Love Your Pet Day

It's been a very emotional time for me recently with so much going on in my life. My dogs have been a terrific support group for me, helping me cope with so much sadness. Today is Love Your Pet day. Not that I need a reminder, but it's a day to celebrate them and all that you love about them. Not that you need another reason, but go ahead and spoil them! They deserve it! 

Those smiling faces make every day better! Who are the special fur kids in your life? Share your photos of them in the comments below!

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Must have apps for pet parents

With smart phones and apps being used more these days than tablets and the internet, I thought I'd share a list of pet apps that every pet parent should have. 


1. Pet First Aid - Red Cross

With photos and step-by-step directions, this app will guide you through what to do in many common situations such as bloat, seizures and shock. If you're traveling, the app will help you locate a nearby veterinarian hospital. There's also information on how to prepare for disasters and emergencies including a list of what to include in a pet first aid kit. If you want to test your knowledge of pet first aid, the app has quizzes for you to take. It's FREE and is definitely worth downloading.

Pet First Aid- Red Cross

2. Animal Poison Control Center - APCC by ASPCA

This easy to use app is also FREE and a must have for all pet parents. You start by selecting a species - cats, dog, horses and birds - then by the source - plants, foods, medication and household hazards. If the weight and amount consumed will determine how detrimental a poison can be, the app will ask for this information. Otherwise, it lists by ingredients alphabetically and in what product or source it can be found. Possible symptoms are listed as well as a rating on the toxicity and what action should be taken. Just browsing through the app, I learned a lot and highly recommend it!

Animal Poison Control Center

3. Walk for a dog - Wooftrax

You want to help animals and get yourself in shape, right? Then this is the app for you! By downloading it on your phone and logging in every time you go for a walk, you help raise money for local animal shelters. It's FREE and it doesn't matter how short or long your walk is. Nor do you have to have a dog to use this app. Whether you're walking with your own dogs or just out for a leisurely stroll, every step counts. I'd say this is a win-win for the homeless animals, your dog and you!

Wooftrax

4. Weather puppy

Ok, this is by far my favorite pet app! If you're a cat person, then you probably would prefer weather kitty. Or if you want to see the wild animals of the world, then you can choose Wildlife weather. Sometimes I go check the weather just to see a a puppy photo! The images change depending on the season, time of day and of course, the weather. It's sure to put a smile on your face as the puppies even on a cold, dreary overcast day. This app is also free, but you upgrade for $1.99 and pick a theme. As the app says...weather has never been cuter!

Weather puppy

What pet apps do you have? I'd love to hear about your favorites!! If you have any to share, leave a comment below! 

Do your pets really care how you talk to them?

Good morning sunshine! Are you ready to rise and shine? Time to get up. Are you ready? You are, are you? Yes, you’re such a good girl! Yes you are!

Have you ever been caught talking to your dog when someone comes home and looks at you curiously? As though they’re wondering who you could possibly be talking to since you’re the only human in the house. If you’re like most pet owners you talk to your pets often and differently than the way you talk to your friends and family. With a higher pitch voice, repeating yourself and asking questions more than once, without expecting a reply. It’s also common for people to talk to babies the same way. But the question is, do our pets care?

I recently read an article by Stanley Coren, also the author of the “The Intelligence of Dogs” on this subject. And according to some researchers, they do. In a study, they recorded women talking to photos of dogs. Using the language typically reserved for our pets and babies. Then they played these recordings back to the dogs on a speaker. The researchers watched to see how the dogs reacted. Watching for things like did the dogs approach the speaker, or responded by barking or whining and so on. 

The results showed that the puppies reacted the most. And the older the dogs were, the less they responded to these recorded voices. So indeed, it does matter. Women talk this way to their pets more so than men. In addition, if you show a woman a photo of a puppy and record her talking to it, and then hand the same woman a photo of a baby, she will speak the same way. 

As for why older dogs don’t respond as well to the high pitched voices, this may be because the voices came from people they did not know nor had ever met. Thus, they are more selective to who they react to. 

So if you’re like me you talk to your dogs often, even if (and especially!) if no one else is in the house. Now, you know that this does work to get your pets attention and your pets do like it. So the next time someone tells you it’s silly talking to animals, you can share with them why it’s not. 

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Hurricane Harvey - preparing for a disaster

It’s been hard to watch the news this week and not feel absolutely at a loss over the devastation Hurricane Harvey has caused in Texas. Just seeing all the images of rain, water and flooding have made me feel water logged, I can hardly imagine what it’s been like to live through this epic storm. 

While hurricanes aren’t big in Pennsylvania, it can happen. Watching so many families struggle to get to safety has made me ask myself am I prepared in the event of a catastrophe? My house is just yards away from a creek. There’s no doubt that should we ever experience a serious rainfall, we would be flooded. I’ve had water in my basement more than once and thankfully it was due to having old windows that leaked. I’ve since replaced the windows and haven’t had any issues since. 

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My husband has always been one to think ahead and prepare for worst case scenarios. Which is probably a good thing since I tend to bury my head in the sand and believe nothing bad will happen! So what can you do to be prepared in the event of a disaster?

The first thing is to create a plan. Every member in the family should be on board with this. If you need to evacuate, where will you go? If you can’t get home, where will you meet? How will you be in touch? Who should be the contact person outside of the family in case you can’t reach one another. If you’re in your house and need to get out, what are the best ways to escape? Plan from each room and every level in your home. Do you need to buy an escape ladder for a second and third story escape? Where will it be stored? 

It’s also important to have a disaster kit ready with items you might need in case of an emergency. Included in this kit should be water, non-perishable food, a battery or hand crank radio, a flashlight with batteries, first aid kit, can opener to open food, blankets and towels. We have a kit ready in our basement that also has dog food, toilet paper, an extra pair of shoes and a change of clothes. Every year we go through it to make sure nothing has spoiled and replace what no longer is good. 

We’ve learned so much since Hurricane Katrina and it is now a federal law that pets be accommodated in plans for evacuating residents facing disaster. However, many pets have been left at shelters while families escape the rising waters. Others have been separated and some animals like livestock are too hard to move. 

If you want to help the animals who’ve been affected by Hurricane Harvey, possibly the best way is to open your home to fostering a pet until he or she can be reunited with their family. Next would be monetary donations to local animal shelters including the Houston SPCA and SPCA of Texas as well as the Humane Society of the United States. If you want to donate tangible items such as pet food, kitty litter, crates and so on, it’s best to contact the shelters to find out what is needed before sending any supplies.

While I hope never to experience a disaster, I know that I am as prepared as I can be. And one day I may be grateful for that. 

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Hurricane Harvey - Preparing for a disaster

Frosted Pumpkin treats | State College pet photographer

October is all about Halloween, raking leaves, flannel shirts, and apple cider. And pumpkins. Pumpkins. And more pumpkins. Pumpkin spiced latte. Pumpkin bread. Pumpkin donuts. Pumpkin patch. And as I baked a batch of pumpkin spice cookies, with my girls Izzy and Kita hovering hoping to be my taste testers, I felt guilty that I couldn't share my yummy treat with them. Or could I?

If you didn't already know, pumpkin is good for you and your pets. It's a great source of fiber and can help with constipation and diarrhea. Adding a tablespoon or so (depending on your pet's size) to their meal can help keep them regular. 

Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. An excellent source of Vitamin A, beta-carotene, potassium and iron, it may even help keep cancer away.

If your dog or cat needs to lose weight, pumpkin is a great low-fat food that fills them up without adding all those extra calories. Just reduce how much food you give your pet and replace it with some pumpkin and watch the pounds fade away.

It is important that you only give them pureed, or canned pumpkin. Not the sweetened pumpkin pie filling you'll find at any grocery store. You can also feed your pet pumpkins from your garden, but be sure to cook them first!

So now your fur-kids can enjoy some of the season's best flavors alongside you! I made these frosty pumpkin treats for my pups. It's easy ~ mix 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup canned pumpkin. Pour the mixture into a pumpkin shaped candy mold or ice cube tray. Freeze for 3 - 4 hours or overnight.