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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Let’s See Some I.D., Please

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Imagine being lost in a completely unfamiliar setting with no way to introduce yourself or tell helpful strangers where you’re trying to go… Sounds like a nightmare, right? That’s what it’s like for a lost pet without proper identification. It’s an unfortunate fact that 1 out of 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime and only 2% of cats and 20% of dogs get reunited with their families, primarily because they had some form of ID. April 16-22 marks National Pet ID Week, an attempt to bring awareness to the importance of identifying your pet and where they belong should they ever become separated from your family.

For us, ID tags and/or microchips are among the basics of responsible pet ownership – they should really be non-negotiable. Not only do they vastly increase the chances of your buddy coming home, but it’s an immediate sign to whomever’s helping them that this pet is loved and has a family looking for them (which, hopefully, deters them from adopting them as their own.) The two main ways of identifying your pal are good ol’ fashioned tags and a collar and microchipping, which is painless and permanent. In our minds there’s no such things as overdoing it when it comes to claiming your companion, so we suggest doing both, just in case the tags or collar fall off while your pet is lost. Lost pet incidents are unexpected accidents, making it important to keep your pet’s collar on at all times, not just when you’re out of the house on walks or errands – you just never know when someone will accidentally leave the door or gate open.

This week, make it a point to check that your pet’s tags are up-to-date and securely fastened onto their collar; if your pet’s chipped but not registered, this is the week to register them or make sure all the necessary fees are paid and info is updated.  It’s such a small thing that makes an enormous difference in the event of a lost pet. Why wouldn’t you give your pal the best possible chance to come home where they belong?

Has your pet been lost and found? Tell us your story.

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Five Reason to Procure a Puppy

March 23 is National Puppy Day, a national nod to the magic that is puppies and the love and light they consistently bring to our lives (because let’s face it, you can’t NOT smile when those derpy balls of fluff come around.) While there are so many great ways to celebrate Puppy Day, the meat and potatoes of the holiday is to get people to adopt a young dog from a shelter or rescue and save its life for good. In an attempt to persuade anyone with a fuzzy perspective on puppies, here are five amazing reasons to bring a fluffy, squishy, curious baby canine into your life.

  • Lower Stress. You’ve seen all the feel-good field studies on how puppies made people smile in times of stress… Multiply that by like, every day and you’d have your life as a pup owner.
  • Hello, Social Gateway. Like we said – there are few things cuter than puppies, making them a perfect conversation starter; whether it’s the adorable icebreaker someone needs to approach you or you strike up a conversation with a cute stranger about the joys and hardships of puppy raising, when it comes to meeting people, we’re telling you: they work.
  • They’ll Keep you on your Toes. Puppies are full of energy and require ample attention and activity to keep them happy and out of trouble. The best part is, leash training a puppy is so much easier than a grown dog with already-established bad habits – now’s the time to mold your perfect workout buddy!
  • Improve Emotional Awareness and Responsibility. In kids and grown-ups alike, caring for a young animal teaches empathy and is certainly a daily dose of ongoing, important responsibility. Which is totally worth it because…
  • They’ll Be the Best Friend You’ll Ever Have. Raising a dog from puppyhood definitely does something for your bond that nothing else will; you have the opportunity to raise your pet as you see fit and they innately learn your lifestyle and habits because it’s all they’ve ever known. We know puppies can be a challenge but with a little time and consistency they turn into a tailor-made companion.

Have an adorable puppy PAL or a favorite way to celebrate Puppy Day? Share with us!

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The Sun Will Come Out… Tomorrow

We know it might be a little premature for some areas of the country, but when March rolls around we inevitably start getting really excited about warm weather fun. With more hours of daylight and nights getting warmer, we hope everyone’s thinking of ways to make the most of their time outside –  especially for pets! Even if we are a little early, here are a few of our favorite warm weather activities you and your PAL can get excited about.

  • Swimming! Most dogs (heck, maybe even some cats and ferrets) enjoy a nice, cool dip on a hot summer day just as much as we do. Some buddies may need a floatation vest, while others may dive right in like they’re part porpoise, but being safe is the most important thing – as long as your pet’s recall is good and the water’s calm, you’re in for an enjoyable day.
  • Evening Strolls. Since there’s still sunlight after work, take the opportunity to stretch your legs and leave your desk behind with a nice walk with your dog, cat, or ferret in the crisp springtime air.
  • Afternoon Playtime. The afternoons are absolutely perfect this time of year to get outside and play! Whether it’s going to the dog park, lounging in the sun with your cat, or even letting your small animal run around in their ball in the fresh air, we hope you seize these perfect afternoons and get outside as much as possible.
  • You could do all of the aforementioned activities on a fun camping trip with the whole fam! Just make sure your pet is comfortable, has plenty of food, water, leashes, and a bed in the shade to retreat from all the fun.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity to commemorate warmer weather? Tell us here!

 

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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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