Tips To Help Keep Your Pets Happy And Healthy

Jennifer Ledford - Trupanion Pet Insurance - Affiliate - Love my pets!

Last month, our little Shih Tzu Russell decided to eat a hair scrunchi that had dropped onto the floor.  Being the resourceful dog mom that I am, I was using the scrunchi to keep our Standard Poodle’s ears back while she eats.  I was out in the backyard scooping poop because that’s the glamorous life I lead and she shook it off.  Russell must have confused it with something worth eating and gobbled it right up.  After Russell spent two days in the hospital, we decided to invest in a “snood” to hold our poodle’s ears back to solve the problem.

Dogs are interesting creatures.  Some of them are extremely finicky and others are what I refer to as “cleaners” or “sidewalk snackers.”  We have three dogs.  Greta, our chihuahua mix, is extremely cautious and I rarely have to worry about her getting into anything.  Hoppy, our Standard Poodle, is somewhere in between and then there’s little Russell.  Thank goodness for our awesome pet insurance through Trupanion.

Because I have a dog that can get into things that are potentially harmful to him, I “dog proof” our house to keep him and the others safe. Even if your dog is pretty good about what he or she decides to munch on, I still recommend keeping potential hazards away from your pooch.

Here are a few pet safety tips courtesy of our pet insurance company Trupanion to help keep your fur babies happy and healthy:

  • Keep cleaners and chemicals well out of reach.  Allow any cleaners to air out and dry before you let your dog or cat sniff around. Trupanion has seen several claims for pets who have ingested everything from Mr. Clean to Fantastic All Purpose Heavy Duty Cleaner. Choosing natural cleaning substances are safer options for your pet as well as the humans. You can make a highly effective all-purpose cleaner using half a cup of white vinegar and water and baking soda can be a safe way to absorb unpleasant smells.
  • Plant a pet-safe garden. Choose safe plants for your dog or cat when working in the garden or bringing plants into your home this spring.  Herbs, vegetables—except for onions, chives, leeks and garlic— daises, roses, and violets are all great options that your pet can get into without concern. Take care with certain fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides. They can be dangerous for your curious dog or cat.
  • Prevent pesky pests from infesting your pet. Fleas, ticks, and worms become especially prevalent as temperatures rise. Talk to your veterinarian about parasite preventatives for your pet, which may vary depending on where you live.

POISON PREVENTION FOR YOUR PETS

Lilies and household cleaners are abundant in the spring—and toxic for our pets. Below you’ll find Trupanion’s  infographic on common household toxins for cats and dogs and they’ve included tips from their veterinarians on how to keep your pet safe.

  • Keep emergency contact information readily accessible including your veterinarian’s phone number and directions to your local 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital. You never want to be caught off guard.
  • Prepare a pet first aid kit with any supplies you may need in case of an emergency. Make sure you include emergency contact information in the first aid kit as well.
  • Familiarize yourself with pet poisons and keep them out of reach of your pets. If you believe your pet has ingested a poison, do not wait for signs to develop — take your pet immediately to the veterinarian. If you can, quickly gather information on what was ingested and how much your pet was exposed to.
  • Consult your veterinarian to determine the best plan for you and your pet. Do not try to treat them with home remedies unless instructed by a veterinarian or expert.

Jennifer Ledford - Trupanion - Affiliate - Common Pet Poisons Found In Your Home - Love my pets!

It’s easy to take great care of your pets when you have the right information.

Herre’s to happy pets and happy humans!

Shared with love,
Jennifer

Quick disclaimer:  I’m proud to announce that I have partnered with Trupanion as an affiliate.  I only promote companies that I believe are the very best at what they do and that their product could benefit you.  Trupanion has helped us pay thousands of dollars toward our vet bills and has given us the ability to provide the very best veterinary care for our beloved animals.

How Walking A Dog Can Help You With Your Weight Loss Goals

My Sweet Tina - Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most - Walking A Dog For Weight Loss Works

Years ago I had a strong desire to leave the gym and knew that many of my clients wanted other options as well. However, it was an article in Vogue magazine that really inspired me to take action. The article highlighted several Hollywood celebrities that had decided to take their exercise outdoors and leave the gym behind.

Since staying in shape was their business, I was intrigued. Drew Barrymore shared how she had switched from going to the gym to hiking in the hills with her dogs. So, I left the gym and started walking my dogs daily for the majority of my exercise and I’ve been teaching clients how to exercise outside of the gym ever since!

Since I have successfully lost weight and maintained it for years walking my dogs daily, I got really excited when I came across this University of Missouri-Columbia study.

YOU CAN LOSE WEIGHT WALKING YOUR DOG 20 MINUTES A DAY

The study showed that walking a dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week produced an average weight loss of 14 pounds for participants.

Study participants were people who were not regular walkers. They began by walking loaner dogs 10 minutes per day, three times each week. Eventually, the participants walked up to 20 minutes per day, five times each week. Those who followed this program for 50 weeks lost an average of 14 pounds.

The ones who walked only 26 weeks didn’t see much weight loss. “Even though we didn’t see a significant amount of weight loss in the group that walked for a shorter period of time, by the end of the study, all the participants were walking for longer periods of time and walking for daily errands instead of using some other type of transportation,” said researcher Rebecca Johnson in a press release.

DOGS ARE GREAT ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS

“Many of the participants reported that they didn’t necessarily walk in the study because they knew it was good for their health; they enjoyed walking because they knew it was good for the animals,” said Johnson in the press release.

I’ve been a personal trainer for over 22 years. From my experience, most people need a “reason” to exercise. Doing it just because it’s good for you is usually not enough. Walking the dog gives the activity a purpose. Being around animals is also relaxing. On the days I feel like skipping our walk, all I have to do is take one look at my dogs and even a short walk is going to happen. Let’s face it, we tend to take better care of ourselves when another life depends on us.

TOP REASONS CANINES MAKE GREAT WALKING PARTNERS:

1) Always eager to go. Humans can make excuses due to weather, lack of sleep, or too many other priorities.

2) Always on time. Your furry friend will not make you wait.

3) Allows time away from chatter.  Being with a dog allows you to unplug from electronics and every day stimulation. It’s a great time for meditation and fresh ideas. You won’t be scrolling through your smartphone because you are paying attention to your dog.

4) See the world through your dog’s eyes.  Dogs stop to smell the grass.  They are fascinated with nature.  My dogs inspire me to truly soak in the great outdoors.

PROOF THAT WALKING WORKS FOR WEIGHT LOSS

Walking with a dog can often be more of a stroll, and this study used participants who were new to walking for exercise. That’s great news. The good results seen for those who stuck with the program for a year proves that simple regular walking for weight control and lifestyle change works.

Beyond the 20 minutes they spent walking, researchers reported that they began adding more activity into their lives. The additional activity beyond the 20 minutes of dog walking is probably a large factor in their continued weight loss. Some even adopted dogs themselves or began volunteering to walk dogs at the local dog shelter.

The results from this study are very encouraging.  They help prove that consistency and focusing on one healthy habit eventually lead to more. The most important thing to note here is that the participants had a purpose that helped keep them from giving up.  Staying consistent is key when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off for good.

It’s no secret I love dogs.  We have four.  However, I realize that not everyone wants to own a dog or is in a position to do so.  If you think you’d enjoy walking a dog, consider volunteering to be a dog walker at your local animal shelter.  Walking shelter dogs helps keep them from getting anxious or out of shape while they are waiting for their new forever home.  It’s a wonderful community service.

If you are thinking about getting a dog please consider adopting.   Petfinder.com is a great place to find a loving dog that needs a home.

Whether you have your own canine or not, I would encourage you to have a purpose to exercise. Mowing your yard, playing team sports, walking your kids to school, and working out to remain strong enough to do the things you enjoy are all examples of purpose-driven exercise. Having a reason to exercise makes it more meaningful and you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

Have a personal dog walking story or “reason” you exercise you’d like to share? Please leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Here’s to wagging tails and fit humans!
Jennifer

The Things Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most

My Sweet Tina - Dogs Can Teach Us About What Matters Most

Last week we received a very serious phone call from our vet hospital regarding the health of one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever met.  Her name is Tina and she’s been with us since  we pulled her out of a shelter in Northern California in May of 2007.  Her story is very different from the majority of pets that are abandoned by irresponsible owners.  She had a very loving owner that had lost his housing and was unable to take a large dog to his new living situation.  This man was so heartbroken and concerned for Tina that he called every single day to find out if she had been adopted by someone.  I truly believe that God worked through us that day as an answer to his prayers.

When Tina first joined our family she was seriously overweight and full of dandruff.  We placed her on a healthy diet, gave her supplements, and began exercising her immediately.  The transformation was amazing and a true testimony to how powerful a healthy diet and consistent exercise can be no matter where you are starting from.  She went from huffing and puffing on hikes to running on the beach all day.

We are uncertain about Tina’s actual age. However, it has become quite obvious that she is getting up there in her years.  She doesn’t really run anymore and battles arthritis but when it’s time to go for a walk she perks up with the same enthusiasm she showed back in 2007 when we first adopted her.  Her attitude is so contagious that it gets me fired up to go out for a walk no matter where my energy level is at that particular moment.  She reminds me that being able to walk and enjoy fresh air is something that should never be taken for granted!

Tina has never met a stranger.  She loves to greet anyone that is willing to say hello or pet her.  I’ve watched her turn frowns into smiles.  When she was younger she would take off down the beach and find people (usually young college students) that were hungry for a dog fix and hang out on their blanket with them for the afternoon.  She would always leave them better off than when she found them.  That’s something I work hard to do but I don’t think I’ve mastered it quite like Tina.

Tina has always been a great companion and friend to all of the other dogs in our house.  They love her and she helps comfort the ones that are overcoming anxiety when we first rescue them and bring them home.  Being a good friend is one of the most valuable things we can do for someone else.  There are a lot of things that money can buy but true friendships aren’t one of them.

Studies have shown that owning pets helps lower blood pressure and battle depression.  I personally believe that this has something to do with the unconditional love that our pets have for us.  They don’t care how badly you messed up that day; all they care about is that you are home and they get to spend time with you.  When you are responsible for another life you tend to take your eyes off of your own issues and find the strength to carry on.  Whether it’s your kids or a pet, they are counting on you and it’s usually easier to make it through trials or meet your goals when you are doing it for a reason that’s bigger than just yourself.

What Tina and OUR Dogs Have Done For Me

I can honestly say that my dogs have done way more for me than simply help me stay in shape.   They have helped me become a better person in every area of my life. They’ve taught me to focus more on others and less on myself.  My experiences with them have helped me have more compassion and patience when I am out navigating this crazy world.  I’ve learned that things that seem annoying or embarrassing at the time usually turn into stories that make you laugh or even shed a tear when you share them over dinner.

I’m not sure how much longer Tina will be with us.  She tends to turn in early and hangs out on the deck or in her bed more and more these days.  One thing I do know for sure is that we will continue to create precious memories with her and the rest of our dogs for as long as we are together.  Days can turn into years rather quickly so it’s important we take time out to spend them with family, friends, and our furry babies.

I encourage you to maintain balance in your life and take time out to spend it with the ones that matter most to you.  It’s important to work hard.  However, it’s equally important to take time out to play and create the memories that will matter the most to you in your golden years.

Have a great week!

Shared with love,
Jennifer