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Pet Care

4 Ways to refresh your pet’s routines

As the season changes and you spruce up your daily habits to feel and look fresh, consider these four things that may help brighten up your pup’s spirit.

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The spring season and warmer months are typically all about renewal and evaluating things that may no longer serve you, such as habits, products or routines.

This can be true for your dog as well. As the season changes and you spruce up your daily habits to feel and look fresh, consider these four things that may help brighten up your pup’s spirit. 

New Dog Bed
After a long year of cozying up inside, it is probably safe to say your dog’s bed could use a refresh. If you notice he retreats to the couch, floor or your bedroom for a good night’s rest, that may be a sign it is time to switch out the old for something new. Use this opportunity to gift your pet a plush and comfortable bed set. There are many options out there from donut dog beds to heated or kennel beds, so make sure you’re getting what’s best for your pup. A new bed could help brighten his mood in the morning, and after a full and active day, it can be exciting for him to have a new spot to relax.

New Toys
When provided with the appropriate toys, dogs can keep themselves occupied when you’re busy with work, chores or life’s daily responsibilities that can take your focus away from them. If you have noticed a drag in your pup’s energy –  laying around the house, acting less excited when you come through the door or staring at you blankly when you try to play, your dog may be experiencing boredom. It may be time to give him new toys that pique his interest. As you’re doing your cleaning and shopping, make sure to swap out old toys with new ones and even have him come along on your next trip to the pet store to pick out new ones.

Change of Scenery and Activities
It’s not a secret that dogs love the great outdoors. As the weather warms, it’s time to start thinking about breaking your dog away from the same old routine. Consider trying a new dog park, walking trail or taking him on more car rides with you. Your morning coffee run might be a fun adventure and a good way to help your pup start his day, especially if your local coffee shop has dog treats, too. This change of routine and scenery can leave him feeling energized to take on the day with you.

New Food
As the seasons change, it may be time to switch up eating habits and choose a diet that suits your lifestyle and dietary preferences. If you’re feeling ready to make a change to your normal routine, consider doing the same for your dog. An option like NUTRO dry dog food provides a healthy and nutritious diet with recipes featuring ingredients such as chicken, brown rice, kale and spinach, and garnishes like egg, tomatoes and more.

Learn more at Nutro.com.

Zest Magazine accepts contributions promoting everything about living the good life (and how to make this so). C'mon, give us a yell.

Pet Care

Dogs act jealously even when they don’t see their rival

Dogs appear to be one of the few species that might display jealous behaviors in ways similar to a human child showing jealousy when their mother gives affection to another child. In humans, jealousy is closely linked with self-awareness, which is one reason animal-cognition researchers are so interested in studying jealousy and other secondary emotions in animals.

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Photo by Jamie Street from Unsplash.com

Past surveys have shown that more than 80% of dog owners report observing jealous behaviors from their dogs–vocalizations, agitated behavior, pulling on a leash–when they give attention to other dogs. New research published in the journal Psychological Science supports these observations and finds that dogs also exhibit jealous behaviors when they merely imagine that their owner is interacting with a potential rival, in this case, a highly realistic artificial dog.

“Research has supported what many dog owners firmly believe–dogs exhibit jealous behavior when their human companion interacts with a potential rival,” said Amalia Bastos with the University of Auckland and lead author on the paper. “We wanted to study this behavior more fully to determine if dogs could, like humans, mentally represent a situation that evoked jealousy.”

Dogs appear to be one of the few species that might display jealous behaviors in ways similar to a human child showing jealousy when their mother gives affection to another child. In humans, jealousy is closely linked with self-awareness, which is one reason animal-cognition researchers are so interested in studying jealousy and other secondary emotions in animals.

To test how and when dogs display jealous behavior, the researchers presented 18 dogs with situations where they could imagine a social interaction between their human companion and either a realistic fake dog or a fleece cylinder. The fake dog served as a potential rival for attention while the cylinder served as a control.

In the experiment, the dogs observed the fake-dog rival positioned next to their owner. A barrier was then placed between the dog and the potential rival obscuring them from view. Despite blocking the line of sight, the dogs forcefully attempted to reach their owners when they appeared to stroke the rival fake dog behind the barrier. In a repeat experiment using a fleece cylinder rather than a fake dog, the dogs pulled on the lead with far less force.

Through their study, Bastos and her colleagues found that dogs showed three human-like signatures of jealous behavior. Jealous behavior emerged only when their owner interacted with a perceived social rival and not an inanimate object; occurred as a consequence of that interaction and not due to a potential rival’s mere presence; and emerged even for an out-of-sight interaction between their owner and a social rival.

“These results support claims that dogs display jealous behavior. They also provide the first evidence that dogs can mentally represent jealousy-inducing social interactions,” said Bastos. “Previous studies confounded jealous behavior with play, interest, or aggression, because they never tested the dogs’ reactions to the owner and the social rival being present in the same room but not interacting.”

“There is still plenty of work to do to establish the extent of the similarities between the minds of humans and other animals, especially in terms of understanding the nature of nonhuman animals’ emotional experiences,” said Bastos. “It is too early to say whether dogs experience jealousy as we do, but it is now clear that they react to jealousy-inducing situations, even if these occur out-of-sight.”

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Pet Care

Keep your pets cool

American Humane reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe, hydrated and cool by following simple tips and being mindful.

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Photo by Karin Hiselius from Unsplash.com

As people across the country are sweltering amid a record-setting heat wave that is making its way across the nation, American Humane reminds pet owners to keep their pets safe, hydrated and cool by following simple tips and being mindful.

“With record-setting highs closing businesses and keeping folks indoors, American Humane encourages pet owners to prioritize their family’s safety over fun,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “By putting in some time for safety and preparation, Independence Day celebrations can be fun for people and pets.”

Intense heat is pulverizing the American Northwest. Across Oregon and Washington, high temperatures will rise more than 30 degrees above normal, according to the National Weather Service. In many cities known for their temperate weather, this heat wave is not only setting records, but threatening communities. If you’re uncomfortable outside, then so is your pet.

Follow these safety tips to stay cool despite the heat:

  • Don’t exercise your pets in dangerous conditions. Regular exercise, surprisingly, can be dangerous for pets at this time of year. Even if your pets are active, get exercise every day and are in excellent physical shape, you may want to scale back their activities or change your exercise routine to the cooler hours of the morning or evening.
  • A pet in a closed vehicle is not cool.Pets are affected by heat much more quickly than humans are, and that leaving a pet in a car for “just a minute” can have a deadly outcome. Remember that cars heat up fast—even with the windows cracked!
  • At home outdoors, ensure that your pets have access to shade and fresh water at all times. Your trip to the supermarket or dentist’s office may take longer than you expect. Temperatures in your yard can increase to high levels in just a few hours, and heat stroke can become a serious issue.
  • Heat stroke requires immediate veterinary attention! Heat stroke can be deadly. Signs of heat stroke include excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, lethargy, stumbling, seizures, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, and coma. If you suspect heat stroke, you should seek veterinary treatment for your pet as soon as possible. You can provide some immediate treatment using cool (but not icy) water to lower your pet’s temperature by submerging the pet in a tub of water, wetting him with a hose or sponging him down.
  • Enjoy your spring-into-summer days with your furred friends—just be sure to take a few precautions and stay cool!
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Pet Care

10 Tips to prepare pets before storms and wildfires hit

There are three key steps to being ready for a disaster: making a plan, building an emergency kit, and staying up to date on the latest news and storm-related developments in your area.

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Photo by Jamie Street from Unsplash.com

With wildfires raging and a busier-than-usual hurricane season predicted, pet owners should begin preparing now for emergency situations. Dr. Jose Arce, President-Elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association, is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico who has been through hurricanes with pets, both as an owner and a veterinarian.

He says there are three key steps to being ready for a disaster: making a plan, building an emergency kit, and staying up to date on the latest news and storm-related developments in your area.

Dr. Arce’s 10 Pet Preparedness Tips:

  1. Get your pet microchipped. If a pet gets lost or needs a place to ride out the storm, he or she will get back to you.
  2. Have evacuation plans mapped out before emergency situations arise.
  3. Contact friends or neighbors to coordinate safe travel plans.
  4. Have back-up care for your pets ready in the case you can’t make it home.
  5. Put together a pet emergency go-bag with several days’ food, medicines, first aid kit and grooming items.
  6. Make sure your pet has all their tags and IDs in case you have to evacuate.
  7. Practice finding a safe place at home with your pet, such as a basement or interior room, in case of tornados or high winds.
  8. Keep a handful of items – such as a leash, water dish, and blanket – in your car at all times in case you have to move quickly.
  9. Tune into the latest news/weather reports to be forewarned of any imminent danger.
  10. Contact your veterinarian if you need more clarity on how to prepare.

“Emergency situations are unpredictable,” said Arce. “Being prepared early will help you, your family, and pet have the best chance at avoiding disaster.”

Log on to www.avma.org for more valuable information about pets and pet care.

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