Stay Home with Your Pet & De-Stress Together

With social distancing orders still in place for much of the nation and even as we slowly begin to open up some of the businesses, it’s important that we all do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19. What that looks like is a summer 2020 season that is spent more at home then out and about.

If you have a backyard and children maybe it means more time poolside or grilling together in the yard. Whatever it means for you, be sure to call and utilize technology to check in on those you love who may be alone or have less human contact.

 Our pets are a great resource for de-stressing and maintaining a critical social and emotional bond. Many four-legged friends can also sense when we are worried or stressed and could begin showing behaviors of that anxiety. It’s worth it to spend some time cuddling together as we navigate this new normal for all of society. 

Here are some things you can do with your pet to help you both stay at ease and decompress. 

Clean and Create a Cozy Place 

You may not realize it but all of the clutter in your living space could be adding to your stress levels. One of the best ways to relax is to clean up all of that mess and then decorate, minimize, and make a cozy space that you can sit in and enjoy. Cuddle with your pet, a warm cup of coffee or a good book and forget about the outside for just a bit. 

Start a Workout Regimen 

They say movement is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Take some time during this quarantine to set yourself a regular workout regimen. One that involves your pet will be mutually beneficial. Plan a walking route and aim to go twice a day for the best cardiovascular health and stress reduction benefit.

Treat Yourselves 

Rewarding good behavior isn’t the only time to think about treats. Sometimes a taste good treat can change the mood or make the last few hours of the day unwinding on the couch a little more pleasurable. Don’t overindulge but allow yourself a little extra something nice once in a while.

Caring for Your Pet’s Skin

We all know the furry and cuddly feeling of snuggle with our pet. Cats and dogs can be great comfort givers and they surely love having their coats combed and fur rubbed. One thing to also consider when it comes to your pet’s health is the condition of their skin underneath the fur.

Skin conditions are common in both cats and dogs and sometimes they can signal a larger issue. It’s important to recognize the difference between a regular itch and something that’s irritating your pet – or worse.

Here are some tips for caring for your pet’s skin and what signs to look out for.

Allergic Reactions

It can be difficult to spot an allergy to your pet. Unlike humans who may sneeze or sniffle during allergy season, our pets could display signs they’re also suffering from allergies by obsessively scratching or even nibbling at their own fur. In addition to dander, mold, and other common allergens, your pet could also be having a reaction to a food such as soy or wheat. If this is happening to your pet you will need to have a professional look further into it and perhaps start a regimen of allergy shots.

Infected Skin

Another common skin condition you should know about in pets is commonly referred to as “hot spots” and they appear in the form of red lesion-like inflammation. What starts as a small cut can quickly grow into these painful spots and antibiotic and medicated topical will be needed to aide your pet in clearing up the condition.

Facial Acne

Yes, you read that right. Our four-legged friends share in our human experience of zits on the face! They too can end up with small pimples on their chin area if they become too stressed (sound familiar) or are not being properly groomed. Similar to treating human acne, benzoyl peroxide or other topical will be needed to treat the pimples.

Here’s The Most Poisonous & Deadly Plants For Dogs

As a general safety rule, you shouldn’t let your dogs eat plants at all, especially during regular walking sessions. Not all plants are poisonous to them; nor will all ingested poisonous plants kill them either. In most cases, poisonous plants will only prove fatal to dogs if they consume a large amount of it. Remember: if your dog becomes ill after consuming plant matter, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.  Regardless of how poisonous a particular plant may be to your pup, it’s important to be aware of the deadliest ones. These are some of the most deadliest plants for dogs.

Castor Beans

castor bean leaf

Even the tiniest amount of a castor oil plant–such as a single seed–can kill dogs.

Azaleas

azaleas

All parts of azaleas and rhododendrons will cause nausea, depression, difficulty breathing, and even coma. Azaleas can kill dogs if they eat a large quantity of them.

Apricots

apricot tree

Apricot kernels contain cyanide, which can be fatal to dogs.

Daffodils

daffodils

Daffodils can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and death.

Grapes & Grape Vines

grapes hanging from a grape vine

Grapes and raisins can cause serious kidney failure in dogs, which will result in death.

Wild Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms

Eating wild cherry twigs and/or leaves can be lethal to dogs.

Yew

yew

Eating yew berries and/or foliage can kill dogs even without them showing signs of prior illness. 

Mistletoe

mistletoe

Here’s a friendly holiday warning: keep mistletoe away from dogs. Mistletoe berries can wreck havoc on a dog’s stomach; just a few berries can kill puppies. 

Don’t Stress About It Too Much

Dogs will usually avoid poisonous plants by instinct; therefore you should not stress yourself about this too much. When walking and playing outside with them, just do your best to prevent them from eating plants, and they’ll be fine.

COVID-19 Creates Spike in Pet Adoption

We’ve all continued to likely read the headlines as our nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, but even amongst all of the uncertainty and unknowing, there are some stories emerging that show the goodness of humankind.

Our focus here is to protect and help you incorporate your furry friends into your home life so w were especially touched when we saw headlines break that the pet adoption world was booming as Americans shelter in place at home.

The reports indicate an increase of up to 90 percent in pet fostering during COVID-19 in some cities in the U.S. Others who cannot adopt are donating food and blankets to help shelters as well.

Speaking to WIRED, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, “Folks who don’t have animals for one reason or another, because of their work schedule or their travel schedule, that’s all changed right now.”

“In the midst of all these things that are so challenging and so hard, communities are really stepping up for these animals,” Block told Wired.

What to Do to Welcome a New Pet Home

If you’re one of the many who have helped to find a new home for an animal in the shelters across the U.S. – Thank You! Now that you have your cuddly furry friend home with you it’s important to help welcome them into their new space. Here are a few tips we’d like to share and how DogWatch can help!

Give Them Time

The important thing to remember about shelter animals is that they will need some time to come around and get used to their new living spaces. Some may have never had a home setting before and others may have come from not so great pasts. It’s key to get to know your pet before you adopt and then treat them accordingly as they adjust.

Make Them Comfortable

The best thing you can do during this transition phase is to help your pet to get comfortable. Set-up a permanent food and sleep area. Something soft and warm that they can get to know as “their space”. If you have a few toys for them it will also be a nice welcome gift and of course, some good quality time with the family can be comforting for all.

Create Boundaries & Freedom

Welcoming a new pet into your home comes with some challenges too. If you’ve never had a curious pet in the home you might discover that things are chewed or misplaced if you’re not careful. The best way to protect your pet and your belongings is to set up boundaries for them. Both areas where they may roam freely and those off-limits.

DogWatch of Western Mass. Can Help

We offer a way for you to effectively keep your pet off the couch, away from the trash and out of the dining room or kitchen! Our pet containment systems allow your pet to roam and play freely within the boundaries you set – indoors and outdoors. We also offer training to help with getting them to safely obey the new boundaries you’ve put in place.

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Consider a Pet-Friendly Office to Recruit and Retain Employees

Many employers today are discovering that their workforces don’t look the same as they did 10 or 20 years ago. A new generation of workers – mostly millennials – now staff the nation’s retail employers as well as healthcare organizations. In veterinary practices, owners and managers are discovering that younger employees want very different things from their employers. An opportunity for advancement and higher pay are desirable, but so too are quality-of-life elements.

Pets play a larger role in people’s lives than they did with older generations. Sixty-seven percent of American households now own pets, and they are part of the family more than ever before. Gone are the outdoor doghouse and leaving the cat outside. Americans love their “fur babies” more than ever before, and they’re spending time and money to ensure their health and happiness. Some employers are beginning to recognize that animals are fundamental to workers’ happiness and employee engagement.

Pets in the Workplace

“Several companies including Petco, Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon all allow their employees to bring their dogs into work, while other companies like Trupanion, Zogics, and Ceros offer employees pet benefits like insurance and bereavement days,” according to the web site Employee Benefits Advisor. “More companies are jumping on the pet insurance bandwagon as they realize employees will spend thousands of dollars on pet care, and often forgo making a payment on another bill in order to ensure their animal is taken care of.”

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, about 15 percent of American employers now offer a health insurance benefit for pets. Seven percent of workplaces have made their premises pet-friendly. As companies strive to recruit, hire and retain workers, making some pet-friendly accommodations can help attract workers and reduce turnover. A survey of workers by Mars Petcare found that 59 percent of respondents would choose to work for a dog-friendly employer over one that is not.

If you’re thinking of opening your workplace to animals, put some rules in place to ensure it doesn’t become a distraction.  These might include:

  • Making accommodations for anyone with pet allergies by designating certain areas animal-free.
  • Allowing only well trained, non-disruptive animals in the office.
  • Making clear “no animals on the furniture” rules.
  • Installing “indoor boundary” technology for any areas animals are not allowed in.

Consult with Professionals

For more information and solutions for controlling pet access to indoor and outdoor areas, contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts. We proudly serve the Pioneer Valley and the surrounding area. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep customers happy! Visit our web site or call 888-749-2657 for more information.

Pampered Pets Get More Than Just Treats and Belly Rubs

Confession time. How many of you splurge more on your pet than on yourself? If you had to choose between a pricey, organic treat that was good for your dog’s health over yourself would you? You’re not alone. People across the nation are investing heavily in their pets not only for their health but because they’re now more a part of the family unit than ever before.

One recent survey conducted by Bigeye found that there are growing opportunities for those who market products and services for pets today as consumers are now spending $74B on their pets annually.

Another study released by social image site Pinterest has found more people are caring for their pets just as humans than ever before. With searches on the rise for things like “outdoor cat playgrounds” and “dog toilets” it’s no wonder the lines are getting blurred.

Over in the UK, they said over 50 percent of pet parents ages 19-38 said they’d rather cut expenses for themselves than cut back for their pets.

If you love your dog, cat or other pet and want to treat them to some splurge items make sure they’re worth every cent and promote wellness and comfort for your furry friend.

Here are our top suggestions for pampering your pet in ways they’ll actually be grateful for.

Bedding

Nothing beats a soft, comfortable and dedicated area that’s all their own. Choose a high-end dog bed, one with a Tempurpedic foam inside to really support joints and make laying around as comfortable as possible for your pet.  

Toys

You can never go wrong with toys. Since some of the lower end chew toys can end up destroyed quickly, lost or dirty then it’s worth it to get some high quality, pricier items to add to the collection. Today’s connected toys even give pet parents a way to interact with their fur babies while they’re away.

Treats

Snacks are the way to just about anyone’s heart. When your pet behaves well or snuggles up for a treat let that delicious item be as healthy as it can be. Choose organic or homemade items cooked with love and much better for your pet’s palette and wellbeing.

3 Myths About Dogs Debunked

Dogs have been an integral part of human culture for decades. As a result, many so-called facts about dogs have come to be considered “common knowledge” by dog lovers everywhere. Realistically, though, just because many people believe in something doesn’t make it true. For example, just a few years ago, astrologists declared that Pluto is no longer a planet. Can you believe it? We all believed this for so long, and now it’s considered something of a myth. Well, the same can be said about dog facts. Here’s 3 common myths about dogs debunked.

Myth #1: You Can’t Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

Just as younger kids today believe that old folks are so stuck in their ways that they can’t change, so too do many people think that their 8 year old dog can’t learn new commands. While it is true that senior dogs will require more practice, they certainly CAN be taught new manners, tricks, commands, and cues. Whether you feel like you neglected training your aged dog properly during his lifetime, or adopted an already elderly pup, remember that they can learn–all it takes is patience and persistence.

Myth #2: To Housebreak Dogs, ‘Rub Their Nose In It’

Nobody likes coming home to dog pee or poop on the floor. “Common wisdom” tells us that in order to teach a dog that they should not urinate or defecate inside, we should “rub their nose in it.” In reality, though, this kind of discipline can cause more harm than good. You can only teach a dog that pottying in the house is wrong if you catch them in the act. Even then, you should not rub their nose in it. Instead, just give them a sharp “no” and take them outside immediately. If you try rubbing their nose in something that is essentially ancient history to them, you may end up causing them serious anxiety. For example, they may come to believe that you disapprove of them pottying altogether. This could, in turn, lead to them eating or trying to hide their feces so that you don’t punish them. 

Myth #3: Dogs Are Color Blind

We’ve seen it in mainstream cartoons and movies for years: dogs only see in black and white. This “knowledge” was based on outdated research. The truth is that dogs can see shades of yellow, blue, and violet. Interesting, right? While it’s true that they can’t see all the same colors that we humans can, they can certainly detect many more shades and hues than people had once believed. Now that you know this, be sure to shower your furry friend with lots of colorful toys!  

3 Tips to Improve Your Dogs Oral Health

Oral health is something most humans take seriously. From a very early age, we’re taught to brush, floss and take care of our pearly whites. We wouldn’t consider going a day without cleaning the plaque off with a toothbrush and removing any offensive odors from our mouths. We should be doing the same for our dogs.

Today families are taking their pets on vacations, having mealtime together and even sharing the same bed. If you want to help your pup keep his oral and physical health intact then adding a mouth cleaning routine to their day should also be part of the plan.

In addition to brushing, regular check-ups for oral health should also be done by a professional veterinarian.

Many dogs suffer from periodontal disease and even fractured teeth. Since they cannot speak to tell us about any pain or discomfort then we must be proactive in protecting their teeth.

Here are 3 things you can start doing to take better care of your dog’s oral health.

1. Look Inside Their Mouth

Take the time to look into your pet’s mouth and visually examine their teeth. If you notice any cracks or dark spots on the teeth it could be a sign that there are other underlying issues or an upcoming tooth problem. Catching these early on is critical to keep your dog comfortable and safe.  

2. Use Pet Safe Dental Brush and Paste

Doggy breath might be cute when they are puppies but as your dog grows, the odors in his mouth can become quite noticeable. If you can keep the inside of his mouth clean he will feel fresh too. You may choose to just wipe their mouth clean with a damp cloth or there are different pastes and brushes made specifically for pets. Be sure they are veterinarian approved. There are also dental dog treats that can help with scraping debris off their teeth and masking odor.

3. Clean up Their Diet

Food plays a major role in how healthy your dog’s mouth feels and looks. You can help keep their teeth in good condition by feeding them a notorious healthy and balanced diet. Talk to your vet about a good kibble choice and avoid giving your pet any scraps of food from the human diet. There are far too many sugars and carbohydrates in the food for their teeth and bellies to withstand.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides peace of mind knowing your pet is protected and can roam freely around the areas you’ve designated in the home and around your yard. We also offer training, service, and repairs.

Get in touch today!

How Getting a Dog Can Take Your Relationship to the Next Level

With Valentine’s Day nearing and love in the air, we thought it was only right to talk about a love-centered topic here on the blog.

Did you know that when you’re ready to get a pet together, it can mean great things for your relationship? Today our four-legged friends are as much a part of the family as any other members so making the commitment to get a pet together is a very serious step.

Here are 3 reasons that deciding to get a dog together can take your long term relationship to the next level.

1.      A Taste of Parenting

If you are not yet married or do not have kids, this is a great way to get a taste of parenting together. Pets – especially puppies – require a lot of love care and attention. Much like a small child. As you work together to love and nurture your pet you will find even more to love about one another.

2.      Grow Closer Together

Most pet households will confess that having their furry friend around has brought their relationships closer together. Whether you’re bonding over a new trick or cute thing your pet is doing or the snuggles they come to give the both of you when you’re just relaxing together, there’s something to love about the warmth of a pet already added to a loving home.

3.      Greater Communication

Having a pet can certainly be beneficial in the communication department. Scheduling vet visits, chipping in with daily walks and ensuring feedings happen are all must-do, daily tasks that you’ll learn to work together on and see your communications channels open up with one another more as a result.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass. we want you and your pup to feel safe and confident around the house and yard. Our pet containment systems make it possible to set-up boundaries so your pet can roam and play freely.

CONTACT US TODAY!

Do Dogs Need Coats in the Winter?

The number of families that are adding a furry friend to their homes is growing today. Not only are these pets becoming just like other members of the family – vacationing and even eating holiday meals with the family, but they’re also spending a lot more time together with their owners in public.

On the East Coast, where temperatures can fall well below freezing in the winter months, you might be considering purchasing a coat and some snow boots for your pup. Before you do though, here are some things to keep in mind regarding dogs and coats.

Fashion Can Be Pesky

If you’re buying your dog cute coats because you want to make a fashion statement you should definitely consider whether or not your dog is comfortable or even likes wearing the gear at all.  If they are putting up a fighting or scratching at the clothing trying to remove it, chances are your dog doesn’t like the clothing and may not need it anyways. Clothing that is too tight can also cause scaring and other issues so be careful when dressing your pup.

Not All Dogs Need Coats

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to purchase a coat for your dog because you are genuinely worried that they will get cold outdoors, it makes sense to learn a little more about your particular breed and what they can tolerate. If your dog is long-haired for example, they may naturally be equipped to handle cold temps as their fur works just like a coat.

Other Factors to Consider

Dogs that would benefit from the use of a sweater or coat on cold days either way include those with medical conditions, old age or who have shown signs of disliking the cold weather whenever you head outside. Very small dogs and those that will be outdoors for extended periods of time in the cold could also benefit from a coat. Remember to size accurately including a covering that will protect their neck and tail.

Need a pet containment system and perimeter training? DogWatch of Western Mass. offers experts to set-up areas of freedom for your pet in and outside of your home and who guide you through the process. 

Call today!