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Monthly Archives: January 2016

In Celebration of Penguins!

January 20th is World Penguin Day. These delightful little creatures have been featured in movies like Mary Poppins, Happy Feet, The Penguins of Madagascar, and Mr Poppers Penguins, as well as documentaries like March of the Penguins – but how much do you really know about the penguin?

shutterstock_107424374Most people believe penguins live in cold climates (like the North Pole), but in reality, there are just 17 varieties of penguins, and all are native to the Southern Hemisphere. Penguins are found in Antarctica, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, the Falkland Islands, and the Galapagos Islands. Of those found in captivity in the Northern Hemisphere, most are African penguins from the warm coastal waters, and Humboldt penguins (native to South America). Penguin’s vestigial wings have evolved into flippers that make them wonderful swimmers (but terrible flyers).

The best known variety of classic ‘tuxedo’marked penguins are the Emperor and Adelie penguins. Emperor penguins live in the Weddell and Ross Sea regions of the Antarctic. Their beautiful black, white and yellow markings are quite distinctive. The largest of the species, Emperors grow up to 40 inches tall and weigh up to 90 pounds. They eat squid, large fish, and crustaceans, and can dive to depths of up to 700 feet in pursuit of food. They can also swim underwater for up to 20 minutes at a time before surfacing for air.

Adelie penguins are the smallest penguin found in the Antarctic – standing approximately 30 inches tall when grown. There are an estimated 2.5 million pairs of Adelie penguins living in colonies, also known as rookeries. They can dive up to 500 feet beneath the surface of the water in their search for food like fish and krill (microscopic marine life).

Penguins lay eggs which are cared for by the mother and the father. After laying eggs, the mother will head out to sea to feed, leaving the father to watch over the eggs and keep them warm and safe. Penguin dads might stand watch over their future offspring for up to 10 days at a time! Adelie penguin eggs mature quite quickly; most hatch after a month of tender loving care. Penguin chicks stay close to their parents for the first month or so of life.

Some of the threats facing penguins in the wild include birds, seals, sharks, killer whales, and climate change. Penguins rely on cold, nutrient-rich ocean water for their food supply. Melting polar ice caps and El Niño events bring warmer waters. Cold water is prevented from reaching the surface, which means extreme food shortages for some varieties of penguins, and the potential collapse of their colonies – which could result in extinction. Others seem to be adapting to the environmental changes, showing the resilience of the species. Hopefully, these wonderful creatures will survive and continue to delight people for centuries to come.

Dress Up Your Pet Day

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Sometimes they are sweet; sometimes silly; and sometimes

hilarious… we’re talking about the – let’s call them ‘outfits’ – that

people sometimes put on their pets!  January 14th of each year is

Dress Up Your Pet Day, and can be a fun day to spend a little extra

time bonding with your lovable friend. (And don’t forget the selfies!)

If you stop to think about it, what do you think your dog or cat would wear if they had clothes to

put on each day? What type of outfit would mirror their little (or big) personality? Is your cat

serious or playful? Is your pup well-behaved and calm, or silly and out of control chasing his or

her tail?

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What kind of attire would be in YOUR pet’s closet?

 

 

Five Tips for National Train Your Dog Month

shutterstock_185175407Good training makes good pets. Whether

you’re training a puppy or an older animal,

there are some important rules for pet

parents to follow.

 

1/ Keep it simple. When you’re training your

pet, commands should be short, simple words and

phrases. Sit. Stay. Come. Down. No bark. Heel.

Go potty. Once you’ve mastered the basics together, you can work on more complex behaviors or tricks.

 

2/ Be firm but gentle. Remember, your dog is trying to learn your language, and he wants

nothing more than to please you. Use your tone of voice to reinforce the action you want your

dog to take. You can also use hand signals to accompany commands.

 

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3/ Be generous with praise. Reinforcing good behavior is best

done with love and attention. Let your dog know when he’s

doing something right through verbal praise, petting, and

rewards like small treats, or going for a walk.

 

4/ Be consistent. One of the most common mistakes people

make during training is inconsistency. For instance, you don’t

want your pets on the furniture. During training, you choose the

command “Down”. Another family member decides to use “Off”.

Another simply ignores the behavior. It’s no wonder your

dog is confused. Make sure that all family members are on the

same page and use the same commands.

 

5/ Be realistic with your expectations. Barking, digging and jumping are all normal dog

behaviors, but they’re not really desirable. Changing bad behavior takes time, especially with

older dogs. These types of behavior will take the most time to correct.

 

By training together, you and your dog can forge an unbreakable bond, helping make your dog

a great companion for years to come.

 

National Pet Travel Safety Day

While the official day is January 2nd of each calendar year, this special day is important to recognize all

year long.

NPTSDThe day was originally established by Colleen Paige, known for her

animal advocacy and the founder of several national days designed

to recognize both our canine and feline companions, as well as other

wildlife.

 

National Pet Travel Safety Day was created to shed light on the

safety issues for pets when they travel unsecured in vehicles, and to

provide education and solutions for how to make vehicle travel more

safe, secure, and comfortable for both people and their furry friends. Often we don’t think about how

quick stops in traffic, flying debris (for pups with their heads out the car window), or sudden accidents

can both physically and emotionally hurt and scar our beloved pets.

 

Travel safely out there – learn more at www.pettravelsafetyday.com.