The Fight Against Canine Cancer

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By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives and Alliances

Jim and Ann Tedford enjoy an evening raising money for canine cancer research.

Jim and Ann Tedford enjoy an evening raising money for canine cancer research.

Cancer stinks. There is no way around it. Whether it strikes a close relative, a good friend…or you, it is a devastating disease. It stinks!

A few facts about the impact of this killer on man’s (and woman’s) best friend:

  • HALF of all dogs will be affected by cancer.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 2.
  • Risk increases with age.
  • As many as 60% of Golden Retrievers are impacted by cancer. Some other breeds are more susceptible, as well.

If you have ever loved a dog who has been impacted by this disease, you are not alone. It seems that everyone I encounter has been touched. Either they have lost pets to cancer or they’ve had close friends or relatives who have lost dogs.

In our case, his name was Otis. He was a big black Lab with a heart of gold. He loved us all, but he especially loved his “Mom.” At the end of the workday he would wait anxiously at the door and would follow her every step. Thankfully, Otis lived a long, happy life. But ultimately, he was taken by a nasty brain tumor that robbed him of his spirit in his waning days.

A treats buffet was a big hit!

A treats buffet was a big hit!

Our friends at the Morris Animal Foundation are doing something about it, though! Driven by their passion for all life and their desire to improve veterinary science, the Foundation awards grants to the best and brightest researchers out there. Ultimately, that research will lead to better treatments and a cure for canine cancer.

PetSafe is proud to partner with Morris Animal Foundation. Together we want to give dog lovers more and more “best moments” with their best friends! On August 2, 2014 we held the third annual PetSafe Black Tie & Tails Gala benefiting Morris Animal Foundation. This dog-friendly gala was held in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee –home base of Radio Systems Corporation, the PetSafe parent company. The festive event was attended by nearly 170 dog lovers and about 40 dogs dressed to the “caNINES.” Attendees were treated to a delicious dinner, fabulous entertainment and the opportunity to bid on dozens of wonderful items donated for our silent and live auctions (I walked away with a weekend getaway to Naples, Florida!).

The event had Emmett as the guest of honor.

The event had Emmett as the guest of honor.

There were many dignitaries present including Radio Systems Corporation CEO Randy Boyd and Morris Animal Foundation President/CEO Dr. David Haworth. But, in true canine fashion, the spotlight was completely stolen by our guest of honor, Emmett and his humans Maggie and John. Emmett is living with hemangiosarcoma, a form of blood cancer. He and his folks recently made the PetSafe headquarters one of the stops on “Emmett’s Epic Road Trip” as he checked things off his “bucket list”. Guests at the gala enjoyed the premier screening of a video cataloguing Emmett’s journey through life and cancer. Enjoy Emmett’s story yourself by clicking here!

The PetSafe Black Tie & Tails Gala gave lots of dog lovers the chance to dress up and celebrate all the love we have for our canine companions. But, more importantly, we raised $40,000 for Morris Animal Foundation to support the ongoing fight against canine cancer.

Take a moment to hug your dog..take him for an extra walk today. And, when you get home, log on to the Morris Animal Foundation website and show your support for canine cancer research. We wish you many more happy years and miles and miles of long walks with your best friends!

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Introducing: Jack and Lil

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By Heather Owens, Category Manager

Heather, Jack and Lil.

Heather, Jack and Lily.

First, I would like to introduce myself and my two furry sidekicks. I am new to the blog as well as to the PetSafe® office! I have two Australian Terriers: Jack is 2 ½ and Lily is 4 months. My free time is often occupied by walks, throwing toys and my favorite activity: training. I plan to focus my blog posts on my experience training from an owner’s perspective, as well as any fun or unique activities I do with my dogs.

A little background on my training experience thus far: I rescued Jack at 7 months old and at that time he had zero training and didn’t even know sit. He was very insecure, would startle at every little noise, and rarely wagged his tail. I really saw his insecurities come out at our first basic obedience class. This sweet puppy I adopted turned in to a monster. He was dog reactive and his screaming, lunging and pulling was horrifying. I was practically in tears after our first class. I felt helpless and out of control of my dog. Luckily that is why I was going to class!

Fast forward to now, celebrating his second adoptaversary and having taken 6 sets of classes, Jack is a well behaved, nub-wagger that has his CGC certification and two rally obedience titles. He is even well behaved enough to come to work with me every day. Not only did taking classes give me the tools to work with him, it gave him an opportunity to build his confidence and for us to strengthen the owner/pet bond. He is certainly not perfect and I am always sure to be present and in control when he is introduced to new dogs. But just like a person, Jack is a work in progress and there is room for both him and me to grow.

Lily on the other hand is just getting started! She is the smartest little dog. She quickly learned to ring bells on our door to signal to go outside and already knows a handful of tricks. She is fearless and I predict is going to be a great agility dog. I will face a very different set of challenges with her than I did with Jack and I look forward to learning new teaching methods as I train her.

I can’t wait to share more of Jack and Lily’s training journey with you!

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Creating a Routine for Your Pet

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By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP

1Changes can be pretty difficult for a dog. Believe it or not, they really thrive on routine. Waking up, going outside, having breakfast, taking a nice nap, playing with family, taking a walk, having dinner, and going to bed for the night sounds boring to us, but it gives dogs something they can follow. Have you ever had a dog that reminds you it’s dinner time even if you aren’t even near the kitchen? That’s a well-established routine that a dog counts on.

Unfortunately for a dog, there are tons of disruptions to routines. Sometimes they’re small changes– like not being home during the normal dinner time to feed them. Sometimes the changes are much bigger—like moving to a new house. Some dogs cope with changes easily, while some dogs really struggle with even the smallest change. The key to success is understanding your dog and being proactive about the changes.

When you’re dealing with small changes, you might not need to do very much. For example, your weekends probably look very different to your weekdays. Your dog might wake up to you at 9am and think “hey… you’re late for work, aren’t you?”, but then quickly recover by nuzzling you in bed. These changes might even be in the dog’s favor—maybe you’re home to give them playtime at noon on Saturday.

Many dogs will accept extra snuggles on a Saturday morning without complaint!

Many dogs will accept extra snuggles on a Saturday morning without complaint!

For bigger changes, you should really consider your dog’s personality. Big changes can include moving to a new home, human or animal additions/removals to the family, owner employment changes, shelter changes (i.e. if you went on vacation and boarded your dog), and much more. Some dogs are go-with-the-flow, while others might start to get very anxious. You might see your dog exhibiting symptoms that indicate that they are nervous, such as pacing, licking their lips, panting, or whining.

Whether you anticipate that your dog will be nervous or not, you should take steps to make your dog comfortable during the big changes. For example, the process of moving can be very stressful. Strange people come in, take all of your stuff and put it in a big scary truck, move it in a new house with strange new smells, and then expect you to accept that it’s their new home. In this case, you can try to make your dog more comfortable by introducing them to the new house first. Perhaps put their bed in it so it has a familiar smell when they arrive. Then have someone else doggysit while you or the movers load and unload the moving truck. When everything is settled and you have time to be calm with your dog, bring your dog to the new house. Reward them for exploring the new house with treats and praise.

Some big changes for dogs might not seem like big changes for you. For example, if your dog attended doggy daycare or a dog park a few times a week, but then stopped because your funding or timing ran low, this is a huge change for the dog but might be a minimal change for you. That was an outlet for a dog to socialize, run off some energy, and enjoy themselves. Although you might not see symptoms that indicate that your dog is nervous, you might see other symptoms that show that your dog isn’t coping well with the change. Your dog might have pent up energy or seek additional attention to make up for what they were getting.

Some dogs need a lot of stimulation every day, so removing some of it might not be a good change for them.

Some dogs need a lot of stimulation every day, so removing some of it might not be a good change for them.

The most important part when making changes in a dog’s life is to make the change a good one for your dog. If you’re introducing a new place, thing, or person, making positive associations is the best thing you can do. Give your dog treats and praise whenever they interact with the new thing. If you’re removing something from the dog’s life, consider what that will do for them physically, socially and emotionally. Prepare something to fill the hole that will be there when the change occurs. Provide ample physical, mental, and/or social stimulation if they are things that your dog counts on.

As the summer comes to an end, children will be going back to school. This is a big change for a dog—their playmates are gone for a good portion of the day. For a dog that is used to the hustle and bustle of kids being around, expecting them to go to an 8+ hour day without the stimulation that they’re used to might be frustrating, stressful, or disappointing. Remember to keep your dog stimulated. If you aren’t able to provide human contact stimulation, purchase a few enrichment toys to keep your dog active and engaged. The Busy Buddy® line carries a fantastic selection of toys that will keep your dog occupied.

Put your dog’s food in a Kibble Nibble to keep them engaged and working for their food.

Put your dog’s food in a Kibble Nibble to keep them engaged and working for their food.

Lastly, even when big changes occur, try to establish a routine for your dog as quickly as possible. They thrive on routine and will feel safer and more secure if they are familiar with the day’s activities.

And if you don’t believe me- try to see if your dog notices if you feed him late. I’ll bet you’ll get a little nudge to say “Hey! It’s that time of day!” from your four-legged pal.

 

 

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Potty Train Your Dog the Easy Way!

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By Jessica Medlin, PetSafe Marketing Research Specialist

We posted a blog about one of our great potty training products last December, but August is such an important month for getting into a routine with back to school, etc. So if you are looking for a great way to potty train your pet, read on!

“What do you mean I can’t pee in the house?!” Sometimes that’s what I feel like my dogs are thinking when I tell them it’s time to go outside when it’s cold, snowing or there’s even a slight sprinkle of rain….you know, when they give the look and refuse to move. But I can’t blame them. I mean, if someone tried to make me walk outside to pee in the rain (or at all considering I’m a person), I’d definitely give the look, too.

Great news for those of you with dogs like mine – you can now avoid the “stink eye” from your dogs with our new Train ‘n Praise™ Potty Training System! Not only is it useful in situations when the weather is less than ideal, but it’s also useful:

  • When you’re away from home for long hours during the day
  • During the night when your four-legged family members are insomniacs
  • For potty training puppies
  • For potty training rescue dogs that may not have been exposed to any house-training
  • For senior dogs, or any dog, that may have limited mobility
  • When potty training outside isn’t the best or most convenient option

    Train ‘n Praise provides an easier way of house training your dog!

    Train ‘n Praise provides an easier way of house training your dog!

We put the Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System to the test with a fabulous group of PetSafe® Idea Partners looking to potty train their dogs during an IHUT (In-Home Usage Test). Not all testers had the same goal in mind – some wanted to eventually train their dog(s) to potty outside, and some were looking to utilize the potty training system for a particular situation, like the ones listed above. The system was tested with dogs of all ages, from puppies to seniors. Since it can be used as a multiple dog training system, some of the IHUT participants even tested it with more than one dog in their household.

7-week-old Little Bit, a Border Collie mix, checking out her brand new potty!

7-week-old Little Bit, a Border Collie mix, checking out her brand new potty!

The Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System provides an easy way to potty train your dog(s) by using positive reinforcement to train your dog(s) to use a pee pad, whether you’re present or not. The potty training system uses a replaceable Moisture Detection Pee Pad that is remotely connected to the Train ‘n Praise Treat Dispenser – when moisture is detected on the pad a wireless signal is transmitted to the Treat Dispenser and treats are dispensed for your dog for a job well done! A Handheld Remote is also included to aid with initial training or for an occasional treat at the discretion of the humans of the house.

Here’s what one of our testers had to say about the Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System:

“I love this product. I am so happy to report that she is no longer having accidents in the house. Priceless! She seems to be much happier. When she would have accidents in the house prior to using this product she would often hide and avoid interaction with anybody. The Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System allowed us to change our daily routine a bit and definitely changed our relationship for the better. We are so very proud of her huge accomplishment!”

While Donaghy might not be going potty in this picture, I bet he probably still got a treat just for being so cute!

While Donaghy might not be going potty in this picture, I bet he probably still got a treat just for being so cute!

Once you get your potty training system, you’ll no longer have to worry about your dog eliminating in inappropriate areas of your home, or if your senior dog can get down the back steps to the yard. Or, if you live in an urban area and the only grassy area is a few blocks away or not convenient for a quick potty break, the Train ‘n Praise Potty Training System can help you potty train your dog indoors. Get yours today to potty train your dog(s) the easy way!

We’re always looking for passionate pet owners and their furry family members to test our new products. To learn about how you can become a PetSafe Idea Partner to test products or be involved in PetSafe Research and Development studies, please visit PetSafe Labs to get started. Product testers not only get to find out about our latest and greatest, but you may even get to keep the test product, (for free!) and could receive $$ rewards or other PetSafe products for testing. We look forward to working with you!

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How can I stop my cat from getting litter everywhere?

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By Roslyn McKenna, PetSafe Web Content Specialist

automatic litter boxesSome cats are overly enthusiastic about burying their waste. Maybe they’re digging to China, or maybe they’re digging for buried treasure. Either way, you probably don’t love all the litter they kick up, especially when it gets all over your house. Here are some tips to prevent those paws from tracking litter all over your house.

Check the litter box environment.

Some cats dig or scratch more when the litter box is dirty, when they’re anxious, or when something has changed. Make sure you replace the litter once a month, or get a self-cleaning litterbox. Reduce stress in your cat’s life and introduce change slowly. When trying a new brand of litter, add one cup a day to the old litter, and try to keep the litter box in the same place.

Ultra fullsizeGet a litter box with a hood or a high-sided box.

Hooded boxes keep cats from flinging as much litter out. Or even better, get a box with a hood and a door flap. For cats who won’t use a hooded box, a box with higher sides is the next best thing. Keep in mind that kittens and cats with limited mobility may not be able to use a box like this.

 

  • Box with Tall Sides

o   Pros: Works for cats who can’t handle hooded boxes

o   Cons: Some litter can still get out

o   Cons: Not good for small or disabled cats

  • Box with Hood

o   Pros: Effective at keeping litter (and smell) contained

o   Pros: Can store things on flat hoods

o   Cons: Some cats don’t like hoods

  • Box with Hood and Swinging Door

o   Pros: Very effective at keeping litter (and smell) contained

o   Pros: Can store things on flat hoods

o   Cons: Some cats don’t like hoods or going through the door

Put the litter box in an enclosed space, like a closet.

Carpeted spaces hold onto litter better than slick flooring in the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room. For added concealment, install a pet door in the closet door to keep the litter and the smell confined without reducing your cat’s access.

Place a mat or piece of carpet in front of the box.

This will remove excess litter left on your cat’s feet and reduce the amount of litter tracked through your house. To clean up, simply shake the litter into the trash. You can purchase rubber or plastic litter mats at most stores that sell pet products. Rug samples or scraps can be purchased for a few dollars per square foot from carpet surplus stores. Look for longer, rougher fibers rather than soft plushy ones.

Special Bonus Tips: Make Your Own Cat Bathroom

Are you crafty? Do you prefer to make things rather than buy them? These next tips are for people who like do-it-yourself projects.

1) Place the litter box inside a low-sided cardboard or plastic tray. When your cat steps out of the litter box, he should step into the lid or tray first, which will help remove some of the litter from his paws. Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club and grocery stores often have free cardboard boxes. Large plastic container lids would also work. Replace them as often as needed.

2) Make a tent out of a plastic bin. First, measure your cat and your litter box (height and width). Purchase a plastic bin that it is tall enough for your cat to stand in comfortably and wide enough to cover the entire litter box. Flip the bin upside down on top of the litter box. Now cut a hole slightly taller and wider than your cat. The entrance hole can be in the side like a traditional litter box hood or on the top. If you cut it on the top, make sure the bin is strong enough to hold your cat’s weight, and that the hole is in a place where your cat can jump right into the litter. If you’re extra crafty, you can add a swinging door flap to a side entrance to reduce odor and litter flinging. Use metal fasteners covered with duct tape to secure a piece of cloth or other flexible material over the entrance.

3) Try a concealed litter box. For the ultimate option in hidden kitty waste management, place the box in a planter, cabinet, or trunk. If you can fit a litter box in it, you can make it a concealed litter box. Buy one or make your own. Get creative!

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Bark for Your Park: What’s Next?

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By Sarah Folmar, Brand Communications Specialist

ParentsLove-PetsLove-FinalTomorrow marks a very exciting time for the PetSafe® and Bark for Your Park crew. We will be announcing the list of winning communities from the 2014 contest! We don’t do anything that is less than spectacular, though, so this won’t be a few words thrown up on a screen somewhere. Nope. Our team will broadcast LIVE, via our UStream channel, from somewhere very, very special.

If your community wins the top dog prize or one of the runner-up prizes, you’re in for a fun process! We will be allocating the funds for your community to begin development on a new dog park, and we absolutely love to see what you all come up with. Parks that have opened from previous winning cities have done so well, and have provided a new place for a dog to get to be a dog!

If your community was not one of the winning cities, there’s still a lot that you can do to try and win next year! Your supporters helped your city get so far in the competition, so you’ve definitely already got a leg-up on the competition for 2015!

One great way to start strengthening your bark for next year is to talk about what your community hopes to achieve via social media. Social media is a very powerful outlet, and you can gain even more support for next year. Show others in your town why they could benefit from having a dog park. You can even have a “Dog of the Day” photo to get the excitement going. Bark for Your Park doesn’t even have to be currently running for you to start getting support. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your future dog park! Get a group of enthusiastic dog lovers together and start your own community page to talk about upcoming events, and what you plan to do in 2015 during the contest.

Lastly, we wanted to thank you for all of your support and enthusiasm during the contest. Seeing all of the fun photos, videos, discussions and events that were hosted in support of winning a dog park were overwhelmingly awesome. You all did an incredible job to rally for a dog park, no matter what the outcome may be tomorrow. If there is anything we can do to make the contest even better next year, please comment below and let us know!

Our team is leaving on a jet plane soon… Where do you think we will be heading?

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The Making of a Most Pet Friendly Community

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By Jessie McDowell, Content Marketing Specialist

MPFCIn 2011, Knoxville was chosen as the most pet friendly community in the Southeast by Dog Fancy magazine, and we have been working to defend our title ever since. Going to the dogs in your community can be easier than you think. With some tips, persistence and plenty of puppy passion, your community can start to be pet friendlier too.

Get Started With:

1. Social Media

There is nothing better than a free tool to get the word out about your movement. Invite friends and family to help the word spread. We suggest Facebook first, then add Twitter or Instagram.

22. A Website

There are so many tools out there to create your own website. Buy your own unique domain name, and then start to research the website builder that is best for your needs. Many website builders are pretty cheap or even free! A few that we suggest would be: Wix, Squarespace or Weebly.

3. A Team

You are only as good as your team, so make sure you have some passionate pet lovers around you. It will lessen the work on you and make the movement more fun!

Add in:

1. Community Involvement

When you have your team, you can start to spread the word. One of the best ways to do this is to have a presence at community events, especially pet events. With Knoxville’s movement, we attend local sporting events, like dog friendly games with the Tennessee Smokies, to reach other pet lovers and show support for pet friendly events already in existence.

2. Shelter Support

Your local shelter can be a great resource as you start to become more pet friendly. Shelters have great contacts in the animal world and may have great advice for you. Volunteer with the shelter and begin to support them in any way you can. Trust me, you will learn so much.

33. Local Businesses

Try to reach out to local pet stores and pet friendly businesses to see if they will support your effort. Make connections with these businesses and encourage other businesses to join the pet friendly trend. Businesses are usually open to hearing what you have to say, and they are great resources.

Goals:

1. More Pet Friendly Businesses

A goal Knoxville has is to create more pet friendly restaurant patios. It helps to see pet families out and about and really encourages adoption. There are laws surrounding pet friendly patios, and a permit must be given, so start to get more information in the hands of businesses. They might be very open to applying.

2. More Adoptions

Adoption events warm the heart. Start to support the shelter with events and word of mouth around adoption. Increasing pet ownership in your community is a great goal to work toward.

43. More Dog Parks

Dog parks encourage responsible pet owners. With more dog parks in your community, active and socialized dogs will be more common, and pet owners will have a place to meet.

4. More Awareness

There are so many animal issues that need to be brought to light. In Knoxville, we hold a gala and a walk to support canine cancer. Start to find your passion and create events that will bring support and save animals in your area.

5

Creating a pet friendly community involves so much work and heart, but in the end it is a rewarding experience you won’t regret. Good luck!

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Bark for Your Park Best Moments

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Along the way, the PetSafe® team has seen some pretty great response from each city in the contest, and now that the voting has closed, we thought we’d share our favorite moment from each community.

Tehachapi, CA – Our winners of “Album of the Year” superlative had some awesome photos to share of the pets in their community. There were so many great pictures that it was hard to choose just one to share, but we loved this one:

tehachapi

 

 

 

Springfield, IL – Home of honest Abe, we loved watching their PSA. It had an appearance from Abe Lincoln himself. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, you can see it here. Great job!

Taylor, MI – This community had some great discussions on their Bark for Your Park page. They knew a great way to gain community support was through their discussion board. Smart move, Taylor!

Enfield, NH – This small town was certainly mighty in their barking efforts. They also used their discussion board to rally support, and uploaded some great photos to their page!

Manassas Park, VA – This community did a great job uploading the media documents. Check out one of the PAWsome news stories here!

Hattiesburg, MS- The winner of the “Best Picture Award,” for its super fun concept. Oh, yeah, and they had a special appearance from a little known athlete, Brett Favre. You can see their video below.

Auburn, NY- This community was quick to upload their documents, and had continued support from members of the city throughout the contest. Great job, Auburn!

East Hartford, CT- This community won the “Old Dog New Tricks” superlative for being in the competition before, and coming back with a strong BARK! We have to give a shout out to HANZ, too, for being such a great barker!

Waverly, IA – Winners of our “Social Spirit” superlative, this community did a great job of posting fun and inviting posts via social media during the contest. One of our favorite things to see was their local Dairy Queen® employees getting in on the action!

Wav

 

 

Beckley, WV- This city’s Pet Supplies Plus store did a great job of spreading the word throughout the community about the contest. They were able to be nominated, and then strengthen their BARKs throughout the contest!

Port Chester, NY – Port Chester’s residents had a great social media presence. They were amazing in their efforts of creating community events to talk about the contest! Great job, PCDP supporters!

Sulphur Springs, TX- These community members had a booming discussion board via their Bark for Your Park page, and even had support from other cities throughout the state of Texas. Support even came from Texarkana!

Sanford, NC- Sanford was another community that posted some pretty great pictures throughout the contest. This one was our favorites!

sanf

 

 

 

 

Potsdam, NY- Winners of our “Shelter Supporter” superlative, the community of Potsdam made it clear from the beginning how a park would help the Potsdam Humane Society. They wanted to make sure a park would have a section specifically for shelter dogs!

Carrollton, TX- And last, but certainly not least, Carrollton, TX. The community supporters had some wonderful stories to share on their discussion board, and did a good job of encouraging others to get involved in the contest.

Congrats to all of these B4YP communities! Which community do you think will win?

 

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Pet Hydration Awareness Month, Why Now?

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By Robin Rhea, Senior Brand Manager

Every day we are bombarded with information about our health. It can be overwhelming but the repetition of key health information helps make the message stick. Eventually, the information sinks in and helps us make better choices that support our longevity.

For as much as we know about human health, pet health education doesn’t always get the same amount of press coverage. Yet, we see more and more research and learnings that benefit both human and pet health. Universally healthy habits can be easier to adopt for our whole family yet, many of these are not discussed in parallel.

We found this to be true with hydration and daily water in-take for pets and people. As we have learned about how filtered water affects pet health, we saw similarities in human hydration needs. Proper hydration is critical and dehydration has serious and immediate Capturehealth risks in humans and pets. However, most pet owners are unaware that their pet’s bodies are made up of a higher water percentage than their own human bodies.

Keeping pets hydrated is a simple habit that if can be an after-thought for many of us. Our pets need 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. Most pets don’t get enough water especially during extreme temperatures. This led us to declare July as National Pet Hydration Awareness Month.

We are working hard to get the word out to pet owners everywhere to be aware of their pet’s water in-take and limit their exposure to extreme temperatures especially in what is usually the hottest month across the US. Be aware of the signs of dehydration. Keep freshly-filtered water available to your pets at all times so they are enticed to drink the proper amount of water. Each time you reach for your bottle of water so you are keeping yourself healthy and hydrated, think of your pet. These furry guys depend on us for access to fresh water. This July, join PetSafe in our quest to bring more awareness to Pet Hydration.

How are you remembering to keep your pet’s hydrated this summer?

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Protect Your Pets from the Summer Heat

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Jim poses for a picture with his dog, Henry.

Jim poses for a picture with his dog, Henry.

By Jim Tedford, Director of Animal Welfare Initiatives and Alliances

There has been no way to avoid the tragic news reports of children being left in hot cars this summer. In some instances, concerned passersby have noticed kids in crisis before it was too late. Sadly, in other instances, children have suffered in unspeakable ways and have lost their lives. Hopefully these incidents will be few and far between, but as lives get busier and priorities get skewed, I fear we will hear about even more such cases.

Sadly, every summer for years we have heard about similar situations involving family pets. Far too often pet owners choose to take their pets along when running “quick” errands. Sadly, it takes only moments for the inside of a car, even one with the windows cracked, to turn into an oven of sorts. Temperatures rise to life-threatening levels very, very quickly. Since dogs don’t perspire, they rely on panting to help regulate their body temperature. The hot air in the confines of a car affords no relief and heat-related injury or death can occur almost immediately.

We hear it over and over again: “but, Jake loves to ride in the car! I’ll just run into the store for a minute.” Pet owners think they’re giving their dogs a treat by taking them along for that ride in the car. But, at best they are subjecting their best friends to unnecessary risk. And, at worst, they are driving them to a painful, untimely death.

The best rule of thumb here is to leave your pet at home! Even if your errands are quick, unless you can take Fido or FiFi inside with you, they are better off at home. Be strong and avoid those big, brown eyes staring pitifully at you as you collect your keys!

The new Ceramic Porcelain Avalon Fountain continuously recirculates and filters your pet’s water, keeping it cleaner and fresher than a normal water bowl.

The new Ceramic Porcelain Avalon Fountain continuously recirculates and filters your pet’s water, keeping it cleaner and fresher than a normal water bowl.

There are lots of other things for pet owners to consider as temperatures rise. On the Paw Print blog in recent months, we have posted numerous articles about the importance of proper hydration for our pets. An ample supply of fresh, cool water is an absolute must to keep our pets healthy, safe and comfortable during warm weather months. Whether you use PetSafe® Drinkwell® fountains or still water bowls, make sure that water containers are kept clean and filled.

We always encourage exercise for pets AND pet owners! But, in the summer time it may be necessary to adjust schedules or exercise routines. If you like to walk or run with your dogs, do so early in the morning or later in the evening when temperatures are less likely to hit extreme highs. Not only can you and your pets overheat, but hot pavement can cause severe burns on the pads of a dogs paws.

If your dog likes to swim, make sure to take him to water that is clean and free of hazards. And be sure to check his ears after he’s taken a dip. Water in the ears can lead to painful infections. Monitor your dog while he’s in the water to make sure he doesn’t over exert himself. Dogs are usually good swimmers, but sometimes they don’t quite know their limits!

Our pets are good for us. We’ve all heard studies quoted telling us that contact with pets makes us happy, lowers our blood pressure, makes us exercise more and keeps us generally healthy—both mentally and physically. So, go out and enjoy the summer with your pets…just remember they count on us to make wise decisions and take care. It’s our job to Protect.Teach.Love.™

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