit cards.
  • Routine check-ups. Nothing can replace proper veterinary care – some pets don’t need to go as often as others, but a general rule of thumb is to schedule a routine check-up once a year. As the owner, you owe it to your animal to monitor for any new lumps, areas of discomfort, or abnormal behaviors – if you notice any, make an appointment sooner than later.
  • Know your animal, and be involved. If you notice your pet being dominant or making other animals uncomfortable, get involved! Don’t be afraid to remove your pet from the situation. And vice versa: if you see someone or something making your animal uncomfortable, interfere. Show your pet that you’re there for them, too.
  • Don’t just feed your pet, know what they’re ingesting. Reading labels is important for pet food too, as you’ll quickly realize a quality diet when you see one. Furthermore, monitor your pet because their diet plays a huge role in their health and wellbeing. Their weight should be maintained at a healthy level, their skin and coat should be lustrous and free of mats or flakes, and their teeth and gums should be free of excessive plaque and tartar. And, of course, always make sure they have access to clean, fresh water.
  • Clean up! Don’t be that guy! Make sure you always have bags or a pooper scooper handy to clean up after your animal when you’re out and about. It’s also imperative that cages and litter boxes stay clean, as it can quickly become a health issue for your pet.
  • Treat them like a family member. Let them sleep inside. Love them. Celebrate them. Let them know you appreciate the unconditional love they supply to you and your family on a daily basis.
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Change a Pet’s Life Day

Sunday was Change A Pet’s Life Day! Each year animal lovers everywhere come together to raise awareness and encourage pet adoption with the goal of giving every adoptable pet a loving, forever home. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shared that 7.6 million dogs and cats enter shelters each year, but only 2.7 million of these pets are adopted, and 2.7 million others are euthanized.

You can help change that!

There are plenty of ways to get involved and help change a pet’s life. First and foremost, if you feel it in your heart to go the extra mile, we encourage you to consider bringing a sheltered pet into your home. Whether it’s through fostering or adoption, you can help keep another homeless pet out of harm’s way.

If you don’t have the capacity to foster or adopt, you can also volunteer at or make a donation to your local shelter. The Shelter Pet Project makes it easy to locate shelters in your area that need your help.

By opening our hearts and homes, we not only change the life of a pet, but our lives as well and we encourage you do to just that! If you’ve changed a pet’s life, we want to hear about it! Share photos and stories with us on our Facebook page.

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