Polly Want a PAL? It’s Adopt a Rescued Bird Month!

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January is Adopt a Rescued Bird Month – and you know we are all about giving a shout out to the less popular PALs out there! The truth is, for the right person, birds are a perfect companion – they’re low-maintenance buddies that have the smarts to truly bond with an individual. But that’s not all! Here are 5 wonderful reasons to consider bringing a bird into your brood.

  • Birds are Smart. Which means you can teach them to use tools or do other great tricks, even counting from left to right. For someone looking for a pet they can interact with without having to walk and exercise daily, a bird’s the perfect pupil!
  • Low-Maintenance Loves. Confined to cages with minimal grooming and exercise requirements, birds are convenient pets that don’t destroy furniture, require walks, or need bathing beyond the occasional nail trim and water rinse. (Though their cages will require at least a weekly cleaning!)
  • They’re Inexpensive to Feed. Think about feeding a bird for a month versus a dog or cat, not only do they eat considerably less but their food’s cheaper too.
  • Apartment Dwellers, Rejoice! Birds are great companions for those in small living spaces; some cages won’t even take up floor space because they hang from the ceiling!
  • They Can Be Real Love Birds. When properly trained and socialized birds can be just as attached and affectionate with their owners as a feline or canine counterpart. Most birds only bond with a few people in their lifetime, but for a person seeking companionship, birds should absolutely not be discounted!

Do you have a bird buddy in your life? Tell us more on Facebook!

 

 

 

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Tips for Traveling With your PAL in Tow

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Think about how many times you’ve been driving with your dog or cat in the car and they distracted you, even if just for a moment. Now, imagine if everyone on the road experienced that at the same time, just how dangerous of an equation it would become.  January 2 was Pet Travel Safety Day and, despite being late, we definitely think it’s worth bringing awareness to a danger humans often underestimate: pets in the car. Not only can they be a major distraction, but they can also become dangerous projectiles in the event of a shortstop or accident – both of which can be prevented with a little consideration.

The best (well, only) way to prevent injury and avoid doggie distractions is to use some kind of restraint, be it a travel harness, crate, booster seat, or travel hammock (which blocks the path to the ever-desired front seat and provides a barrier so your pet doesn’t fall on the floor in the event of an unexpected stop.) For longer trips, be sure to have anything your pet may need to be comfortable: water, food, medicines, a leash, treats, or their anxiety wrap (because a nervous pet can widen the margin of distraction.) Of course, when flying, always oblige by the airline’s respective safety regulations and requirements.

Another great way to honor Pet Travel Safety Day is to talk with your pet-loving friends about the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of pet restraints in the car.  Safe travels!

How does your pet safely travel in style? Show us some pictures on Facebook!

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Staying Safe this Snow Season

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According to the ASPCA, more pets get lost in the winter than any other season – mainly because they lose their scent much easier in the snow and can become disoriented in a snowstorm. Which means we as pet owners need to take winter safety seriously. Sure, you may stay indoors considerably more in the winter months but the times you do venture outside there are some must-have precautions you should take to ensure your pal stays safe and sound in the snow.

  • D. – Make sure your pet’s chip and tags are up-to-date and secure and that they are always wearing their collar when going outside, even if it’s just for a minute.
  • Reflective Gear – Whether it’s a brightly colored vest or reflective collar, this small thing could make a huge difference in locating your pet in the snow – don’t discount their effectiveness.
  • Paw Checks – Make sure to check your pet’s paws after every outing in the snow and rid them of any ice or melting salt, which can cause painful burning to their paw pads. You can also consider doggy booties (if your pal will let you) to ensure their paws stay dry and that they always have traction when walking.
  • Jacket or Sweater – Even big dogs’ coats may need a boost in the winter months; if your pet shivers or shows hesitation when it comes time to go outside, consider a jacket or sweater to keep them nice and warm. Not only that, but if they DO get lost they’ll at least stay a little warmer in the interim until you find them (and may make them easier to spot.)
  • Car Safety – It’s super important to be safe with pets in the car during all seasons, but with slick, snowy roads it’s imperative to have a car harness or other method of securing your pet in the car if they’re joining you.
  • Bonus Tip: Consider Upping their Chondroitin – Older pets may become stiffer in the winter months, which can be painful and cause them to withdraw from play or socializing. Talk with your vet and see if there’s an additional supplement you can give in the winter months to combat the issue.

Some pets love romping around in the fresh powder, so don’t deprive them of the season – just be safe! Is your pal a snow bird? Show us on Facebook!

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PAL’s Guide to Gift Buying

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It’s December! Which means Christmas and Hanukkah are only a few weeks away… While some of you may already have your holiday shopping done, some of us just don’t know what the heck to buy for certain people, which can make shopping a real pain in the tail.  But we’re here to let you in on a little yuletide secret: when it doubt, buy for their pal! Seriously! It’s kind of foolproof because, to a pet lover, it’s incredibly considerate to think of their animal and they’re not stuck with another set of Christmas socks or goodies they simply don’t need. If you have friends, neighbors, and coworkers with pets, a gift for their animal is a thoughtful, functional gesture that you can still tailor to the person you’re buying for. So here’s our ruff guide to holiday shopping for the people you just don’t know what to get.

For Teachers/Coworkers

A festive toy, scratcher, or chew
Gourmet seasonal treats
A puzzle feeder or other game for pets

If They’re an Athlete/Health Nut

A leash with matching collar or harness
Lean, healthy treats
Booties for trail safety or a backpack to maximize their workout

For the Traveler/Road Tripper

Travel bowls
Travel bed
Reflective leash, collar, or harness (for pit stops)
A kitty crate or safety booster for small dogs

How do you decide what to buy for the people (or pets) on your list? Share with us on Facebook!

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Do Pets Need Pals?

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Many pet owners often wonder if bringing another pet into the home will enrich or essentially ruin their current pet’s life – and it’s absolutely a fair consideration. November 19 is National Get a PAL for your Pet Day, an awareness holiday established by an incredibly amazing nonprofit (hehe) in an attempt to get people thinking about bringing in a companion for their pet. Unless your pet is downright antisocial (and we’re sure you’re aware of such), they can most likely benefit from the companionship of another animal. In honor of Get a PAL for your Pet Day, we’re presenting a few pros to multiple pet ownership and some tips on choosing your pet’s pal.

  • Beating loneliness. The same way having the support of a best friend helps people in their daily life, having a four-legged friend can help pets feel less lonely which is emotionally enriching and reduces stress. It also makes pets more sociable, which always makes life easier.
  • Prompting play. If your pet’s starting to slow down a little, a youthful counterpart may be the perfect antidote to their sedentary lifestyle.
  • Certain similarities matter. You don’t have to get your pet a companion that’s the same age, breed, or even the same species, but certain things – like how they play and how often they like to relax – should be considered. If your pet’s submissive then don’t get them a companion that’s too domineering and rough; if your older dog likes to nap, consider a 4- or 5-year-old buddy, rather than a hyper young pup. A meet and greet between the two is essential to pinpointing these behaviors and will help determine if they are a fit.
  • Talk with the shelter.The shelter should gladly tell you everything they know about the pet you’re interested in, but be sure to flat-out ask if they are good with other animals and if they have any playtime quirks, like doing better with similar-sized dogs or exhibiting aggression over toys or food bowls.
  • Introduction – After the meet-and-greet, and once you’ve determined your pets can be playmates, it’s time to introduce your pet to the household. There are a few different ideas on how best to do this, but you know your [current] pet best and should do whatever is best for them. Some pets may not feel territorial over the home while others may have a strong reaction; we suggest doing your research on various ways of introducing two animals and tailoring it to your animal’s temperament.
  • Monitor and Enjoy – It’s up to you to play referee in the beginning. Make sure you’re closely monitoring both pets’ behavior and correcting it accordingly. Other than that, enjoy! Watching your pet goof around with a new friend is as heart-warming as it is entertaining and you should know you just did something great for your pet’s well-being.

If you’ve recently gotten your pet a playmate, we want to see and hear all about your experience so get to sharing!

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Forget New Tricks, Old Dogs are the Best!

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Maybe it’s just us, but we find older pets to be among the most endearing animals on the planet.  November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, intended to bring these oldies but goodies to the forefront and get them into loving forever homes. It’s a sad fact that not only are older animals given up for adoption, but they’re often overlooked for younger shelter mates – giving them a sometimes sad and heartbroken last chapter to their story.  We know that caring for an older animal can be a considerable undertaking, but we’re dishing up 5 reasons senior pals are the best.

  1. No games. There’s no guessing with older pets, their personalities and physical traits are already established and anything you need to know about them is already known and available.
  2. They know their stuff. Older pets have already learned what’s appropriate to chew, pee, and snack on, making them easier to incorporate into your household than a puppy or adolescent dog.
  3. They’re calm. A senior pet won’t be bouncing off the walls for a morning walk or breakfast. All they really want is to relax. Ah, perfect.
  4. They’re loving. Not only do older pets have years of experience in being buddies, they are some of the most appreciative adoptees at the shelter. It’s fair to assume almost all senior pets have experienced a loving home at some point in their life so they recognize and appreciate the chance at another one.
  5. Talk about rewarding. Knowing you gave a senior pal a loving last chapter is a unique and fulfilling feeling. While it’s certainly not for everyone, adopting a senior pet is undoubtedly saving a life… and we guarantee it makes the world of difference to that animal.

Show us your gray-faced lovies on Facebook!

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Therapy Animals and Service Animals: What’s the Diff?

2If you need an example of just how smart, capable, and necessary animals can be, look no further than service dogs and therapy animals. From navigating the streets, providing comfort in stressful situations, and even detecting and preventing seizures for their owners, there’s simply no denying how incredible these animals are. Some people use the terms ‘service’ and ‘therapy’ interchangeably when talking about animals,  but there’s a pretty big difference and you can think of it like this:

A service dog serves one, therapy animals serve many.

Allow us to explain. Service dogs are working dogs – they have been trained to perform a very specific, and often life-saving, task for their owners and require the space and respect to perform those duties. If you see a dog wearing a service animal vest, it’s best to ignore them and let them do their job. If you simply CANNOT resist the need to pet a dog in public (believe us, we get it), then be sure to always, always, always ask their handler if you can pet them to avoid being a dangerous distraction. Most of the time, though, their vests will explicitly say “Service Dog at Work” or something along those lines to let others know they aren’t here for everyone.

Therapy animals, on the other hand, are literally there to be pet, and their sweet little vests will usually indicate such – typically with the words “Pet Me” or “Therapy Animal – Please Pet”. More and more high-stress places, like airports and universities, are allowing therapy dogs (or cats!) to come in for the exact purpose of letting everyone decompress in the company of an animal. Any pet with a great temperament and patience with people can get certified as a therapy animal, whereas service dogs go through a stringent vetting and training process to serve their human.

In thinking about these incredibly capable and therapeutic canines, it oddly makes us realize how much our dogs bring to our lives even if they can’t fetch us a bottle of water from the fridge. From emotional support to family protection and daily affection, we know every dog services their human(s) in some way – which is pretty impressive for a single species, if you ask us.

 

 

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