Love is a Three Letter Word: P-E-T

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, even the most cynical human is reminded of love and companionship between two people. Around the Pets Add Life offices, though, we’re reminded of our pets – because nothing fills our hearts more than four paws and a tail (or scales!)

It may sound silly, but the relationship we have with our pets is one of the easiest, most satisfying relationships we’ve invested ourselves in and it only gets better with time. They offer us the perfect combination of compassion, companionship, and consistency without any questions, arguments or doubts – plus, we never have to feel insecure about who loves who more, chewing with our mouths open, or how we look in the morning. Yep, suffice to say the love of a pet is the purest and most accepting relationship a human can be graced with. Whether it’s a dog, cat, ferret, bunny, turtle, whatever!, just being able to care for something and know it’s appreciated through a look, nudge, or friendly approach, we think, is an incredibly fulfilling thing.

As a quick safety reminder, try to keep flowers and all candy – especially chocolate! – out of pets’ reach, and only dress them up in that adorable V-Day outfit if they truly don’t mind clothing.

So whether you’re single or not this Valentine’s Day, don’t let the sappy cards or happy couples get in your head because there’s someone waiting to snuggle in your lap as soon as you come home, and they don’t care if it’s February 14th or not.  We hope you honor the love you share with your pet every day, but if you’re doing something special for the holidays – share with us on Facebook!

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How Responsible of a Pet Owner Are You, Really?

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These days, pets are so much more than vermin hunters, cattle drivers, and protectors, they’re beloved family members. Their health, well being, and safety are our responsibility, which is why being a responsible pet owner is, well, really important. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, a shout out to the people who are doing it right and an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our pet parenting style and ways we can do better. We don’t want to be too stern, but the truth is that taking on the responsibility of a pet and not taking it seriously can have a serious ripple effect – people can get hurt, the homeless pet population could grow, you could even lose your animal. We’re here to help. Below is a quick responsible pet owner checklist for you to run through – where do you fall?

  • Spay/Neuter. Not just to prevent unwanted litters, it also reduces their chance of developing cancer in their reproductive organs.
  • Knowing where they come from. Whether you adopted or paid top dollar, you know to research the breeder or facility your pet hailed from to ensure they’re healthy and support responsible practices.
  • Are your pet’s tags and microchip information up to date?
  • Routine check-ups. Because nothing replaces proper veterinary care.
  • Know your animal, and be involved. You recognize when your pet is wrong and have no problem removing them from uncomfortable situations.
  • You don’t just feed your pet, you know what they’re ingesting. You read labels and monitor your pet’s weight almost as closely as your own.
  • Clean up! You either always have poop bags or your pal’s cage or litter box gets cleaned regularly without question.
  • You treat them like a family member. Whether it’s sleeping on the bed or just playing and cuddling with them as often as you can, you celebrate your pet any chance you can.

SCORE:
7 or 8 – Top Dog! On behalf of your pet and the people around you, thank you for being so dang responsible and taking such great care of your pal.
5 or 6 – Relax, You’re Responsible. You’re conscious and trying to be the best pet parent you can be but perhaps forget a poop bag here or there.
3 or 4 – You’re on the Right Track. But you might want to step it up a little on behalf of your best bud.
Less than 3 – Try Harder. We hate to be blunt, but your pal deserves the best!

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The “Pet Step” Video Contest January Winners

What inspired you to get a pet? Submit a short video telling us why added a pet to your heart and home for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to the pet store of your choice!  (Pro Tip: Include your pet for extra cuteness!) We will pick two winners each month through April!

Our January winners are Karen B. and Rodolfo M. Check out their stories below:

Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. We’ve received so many wonderful submissions! You can submit your video here and wait to see it on the Pets Add Life Youtube channel.

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These Paws Were Made for Walkin’!

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And that’s just what they’ll do this January because it’s National Walk Your Dog Month! So get up, grab the leash, and get movin’ this month and here’s why:

  • It boosts metabolism and lowers the rate of weight gain. An Australian study of 822 participants found that the average person gains 3.5 pounds over four years – except those that walked to work on average gained 1.5.
  • It boosts your mood. Robert Thayer, Ph.D., asked people to describe a problem in their life, then sent them on a brief 10-minute walk. When the participants returned they described their problems as less severe.
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease. A 2013 study found that both daily runners and walkers lowered their blood pressure by at least 4.2 percent and their risk of heart disease by at least 4.5 percent.

 

Of course these benefits extend to Buddy too, plus he can exercise the natural instinct to get somewhat familiar with his surroundings. For those who may need a little help on a leash, here are a few quick tips to keep in mind to ensure you both enjoy this time. And remember: practice makes perfect, the more you two get out together the more your dog will improve.

  • Curb their Enthusiasm. If your pet goes nuts when you pick up the leash, just stand still and don’t react until they relax. It’s also not a bad idea to sometimes pick up the leash and just set it down, so they don’t always associate it with getting out.
  • Keep ‘em Close. Start them on a short lead at first so that, eventually, it’ll turn into a loose-leash walk because your pet is used to staying close. It’s also a good time to treat them so they want to stay close to your hand.
  • Walk Quickly. Don’t give your pet the opportunity to dawdle and stop to smell every crack in the sidewalk; walk at a brisk pace and set the tone that now isn’t the time for all-out exploring.

 

We’d love to see you and your pet out and about this month on Facebook!

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The “Pet Step” Video Contest December Winners

We just love hearing about you and your pets so much, that we’ve extended our Pet Step contest… AGAIN! It’s easy, submit a video telling us why you opened your heart and home to a pet for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to the pet store of your choice! We will pick two winners each month through April!

Our December winners are Vinnie L. and Heather W.! Check out their stories below:

Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. We’ve received so many wonderful submissions! You can submit your video here and wait to see it on the Pets Add Life Youtube channel.

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Pets Need New Year Improvements, Too!

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Here at Pets Add Life, we’re all about improvement – and nothing calls for setting a new tone like the New Year. We know resolutions are totally overplayed, but it’s never a bad idea to try to be a healthier, happier human – and why not set the same goals for your pal? You are the boss, after all! Here are a few good places to start and some tips to help get started.

  • Don’t Be a Chow Hound – Sadly, over half the pals out there are overweight and clearly their diet plays a big part in that. Take this opportunity to do a little research into optimal diets for your pet type, then read the label on their food to ensure they’re getting everything they need. And never discount portion control; we recommend feeding slightly less than the recommended feeding if you treat your pet and consider feeding even less if your pet doesn’t engage in a moderate amount of physical activity regularly, as most food companies recommend portions for active pets.
  • Paws to the Pavement – Physical activity plays a major role in health and well being, making this a resolution that can benefit you both. Our advice is to be easy on yourself and start small, opt for two or three half-hour walks per week and work your way up to longer distances and/or more frequency. For cats, consider a toy that they have to chase or jump to get to and vow to play with them regularly. And small animals should always have something to facilitate physical activity, like a wheel or plastic ball to run in.
  • Re-Train Their Brain – Training is your pet’s education, the smarter they are the more confident and capable they’re going to be. Plus, beyond their mental wellbeing, you’ll be a happier owner when your pet actually listens. Keep training sessions relatively short, about 15-30 minutes, and start small with things like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, and ‘watch me’. Remember to be patient (keep it fun!) and, once you both get the hang of it, you’ll start to appreciate the quality time.

What are some goals you’ve set for your pet in the New Year? Share with us on Facebook!

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2016 Holiday Gift Guide

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It’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping, and we’re willing to bet there are still a couple of pet people needing to be checked off your list. Instead of aimlessly wandering the store aisles, we’ve compiled a ‘ruff’ guide to take the guesswork out of what to buy for the pets or pet people you just can’t think of what to get.

  • Warmth. Some may disagree but we say certain dog’s coats could use a boost, especially shorthaired outdoorsy breeds (like Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers) and small dogs. A new coat is a functional gift for the people who love to hike with their dogs year round or anyone who lives where it snows, really,
  • Holiday Spirit. Who doesn’t love seeing a spirited pet?! Most pet owners overlook seasonal accessories, making them a perfectly thoughtful gift. Whether it’s a festive collar, sweater, or even Christmas-y nail polish, there’s plenty of gift options for a fashionable Fido.
  • Comfort. A new bed is a great options for pals who like to cozy up when they sleep or get cold easily, or maybe a travel bed for the pet owner who frequently hits the road with their pet. And, there are so many design options it should be easy to find something that caters to their personal style.
  • Entertainment. Of course new toys are always a great option, but put a little thought into it! From automatic ball launchers and laser light shows to indestructible bones and adorable stuffed (or stuffing-less) toys, you should have no trouble tailoring this gift to the pal you’re buying for.

For specific gift ideas under $25, check out this awesome gift guide from the American Pet Products Association.

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