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Pet Honoring Service - Hendersonville, Dec. 8

Cigar-galaxy-2401996_1920On Sunday, December 8 from 11 AM to 12 PM, there will be a Pet Honoring Memorial Service at Bright Star Studio, 1712 Asheville Highway, Hendersonville. This is a simple service to remember, bless and honor each pet, their family and our special relationship with them. It is free to add your pet to be honored, and pictures of pets can be added to the ceremony table. Open to the public, the Pet Honoring Memorial Service can be attended in person at Bright Star Studio. You can attend remotely by phone by calling: 1-857-232-0159, ext. 329054.

The Pet Honoring Memorial Service is held at Bright Star Studio the second Sunday of each month. For more information, visit: https://brightstarstudio.net/pet-memorial-service/

Image: Pixabay.com


What Does a Dog's Tail Tell You?

Guest Post by Rachel Hudson

Happy-47816_1280Discover essential information about a dog's tail. Learn what it says about your pet and better understand what to do and how to react in certain situations!

Even though animals are unable to talk, it is possible to interpret their behaviors and thought-process through certain physical aspects. This applies to dogs and cats, but many people are wrong more often than not, making a straightforward assumption. For example, people misinterpret a dog wagging its tail as a sign of friendliness while it is also misunderstood for being happy. However, it is not always the case, since multiple meanings can be conveyed through dog tail signs.

Dog Tail Position and Meaning

A dog can communicate its feeling and thought-process through the position of its tail. There are four common positions.

1. Dog Tail Held High with Wagging

This is a sign of happiness, but it also includes a higher degree of alertness within the animal. Even though a dog in this state is showing cautious excitement, it also has a certain degree of dominance.

2. Dog Tail Held Still and High

This is a sign of dominance while the dog is also super-alert to its surroundings.

3. Dog Tail Between Legs and Pointing Down

This is a sign of submission from the animal, which may also have a fear of its current situation.

4. Dog Tail Held Straight

This is a sign that a pet is in a neutral state, and it is trying to take in as much information from its environment as possible.

One should remember that each breed of dog has its own nature, and tail signs differ from one animal to the other.  Some breeds have curly and stubby tails that may not be able to provide exaggerated expressions as tails in other breeds. Hence, it is important to look very carefully into these tails to understand animals. For example, Chinese Shar-peis or Chow Chows do have a curved rear that is quite high. Greyhounds and whippets have a significantly lower tail.

The 'height tail’ sign is used as an emotional meter. A pet is considered being in a relaxed state when the tail is kept at middle height. When held in a horizontal position, the dog is quite alert and attentive. If it goes up, it is an increasing sign that an animal is being agitated and one can expect a confrontation anytime soon. At the same time, an animal is showing signs of submission if the rear position goes lower. It is also an indication of fear.

However, scientists promise to soon invent an apparatus that will translate animal sounds into human language. It is a pet translator. So, gadgets and electronic reviews can help you in the future.

Additional Aspects of Tail Wagging

Just like there are numerous dialects of human language, different dialects also exist when it comes to a dog's tail. One should not make the mistake of taking certain positions as the reference for every breed. Once this awareness is achieved, it is possible to read more accurately about the feeling and behavior of each animal. Does a wagging tail mean a dog is happy? No, because position alone is not a reference to the pet’s state, as even the speed of wagging can give plenty of detail.

For example, slight wags can indicate the dog's desire to greet or say hello. Only broad wags can be taken as a friendly move, as it gives out signs that the animal will not threaten or challenge at that point. It is the closest movement that is associated with happiness, unlike the common perception. Even if there is wagging in the tail down position, it does not generally signify a happy animal.

A slow wag should not be taken as a sign of happiness. Instead, it is used to signify a neutral state of the animal. It could also denote signs of insecurity – especially when the rear end is not in an unusually high or low position. There are instances when tiny movements are made at high-speed. It is an indication that the animal is about to fight, run, or do something quite active. If the dog manages to hold the rear end quite high while bringing about vibrating action, it is a visible sign of threat intended to scare.

Subtle differences can be observed even with the direction of wagging. There are preferences to the direction in which tail wags. If this direction is on the right side, a pet is having positive thoughts about the situation, and the reverse is true when the wagging happens on the left side.

The Bottom Line

There is a lot more information hiding behind a dog. It is probably the place where the pet has its conversation. The emotional indicators given out by the rear end alone are so subtle, but they can give a massive insight into the animal's communication process. However, it takes a lot of experience to judge the animal accurately. It does not take long to pick up the cues and start assessing a dog well before a situation gets out of hand.

What are your thoughts about dog tails? Let us know in the comments!

Author's bio: Dutch origins. Animal rights advocate. Rachel H.moved to the US at 28 after getting her Teacher Certification in the Netherlands. She decided to move on and start a new life in Los Angeles and start to work on https://besttechexpert.guide. 

Image: Pixabay.com


Teaching Kids to Deal with the Death of a Pet

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Between one and five children experience the death of a close loved one before the age of 18. Losing a family pet may be the first time they experience death or even process the concept of what it means. This can make the initial conversation especially confusing for them, so it’s important to consider a few tips for helping them through the grieving process.

There’s no denying that losing a pet is one of the hardest experiences for any family. It is hard enough for adults to cope with the death of a beloved pet, but for children, losing a pet can be very traumatic. Insurance provider Bestow's free guide, "What to Do When a Family Pet Dies: Teaching Kids About Grief," is a comprehensive resource that could prove to be very helpful.

This guide includes a section on how to start the conversation, provides resources specifically designed for children to learn about pet loss, identifies specific questions that may be asked by your child or that you can ask, suggests ways to celebrate a pet's life, details signs that your child may be struggling with your pet's passing, and offers additional resources for parents.

Check it out here: https://hellobestow.com/blog/when-a-family-pet-dies/


How to be an Environmentally Responsible Dog Owner

Dog-2228595_1920Guest Post by Angie Hill

Are you looking for environmentally friendly ideas that you can use as a pet-loving dog owner? Whether you realize it or not, the choices you make as a dog owner have the potential to impact our environment. Dogs are still animals by nature and this means striking the right balance between being eco-friendly and serving the best interests of your four-legged friend. This post will help you learn how you can do your own good work for the environment while also giving your dog a happy, healthy life.

Walk More

Taking your dog for walks is a sure-fire way to keep him or her happy, healthy and content.

You can also use walking with your dog as a great excuse to skip driving to a store or to a friend’s house. Fewer carbon emissions mean you are doing something good for the environment, your own health and your dog’s too, so reach for the leash and take more walks!

Switch to Sustainable Pet Food

According to the American Pet Products Association, $30.32 billion was spent on pet food in 2018 in the U.S. The food you feed your dog should be balanced but protein-heavy. Regular dog food you buy will contain 20-40% protein. A lot of this protein comes from animal sources and just like humans who live on a meat-based diet, there’s a big ecological footprint left as a result.

You don’t have to turn your dog vegan, but if you want to be eco-friendlier you have two other options:

  •     Buy sustainable pet food
  •     Make your own

If you want to make your own food at home, here are some simple recipes to use: https://themotherhuddle.com/making-your-own-dog-food/

Two valuable dog food tips that can help to reduce your environmental impact are:

Less Processed: Typically, if food has gone through more processing, it has taken more energy to produce. Therefore, try to feed dogs food that is less processed.

Dry & Wet Food: It might not even have crossed your mind, but wet food is heavier due to having more water content - this means that there are higher emissions when wet food is transported, so dry food is better for the environment in this instance.

Your pet’s health comes first and you should consider this before you switch their diets. When deciding on what food to buy, consult your veterinarian before making a big change in your pet’s diet.

Choose Toys Wisely

A large number of toys on the market are made from plastic, and it can be hard to move away from them when you’re on the hunt for a new one for your dog. If you have a pet that is full of life and gets through toys, you will end up tossing them away all the time. Try to choose toys made from recyclable materials or natural fibers as this will have a positive effect, environmentally. You could also try one of these homemade brain games .

Buy Non-Toxic Shampoo

If your dog runs a mile at the mere mention of a bath you aren’t alone! But baths are a necessity, so when it comes to bath time, switch to using a natural, organic dog shampoo. Ensure it is non-toxic and is free from parabens and dyes, too, as this is better for the environment (no excess chemicals end up going down the drain and into the environment) and your dog’s coat and skin.

Your vet will be able to help you make the right choice of shampoo; many companies advertise their products as “all-natural” but they aren’t!

Use Biodegradable Waste Bags

Those little poop bags that often get used to pick up and dispose of a dog’s waste are part of the global plastic epidemic.  They require hundreds of years for them to biodegrade. Avoid this issue by opting to use only compostable bags which take three to six months to fully decompose.

Angie Hill Angie is a dog-loving, outdoor enthusiast who writes for WoofDog.org, a site that offers dog-centered health, food and behavior advice.

Image: Pixabay.com


Show You Appreciate Your Local Animal Shelter This Week!

Abstract-1751204_1280This week (November 3 - 10) is National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week. As a dog lover in the Carolina mountains, you are probably already familiar with your local animal shelter or rescue organization. This is the week to show the folks who work there and the animals they serve some love!

Here are ten ways to show your appreciation for your local animal shelter, provided by Rebecca Simmons of the Humane Society of the United States and appearing on Petfinder.com:

  1. Adopt a Best Friend. Animals make great companions, but having a pet is a big responsibility and it involves a lifelong commitment. Find out if you have what it takes to provide a safe and loving home and learn more about adopting from your local animal shelter. When you’re ready to adopt go to https://www.petfinder.com to find pets in your area.
  2. Take a Tour. Never been inside an animal shelter? Take an hour or two out of your day to stop by your local shelter during public hours and see firsthand how things work. If you’d like to become more involved, find out how you can become a volunteer.
  3. Keep on Giving. Many animal shelters struggle financially so every penny helps. Donating to your local shelter is as simple as writing a check and dropping it in the mail or picking up an item on the shelter’s wish list during your next shopping trip.
  4. Connect with Kids. Help children learn about the importance of being kind to animals. Find out how easy it is to educate—whether it’s an entire classroom or a single child.
  5. Be Committed. Providing quality food, water and shelter is important, but it’s not the only thing involved in being a responsible and caring pet guardian. It’s also essential that your pet has current identification tags and is properly confined or supervised while outdoors. Keep your pet healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations by visiting the veterinarian regularly and give your pet lots of love and attention.
  6. Expect the Unexpected. Local shelters are most often on the front lines during natural disasters such as hurricanes. Would you know what to do in the event of a flood, tornado or fire? Learn how to help animals in your community, including your own pet, whether it’s a disaster, an emergency or an accident.
  7. Stay Alert. Your local animal shelter and animal control agency not only take in homeless animals, but also rescue injured, abused or neglected critters. Assist them by helping injured animals in your neighborhood, and letting them know if you suspect animal cruelty in your community.
  8. Spread the Word. Does the community that your local shelter serves understand and appreciate the shelter’s dedication to animals? Tell your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors about the importance of supporting animal shelters and their staff.
  9. Do Your Part. Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most important things you can do to reduce the number of homeless pets in your community. Your local animal shelter can help you learn more about why spaying/neutering is important and how you can find affordable options.
  10. Two Simple Words. The words “thank you” are powerful. But since animals can’t speak, it’s up to community members to let shelter workers know just how much their commitment to animals is appreciated. Send a letter, card or e-mail to your local shelter and let them know you care.

Image: Pixabay.com


How to Rename an Adopted Dog

Guest Post by John Woods

Adorable-3344414_1920There could be several reasons to want to change a rescue pup’s name, but the good thing is, changing a dog’s name is easy and dogs are really quick learners.

All you need to do is choose a new name, and be consistent with it. You’ll also need to make sure all your family members are using the name consistently, and usually your dog should have his new name mastered in under a week.

We’re going to look at reasons you might want to change a dog’s name, how to choose one, and how to re-train your dog to understand his new name.

Reasons to Change a Dog’s Name

Here are a few popular reasons you might want to change your dog’s name.

Perhaps you don’t like the name of the dog you’ve adopted. It might be a really strange or long name which takes too long to say or is confusing.

Or maybe you just want to give your dog a new name to match his new start in life.

Perhaps the dog suffered abuse at the hands of previous owners and he has a really negative association with the old name.

Whatever the reason, it’s really simple to rename your dog.

How to Rename an Adopted Dog

Choose a Name

Believe it or not, this is probably the trickiest part of renaming your dog (does that reassure you how easy it’ll be to give your dog a new name?)

Some people try to choose a name as similar as possible to the original name; for example if the old name was “Bruno,” a new similar name might be “Blue.” However, this really isn’t necessary: If you’re going to change the name, you don’t have to keep it similar, you can start from scratch and choose anything you like.

Spend some time getting to know your dog, understand his personality and look out for any unique little quirks in his appearance. This will help in selecting an appropriate name.

There are many places you can draw inspiration from when renaming your dog! You might even look to famous actors or movies to help inspire you.

Teach Your Dog His or Her New Name

  1. Make sure everyone knows his new name

The first step in renaming your dog is to make sure that everyone is on board with the new name so that you can be as consistent as possible. Everyone needs to be using the same name or else your dog will become confused if some people are still calling him by the old name and others are using a new name.

  1. Have a quiet area to use

When you first get your dog home, spend some time bonding with him, and when you first introduce his name make sure that you are in a quiet area with no distractions.

  1. Say his name positively

When you’ve found a quiet area to use, say his name in a happy manner. Continue to say his name over the next few minutes, praising him each time you say it. It’s really important that you always say his name using a positive voice, even more so when he is first learning his name.

Each time your dog hears his name it should be in a positive, happy tone rather than a cross, despairing or scolding manner. This is essential to create a positive association with the name.

  1. Use treats

When you teach your dog his new name, it’s very similar to when you teach him any other kind of command. You should use lots of positive reinforcement and give him plenty of attention whenever he responds to his new name.  At the beginning, each time you call his new name you should also give him a treat.

  1. Repeat

Each day, take your dog to a quiet area, call him happily by his name, then praise and reward him. It’s important to keep these sessions short so your dog doesn’t become bored. You might even want to do this a few brief times each day until your dog gets the hang of his new name.

  1. Try it out

Once you think your dog has grasped his new name, it’s time to put it to the test when he’s not directly looking at you. Call his name, and when he looks over to you or comes to you, respond with praise and a treat.

  1. Gradually phase out the treats

Once you’re sure your dog has his new name mastered, you can start to slowly phase out the treats which you give him as a reward to responding to his name.

John Woods is a dog fanatic and has a blog over at all things dogs. He’s a dog trainer who is on a mission to educate 40 million dog owners and lovers on how to care for dogs. 

Image: Pixabay.com


How to Improve a Disabled Dog's Quality of Life

Guest Post by Lori Wade

German-shepherd-1077442_1920We all love our dogs, which is what makes it absolutely heartbreaking to see them struggle. There are few things more inherently awful than being forced to see any living creature struggle with pain or disability. That’s especially true for dogs, both because they are so loyal and lovable as well as the fact that they’re so innocent and helpless when it comes to maladies.

Dogs are absolutely heartwarming creatures, and their maladies are thus all the more heartbreaking. You never want that to be the fate of your dog. You want to make sure that they remain in good health and good spirits – even if they are disabled. Thankfully, these tips can help you do just that.

Dog Wheelchairs

From accidents and injuries to the ravages of old age, there are many reasons why your dog may be having trouble walking with comfort – if they can walk at all. If your dog finds themselves in this position or otherwise suffers from mobility issues, it might well be time to look into a dog wheelchair.

Dog wheelchairs are typically easily fitted around the dog’s waist and backside. They enable dogs to wheel themselves around in the event of bad hips or one or more legs not being up to walking. These wheelchairs feature openings at the bottom and back, allowing dogs to “do their business” unimpeded while wearing them.

Dog Ramps

If your dog has a broken leg, hip dysplasia, or any number of other conditions that hurt their hips or legs, it can be incredibly difficult and painful for them to get upstairs. You don’t want that to be a problem, of course. While you can sometimes carry smaller dogs, this can get old fast, won’t always be convenient for either party and isn’t exactly an easy option with larger dogs.

That’s why you’ll want to look into installing a dog ramp instead. As with ramps for human wheelchair users, they enable dogs in wheelchairs to get up to an area that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They also make it possible to avoid steps.

Ramps can be especially helpful for your outdoor area near the front and backyards. Your dogs may not be able to get up porch steps with ease, so these dog ramps can be essential to get to and from the doors in question as they go into and out of your home.

Addressing Dog Vision Problems

As your dog gets older, it’s possible that they may begin to suffer from vision problems. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you keep the light on for them, ensuring that areas in which they are staying are bright. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your veterinarian about any potential treatment if these eyesight problems worsen.

Dog Medications

Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication. There are some medicines on the market, such as phenobarbital, which can treat the same issues in dogs (seizures) as they do in humans. In other cases, there are medicines that are more dog-specific, such as proin, which helps tighten the muscles around a dog’s urinary tract in the case of urinary incontinence.

Whatever the case, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is getting the right medication for them. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to some medicines, some do better with some options than others, and then, of course, you always need to be on the lookout for bad dog medicines which may be harmful. Your vet can be instrumental in determining all of this.

Ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most by accommodating their disability - and if you have a furry friend who is advancing in age, make the most of your dog’s golden years.

 Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. A content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of pet care and veterinary. You can find her on  Twitter & LinkedIn or on other social media, where you can read Lori’s useful insights!

Image: Pixabay.com


Walk Your Dog Every Day This Week!

Man-3687274_1920Okay, so as a responsible dog owner, you know you need to walk your dog every day anyway... but please make a special effort to do it this week.

Why? Because this is "National Walk Your Dog Week" (October 1 - 7), celebrated the first week of October since 2010. Here's some information about why it was founded from the week's Facebook page:

"The growing problem of human and canine obesity in America, coupled with the overpopulation of dogs in shelters, has much to do with a lack of exercise. National Walk Your Dog Week is a way to highlight these issues and encourage people to get out with their dog and start getting healthy!

Many dogs in the shelter are there because of destruction issues. Most of these issues relate directly to a lack of exercise. Pent up in a run or crate all day, will only exacerbate your dog's destructive tendencies. Give your dog the exercise that he or she needs - and you'll find that a tired dog...is a good dog!

Autumn is a great time to get out and start walking. You can enjoy the leaves changing color, the crispness in the air and it gives you time to reflect on the year and helps you to make new changes for the coming year...healthy ones!

With the holidays upon you, you can start to create a healthy way to avoid the dreaded weight gain that often comes from too many holiday goodies because you have set a new habit in motion. If you and/or your dog are overweight, walk just 30 minutes a day, three times a week, and you can reduce your weight by 5% and your dog's by 15%. So think about how healthy you and your best friend will be if you walked 5 times a week - or every day! After a solid week of walking, you'll feel so good as you raise the levels of endorphins in your brain, which combats depression and anxiety and you'll notice a change in your dog's behavior as well. If you walk 2-3 times a day for 20-30 minutes each time....you and your dog will feel phenomenal!! If you can run your dog....you'll notice a faster change in his or her behavior."

Image: Pixabay.com


How to Save Money on Dog Ownership

Purse-3548021_1920Owning a dog can be an expensive investment. Although the payoff is priceless, you always want to be mindful of your pet costs. With vet bills, toys, food, treats, and grooming, pet care costs can add up quickly. Most of those expenses are just annually, which does not cover unexpected expenses that can come with a hefty price tag.

According to the ASPCA, owning a dog can cost anywhere from $700 to $1000 on average per year. If you want to reduce your pet care expenses while not sacrificing the quality of your care, consider these thrifty ideas for saving on pet care.

1. Start Grooming at Home

Grooming your pet at home can save you serious coin. Pet grooming can cost a couple of hundreds of dollars a year. Starting to care for your pet’s fur at home will eliminate most of the costs incurred at the groomers. Not to mention that when grooming your pet, you can get a close look for any fleas, flea dirt, or even ticks.

Invest in a Pet Brush

Brushing your pet’s fur can help keep it in good condition and avoid too much shedding. Giving your pet a good brushing will help remove dirt and spread your pet’s natural oils throughout their coat.

Having well-conditioned hair can help prevent future tangles and can actually help keep your pet’s skin clean.

Bathe at Home

If you have a bathtub, then you can reduce pet costs by bathing your pet at home. Bathing your pet at home can help mitigate any skin problems your pet may have. Some pets require baths more regularly than others, so always check to make sure what is best for your furry friend.

Be sure to use a pet-friendly shampoo that is species or breed specific. This will better cater to the needs of your pet.

2. Pet Food Savings

Annually, pet food can cost anywhere between $50 and $400 depending on the kind of pet you have. That makes food one of the most expensive annual expenses when it comes to pet care costs. Cutting down on food costs can save you a sizable chunk.

Watch for Sales

Keeping an eye out for sales and scanning flyers can alert you to many saving opportunities. You can sign up for food manufacturers’ newsletters, which can often give you special offers and coupons. Buying on sale food can help to significantly reduce pet costs.

Buy In Bulk

Buying in bulk usually pays off, regardless of what you are buying. Usually, retailers and manufacturers offer discount or sales to those who buy in bulk. You can also buy in bulk from warehouses as a significantly reduced price. Some experts suggest that buying at larger warehouse retailers can save you as much as 50% on pet food costs. 

If you choose to buy your dog food online, buying the largest bag and multiple bags of quality pet food can come with a discount and free shipping. If you choose to buy in bulk, just make sure that your pet can eat it all before the expiration date!

Make Your Own Food

Making your own food for your pet can pay off in reducing pet costs. You can start by using ingredients you already have in your kitchen to start to make food or treats for your pet. You can find a number of easy pet food recipes online to get you started as a pet chef. Be sure to research any ingredients to make sure that they are safe for your furry friend.

Making your own pet food can be easy and cost-effective. Simple ingredients like vegetables, rice, and tuna can make up a large part of your pet’s diet at little cost to you. Talk about an easy cost-reducing measure.

Take Part In Rewards Programs

Retailers tend to reward loyal customers. Loyalty or rewards programs can give you a sizable discount on food. Just for signing up for a rewards program, you are often given an initial coupon. Each time you buy, you can receive more rewards. When it comes to reducing pet costs, it pays to be loyal!

3. Avoid Vet Expensive Bills

You should take your pet to the vet at least once a year for an annual check-up. But when it comes to unexpected visits, you want to try your best to prevent those pricey vet visits. A large number of expensive vet bills could be avoided by proactive and preventative care of your pet. Here are some tips on how to potentially avoid costly vet bills.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Brushing your pet’s teeth can be a pain, but it is a necessary pain. If you skip brushing your pet’s teeth, they can develop periodontal disease. This disease can cause a number of complications for your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver. By brushing your pet’s teeth, you can help to prevent future complications.

Use a toothbrush specifically designed for your pet and do not use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to animals. Give your pet a taste of the toothpaste before you start brushing to ease them into teeth brushing. A healthy and clean bite can help save you money in the long run.

Regularly Exercise Your Pet

Your pet needs regular exercise in order to live a healthy and happy life. By providing your pet with sufficient exercise, you can not only help their energy levels, but you can also help prevent future illnesses. Often, pets that are not regularly exercised struggle with being overweight or obese.

Carrying that extra weight will not only be harder on your pet’s joints, but it can also put them at risk for obesity-related complications. Take care of your pet’s body to help prevent heart and lung issues that can come with being overweight. Exercise your pet regularly as a preventative cost-saving measure.

Other Cost-Saving Measures

Consider giving your pet some treats or food that cover as many bases as you can. You can save a pretty penny by covering all of your bases. You can try giving your dog CBD treats like those from FOMO Bones. These tasty treats come packed with high-quality ingredients and CBD, which has been shown to help treat aching joints and anxiety

This article is originally published on FOMO Bones.

Image: Pixabay.com


Is Your Dog Safe in Your Car?

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Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:

  • 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
  • 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
  • 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.

These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/


Pet Ownership for Seniors

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There are lots of seniors in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, and for many of them, a pet provides essential companionship. Of course, dogs make great companions -- but it's important for seniors to choose the right type of dog that fits their lifestyle and needs.

The website "A Place for Mom" has published an infographic about pet ownership for seniors. It contains helpful information about pet benefits, choosing the right pet, best dog breeds, and things to consider before adopting a pet. You'll find it here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/#infographic 

In addition, "A Place for Mom" offers a comprehensive guide to pet ownership for seniors that includes a wealth of free information, available here: https://www.aplaceformom.com/resources/pets-for-seniors/


Do You Have a Disaster Plan for Your Dog?

High-water-3063989_1920Hurricanes and floods are a reality of summer and fall in the Carolina mountains. The ASPCA offers some good advice about disaster planning for dog owners:

Ready Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
  • Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.

Prepare Your Home

  • Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
  • If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
    • Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
    • Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
    • Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
    • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

Create an Emergency Kit

  • Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
  • Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
    • Medical records
    • Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
    • Water bowls
    • Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
    • Pet’s medications
    • Pet first aid kit
    • Dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
    • Extra collar, harness and leash
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
    • Toys

Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.

Image: Pixabay.com


Arthritis in Dogs

Guest Post by Alex Saunders

Belgian-shepherd-dog-435944_1920Affecting more than 20% of all dogs over one year old, arthritis is the most common joint disease in dogs. Much like in humans, arthritis can make life difficult for your dog. Due to the sometimes unbearable joint pain, you may find that your dog is unable to complete simple tasks such as regular walks.

Types of Arthritis

Dogs are affected by multiple types of arthritis, but osteoarthritis is the most common. This is a type of arthritis that affects multiple – or even all – of the joints in the body, and it has multiple causes.

In the case of osteoarthritis, your dog’s joints rubbed together abnormally. This led to the cartilage eventually disappearing, leaving the joints to rub together painfully. This can be worsened if your dog has experienced an injury in his lifetime, especially to one of the limbs. You may also find that arthritis is just another part of aging in your dog.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of arthritis in dogs are very similar to those in humans. Due to the stiffness and pain, your dog will be more reluctant to engage in physical activity such as walking, going up stairs, and playing. Colder weather, dampness, and long periods of stillness will worsen the associated pain and stiffness.

Since your dog won’t be able to get around as easily anymore, you’ll find them sleeping more often and just experiencing general lethargy. This can also lead to weight gain and irritability, especially when touched. In extremely severe cases, your dog may begin to have accidents around the house since he will be unable to make it outside every time. If your dog is displaying any of the signs, it’s important to speak to your veterinarian about getting an x-ray for a possible diagnosis.

Treatment

While curing arthritis isn’t possible, there are many things you can do to treat the associated signs and symptoms to help your dog enjoy life to the fullest.

Natural

Orthopedic Dog Bed

Sometimes, all your dog needs to feel better is a new bed. Most of the time, dogs sleep on the floor, furniture, or just a regular dog bed. This can put strain on the joints and pressure points, worsening the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Thankfully, there are dozens of options at a variety of prices so that you can pick the absolute best orthopedic dog bed for your arthritic dog. These beds, unlike regular dog beds, are made out of special memory foam designed to support your dog perfectly. After a few nights of good rest on one of these beds, you may find that your dog is feeling better and even greeting you at the door again.

Acupuncture

Needles may seem like a painful option, but the ancient technique of acupuncture has surprising benefits. It can cause the body to completely relax while improving circulation, alleviating your dog’s symptoms of pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It can also cause the body to produce an increased amount of certain hormones that can aid in the healing process. While a single appointment won’t be enough to provide relief, multiple, regular appointments will allow your dog to experience lasting effects.

Pharmaceutical

Before considering any type of pharmaceutical treatment, it’s important to talk to your veterinarian. Each medicine, like your dog, is unique, and some pose more risks of side effects than others.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

You may know these as NSAIDs; these are medicines that, like in humans, reduce swelling and joint-related pain and stiffness. However, NSAIDs that are safe for humans aren’t necessarily safe for your dog. Make sure you speak to your veterinarian for a prescription.

Supplements

You may also find that supplements – such as omega-3 oils – can help your dog as well. In some cases, depending on the severity and progression of your dog’s arthritis, your veterinarian may be able to prescribe supplements that will not only help protect the existing cartilage and joints but can even help repair the cartilage. Supplements will also work to reduce swelling, which will, in turn, help with the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. 


Arthritis is one of the most common conditions in dogs, and, with a variety of causes and symptoms, it can be difficult to know exactly where to start when it comes to treatment. Whether you decide to take a natural route or let your veterinarian help you with a pharmaceutical route, you will never completely heal your dog’s arthritis. However, you could find that your dog will eventually return to his old self, and that the pain associated with common tasks will no longer burden your dog, allowing him to continue doing what he loves: spending time with you.

Image: Pixabay.com 

Alex Saunders writes for DoggieApproved.com a website that provides dog owners helpful tips to be a better dog parent. You can read their most recent review of the best orthopedic dog beds for dogs struggling with arthritis.


Caring for a Senior Dog Doesn't Have to be Expensive

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Old-dog-3303296_1920As dogs get older, their needs begin to change. They may need special supplies, different food, or new forms of treatment. Most owners accept this as part of pet ownership and continue to love and care for their dogs as they learn to adapt to their aging pet’s new needs.

However, there is no denying that these changes can be worrying, both emotionally and financially. The only thing you can do for the former is to enjoy and cherish the next few years as much as you can. When it comes to finances, however, there are small ways you can ensure you are not overpaying for all the things your older dog needs.

Pet Supplies

As your dog gets older, you may have to buy her new supplies, whether it’s simply a more comfortable bed or a specialized product for senior dogs, such as pet stairs, a lifting harness, or a specially designed rubber toy for aging teeth. You can save money by looking at big box retailers, and be sure to check for online deals like Walmart promo codes and coupons that will cut your costs even more. The more money you save on items like accessories, the more money you will have for bigger costs like healthcare.

Food

It is true that food requirements for older dogs can vary in terms of nutrition, texture, and digestibility, and some dogs will need adjusted diets as they age. For example, dogs that are losing muscle mass may need more protein, and dogs with sensitive teeth need softer foods.

However, a lot of “senior dog food” is the same food sold in different packaging, and often at a higher price. Don’t fall for this — rely on your vet’s advice to make any adjustments. Often, your senior dog can be just as healthy with the food they have been eating all their lives. Just remember to adjust portion sizes if their physical activity has decreased.

Healthcare and Insurance

This is likely to be the biggest cost of having a senior pet. Healthcare for pets always runs the risk of being expensive; according to CNBC, emergency vet bills average between $800 and $1,500. In the case of senior pets, there is an increased chance you will have to pay for ongoing treatment, some of which can quickly become expensive. Cancer treatment, for instance, can cost up to $10,000. You will also have to take your senior dog to the vet more often, which means more money spent on checkups and ailments.

You could start putting aside some money for this, but it may also be wise to invest in pet insurance. Ideally, you will have purchased health insurance for your dog when she was young to take advantage of cheaper premiums. However, if you haven’t, now is the time to consider doing so. Ultimately, it’s a small price to pay for your pet’s health and longevity. The Bark has a detailed guide on pet insurance, including help with understanding caps and deductibles. Consumers Advocate also offers a free pet insurance guide. Many insurers don’t offer policies for dogs above 12, but there are still some good options.

In many ways, caring for a senior pet isn’t much different from caring for a younger one. You still need to give your dog plenty of love, attention, and exercise — you just need to also be mindful of any special needs they have as a result of aging. Stay aware of any potential issues and be proactive about preventing and addressing them, and you and your furry friend will enjoy many more happy years together.

Image: Pixabay.com

Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression. She created her website, SpiritFinder.org, as a platform for advocacy on opening up about mental health. Through the site, she hopes to share the types of steps and success stories that can help others realize their own power. When she isn’t working on her website, she enjoys traveling, working with animals, and seeking out new friendships and adventures.


Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs-2195708_1920What do dog owners do if they think their pet might be depressed? Is it even possible for a dog to become depressed? The simple answer is yes, but you need to find out the why behind it and how you can fix it.

Why Do Dogs Suffer from Depression?

Dogs can become depressed, just as easily as their owners. This might shock you considering you are used to your tail-wagging friends jumping and licking on you the second you walk through the door. But what if he isn’t doing that all of the sudden? It may be depression. But why? Of course, if your dog's behavior changes, you need to talk to your vet. For now, here are a few reasons why dogs become depressed:

  • The absolute biggest reason a dog may find himself depressed is the loss of a pet owner or companion. Dogs become incredibly attached to their owner, so not having them anymore can cause separation anxiety and a great deal of trauma on a pet’s mind and behavior. They are also very connected to their companion, and a loss of a companion dog can bring them to a deep level of depression as well.
  • Dogs can also pick up on any grief that their owner is feeling. If you’re struggling with a traumatic event in your life and are grieving because of it, your dog may be able to sense these feelings and also feel them for themselves as well.
  • Moving to a new house can have a lot of impact on a dog that does not like change. This big change and not having his stuff in a usual location can bring on a bout of doggy depression.
  • Bringing a new baby or pet into his situation can also bring on depression in your dog as he begins to receive less and less attention. He will also feel a bit of jealousy over the new baby or other pet as they don’t feel like the prized possession any longer.
  • A big change in the routine of your dog’s life can cause depression, as well as stress and anxiety. Dogs tend to be routine creatures, so switching up his everyday life can be a huge hurdle for your dog to get over.
  • Did something happen to your pal that left him injured? Dogs, like humans, don’t like to be injured or have pain or discomfort from an injury. If your dog has had a recent injury that has left him in pain and hasn’t allowed him to do his normal routine, this can cause depression.

Symptoms of Doggy Depression

The symptoms of depression found in humans are generally the same as in dogs. Some of the symptoms you will notice in a dog that is suffering from depression include:

  • Being withdrawn. Dogs with depression will appear to be withdrawn, not wanting to engage in social or physical activities like they used to.
  • Decrease in energy. All of a sudden, your rambunctious buddy doesn’t want to go for a walk or play, right? It could be due to depression.
  • Change in eating habits. Big eater not eating? You might want to see if he is struggling with depression and has lost his appetite because of it.
  • Change in sleeping habits. Perhaps he is oversleeping obnoxiously or hardly getting any shut-eye. Both are common effects of depression.
  • Anxiety typically goes hand in hand with depression, so this isn’t a big shock.
  • Aggression. A once nice and gentle pup can turn to a more sporadic, howling mess if he is dealing with an ample amount of depression.
  • Excess whining. All dogs will whine here and there, but if you notice a big increase in the amount of whining or he is apparently whining for no reason at all, he may just be dealing with depression.

Treatment for Dog Depression

  1. You need to give your pet extra attention. Much like a human suffering from depression wants to have more love and affection shown to them, so does your dog. Make sure you are not giving into your dog while they are moping or whining, though. When you see them showing any sign of happiness, reward them with love and treats so they know that is the right behavior to show.
  2. Make sure you give your dog enough time for exercise. Without adequate time to play, going for walks, or doing any other special activities they enjoy, they won’t be able to conquer their feelings of depression.
  3. Consider doing some more activities that include other dogs. This might be a special class where dogs meet and greet, going to the dog park to get some exercise and communication, or just hanging out at a specified doggy daycare.
  4. If all else fails, you might want to consider a natural remedy such as CBD oil, which can be found in our FOMO bones. While CBD oil hasn’t been tested greatly, it has shown to reduce anxiety and depression levels in humans as well as dogs. Make sure you only buy dog products containing the right amount of CBD oil to prevent over-consumption.

Image: Pixabay

This post was provided by FOMOBONES, dog treats for anxiety. Visit their website at www.fomobones.com


Should You Buy Pet Insurance?

Hound-437532_1920 (1)Pet insurance - or veterinary health insurance for your cat or dog - is about being prepared for the unexpected. Having a plan with a top-tier company gives you financial protection; in the event you’re faced with an expensive $2,000-6,000 surgery for your pet, a good insurance policy will pay up to 90% of that vet bill.

What questions should you ask? And which companies have the best plans for your pet? These are important questions, but getting good answers can be confusing.

ConsumersAdvocate.org has put together a comprehensive guide to pet insurance providers, how they work, what they cover, and how to choose the right one for your dog. The organization has done over 200 hours of research and evaluated 15 companies. This valuable free guide is a must-read if you are considering pet insurance.

Access the guide here: https://www.consumersadvocate.org/pet-insurance

Image: Pixabay


When Do You Say Goodbye to Your Dog?

Old-dog-3303296_1920It's a fact of life that humans typically outlive their beloved pets. One of the more heart-wrenching decisions for any dog owner is knowing when to "let go," either because a dog is critically ill or old age is making life difficult if not unbearable.

A very informative article in The New York Times addresses the issue in objective fashion. The writer, Tara Parker-Pope, discusses her dilemma facing an end-of-life scenario with her own dog. She refers to a "decision tool" created by Dr. Alice Villalobos, a California veterinarian who is nationally known in the field of veterinary oncology. The tool includes seven indicators, such as "Hurt," "Hunger," and "Hydration," which a pet owner rates from 0 (very poor) to 10 (best) to determine the assess a pet's condition. Parker-Pope writes, "When pet owners approach end of life this way, they often are surprised at how much they can do to improve a pet’s quality of life... By revisiting the scale frequently, pet owners can better assess the quality of the pet’s hospice care and gauge an animal’s decline."

Dr. Villalobos tells Parker-Pope, "“Natural death, as much as many people wish it would happen, may not be kind and may not be easy and may not be peaceful. Most people would prefer to assure a peaceful passing. You’re just helping the pet separate from the pack just as he would have done in nature.”

You'll find the decision tool, as well as more helpful information, in the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/19/well/family/pet-dog-cat-death-euthanasia.html?

Image: Pixabay


"Dog City" Asheville Featured in Washington Post

Screen Shot 2019-04-09 at 4.32.36 PM

An article last month in The Washington Post sang the praises of Asheville as "Dog City USA." It's written from the perspective of dog owner Melanie D.G. Kaplan, who brought her dog Hamilton to Asheville for a visit. "In just two hours, this mountain town in Western North Carolina blew his little beagle mind," writes Kaplan.

Kaplan says "Asheville is nirvana for dogs and humans who love the outdoors... I learned that this progressive city is canine-friendly in ways that go far beyond biscuits." She took "Hammy" on a dog-friendly tour offered by The Dog Door that stopped at Three Dog Bakery, ZaPow, Tasty Beverage Co., and Catawba Brewing -- all welcoming to dogs. Hammy also enjoyed "a gorgeous meal of diced carrots, sweet potato, zucchini and salmon" prepared by the Twisted Laurel restaurant.

Read more about Kaplan's experiences here. Aren't we lucky to live in "Dog City"?