Ferret: Another Word for Fun!

May 5 is National Ferret Day, and it got us thinking: what other animal can do tricks like a dog, use a litter box like a cat, but stay happily and conveniently contained in a cage? Yep, these little weasels (seriously, they’re members of the weasel family) are on their own level – and they require a special kind of caretaker to match their unique ways. In honor of National Ferret Day, here are a few quick tips if your next furry friend’s going to be a ferret.

  • Time. As a general rule, ferrets live to be about 10, with the oldest ferret living to be 13. While a ferret’s home base will be a cage, they do require at least two hours of carefully monitored playtime outside their four walls daily. Which brings up our next important point…
  • Ferret-Proofing. Ferrets are incredibly curious; they love to chew, dig, tunnel, and climb – and their small frame makes almost any hole or crevice fair game to explore. Our best advice is to designate a room or gated area in your home for playtime and make sure there aren’t any wires, air vents, or other dangers and escape routes within paws’ reach.
  • Training. This can also be filed under ‘time,’ as ferrets do require the time to be trained and properly handled to ensure they grow into the fun, confident, and entertaining companion we know them to be. When excited, ferrets tend to nip – which can be a hard habit to break without scaring them out of trying to play. Consider a separate cage for brief ‘time outs’; the cage can be small and should only have water and a bathroom space (a.k.a. a no fun zone.) When they nip, put them in the cage for about three minutes – just enough time to get bored, but not enough time for them to forget it was playtime. Eventually, they will make the connection. Ferrets can also be trained to use a litter box, sit, shake, come to you, and roll over. (Hint: Just like with dogs, you’ll need lots of treats!)
  • Cost. Just like other family pets, ferrets require food, shelter, regular vaccinations and a one-time de-sexing procedure if purchased intact. It’s important to know that ferrets are social animals that do best with a companion – so, if purchasing a pair, know that these costs will increase… but so will your pal’s quality of life.

It’s important to recognize that, because of their temperament, ferrets are not recommended for homes with small children. Older children, ages 7+, should be taught proper handling and behavior around ferrets to ensure they have a mutually enjoyable relationship.

If your pal of choice is a ferret, show us! You might see your ferrets on our Facebook page to honor the holiday.


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National Pet Week: Let’s Celebrate!

May 1-7 marks National Pet Week and we want you to take the week to celebrate your pet the responsible way. Here’s one thing a day you can do this week to help ensure your pal’s completely taken care of – like they should be!

Sunday – Check your pet’s I.D. to make sure it’s up to date, legible, and secure. If they don’t have identification, now’s the time to get it. It’s also a good time to check if you need to renew any fees there may be for micro-chipping service.

Monday – Take the time to really give your pet a good rub down, not only will they love it but it’s a good time for you to note anything new or abnormal (think: lumps, dry patches, or sensitive spots) and make a vow to monitor whatever it may be.

Tuesday – Give your pal a nice bath, trim their nails, and check their teeth – it’s not just to keep them looking their best, these things all contribute to their overall health.

Wednesday – Check their diet. Be honest, is your pet overweight? It’s so easy to overfeed those sweet faces that we love so much, but it’s so important to keep their weight in check. Today’s the day to commit: if your pet needs to lose some lbs, scale their usual feeding back about ¼ cup and/or cease treating for awhile.

Thursday – Consider today Thirst-day: check your pet’s water, make sure their dish or water bottle is nice and clean and the water is fresh and accessible.

Friday – Buy your pal a special, healthy new treat – or make your own at home!

Saturday – Play day! Take today to do whatever your pet likes, whether it’s hike, chase string, cruise the house in their plastic ball, or just relax together.

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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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