Preparing to Take Your Pet On Vacation

Whether you're devising a hike through the Grand Canyon with your pet or heading for a dip in the crystal clear waters of the Florida panhandle, you'll want to double up on preparation. Take a second look at some of the pointers below in case you missed a few things on your checklist!

Get the Right Crate

With planes, there are very few exceptions for animals to be permitted in the cabin area. More often than not, your pet will be crated in the cargo section for the duration of the flight. There are generally strict requirements for what's considered "airline approved."

Some of the conditions for proper kennels include things like wheels, so that handlers can easily roll your pet on and off the plane. Crates must have solid walls without any openings aside from a metal-grate door. You'll also need to take photos of the kennel and send it to the airline prior to boarding.

If you don't want to go through the hassle of searching for one, you can order a pre-approved crate straight from the airlines themselves.

Shot Records & Identification

Your dog or cat may not typically wear a collar or tags at home, but they absolutely must while vacationing! Should your pet end up lost, the finder can help to reunite the two of you much quicker.

Most animals will flee the scene of a car accident, so don't neglect to have them chipped with updated contact information! Campgrounds and places that allow pets are quite firm about providing proof for rabies vaccination, at the very least. It doesn't matter if your cat or dog is on a leash, park rangers will issue tickets for animals without ID. 

Stay Safe With A Floatation Device

The policies for travel by boat will vary depending on the type of vessel, but there are plenty of cruise ship lines and ferries that allow pets to roam the deck. If you've set the date for a cruise with your furbaby, be sure to get them a life jacket as well!

The Cunard's Queen Mary 2 cruise is accommodating enough to provide floatation devices for their four-legged guests, but you should still purchase one of your own to be on the safe side. Even if your pup is an avid swimmer, large bodies of water can pose a danger to both humans and their pets.

If your dog or cat were to fall overboard (God forbid), a vest would ensure that they're able to keep their head above choppy waters until help arrives.

Invest in A Portabowl

Travel takes a lot out of us, and there are times when it’s just as exhausting and stressful for our pets to be in unfamiliar places. Hydration is important for the whole family, but your dog can't drink from a water bottle…not without a struggle, anyway.

Portable water and food bowls are the perfect on-the-go tool. They're foldable, washable, waterproof, and space-friendly for packing. Choose a collapsible silicone option for portioning or one of the soft drawstring containers that sub as a carrier for kibble and treats. 

Remember to offer your pup a drink regularly, and keep your "portabowl" on hand!

Pet Appreciation Week 2020

No one knows for sure, but the best estimates by geneticists say the first domestic animal was the dog and at first they were just tamed wolves. That was between 13,000 and 30,000 years ago. Through the ages, dogs have evolved into many different breeds for many different purposes. The one thing they all have in common is that they can all be our closest friends and greatest allies. This is definitely one thing nature got right!

Each year since 1981 we've set apart the first week in June to celebrate this amazing relationship. There is so much to appreciate about our four-legged buddies. They assist people every day to have a better life, from living more independently to recognizing signs of stress and illness. They lead the blind, hear for the deaf, and comfort the anxious. They find lost children and pull swimmers from the water. Dogs work alongside their humans on the police force, in the military, and one the farm. Guarding us and keeping us safe, they lay near our feet where they are the most content.

We all grew up with noble canines like Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Beethoven, Marley, and Toto. But the most important dog that ever lived is sitting by your side right now, happy to simply be in your presence. There is nothing the world can throw at us that can turn our dog's devotion away from the human he adores and he doesn't need wealth or fame to make his world perfect.

So what will you do this year to show your dog how irreplaceable he is? Here are a few suggestions.

  Feast your friend! Dogs are omnivores, meaning they need all kinds of food to get their proper nutrition. And while it's best to stick to the diet you and your vet agree on, an occasional treat will be delightful to dogs. They can pretty much eat the same foods you do, but avoid sugar, alcohol, chocolate, grapes, raisins, garlic, macadamia nuts, onions, and the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Small portions, too, please!

  Let your pooch splash in a "doggie pool" (kids' pool).

  Take him for a walk and let him choose the direction and how long he gets to sniff a spot (he's checking his "d-mail")!

  Get down on his level. Lie down on the floor with him. It's so funny to watch his glee when he's got you on his territory!

  Take a ride in a car with partially open windows (but don't let him put his head out).

  Give him a long, satisfying scratch in all the places he loves it most.

  Set up a doggy play-date and take him to the dog park to play with his friends. Let him do what he pleases and enjoy the summer sun with him.Maybe you've been appreciating other people's pets until now, but this year is your year to get a dog of your own. Check out your local pet shelter or rescue group and get a friend that will appreciate you as much as you appreciate him!

Money-Saving Tips for Dog Owners

It’s no secret that owning a dog of any age costs money! Between teething, food requirements, special needs, and vet appointments, pets can burn a hole in your pocket rather quickly. Here are 5 ways to reduce the impact your dog has on your finances without skimping out on care!

Reduce Kibble Consumption

While there are some reputable and healthy kibble options, the ingredients are tough on an aging canine. Heightened levels of potassium, protein, and Vitamin D in dog food can cause renal failure over the span of several years.

Not to mention, they're usually fairly expensive! 

Instead of feeding your pup strictly kibble, consider decreasing portions and subbing the remainder of their meal with natural fruits, veggies, oats, and bone broth. They're tasty, healthy, and give you more control of your dog's dietary needs.

Don't Cheap Out On Toys

This is where the phrase "you get what you pay for" comes into play. Low-caliber bones, toys, and chews are sure to be torn to pieces within days, if not minutes! Brands like Kong cost just a bit more, but are sturdy enough to withstand large breeds and are perfect for teething puppies.

Instead of a $12 rawhide that will likely tear up your dog's gums and their intestines, try a $30-$40 deer antler. Buck bone doesn't break off into smaller, easy-to-swallow pieces. They last for months, so you aren't constantly having to re-purchase chew toys.


Housetraining and Senior Care

Potty pads may not be enough for the owner of a puppy that needs house-training or an older dog with a fickle bladder. They're made for single-use, and if they aren't picked up quickly enough you run the risk of liquid seeping into your carpet or hardwood floor.

Alternatively, you can try faux-grass pads! They're rinsable, reusable and available both online and in-store. The "grass" portion can be removed from the outer box and replaced if necessary. Even if it does need to be refreshed every few months, it’s still more budget-friendly than using several pads per day!



Low-Cost Veterinary Care

Anything from a hurricane to a car crash can alter a pet owner's life and financial circumstances. To help those who are struggling, mobile veterinarians frequently hold community events for low-cost vaccination, tags, and chipping.

Animal welfare groups such as the SPCA and Humane Society also offer vouchers for free spaying and neutering based on your zip code and availability. There's no extra appointment fee for any of these visits as there are with a typical vet appointment.

The only payment required of the owner is the cost of an Elizabeth collar post-surgery…AKA, The Cone of Shame. They cost anywhere from $12-$20 depending on the size of your dog.


Discounted Monthly Medications

Monthly flea and heartworm preventative can stack up over time, but the risk you run by not purchasing them could be devastating to your dog's health. Buying one pill at a time is rather expensive, but buying in bulk could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars over the span of a few years.
Pets Megastore is an Australia based company that allows you to purchase the same brands of medication your pet needs here at home, but at much lower rates. If you're unsure, you can always check out reviews for specific products and see what kind of experiences others have had before buying anything.

Best Cat Breeds for Active People

We mostly find them indoors napping along a window sill, but cats love their exercise just as much as we do! If you're looking for a furry friend to accompany you on adventures but you're not much of a dog person, why not try a cat instead? Believe it or not, our tiny, domesticated lions and tigers haven't lost their touch. Even in their smaller size, they're still keen, highly intelligent hunters. 

Here are some of the most active breed varieties, don't let the dog lovers have all the fun!

The Bengal

These felines aren't just loving companions, they're true-blue athletes. Not only do they love to jump about and sit atop a high perch, but Bengal cats are also avid swimmers. Take them out to the family's favorite lake or for a beach-side excursion and watch how quickly they take to the water. 

It’s best to keep them leashed outdoors as Bengals have a high prey drive. Should your kitty find themselves distracted by a bird or a squirrel, it’s likely that they'll chase their target up a tree without a second thought.

The Abyssinian 

Owners who enjoy playing a game of catch will love the Abyssinian breed. Brightly colored and noisy balls, ropes, faux-mice, and spin-machines are perfect tools for interacting with your Abyssinian. They're considered to be highly intelligent, smarter than most other breeds of felines, and in need of a challenge.

Like a dog, the Abyssian excels at following commands and learns how to do tricks rather quickly. While you're at work, these kitties are more than happy to entertain themselves. Just don't leave them alone for too long, or they'll make use of toys that belong to you.

Oriental Shorthair

If ever there were a cat that could be a best friend to your little ones, it’s the Oriental Shorthair! This especially true for the Harry Potter fans of the family considering how much they resemble the house elf, Doby. 

This extremely vocal breed has large, fox-like ears that are perfect for a few hours of hide and seek. Like the Bengal, Shorthairs are instinctively inclined to chase anything moving at high speeds. 

Get a feathered throw toy and watch them go after it again and again. The Oriental Shorthair enjoys the water, and will likely follow you right into the bathtub. Just be careful to dry up any water that ends up in those massive ears!

The Burmese
These googly, green-eyed cats behave like an extra shadow. All they want is to be right next to their owner and included in whatever it is they're up to. Burmese cats are among the most powerful domesticated breeds despite their fluffy appearance.

That said, these guys are gentle giants. They're highly social, happily scoping new faces and surroundings. If you plan on taking them outdoors for a walk around the neighborhood or to explore the backyard, keep them leashed! These kitties have their own agenda and will quickly wander away if left unattended.

12 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog This Summer

Summertime and the living is easy... or it should be, anyway. When the sun turns up the heat, finding things to do that are fun and safe is sometimes a challenge. Here are 12 activities we recommend that will make this the best summer ever for you and your fur buddy.

  1. Go take a hike! Seriously. Take your dog with you and hike shady trails. Finding places that are dog-friendly to hike is no problem since the world is at our fingertips online. But to make things even easier, here are some awesome National Parks that allow dogs on the hiking trails. Check out the websites for particulars about hours, rules, and restrictions.
    Yosemite National Park
    Grand Canyon National Park
    Mammoth Cave National Park
    Great Sand Dunes National Park
    Petrified Forest National Park
    North Cascades National Park
    Shenandoah National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Acadia National Park

  1. Camp out in the wilds. Take Fido on your annual camping retreat or just overnight. Dogs love it when we enter their world, and camping with your pup is sheer heaven to him. Here are the simple rules:

    Never leave him alone. Your fur buddy should not be left behind when you leave camp, even for a short while. Keep Fido on his leash in camp. Most parks and camping areas have a six-foot rule, which means the leash can't be any longer than that.

    Pack it out. Human waste and dog waste alike should be removed in plastic bags.

    Snuggle down together. Most places require your dog to be with you in your tent or your car when sleeping.

    Provisions for your pet. You can let your dog carry his own backpack, but be sure you pack it with a bowl, water, and kibble for him to eat.

  2. Backyard BBQ and splash party. A fenced yard allows you to barbecue your dinner outside in the cooling evening, and your pup will have fun splashing in his doggy-pool or trying to catch the sprinklers while it's still hot, too.

  3. Make frozen treats together! Even the kids can get in on this one, and believe it or not, our list of frozen treats are kid-friendly, too.

  4. Shoot your dog. Okay, we mean with a camera, of course! Here are some helpful tips to get those Instagram-worthy photos of life with Fido. The number one tip from professional photographers is "take lots of photos." Turn off the flash. Get down on his level, and get playful.

  5. Water sports. Taking your dog to the beach or a lake can be the most fun you'll have all summer. Three things to remember: Give him water to drink. Lots of it. Give him someplace to get out of the sun (an umbrella, a tree). His feet get hot, too. Let him rest on a towel where his feet can cool off when he's not splashing in the water.

  6. Teach that old dog a new trick. In just minutes a day, you can teach a new trick to Fido. Keep the sessions short and stop before he's bored.

  7. Have a picnic. Many parks have facilities for picnics. If allowed, your pup will enjoy spending time with his two favorite things: you and food.

  8. Tour area dog parks. Look for parks with shade and grass to play in.

  9. Check out Starbucks secret menu and treat him to a Puppuccino
    .
  10. Join PupScouts and find friends and activities to earn badges together. Scouting was never this fun!

  11. Take him out to the ballgame! Here are some dog sports that use balls. Flyball, catch ball, diving for balls, and of course, chasing one as many times as you throw it (but play in the early morning or late evening so he doesn't get overheated).