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Monthly Archives: August 2016

National Holistic Pet Day

Health is more than just the absence of illness – it’s rooted the quality of the life you lead, and the same is true for pets. Holistic health is taking the time to care for yourself by eating a good diet, getting plenty of exercise, minimizing stress and finding joy in the gift of being alive.

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We already know that having pets provides us with many health benefits. According to the Center for Research: “Some research studies have found that people who have a pet have healthier hearts, stay home sick less often, make fewer visits to the doctor, get more exercise, and are less depressed. Pets may also have a significant impact on allergies, asthma, social support, and social interactions with other people.”

National Holistic Pet Day encourages pet parents to take the time to review ways they can improve the overall health of their pets – mind, body and spirit. Best of all, everyone benefits!

NUTRITION & DIET

Nutrition is an important aspect of holistic pet care. Animal’s digestive systems are not meant to process chemicals and preservatives found in cheaper forms of pet food. Choose high quality, natural, organic food and treats whenever possible. Pets that eat a diet of natural and organic foods enjoy stronger immune systems, which helps prevent disease and other health problems. High quality, natural dog food also helps dogs fight allergies, intestinal problems, obesity, diabetes and other food-related diseases.

Make sure your pets have plenty of clean, fresh water that is free from chemical contaminants like fluoride and chlorine. Use stainless steel or ceramic bowls rather than plastics, which can leach harmful chemicals into food and water.

EXERCISE & GROOMING

One of the best ways to keep the body healthy is to get plenty of exercise. Regular exercise not only helps keep both you and your dog physically fit, it also helps with weight loss, lowers cholesterol levels, decreases diabetes risk, and lessens the risk of heart disease. Exercise can also help alleviate anxiety and fight certain cancers. Daily walks or runs, swimming, playing chase or fetch gets you both moving, so it’s a win-win situation.

Regular grooming is also important – daily brushing of teeth can help prevent periodontal disease. When bathing your pet, use grooming products with natural oils and extracts instead of synthetic chemicals, which can leave harmful residue and strip away the natural oils in your pet’s coat.

MIND & SPIRIT

Keeping the mind stimulated and sharp is important for both people and pets. Physical activity helps keeps pets feeling happy and well-balanced.

Invest in interactive toys like a treat ball or other toys specifically designed to challenge your pet – if they solve a puzzle, they find a treat.

You can also take some time to hide treats in different areas of your home or apartment – your pets will have fun finding them and even more fun eating them.

Vary your route when going for a walk, so your dog can enjoy new smells, sights and sounds!

For many dogs, a trip to the local doggie park can also be a wonderful, stimulating adventure – but be sure to keep a close eye on them as they interact with other dogs. The opportunity to run and play off leash is a wonderful treat. They get a chance to explore the park, meet and make new friends, and you do, too!

Remember, holistic health is all about improving quality of life – both for you and your pet.

Five Great Ways to Help on National Homeless Pet Day

 

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It’s National Homeless Pet Day – so let’s take a moment to review some ways we can all make a difference.

1/ Adopt a homeless animal: Skip the breeder or pet store – visit your local shelter or rescue group and adopt your next best friend!

2/ Always spay or neuter your pets. Nearly 70,000 puppies and kittens are born every day in the United States, and many will never find homes or go on to be euthanized. Spaying and neutering can help reduce the number of homeless animals.

3/ Volunteer at a local rescue or shelter: Without volunteers, many shelters and rescues would have to shut down. Volunteer to walk or play with shelter dogs and cats, help clean cages, refill water bowls – every little bit helps!

4/ Make a donation to your local rescue or shelter: Food, toys, treats, blankets, beds, grooming tools, collars, leashes and other items are always in short supply – so why not make it a neighborhood project?

5/ Get kids involved! Everyone loves a good lemonade stand or bake sale – and most kids are passionate about helping make the world a better place. Set up in front of your home or business (be sure to get permission first) and let everyone know that their purchase will go towards saving homeless animals. Don’t forget to put out a donation can – many people will skip the treats and donate anyway.

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Ready to get started? Here’s a list of shelters and rescue groups around Phoenix: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Animals+shelters+and+rescues+phoenix

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW)

We’ve all seen the adorable pups-in-training with their dedicated handlers, learning to navigate some of the day-to-day tasks many of us take for granted. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook just how much impact these service animals have on the lives of their human counterparts.

International Assistance Dog Week (IADW) was created to recognize all the hardworking animals and their handlers, giving them a moment of recognition and honor that they deserve. It is also an important opportunity to raise awareness and educate the public on the incredible services they provide, and highlight some of the astonishing (and frankly heroic) deeds that service animal perform.

Service AnimalService dogs can provide an array of support, whether it be physical, emotional, or some sort of combination. These canine companions can be trained as guide dogs for the visually impaired, supply alert services for hearing impaired humans, provide mobility support for the wheelchair bound, and even trained to recognize and art for medical conditions such as seizures, diabetes and more. In addition, they can also be trained as therapy dogs and emotional support animals, helping their human owners who may suffer from psychiatric or emotional ailments.

When you come across a service animal and their handler (or trainer), here are a couple of helpful tidbits of information to keep in mind:

1) When a service dog is wearing their identification vest and with it’s disabled handler (or still in training), the dog is ‘working’. Sometimes it may appear to the contrary, but remember that behavioral training and responses is part of a service dog’s job.

2) You should never pet the service dog (unless you politely ask the dog’s handler and receive permission to do so.)  A service dog should be paying attention to their handler and their surrounds as appropriate, so distracting the dog (without permission) may ultimately be doing dis-service to the animal and their handler (or training).

3) Address your attention to the handler; not the pup. Beyond simple common courtesy, you are actually helping the service animal do their job.

4) Remember that every situation is different. Based on a number of factors that you wouldn’t be aware of, the service dog may not be at a point where they can have interaction (i.e. petting by a stranger) for a variety of reasons. Don’t get upset with the handler if they tell you it is not okay to pet the animal; rather, be respectful and know that there is an important reason for it.

5) Just like ANY other pet, don’t offer food or treats to the service dog without consulting the handler or trainer first. Even though they are trained to avoid tempting situations, it’s a natural instinct to be tempted (you don’t see me turning down a cupcake when offered!)  Instead, think about how you are helping the service animal and his/her handler by exhibiting polite, appropriate behavior.

If you’re interested in learning more or finding out how you can help support these incredible human companions, visit www.assistancedogweek.org for more information.

National Work Like a Dog Day – Aug. 5th

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Tomorrow, August 5th is National Work Like a Dog Day. So what exactly does the phrase ‘work like a dog’ mean? The English language phrase is believed to have derived from the hard work demonstrated by working dogs; whether herding sheep, hunting, providing service or assisting with rescue operations. Essentially it’s about giving it your all and going that extra mile, all while maintaining a positive attitude (or tail-wagging as the case may be). Our animal companions derive joy and excitement from their ‘jobs’, which is something to be inspired by. Now, if your particular canine companion spends the day napping, snacking, and playing with toys, then by all means – feel free to work like a dog that way too.