Tips for Pepping Up Playdates

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Alright, summer is here which means playtime is in full swing and no landscape (within reason) is off limits. But sometimes the usual trip to the dog park or typical jaunt around the neighborhood just doesn’t feel like enough – so what’s a pup owner to do? We’ve got a few small summertime suggestions to take your pup’s playtime to the next level.

  • Plan a Playdate. One or multiple! If you have friends whose dogs get along well with yours, have them over – it’s up to you if you want them all at once or to plan them intermittently as a once or twice-weekly (or monthly) treat.
  • It. Fun. Don’t just have the pups over, host them! Entertain them! Put out a plethora of toys (so long as no one has toy aggression), a few bowls of ice water, and maybe even a sprinkler toy if there’s a water dog in the crowd. Top it off with a fun new treat or epic game of fetch and pat yourself on the back for being an awesome pet parent.
  • Try New Terrains. If you trust your pet can handle a hike or trip to the beach, why not?! Even an on-leash walk on a new trail can be a treat for your animal. Either way, go somewhere new! Let them sniff new smells and allow yourself some new views, too.
  • Consider a Sleepover! Whether you and your pup go camping overnight together or you have a friend’s dog over to pupsit, there’s something really fun for both of you about waking up to a little something different. Perhaps a little turkey bacon for breakfast?

Of course, be wise in who you invite along for these fun times; be sure they’re dogs your pet enjoys being around and there isn’t aggression over things like territory or toys. It’s meant to be easygoing fun for everyone involved, so even if you love the owner of a dog your pup doesn’t enjoy, it’s best not to invite them. Otherwise, have fun! For dogs who don’t mind costumes, have a themed party! It’s all about being social.

Do your pets have a certain way they like to soiree? We’d love to see your creative playdates on our Facebook page!

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We’re Talkin’ Tanks!

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As pet people, it’s easy to get carried away in tips, tricks, and activities for animals of the four legged and furry variety but, the truth is, there are some truly talk worthy pets that live in tanks. A perfect option for people with allergies or children looking for a different type of companion, aquatic pets are really rad in their own tranquil way. In an effort to make up for an inadvertent focus on more popular pet types, here are five reasons fish (and other tank dwellers) make fantastic pals.

  1. Watching fish, turtles, or other aquatic pets float through the water is known to have a calming effect on the mind.
  2. Tank dwellers are quiet – no need to worry about the neighbors complaining or waking anyone up. A wonderful option for apartment living.
  3. Aquatic companions are less expensive to care for (though a knowledge for their environment and care is necessary.)
  4. No Time? No Problem. No need for a leash, tags, or pick up bags – these guys don’t daily walks or potty breaks. (But they will need their habitats cleaned regularly.)
  5. Pick a color, any color! Fish – and even frogs, hermit crabs, and lizards – come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, so you can customize your tank to look however you want it to.

Don’t get us wrong, aquatic animals aren’t self-sustaining pets – they still require the care and attention of a human to live. Your tank is your pet’s habitat, which will require cleaning and the right temperature and pH; so pretty please: do your research before you dive into caring for one (or ten) of these guys. We will say, though, once you’ve found the right balance and how to achieve it: it’s nothing but peaceful enjoyment (and an awesome conversation starter for visitors!)

Fish not really your fav? What about a turtle? Maybe a hermit or Red-Clawed Crab? A frog? What about a newt or axolotl? Seriously! Look them up, they’re adorable!

Do you own an off-the-wall-type critter? Do share!

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Bow-WOW! It’s Take Your Dog to Work Day!

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Oh man, if there’s one thing we love about our headquarters it’s the office dogs. There’s just something about seeing those wagging tails and fluffy faces walking the halls that makes work feel a little more like home (not to mention they’re a perfect reason to take our eyes off the computer screen for a few minutes. But not too often! Hi boss!) While we recognize how insanely lucky we are to have an office that has provisions for pets, most employers don’t… save for one day. For workplaces that participate, June 23 is Take your Dog to Work Day… and it genuinely excites us just thinking about how many coworkers’ days will be made by having canines in their cubicles.

If your workplace is allowing dogs for the day, might we suggest a few things to make the experience more enjoyable for all?

  1. Bring something for your dog to do. Sure they’ll have new butts to sniff and people to meet but once the newness wears off you should have something to occupy their time so they don’t become a nuisance to your neighbors. Maybe a chew toy, interactive treater, or even their crate if that’s where they’re calm and comfortable.
  2. Make sure they’re mostly well-mannered. No pooch is perfect, but you certainly don’t want to bring a poorly behaved pet into the office for what should be a relatively functional work day. Make sure your pet doesn’t mind other dogs, doesn’t have toy aggression, and actually likes meeting new people before you put them in this situation. Otherwise, just enjoy the cuties who come to your cube!
  3. Keep them comfortable. Whatever that means for your pet. Obviously you can’t wheel your living room couch in, but if they have a portable bed or favorite toy (that they aren’t territorial over) – bring it! Let your pet know they’re somewhere they belong… for today.
  4. Be involved. If your dog gets up and starts wandering, we suggest following them to see what they get into (at least the first few times.) That way you can be present if they start to pester a peer or if another dog shows aggression.
  5. Mindfully Meet New Mutts. While we trust that your coworkers would only bring friendly dogs to the office, it’s important to mind YOUR manners when meeting new dogs, since some may be a little weirded out to begin with. Start with the back of your palm out toward them and take it from there; if they turn their head or just don’t seem into it, don’t force it.

If your dog’s going to be making memos and taking messages this week, we’d love to see some pictures on Facebook!

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Summer Fun, Pals Included!

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It’s almost official, people! Summer is here, which probably means you’re ready for all things outdoors. And guess what? Your pal probably is too! We don’t know about you, but we love seeing our pets enjoy the sunshine on their furry faces and grass under their paw pads. We know not all pet types are cut out for the great outdoors (and admit that most of these ideas are tailored to canines) but here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate our pets into our summer plans and get ‘em some of that long-lost fresh air and vitamin D.

 

  • Walkin’. We say there’s nothing wrong with going back to basics and enjoying a leisurely stroll with your animal – and before you think this is dog-specific, know that there are leashes and harnesses meant for ferrets and cats who enjoy the pastime (which is something we’d LOVE to see in action!) And for the really small animals, let your hamster, gerbil, or chinchilla out in the yard for a bit – in or out of their cage or ball depending on how well you know your pet not to jet off and get lost. You could always make a little wire enclosure to give them [relatively] free reign and yourself peace of mind.
  • Campin’. Not all dogs enjoy camping, but the ones that do should always be included in the rugged getaway plans! Like you, they’ll need the basics: their backpack, portable dishes, food, water, and a bed to sleep on. It’s always wise to have a first aid kit, too. Make sure the campground you’re going to allows dogs and that your pal’s well-behaved enough to potentially run into people and other pets… and prepare to make great memories with your best friend.
  • Beachin’. We’ve all seen those pooches that just love the beach, and we can’t blame them! The sun, sand, smells, and sounds of the coast are hard to hate. But whether it’s a day at the beach, a leisurely stroll by the water, or a bonfire at night, safety should come first for you and your animal; only pets with good recall and a comfort around water should be left off leash at dog-friendly beaches. Of course never discount the peace of mind of a floatation vest for pets who want to be included but aren’t strong swimmers.
  • Hikin’. We like hiking because it’s more than a walk but less of a to-do than camping and, depending on the trail, most dogs can enjoy a brisk walk on a nature trail. But before go, it’s important to know that hikes do take a little planning. Figure out the intensity and duration of the hike and plan accordingly in regard to food and water; and don’t overshoot your expertise, start easy and work both of your endurances up to harder hikes over time.

 

Whatever you do this summer and however you choose to incorporate your pal, we’d love to see! Show us some of your fun in the sun with your best captions on our

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A Nod to Our Little Loves

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 4.26.12 PMIf you ask us, small animals don’t get nearly the credit they deserve. Sure, they don’t fetch tennis balls or greet you at the door, but they don’t drool on your leg or scratch up your furniture either. Yep, small animals are sort of the perfect pals; they stay peacefully in their cages, some have no problem being handled when a human wants companionship, and they eat way less than their canine counterparts and feline friends, which is good news for your wallet. They have personalities and preferences that their owners inevitably pick up on (much like those other mainstream pets) and yet they teach children the same lessons in responsibility and empathy.

Small animals include guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, ferrets, mice, rats, chinchillas, and even hermit crabs – and they all make wonderful companions as well as classroom pets. And we’re going to let you in on a little secret: Pets in the Classroom makes getting a classroom pet super cost-effective because they know how powerful an animal’s presence can be. Seriously, classroom pets enhance education in so many ways, from being part of the lesson plan to teaching children responsibility and increasing their emotional intelligence, it’s safe to say school (and life!) wouldn’t be the same without these little loves.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of getting a pet but don’t want to commit to a dog or cat, consider a small animal! While cleaning a cage isn’t the most glamorous part of pet ownership, it can certainly teach your children responsibility and the importance of staying clean and regimented. Do your research in pinpointing which type of small animal would be best for your family and hop to it! Don’t forget your shelter totally has rabbits (and possibly guinea pigs) up for adoption, which is already getting off to a rewarding start.

Do you have a small animal or classroom pet that you just love? Post their sweet little faces on our Facebook page!

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Let’s Chat About Chipping

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 4.26.19 PMImagine coming across a person you knew was in trouble, but they couldn’t tell you what they needed or who they even are. That’s a lot like what finding a lost pet without identification feels like. Now imagine if there was a way to take that person somewhere and within moments you’d have everything you need to help them… That’s what microchipping your pet does.

It goes without saying that properly identifying your pal is among the bare necessities of responsible pet ownership and, to us, microchipping should instantly come to mind. Don’t get us wrong, collars and tags absolutely have their pros (the information is immediately available and doesn’t require someone to transport your animal) but they also have one big con: they can fall off – leaving your pet completely and totally voiceless. And that’s where microchipping comes in: your information goes everywhere your pet does, no matter what.

A microchip is incredibly small, about the size of a grain of rice, and is painlessly inserted under pets’ skin between their shoulders. It requires no charging (wouldn’t that be weird…) and has an identification number that comes up when scanned; that identification number is linked to all of your information – but only if your microchip is registered. We repeat: simply getting your pet microchipped is not sufficient, you must connect the chip’s 9, 10, or 15-digit code with your information.There used to be some hullabaloo about different chips needing different scanners and there was no international database, but that’s all changed. Many shelters and veterinarians have a universal scanner, and thoughtful organizations, like Found Animals, have mainstreamed the registration process so owners can easily keep their information up-to-date. Between that and the American Animal Hospital Association’s searchable database, your lost pet’s chances of coming home just increased by 200%.

So this month, consider having your pal microchipped or take the necessary steps to update your information. And if you come across a lost pet without a tag always remember they may have a chip in their shoulders – literally! So take them to the shelter to be scanned!

Did your microchip reunite you with your pet? We’d love to hear your story on Facebook.

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Pets: Companions, Stress Relievers, and… Teachers?

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April 26 is National Kids and Pets Day, which really tugs at our heartstrings because there’s really nothing cuter than the bond between a child and their animal. Pet ownership in young children has so many benefits – it teaches them empathy, responsibility, strengthens their immune system, and more. It can even help them do better in school.

For a lot of kids, learning to read can be a daunting, overwhelming and, at times, an embarrassing process. During this learning curve, the pressure of reading aloud can cause stress, anxiety, and, worst of all, a disdain for reading – which is such a huge part of their education. If only there were a laid back way to practice reading aloud without the worry of stuttering, stumbling, or hearing rude classmates snicker…

Well, there may just be the perfect neutral, non-judgmental (and adorable!) audience available to them right now: THEIR PET!

That’s right, reading aloud to pets is the purrfect way for kids to practice reading without stress or judgment – not to mention petting an animal releases feel-good hormones and lowers blood pressure. In fact, the idea is so effective, shelters and schools across the country have paired up for kids to come down to the shelter and read to pets – not only does it better socialize their animals but it allows children to improve their reading skills in a comfortable (and cute) environment. In a study performed by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), children reported enjoying reading to animals and had a stronger motivation to continue the activity. If that’s not proof enough, there are even grant programs available for the sole purpose of bringing a pet into the classroom because they have such a pawsitive impact on students. So before shelling out big bucks for a reading tutor, consider stopping by the shelter with a few books or talking with your teacher about a classroom pet!

Do you have a story about a classroom pet, or have a favorite way to celebrate Kids and Pets Day? We’d love to hear (and see!) more on Facebook!

 

 

 

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