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Understanding the nutrition label on your pet’s food

 

Are you a label reader? Do you read the label on the things that you eat, drink and put in your body?

I’m a label reader. I have been every since I became a mom. As a young adult I honestly didn’t give much thought to the things I put in my body. I didn’t check the sodium, carbohydrates or how many grams of sugar was in the things I ate or drank. A lot of that has to do with why I’m overweight now.

When I became a mom I took the time to read and understand what was on the nutrition label of the foods and beverages I served my family. I wanted to make sure I fed them good, quality foods.

Are you a pet parent? I am. We currently have five cats and a ginormous Goldfish. We used to have a dog but we had to put him to sleep earlier this year.

Do you ever read the nutrition labels on your pet’s foods?

Admittedly I never did until our dog became sick (he had a fatal liver disease). I just assumed that pet foods were pretty much all the same. I honestly thought that you paid more for some food then others because of the brand name alone and not for the quality of the food it’s self.

Our beloved Espn before he got sick.

Was I ever WRONG. Not all pet foods are alike. There IS a notable difference between brands. And yes, the pricier foods ARE often better for your pet.

When our dog became sick I started to read and compare nutrition labels on a variety of pet foods. I compared the inexpensive grocery store brands to the super expensive foods sold at pet food stores. I DID notice a difference in not only the ingredients, but also how the food looked visually. Some of the less expensive foods looked like “slop” – stuff I wouldn’t even to a pig. Other foods looked so good that it would be appealing to people (although I would NEVER try it – that would be gross).

There are even suggested serving sizes listed on all pet foods. Many people don’t take those serving sizes into account, which is why there is a growing trend of obese dogs and cats. Two of our cats are obese, even though we try and watch what they eat (they must be sneaking food some how).

Our cat Anakin is overweight. We have no clue why this is. We DO watch what he eats.

Most pet parents want what is best for their pet, but understanding the information found on pet food labels might be a bit confusing. To make it easier, here’s a quick and easy breakdown of the five main components of a nutrition label and what it means for you and your dog, compliments of Petcurean.

Ingredients Panel:

  • The ingredients list is probably the most recognizable portion of the nutrition panel. What some pet owners may not know however is that the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, which means the first ingredient is the largest quantity and the last ingredient is the smallest.
  • Tip: Buying economy brands of pet food is not always a money saver. Some economy brands use inexpensive ingredients that aren’t highly digestible. This means you must feed your dog more portions of the food just to ensure they’re meeting their nutritional requirements. In the long run, the cost per serving for a lower quality food is much higher than that of a premium food where your pet can get all of their nutrients from one serving.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • This section provides information about the nutrient content of the food. It should include the minimums for Crude protein and Crude fat, as well as the maximum Crude Fiber and Moisture. Additionally, any nutrients highlighted on the packaging must be included in the guaranteed analysis.
  • Tip: You can find the guaranteed analysis of a pet food product on a company’s website or by contacting the company. Here’s an example for Petcurean’s GO! Sensitivity + Shine LID Venison Recipe For Dogs.

Feeding Guidelines:

  • The feeding guidelines should only serve as a starting point for deciding how much to feed your pet, as it heavily depends on your pet’s size, age, and activity level.
  • Tip: The best way to assess proper feeding is by calculating your pet’s body condition score. You can find that out here.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement:

  • This statement tells you if the food is complete and balanced, meaning it meets all of your pet’s nutritional requirements. It will also tell you if the product should be used only for intermittent feeding or as a treat.
  • Tip: Pay attention to what stage of life this section recommends for feeding. It should be labeled for all life stages or for one stage in particular.

Certifications:

  • Organic: An organic certification means that the production methods comply with organic farming standards. The primary goal of organic production is to use farming practices that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
  • MSC: The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent international non-profit certification organization that promotes sustainable fishing practices. An MSC certification is based upon three principles: sustainable fish stocks, minimizing environmental impacts, and effective management.
  • Vegan: The primary criteria for a product to receive the Certified Vegan logo is that the producer must prove that no ingredients were sourced from animals, no animal testing was permitted, adequate segregation of vegan and non-vegan ingredients was ensured and adequate clean out procedures were followed in facilities that produce vegan and non-vegan products.

GATHER™ dog and cat recipes have received three different food certifications, Vegan, MSC certified, and Organic, to provide transparency about the ingredients that have been carefully selected for these diets.

I actually read this information over a few times to make sure that I fully understood it. It’s a lot to take in. I think it’s a littler harder to understand pet food nutrition labels because it’s a bit different than human food labels. We also hear about nutrition labels all the time on the news, in magazines and on television. We don’t hear the same type of information about reading and understanding pet food nutrition labels. I think more should be done to educate pet parents about this, don’t you agree? Maybe legitimate breeders, animal shelters and/or pet food stores should offer a little informational packet about reading and understanding pet food nutrition labels. I think that would be a great idea.

The next time you go shopping for your pet’s food, take a few moments to pick up several pet foods (different brands, different types) and compare the labels. Do they make sense to you now? Can you notice a clear difference between quality brands and inexpensive store brands?

I appreciate that Petcurean shared this information with me so I could pass it along to my readers.

For more information about Petcurean foods visit Petcurean.com. There is also a store locator on the website to help you find a Petcurean retailer near you.

Do YOU read the labels on your pet’s food? Do you understand what you are reading? After reading this post are you going to take the time to read about what you are feeding to your pet? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are that of my own and not influenced in any way.

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Top 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Dog for You

 

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

You’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a long time and have finally made the decision that now is as good a time as any – congratulations!  You are sure that you have enough resources, space and time to bring a new pet into your home, now all that’s left is to find the perfect dog that’s right for you and potentially the others in your home.

It is really important to think about what dog is right to make sure that you choose the type that would be a good fit for your lifestyle as it sets you up (and the others in your home) to be successful dog owners.  Many times people who chose the wrong dog for them end up having to put them back into the adoption cycle with friends or family, or worse, sending them to a shelter.  This is a new life that’s in your hands so it has to be looked at as a commitment for that animal’s life time, and with a little homework you can make sure you choose wisely.

Here are the top tips to set you up for success:

Adopt a dog or buy from a breeder

Adopting saves pet’s lives, and that’s an important factor to consider. As you probably know, adopting a dog has become very popular in the United States as there are so many rescues and shelters doing amazing work and so many incredible animals who need homes. According to the ASPCA, the number of adoptions have gone up every year and the number of animals being surrendered to shelters has gone down. That’s mostly because of the awareness the general public has now of the benefits of adoption. In addition, the revelation of the conditions of many puppy mills who supply pet stores and online distributors that sell puppies has made it a bad choice for people looking to get a puppy.  Remember, if you seek a specific type of breed there are rescue groups based on breed. Buying from a breeder: there are plenty of reputable breeders around the country and if you do want to buy a dog, do your research carefully and certainly look for referrals to find the best breeders so that you know what you’re getting (the environment they are in day-to-day, get references from other buyers from that breeder, etc.)

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Age

Perhaps one of the most important decisions you need to make when considering a dog is whether to get a puppy, an adult dog or even a senior dog.  All age groups need a home, and the impact of that age on resources needed vary. With a puppy you will know the dog their entire life and be able to train them from the start, but they take a lot of work (from feeding them more often, taking them out more often, potty training them, etc.) Remember, with a puppy you have the power to prevent unwanted behaviors before they start, but you also have the ability to inadvertently teach them bad ones as well. With an adult and senior aged dog you will likely have less training to do and the dog will probably be past their voracious chewing phase.  These age groups make can amazing companions. One thing to to take into consideration with senior pets are medical issues and possibly behavior issues. But your rescue group should be able to present you with those before adopting.

Energy Level

No matter the dog’s age, breeds will have different energy levels and you need to find a dog that will match what’s going on in your home. Make sure you choose wisely as a dog that has a lot of energy will not be happy if you just want them to sit next to you on the couch. You need to ask yourself:

  • What kind of companion do I want? For instance, are you looking for a hunting dog, a dog to provide protection for your home, a family playmate, a running companion or a lap dog.
  • What time do I have to commit to exercise daily?
  • Do I have the resources to get a dog walker to help if necessary?
  • Do I have access to the type of yard/dog park, etc. that will supply enough spots for me to exercise the dog properly?
  • Does my day-to-day schedule allow for me to be with them enough to make them happy to run around, play, etc.?

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Size

It’s important to look at sizes as well. How much space you have and access to exercise helps you get to this answer. Many people who think they want a large dog have to come to terms with the fact that you and an 80 pound Setter might not make the best roommates in a smaller home (small apartment, for example).  The good news is that size doesn’t always equal energy level.  Some larger breeds may actually sleep 16-18 hours a day whereas a tiny Yorkie may run a million miles an hour all day long.  But their size will impact how compatible you will be and how happy the dog will be (how you can get them to the vet, etc. plays a role, too).  The space that they have available to them, especially during the day when they may need to be confined to one area of the house, will impact the dog’s level of comfort.

Grooming and Shedding

Some dogs shed way more than other breeds. The dogs that tend to shed more are breeds/mixes such as Corgis, German Shepherds, and Labradors/Retrievers. Dogs that tend to shed a lot let less are breeds/mixes like Bijon Frise, Poodles and some Terriers.  If you are averse to having dog hair become a major issue in your home or if someone has allergies, be sure to look for a dog that will have less of a shedding issue and are actually hypoallergenic. This also comes into play in terms of grooming required on a monthly (or more infrequent) basis.

Training

Just as every person is different, so is every dog.  If you’re seeking a full breed (not a mix) puppy, you should give some thought as to how easy/difficult a specific type of dog is to train, and also look at how capable you feel in providing training for the dog.  Are you someone who is patient, positive and willing to work towards a strong relationship with your dog? Or,  are you a little more impatient and don’t have the time to commit to training? Either way, you can consider getting a trainer to help you get on a training course 1:1 or do a group class. Some breeds tend to take more easily to training than others such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, Boxers and Labs.  On the other hand, dogs that show less aptitude to picking things up quickly or are a little more on the stubborn side would be Dalmatians, Basset Hounds and Beagles. Remember, both you and the dog are factors here so include both in this calculation.  When choosing a trainer, make sure you select one that uses positive reinforcement as their method of choice!

Photo Source: Dreamstime.com

Children

Every dog is unique and how they are/were treated by humans will determine much of their personality.  If a dog that you are bringing home is going to be around small children you will need to give some thought to not only the dog’s natural characteristics but also the level of energy that the children can display.  At all times, until you know a dog inside and out use caution. When you start with a puppy, you do have the ability to help develop the dog’s personality from a young age so they’re adapted to children from the onset.  But, if you’re not going the puppy route you won’t always know exactly what an older dog has been through. Though a good shelter will generally evaluate a dog for even the slightest aggressive tendencies, teach your children to behave appropriately around them as it’s humans who have to respect the dog’s natural tendencies.

Before you make your final decision about the type of dog to bring home, be sure to evaluate each of these things above as it will really help you narrow down your options. Doing plenty of research upfront will help you find the right dog and then create a strong bond with the furry family member from the beginning.

About the author:

Travis Brorsen is one of the most sought-after dog trainers in America today. Travis is Founder and CEO of Greatest American Dog Trainers, and is Animal Planet’s pet expert and dog trainer, hosting their new show, My Big Fat Pet Makeover, which premiers Fall 2017.  He is a regular contributor to both Dogster.com and DogingtonPost.com

For more information please go to www.greatestamericandogtrainers.com.

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Is your pet getting enough protein in their diet?

 

Do you have a dog or cat? Do you read the label on the foods you are feeding your beloved pet?

I have to admit that we used to buy whatever pet food was on sale. We never really gave the ingredients much of a thought. We figured all pet foods were pretty much the same. We couldn’t be any further from the truth. Not all pet foods are made the same way. Cheap pet food is made with cheap, low grade ingredients. Sure, it saves you money in the long run, but is saving a few dollars here and there worth risking your pet’s health?

We had to put our dog Espn to sleep back in March. He had an incurable liver disease. He was given 2-3 months to live. We were able to keep him with us for 8 months.

Espn (pronounced Es-pin) has always had a sensitive stomach. He would throw up and/or have diarrhea often. The vet said he needed a limited ingredient diet. That is when I started to read the labels on the food we were feeding our dog and cats. I was mortified at how much NON-FOOD ingredients were in the food we were feeding our pets.

One thing I have noticed with the “cheap” pet food is that they don’t contain any good sources of protein. Just like people, pets needs protein too.

Protein consists of long chains of amino acids that can be found in both meat and plant sources. It works to ensure proper growth, development, body tissue repair, and a healthy immune system. While there are 10 amino acids that cats and dogs must get from their food, a cat’s diet must also include taurine as their body is unable to naturally produce it.

To help you decide what protein source is best for your pet, here’s a quick guide from Petcurean.

Some people (myself included) used to think that you can only get protein from red meat. Did you know you can get protein from plants? Here are some great sources.  

Plant-based Proteins:

  • Peas: A good source of beta-carotene, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, and copper. It’s also packed with dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamin and manganese.
  • Organic flaxseed and sunflower oil: Both contain omega-6 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a radiant coat. Flaxseed also boasts omega-3 fatty acids which are important for normal metabolism and optimal health.
  • Lentils and Chickpeas: Both are low glycemic carbohydrates that also provide a good source of protein, iron, phosphorus and copper.

I knew that poultry was also a good source for protein.

Poultry:

  • Chicken Meal: A concentrated source of protein containing meat, bones, and cartilage that is dried and preserved naturally. It should never include feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.
  • Chicken Fat: Although human diets try to avoid fats, animal fat is good for your pet. Chicken fat is a great source of omega-6 which is considered the most important essential fatty acid for dogs and cats.
  • Eggshell Meal: A natural source of calcium to promote bone strength. Eggshell membrane is an added plus!

Pro-Tip: As obligate carnivores, cats must get their protein from animal tissue. For a protein-packed meal and a meaty flavor they’ll love, try out Now Fresh Grain Free.

I didn’t know that fish was also a good source of protein. I knew it was healthy for you (people) but it’s also really good for your pet.

Fish:

  • Cod: A good source of high quality protein, phosphorous, niacin, and Vitamin B-12.
  • Dehydrated Cod: A concentrated source of protein that uses the entire raw material. The benefit of dehydrated product is the removal of water, but not the fat.
  • Krill: As the “superfood of the sea,” krill is growing in popularity as a protein source. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin, krill is also virtually free of pollutants and heavy metals.

Pro-Tip: Want to try a fish-based kibble? GATHER Wild Ocean features line-caught Alaskan cod and sustainably harvested krill to create a delicious and healthy meal for your dog.

Whole Meats:

  • Deboned Venison, Pork, and Lamb: All are great sources of protein that come from the animal’s clean and de-boned flesh.
  • Novelty Proteins: This classification consists of proteins your pet may not have eaten before such as venison, salmon, or duck. Novelty proteins can sometimes help alleviate the symptoms of dietary sensitivities.

Pro-Tip: If your cat or dog has more challenging sensitivities, Petcurean’s GO! offers a wide variety of options that were specifically created for picky eaters, those who need a grain free or higher protein diet, and for those requiring a recipe with unique proteins or a limited number of ingredients.

Our dog did best with limited ingredient foods. I also tried to give him food free of grains. After all, in the wild dogs don’t normally eat grains. I think the same would apply to cats.

As you can see, there are different varieties of sources for your pet’s daily dose of protein. If you would like help in navigating your pet’s diet, Petcurean offers a useful Petfood finder that will tailor the perfect diet to your fluffy companion, no matter their needs.

For more information about Petcurean foods visit Petcurean.com. The brand is also found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website. There is also a store locator on their website as well, so that you can find a Petcurean retailer near you.

What do you feed your pet? Do you ALWAYS look at the label? Do you know what is in the food you are feeding your furry friend?

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Pecurean to bring you this information. Although compensated, the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

** Photos sourced from Dreamstime.com.

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Movie Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

 

Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download is the historic drama The Zookeeper’s Wife.

The film stars Jessica Chastain, Johan Heldenbergh and Daniel Brühl, to name a few. 

This film is based on a true story from diaries written by Jessican Chastain’s character, Antonia Żabiński.

Dr. Jan Żabiński (Heldenbergh) and his wife, Antonina (Chastain) own a zoo in Warsaw, Poland. They live on the zoo grounds with their son.

Life seems idyllic at the zoo. The Żabiński have a lot of friends and are well liked in their community. Jan and Antonia also have a genuine interest in the well being of the animals in their care. Antonia especially has a connection to the animals. Even the fieriest of beast is not afraid of her or will attack her. She’s like an “animal whisperer.”

One day Antonia and her son Ryszard were nearly killed when the Germans launched and air attack on Warsaw. The bombs killed many of the animals at the zoo and freed many others (who were later caught and returned to the zoo).

Dr. Lutz Heck (Brühl), head of the Berlin Zoo and “Hitler’s zoologist” offers to take the best animals that still remained at the Warsaw Zoo and bring them to Berlin where they will be safe. Reluctantly Antonia agrees (much to the dismay of her husband). As it turns out, Dr. Heck has other plans for these animals.

The Żabiński family remain at the zoo. The are safe for the most part, but many of their friends have been forced to flee or have been captured and forced to live Jewish Ghettos.

One of their best friends risks being sent to the Ghetto, so Antonia offers to let her hide out in her home – in hopes that the Nazis don’t find her.

Helping out one person was not enough. Soon the family take in more people from the Ghetto, hiding them away in the zoo. Some are able to be transported to safety but others end up living in the zoo for months, even years.

Will their secret be revealed? If the Nazis find out they are hiding Jewish people, what will happen to them? Will the Warsaw Zoo ever return to the wonderful place it once was? To find out you need to pick up (or download) The Zookeeper’s Wife. Look for it where ever movies are sold.

I didn’t know much about this movie before I watched it. I had seen trailers on television for it and it looked interesting. When I was offered a screener copy to review I jumped on the opportunity.

Here is a trailer for your enjoyment. This is the theatrical trailer. The film is now available for home viewing.

 

See what I mean? It looks good.That is because it IS a good movie.

The film is rated PG-13. There is brief nudity and assumed rape. I think the bombing and some cruel things that are done to the animals make this a film not suitable for young children.

Over all I really enjoyed the film. It kept me interested from start to finish. Normally I am not a fan of war time films, or historical films, but this one caught my interest. I think a lot of it had to do with me being a big animal lover and always dreaming of having my own farm, zoo or animal rescue place.

Jessica Chastain was wonderful as her role of Antonia. Her accent was spot on too. The filmmakers did an excellent job casting her in this role.

The film tugged at my heart strings too. I felt so bad for not only the innocent animals at the zoo, but also the innocent men, women and children who were forced out of Poland and murdered. That is such an injustice to human kind and I hope and pray something like that NEVER happens again – ever.

I’m surprised that I have never heard of this family until now. They courageously saved the lives of about 300+ people. That is amazing. We should have read about them in history books and learned about this family in school. They risked everything – including their lives – to save the lives of so many people.

There are some bonus features worth checking out too.

Deleted Scenes

The Making of The Zookeeper’s Wife – Filmmakers, cast, and crew discuss the challenges they encountered in making the film, including recreating the Warsaw Zoo; working with the animals; and doing justice to such an important story.

The Żabiński Family – A closer look at the selfless family at the center of The Zookeeper’s Wife, including interviews with Teresa Żabińska and Ryszard Żabiński, the real-life children of Antonina and Jan.

I found the bonus features not only interesting, but they also gave you a better insight to the real life family and how they were able to work with the real live animals in the film. I would recommend you taking the time to watch the bonus features for this film.

You can learn more about the film on it’s official website, www.TheZookeepersWifeFilm.com. You can also check out the film on social media:

  • Facebook: /TheZookeepersWife
  • Twitter: @Zookeepers
  • Instagram: @TheZookeepersWife
  • Hashtag: #TheZookeepersWife

Have you seen this film? Do you have an interest in seeing The Zookeeper’s Wife? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Have fun this summer with Miffy!

 

Are you familiar with the adorable little bunny named Miffy? Miffy is a cute little book character that was first drawn in 1955 by Dick Bruna. The first Miffy book was published in 1963.

The Miffy character is known around the world. The sweet little bunny has been featured in 30 books.

Check out this wonderful piece about Dick Bruna. It’s really interesting and it gives you a better appreciation for the Miffy character – The Simple Message Behind Miffy, the Beloved Dutch Character.

My kids were big fan of Miffy when they were younger, most especially my son. Our son is what you call a “reluctant reader,” but there were some books he would read – Miffy was one of them. The text was easy for him to read, and the colorful images kept his attention. Many nights I read our son Miffy books before bedtime. For that reason I have a fondness for Miffy too. She brings back fond memories of when my kids were little.

For Miffy fans young and old, or soon-to-be Miffy fans, there is a new website that features great tips and fun activities for pre-school aged children. The site is MiffyFun.com. The activities include crafts and baking, among other fun things.

While many of these activities are based on Miffy’s adventures, they can also be done independently of the show or the books.

The very first activity in the Miffy Fun series centered on Miffy’s recent, real-life trip to the Columbus Zoo.  From mammals to music, this Miffy Fun adventure helped children and parents create a zoo-like experience in their home. You can check out the full activity can be found here.

Not long ago (June 21st to be exact) Miffy celebrated her birthday. There are several fun activities available on the website to help celebrate Miffy’s birthday, or use them for your child’s Miffy themed party. Activities include Miffy Ears, Miffy Banner and Handmade Miffy Goody Bags. There is even a yummy recipe for Mini Birthday Cake Sandwiches. The post even offers some baking tips which are especially helpful when you are baking with little ones.

The site is in it’s early stages, but new content is going to be added regularly. I am looking forward to new craft and recipe ideas from Miffy Fun.

I even found some funny kid-friendly jokes in the Miffy Fun Zoo Activity section.

What do you call an alligator with GPS? A Navigator. LOL! That cracks me up!

I work at a teacher’s assistant with Kindergarten students. Some of the ideas I found on the Miffy Fun website I plan on utilizing with my students in the upcoming school year (school is out for the summer). I especially like the Handmade Paper Flowers craft. I think that is a craft the children I work with will enjoy.

Easy Miffy sewing project for adults.

I plan on checking this site often for new ideas for the upcoming school year.

I do have some fun Miffy products, but at this moment in time I cannot find them. Oh no!!! We had company come in from Florida and I had to shove A LOT of stuff into the bedroom closet (walk-in closet) to make room for our guests. As a result the closet now resembles one of the homes you see on that Hoarders show. As soon as I can retrieve my cute Miffy goodies I’ll update this post and share them with my readers.

If you would like to check out Miffy Fun for yourself, visit MiffyFun.com. You can even check out Miffy Fun on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This is a great resource to find stuff to do with your little one during the dog days of summer too!

Are you a fan of Miffy? Does your child/grandchild read Miffy books? Do you have any favorite Miffy adventure? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received free products in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

 

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Keep your pet happy and healthy all summer long

 

PHOTO SOURCE: Dreamstime.com

Now that summer is almost officially here (June 21, 2017), many families are anxiously waiting to go on summer vacation as well as do things typically enjoyed during the summer months such as trips to the beach, lazy summer days hanging out by the pool and backyard barbecues with family and friends.

Summer time can also be a fun time for your dog. At the same time the hot summer months can also be very dangerous for your four legged friend.

Here are some great tips to keep in mind all summer long when it comes to your beloved pet.

NEVER, EVER leave your pet in a car. I cannot stress that enough.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG IN A CAR!!!!!!

It can take minutes – literally minutes – for your dog to develop heat stroke and/or suffocate in a car. Do you really want your best friend to SUFFER like that? If you love your pet then you will leave your pet at home.

To give you a gruesome example, on a 78 degree day the interior of your car, parked in the shade, can quickly escalate to 90 degrees. If your car is not parked in the shade the temperature in your car can reach a deadly 168 degrees within minutes. Would YOU want to sit in a hot car that feels like it’s 168 degrees? I don’t think so. Why would you put your dog through that?

PHOTO SOURCE: Dreamstime.com

Keep your pet hydrated

There is nothing better on a hot summer day than a cold glass of refreshing water. Most people are aware that they need to keep themselves properly hydrated at all times, most especially in the hot summer months. The same holds true for your pets.

Dogs and cats (and other animals) should have access to fresh water at all times, this is even more critical in the summer months when dehydration can happen rapidly due to the hotter temperatures.

Be sure to pack water and a collapsible water bowl when out on the trails, and have fresh water available whether at the beach or playing in the yard.

When my family and I were going to be away from home for a while I would freeze large chunk of ice and place them in a clean bowl with fresh water. The ice helps to keep the water cold and the melting ice keeps the water supply from being depleted. Our cats especially love it when only small chunk of ice are left in the bowl. They like to hit the ice chunk/chunks around with their paws and make a game out of it.

Hot Weather Safety

Did you know that dogs can get sunburned just like people can. White, light-colored, and thinly coated dogs are particularly prone to sunburn, so be sure to regularly apply a waterproof sunscreen formulated for babies or pets.

Find a shady spot to place a cool mat for your dog whether in your yard, at the beach, or during trail breaks.

In addition you should keep in mind that outside surfaces can heat up quickly in the summer sun and can burn your dog’s footpads. Walk your dog in the morning or evening, or in shaded areas or test surfaces before venturing outside by pressing your hand to the surface for 30 seconds. If it is painful for you, it will also be painful for your dog. Personally, we’d try and keep our dog in the grass as much as possible. We live in a condo complex with only a huge parking lot to walk around. Instead of putting our dog as risk we’d walk him around the condo buildings in the grass.

I love the tip about placing your hand on the concrete to check for hotness. I would have never thought to do that. Great idea!

PHOTO SOURCE: Dreamstime.com

Road Trips

When you are taking a road trip with your family and furry friend, make sure to plan out what you are going to feed your pet BEFORE you leave home.

Make sure you have ample food and treats if you are travelling for only a few days. Petcurean’s SPIKE treats are a great on-the-go treat for your dog. You don’t want to cause any digestion issues.

If you’re planning to be traveling for days, weeks or months, you may need to purchase dog food while you are away – many pet food brands offer store locators on their website so that you can plan where to get your dog’s next meal.

Pet Sitters

Sometimes it’s not feasible to bring our pet on vacation with us. If you are lucky you can have a friend, family member or neighbor come in and take care of your pet in your absence. If that is not possible a kennel or professional pet sitter are viable options. Personally I prefer a pet sitter over a kennel. I think it’s better for your pet to be in their own home environment with their own things (bowls, bedding, toys…) then going to a kennel.

Pet sitter are also great for when you have other pets like fish, reptiles and birds.

PHOTO SOURCE: Dreamstime.com

Here are two great articles worth reading in regards to choosing and hiring a pet sitter.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Pet Sitter

A Guide to Hiring a Pet Sitter

Pet Friendly Vacation

I have noticed that more and more hotels are becoming “pet friendly.” I think that is wonderful. That means that more pets can join their family on a fun vacation.

When choosing a hotel, campground or RV location be sure to find out their rules for pets. Some have limits to the pets size/weight. Other places might have limits on the number of pets you can have.

Here is a useful article to help you plan your next vacation with your pet – Summer Vacations Can Include the Family Pet.

Do YOU have any great tips when it comes to your pet/pets and the “dog days” of summer (no pun intended… OK… maybe a little. LOL!)? Feel free to tell me about them in the comment section of this post.

PHOTO SOURCE: Dreamstime.com

Kimberly

*I have partnered with Petcurean to bring you these great tips. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise noted and not influenced in any way. 

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