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Canine Enrichment: Flirt Pole

Cat owners are quite familiar with pole and string toys. Those are the products where a small toy is attached to the end of a string. Most cats go crazy for these toys because they tap into their predatory drive. Their owners wiggle and swing the string around making the toy look like it’s live prey. That natural drive in all cats to catch prey is satisfied, leading to a happy and healthy cat. Did you know that these types of toys aren’t just for cats? Flirt poles are the bigger dog version and canines love them just as much! They are a great dog training and canine enrichment tool. Your dog will learn and have fun at the same time!

Benefits of a Flirt Pole

The main benefit of using a flirt pole relates to canine enrichment. The toy swinging around in the air and being dragged on the ground makes it look like it’s live prey! This is the type of play that your dog’s brain is craving. They want to use those hunting instincts. Their brain interprets catching that “prey” as a huge reward. That’s what canine enrichment is all about…embracing and satisfying your dogs natural drives and desires in safe and fun way.

Flirt Poles are also a great dog training tool, specifically for impulse control. The design of the toy allows you to have better control over the reward. When used properly, your dog can learn to “chase” the toy only when you allow them to. Make your dog listen, before, during, and after the play session. Ask your dog to sit still and listen for a few moments and then reward them by allowing the to chase the toy around.

Flirt Pole DIY

Flirt poles are a super easy DIY project if you can’t find one at your local pet store. You can easily make one using a horse whip and tying a toy at the end. Find these at a local horse tack shop or tractor supply. If you don’t live in an area with horses, you can make one with supplies from any hardware store. Here are the basic steps:

For a medium to large size dog you will need:

  • 4-6 foot long ¾” PVC pipe
  • 10-15 feet of rope
  • One of your dog’s favorite toys
  1. Thread the rope through the pipe and tie a knot on the base.
  2. Tie a knot at the top of the pipe leaving a couple of feet of extra rope to swing around.
  3. Tie a toy to the end of the rope
  4. Have fun!

 

Do you use a flirt pole with your dog? Tell us about your experiences!

 

Today is World Pet Memorial Day

Every year, on the second Sunday of June, pet parents can honor and remember pets no longer with them. World Pet Memorial Day takes place this year on June 10th. Losing a pet has been shown to be just as devastating, if not more devastating, than losing a human friend or family member. Our pets are with us every day. They welcome us home with wagging tails and happy meows. They give us unconditional love and support and ask for very little in return. On this day, we should all take the time to show the pets we’ve lost the same unconditional love by remembering them.  Here’s some things you can do in to preserve their memory.

Simply Remembering

One of the easiest way to memorialize your pets is to think about all the wonderful memories you shared. You and your family can sit down and talk about how much your dog loved to chase tennis balls or how silly your cat went for catnip. By keeping those memories alive, a part of your pets will always stay alive.

Creating a Memorial

Another way to remember your passed pets is to create a physical memorial. There are lots of online stores offering physical objects to remember your pets by. Some of these memorials include: stone markers, custom jewelry, or engraved frames. By having something physical to see and feel, it makes it feel like your pet is not truly gone. You can go and “visit” them when you are missing them.

Helping Needy Pets

You can also honor pets you have lost by helping those that are alive and are in need. Try volunteering at your local shelter. Shelters are always looking for donations. A great way of memorializing your pet is making a donation in their name.

When a beloved pet dies are never truly gone. They live on in our memories and hearts forever. World Pet Memorial Day is a day to spend a few more moments remembering all of those furry snuggles and kisses.

 

Top 5 Summer Safety Tips for Pets

Summer is a fun time for humans and pets alike! So many activities to enjoy together outdoors. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get caught up in all the fun and forget about the dangers that the summer can bring. While you might know how to keep your human family member cool and safe, pets require different precautions. This is because dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do. They cool off through their pads on their paws and by panting. Since your pet can’t tell you that they might be feeling sick from the sun, it’s important for you to know how to keep them cook and safe in the first place. Here are some of the top ways to keep your pet safe this summer. [Read more…]

June is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month!

June has arrived! With it comes sunny days and beach vacations. Unfortunately, June also marks the peak of “kitten season”. Kitten season might sound like happy time filled with warm kitten bellies, but for shelters, it’s one of the most dreaded times of years.

Kitten season lasts from May to October. The onset of warmer weather acts as a catalyst for non-spayed female cats to go into heat. During these months, one female cat can pop out at least two litters. Many of these kittens end up in shelters that are already overcrowded. It’s a sad fact that many of the kittens will end up euthanized because of this lack of space.

To combat this, the ASPCA founded Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month to take place all throughout June. It’s goal is to get kittens and cats alike to their forever homes. They also hope to raise awareness of shelter overcrowding during kitten season. Here’s how you can help the cause! [Read more…]

Barbecue Safety for Dogs

The dog days of summer are here! With the days becoming steamier and the sun shining brighter, fun summer activities are just around the corner. Trips to the beach, picnics in the park, and playing in the backyard are all summer activities to share with your favorite dog. Barbecues and grilling parties are one of America’s favorite summer traditions but can be seriously dangerous for dogs. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when you hold your next backyard BBQ! [Read more…]

Why Do Dogs Need to Socialize with Other Dogs?

Did you know that one of the main reasons dogs are relinquished to shelters is behavioral problems? Many people jump at the chance to buy or adopt a puppy but don’t realize the work that goes into raising a well behaved and well adjusted dog.

Raising a puppy to be a “good dog” is much like raising a child. They must be taught the “rules” of how to react and act in situations. The way that humans and dogs learn to be “good” is through socialization. Socialization is learning the proper rules and etiquette of all kinds of situations.

Just like humans learn to be “human” through interactions with other people, dogs must learn how to be “dogs” from other dogs. Yes, humans, as their owners, can help socialize dogs by providing opportunities for them to be in new situations. However, the most important factor in dog socialization is by having them interact with other dogs. [Read more…]

Should your Dog get the Flu Shot?

Recent Outbreaks

Back in 2015, a new strain of dog influenza (H3N2) tore through a few major US cities. Experts tracking the virus believe that its spread in the US started in Chicago. According to the New York Times, “over nearly two months, at least 1,500 dogs fell ill, many for as long as three weeks”. Over the next few months the strain spread across the midwest. By the time the viruses spread had been contained, they determined the Chicago outbreak to be the worst the city had experienced in 35 years. The AMVA reported a  resurgence of the H3N2 virus in May 2017. Areas affected included Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, and Illinois.

Are Vaccines Mandatory?

Although there isn’t an active outbreak today, the infection is always possible. To prevent the transmission of canine influenza, there are flu shots available. Does your dog need one? The answer depends on your dog’s lifestyle and general health. Unlike the rabies vaccine, laws do not require your dog to be flu vaccinated. In fact, most vets don’t advise vaccinating your dog for the flu on a regular basis. Rather, only dogs that spend lots of time around many other dogs should be getting the vaccine.

Which Dogs Should Be Vaccinated?

Veterinarians recommend that dogs that show, get regular weekly grooming, go to doggy daycare, or are boarded for long periods should be vaccinated. Being around other strange dogs from many different places increases their risk of catching canine influenza. Vets also recommend vaccinating dogs with chronic health conditions or specific breed traits. Dogs with chronic respiratory diseases could suffer worse and longer if they were to catch the virus. Experts recommend that dogs hailing from breeds with short snouts (like bulldogs and pugs) receive the vaccine.

To get more information on Canine Influenza check out these links:

Canine Influenza Resources

H3N2 CANINE INFLUENZA VIRUS FACT SHEET

CDC Key Facts on Canine Influenza

5 Ways to Exercise your Cat

Is your kitty spending too much time cat-napping during the day? Do you have an indoor cat and worry about them not getting enough exercise? Although cats are blessed with a higher metabolism, getting them moving and playing is still a very important factor in keeping them healthy! Dogs can easily be put on a leash and taken on a simple walk. Cats . . . not so much. Unless your cat was leash-trained from kitten-hood, most would say that walking their cat was out of the question. Cats require a bit more creativity when trying to come up with ways to get them moving. To help get you and your cat started on your movement journey, here are 5 fun ways to exercise your cat. [Read more…]

Fruits and Vegetables that are Safe for Dogs

Is your dog bored of his plain old kibble and bagged treats? Are you looking for a way to trim down your dog’s waistline? Maybe you’re looking for healthy way alternative to commercially made treats? Fruits and vegetables are great way to add nutritious snacks to your dogs diet. Your dog will enjoy the new yummy additions to his food routine as well. However, some fruits and vegetables are better for your dog than others. Some are even dangerous, so it’s important to know which to give. [Read more…]

May 12th is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day

National disasters affect millions of people every year. From hurricanes, to tornadoes, to wildfires, the United States is no stranger to natural disasters. Preparedness plans and survival kits are readily available for our fellow humans, however it’s our beloved animal companions that are generally forgotten. According to The Atlantic, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina over 600,000 animals were killed or stranded. Unfortunately, this is not surprising considering the lack of animal preparedness resources. Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Emergency team took a survey this year and found that 91% of pet owners were unprepared for natural disasters. To combat this, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day takes place every second Saturday in May. It’s aim is to educate pet owners about having a plan in place to protect their pets during a natural disaster. [Read more…]