Happy National Puppy Day

Happy happy National Puppy Day! Of course in my book, all dogs are puppies, regardless of age. As with any pet-centered holiday, take this as an excuse to celebrate your pet (safely!) and have fun!

This royal pupper needs a boop. I can tell.

Here are a few ways you can do this with your canine companion:

  1. ADOPT! You don’t necessarily have to adopt a puppy – they do require work, training, and socialization. It’s important to find the right home for the right pet.
  2. Volunteer at your local shelter. Exercise puppies, socialize them, and/or teach them basic obedience commands. Fostering is also a great way to volunteer and help a shelter animal.
  3. Training your puppy! Ensuring your dog can walk correctly on a leash so that you are walking your dog rather than the dog walking you is super important.
  4. Ensure that your puppy is well-socialized around other people and dogs and exposed to new experiences.
  5. Assist an elderly neighbor or friend by walking their pooch for them or helping them take their dog to the vet.
  6. Have a puppy party! Invite all your friends and their puppies.
A baby Shiba Inu!

Want more ideas? Check out these 50 ways to celebrate and National Puppy Day’s site or Facebook page.

A basket full of adorable!

All photos courtesy of Pexels

Dogs and Space

Graphic from the Friends of the Pflugerville Animal Shelter

Socializing your dog is an imperative part of being a responsible pet owner. Other dogs may not appreciate an unknown dog running up to them and invading their space, and similarly, people may not not like a dog doing this, even if that dog does this out of overly friendly enthusiasm. Remember, some people are legitimately afraid of dogs because of negative experiences. Service dogs and their handlers need to focus on going about their business and not being distracted by an unpredictable dog.

Photo by Pexels

Be respectful of other people, their dogs, and the spaces of both.

National Disaster Preparedness Month

Disasters happen and they’re terrible, but you, as a responsible citizen, can take steps to prepare for such situations in case they do occur. As a responsible pet owner, you should also include pets into these plans. Here are a few action items to consider:

Proper identification. Microchip your pets and ensure they wear identification tags with current, easy-to-read information.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Evacuation destination. Know where to go where you can take your pets with you. Have a list of options and contact numbers ready.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Stay together. Make sure your dog is leashed when you are transporting them and a few days after a disaster in order to keep them away from harm. Put cats in carriers for their own safety, as scared cats can bolt and hide in unbelievably small spaces.

Photo courtesy of Ready.gov

Emergency pet kit. Make like a Boy Scout and be prepared! Essential items for your kit can include: food, water, extra medication, vet record copies, poop bags, cat litter and pan, leashes, collars, first aid kit (useful for humans too!), list of pet friendly hotels and evacuation centers, dishes, and toys.

Check out additional disaster preparedness tips from FEMA (preparing your pets for disaster, protecting your pets, evacuating with your pets), Ready.gov, Pet Sitters International, and the ASPCA.

Happy Cat Month

I’m sure that Happy Cat Month occurs at my house every day (or at least I truly hope so)! The CATalyst Council created Happy Cat Month to educate cat owners about what they can do to ensure their fur person is indeed happy, healthy, and thoroughly loved. There are four themes throughout the month, as follows:

  • Happy Healthy Cat: September 1-5
  • Happy Enriched Cat: September 6-12
  • Happy Multi-Cat: September 13-19
  • Happy Valued Cat: September 20-30

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Isn’t that neat and comprehensive? For more information, check out the CATalyst Council’s Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Holistic Pet Day

When we humans think about our health, we think of mind, body, and spirit or heart. We strive to be healthy and find fulfillment in our lives. As responsible pet owners, we can extend that kind of thinking to our pets as well. When I say “holistic”, I’m talking about the whole, as in the mind, body, and spirit or heart of your pet.

Holistic health begins with good nutrition, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Is your pet at a healthy weight? Does your pet get enough exercise? Do you think your pet is bored? These are only three questions to consider. As a caring and responsible pet owner, having a healthy and happy pet probably means that you’re happy for your pet too. Everyone wins.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Here are some activities you can do today to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  1. Have an adventure. Take your dog to a new park. Arrange a playdate with a new doggy friend. Bringing your dog to new places, combined with reinforced training, help your dog to be well-socialized and more confident.
  2. Play, play, play. Exercise can be therapeutic for pets and beneficial mentally as well as physically. By regularly playing with your pet, you strengthen pet-owner bonds, let your pet hone skills (fetching, tracking, pouncing, hunting, etc.), and reduce stress.
  3. Enrichment. Mixing things up a bit and encouraging pets to use their minds as well as their paws and noses can help pets, especially indoor ones, stave off boredom. Consider these ideas: food-dispensing puzzle toys; sensory enrichment (i.e. window perch for birdwatching, pet-directed videos); climbing posts, trees, and shelves for cats; novel objects like boxes, paper bags, pop-up tunnels, and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. Seriously!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

August 22nd is National Take (or Bring) Your Cat to the Vet Day! I’m sure cats across the world are saying, most emphatically, “NOPE!” but please bear with me. Part of responsible pet ownership or guardianship involves ensuring your pet is healthy, up to date on shots, and given appropriate medical care, and that any health or behavior-related questions or concerns are addressed.

Side-eye alert. Garrus is never thrilled about going to the vet but he certainly appreciates being able to eat normally now that his stomatitis is under control.

Why is regular veterinary care so important? Here are a few reasons to remember:

  1. Cats age faster than humans. A one-year-old cat is the equivalent of 15 in human years and a two-year-old is 24. After that, cats age 4 “cat years” for every calendar year. So much can happen in one year, so that is why an annual checkup at the vet is crucial.
  2. Cats hide illness and pain. Many cats are true stoics and don’t let on that they’re sick. By taking your cat to a vet at least once a year, any problem that may crop up can be treated early.
  3. Fat cat. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, over 50% of cats are overweight or obese. This extra weight can put cats at risk for diabetes, arthritis, heart, respiratory, and kidney disease, and more.
  4. Something’s up. If your cat’s eating patterns or litter box usage suddenly changes, that can indicate a health issue. Note changes in weight, activity level, sleeping patterns, socialness, mood, etc. and share any concerns you have with your vet.
  5. Preventative care. Having a baseline and an up-to-date medical history can help avoid medical emergencies and allow vets to detect and treat health conditions earlier rather than later.

Mau lets everyone know his name once we put him in the carrier. He does NOT like traveling in the car but he too needed to go to the vet to address his dental disease.