A “New Normal”

There’s a lot of uncertainty and misinformation swirling about these days, with terms like social distancing, pandemics,  self-isolation, quarantine, and shelter in place dominating conversations. And then there’s working from home. Some might find it challenging to work on their own and could feel a bit lonely. For anybody who shares their home with dogs and/or cats, though, they’re never alone!

With that in mind, let’s enjoy a glimpse of the “new normal” from a pet’s perspective…

Image may contain: ‎possible text that says '‎M! NOTICE TO PETS: In the coming weeks it's likely that your human will be spending more time in the house. While this may feel strange, please give them extra love and attention. We estimate that distribution of treats could also increase significantly. @mamamiaaus eלל よ‎'‎

In Northern Ireland, working from home is attractive to more than just humans:

Image may contain: drawing

Whether your new office mates are human, feline, or canine, the good folks at CHEEZEburger.com remind us to ask:

Stay calm, stay safe, and take time for yourself.

Image result for meditating dog meme

 

Fun Around The House

 

When the sleet and snow  is falling and temps are hovering just above freezing, what’s a dog owner to do? In our house, favorite activities include Find It, when I leave Sasha in a long down-stay and then stash tiny treats in odd places. (I try to change up the locations to keep her working.) I think her favorite version might include searching for treats I’ve hidden within a folded blanket. I tried the same with a towel, but Miss Smarty-Pants Sheltie quickly figured out she could grab the towel and shake it so the treats fall out.

Another favorite is the Muffin Tin game. With Sasha in a sit/stay or down/stay (I like to vary the commands), I place a treat in some of the muffin tin holes and add a tennis ball to each hole–including those without treats. (Sasha is a “peeker” so I have to leave her in a different room while I set up.) Sasha had a bit of trouble nudging the balls out until Buddy The Wonder Cat showed her what to do. Sasha now sets the balls aside to get the treats while Buddy enjoys rolling and tossing the balls. I’ve considered teaching Sasha to replace the balls in the tin when she’s done digging for treats but I don’t want to spoil the cat’s fun!

Buddy The Wonder Cat encourages Sasha

Here are some other ideas for games and activities I found while browsing the Internet:

Better Homes & Gardens offers 8 ideas for indoor games: https://www.bhg.com/pets/dogs/dog-training/games-for-dogs/ The Muffin Tin game is #7 on their list. They chose a pricey tin, while I prefer the 99¢ version (and seriously, the dog is not going to know the difference!)

Whether your dog is a puppy or a grizzled senior, check out https://www.puppyleaks.com/brain-games/ for suggested activities sure to stimulate your dog.

Find more ideas at https://barkpost.com/life/12-rainy-day-entertainment-ideas-for-dogs/ (great site, by the way–check it out!) And if all that isn’t enough, BarkPost offers 33 more ideas sure to entertain both you and your dog!

Want to suggest other games and activities? Just add a comment!

Sheltie in down-stay

Sasha says “Let’s play!”

 

Give thanks and be safe!

Find this photo and details about food safety at akc.org

Whatever holidays or special events you celebrate as the year draws to a close, take time to remind yourself what’s safe–and what’s not–for your dogs. Here’s “must know” info straight from writer Mary Keal, whose articles have appeared on the American Kennel Club’s website.

It’s not just humans that overeat at the holidays. Some of us may also be a bit indulgent with our dogs. But it doesn’t have to be the turkey bones or other not-so-great items from the Thanksgiving or Christmas menu. There are healthier choices to share with your dog. From green beans to sweet potatoes, plenty of fall favorites can be tasty (and safe) options for your dog to share in small portions during holiday festivities.

It may be tempting to offer up the turkey bones to include your dog in your family’s celebratory feast. But, because they can potentially cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping them out of reach. However, though turkey bones are off the table, there’s no need for your pet to feel left out.

Safe and satisfying foods that you can share with your dog this holiday season are discussed by Gary Richter, MS, DVM author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide: Breakthrough Nutrition and Integrative Care for Dogs and Cats and Veterinary Health Expert with Rover, Sara Ochoa, DVM and small animal and exotic veterinarian in Texas, and the American Kennel Club’s Jerry Klein, CVO and emergency and critical care veterinarian who has been a valued member of the Chicago veterinary community for over 35 years.

Here’s a quick look at “safe” foods your dog can enjoy. Note: read details and disclaimers in the full article online.

      • Sweet potatoes
      • Potatoes
      • Applies
      • Turkey meat (no bones & no skin)
      • Green beans
      • Peas (plain, not creamed)
      • Pumpkin (plain, not pre-spiced)

Photo courtesy of akc.org

Continuing from the article, Dr. Richter, Dr. Ochoa, Dr. Klein, and the AVMA caution the following foods should NOT be served to dogs:

                  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
                  • Stuffing
                  • Casseroles
                  • Mashed potatoes
                  • Creamed peas
                  • Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (especially anything containing xylitol)
                  • Alcoholic beverages
                  • Raisins and grapes
                  • Onions, scallions, and garlic
                  • Ham
                  • Yeast dough
                  • Fatty foods
                  • Foods containing spices

Read the entire article online at https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/thanksgiving-foods-to-share-with-your-dog-or-avoid/

To read more dog-related articles authored by Mary Kearl, see the list at https://www.akc.org/author/mary-kearl/

As Seasons Change

Source: Sandra/Fotolia

Today we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox (known as the Fall Festival to some and Mabon to others). I’ve been wondering if/how the season’s change might affect the four-legged family members, and found some answers while wandering through the Internet.

Writing for Romper.com in 2018, Beagle owner Abi Berwager Schreier had apparently wondered much the same. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

So am I a crazy dog lady? Perhaps. But I asked Russell Hartstein, a Los Angeles-based certified dog and cat behaviorist and trainer if the fall equinox affects your dog, secretly hoping I’m really not the crazy dog lady who imagines things about her pups. And it turns out, I’m not super wacky. “Dogs are affected by light cycles more than the position of the sun in the sky. Being crepuscular animals (most active during dusk and dawn), the times of a dog’s increased activities somewhat fluctuate with the amount of daylight,” he explains in an email interview with Romper. So that makes sense why they seem so much more active even at 5 a.m. once the equinox has occurred.

Now, what to do with all that energy? Author Leah Ingram suggests five ways to enjoy the season with your dogs. While you’re online, check out this slideshow of happy dogs compiled by dogtime.com. And finally, keep these Fall grooming tips (courtesy of AKC) in mind.

Happy Fall, everyone!