small white dog sleeping in winter hat

Does Your Doggy Have the Winter Blues?

The winter can be just as much of a drain on our dogs as it is for us! I know that I miss the sunshine, wearing shorts and tank tops, going to the dog park, and spending time at my home-away-from-home on the Tennessee River (also know as my in-laws’ houseboat).
Our dogs can be affected by being cooped up in the house as well! Our long walks together get shorter and shorter, trips to the dog park pretty much disappear, and backyard time together is almost nil when my hands freeze during a wintertime game of fetch. I’m a sissy when it comes to the cold! Thank goodness there are plenty of ways to keep your dog happy, healthy and prevent cabin fever when stuck indoors!
How About a Little Mental Stimulation?

 

My dogs love it when I stuff a Kong for them. You can stuff it full of their favorite treat, or you can put plain yogurt or peanut butter inside and then freeze it overnight. The next day they will have so much fun licking out the frozen treat.

At feeding time, my dogs eat out of mind-stimulating puzzle bowls, like the Green Interactive Slow Dog Feeder. Also, the Kong Wobbler Dog Food and Treat Dispenser is wonderful! Rawhides and Nylabones can last a long time for some dogs! This can help them pass the time indoors.

Winter is a great time to get some training done with your dog. Make sure you and your doggy have worked on ‘sit’ ‘stay’ and ‘lay down’. Try ‘leave it’ and ‘come’, and even ‘shake’ and ‘roll over’. All this training can easily be done indoors.
Get the Blood Pumping.   

If you have a staircase in your home, use it! Get your dog to run up and down the stairs. You can run with them, or have someone at the top and the bottom of the staircase to encourage them and/or have a few tempting treats.

Try your dog out on your home treadmill for some exercise. Just make sure that you supervise your dog the entire time he is on the treadmill, and start him out on a very slow setting and gradually increase as he gets used to the movement.

Hide a toy or treat somewhere in the house, and have your dog search it out. This will provide physical activity as well as mental stimulation.

Try the good ole’ tried and true tug of war with your dogs…as long as you’re in a big enough area. This can get tails wagging everywhere!

If all else fails, bundle yourself up, put your dog in his winter sweater, and get outside for a while. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved and happy dog. Just remember to bring your doggy in with you when you’re done. It’s cold out there!
older yellow lab looking happy getting cuddles on the floor

The Power of Prayer…and Goat’s Milk

November 18th, 2014

Halie Snider knew exactly what she wanted for her 14th birthday. She wanted a puppy…a yellow lab mix, rescue puppy to be exact. The dog she would adopt would soon become the love of the entire family. A loyal companion, Zayda, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix, loved to spend time doing anything with any of the Sniders. Life was good. Move forward six years to April 2014 and tragedy strikes the Snider family. Their beloved Zayda was in danger and not expected to live much longer.

Dogs Have A Way of Finding The People That Need Them…

Excited about finding a furry best friend, Halie scanned the Birmingham-Jefferson Animal Shelter’s available dogs online. That’s where she spotted six month old Zayda.

“She found Zayda’s picture and fell in love,” said Halie’s mother, Vanessa. “The next Saturday, which was her birthday, we went to the shelter and found Zayda. There were so many cute dogs, and we encouraged her to look around. We even got several others out of their enclosures and took them out to play with them. But she would not be swayed! We ended up adopting Zayda!”

Zayda quickly became a steadfast member of the family and everyone’s favorite playmate. Games of fetch and tug were a mainstay around the house, and car rides were a MUST. The Snider girls had to spell out the words to keep Zayda from getting too excited about an R-I-D-E, but they took her regularly. She even befriended the neighbors and began a routine of running next door to visit them to snag an extra treat every now and then.

Keep Calm and Hug Your Dog

Things were great until April of this year when Vanessa had shoulder surgery and was home for the next four weeks for recovery and rehab.

“I began to notice that Zayda didn’t want to go out with our other dog, Zoe. She just wanted to lie on the ottoman next to my chair,” said Vanessa. “I thought she didn’t want to leave me. Although she is my daughter’s dog, she and I are very close and very attached to one another.”

Then, one night, she began vomiting. Zayda couldn’t keep anything down, and the Sniders decided to take her to the vet. The doctor feared she had pancreatitis and kept her overnight. The next day Zayda was doing much better and was allowed to go home with a few food and water instructions to help her further recover from the illness.  She did well that Saturday but soon started vomiting again Sunday evening.

“She refused food, and threw up even the little water she was drinking. She just lay in one spot and didn’t want to move,” explains Vanessa. “First thing on Monday, I called the vet and took her back.”

The veterinarian kept Zayda for further testing and called back that afternoon with results of an x-ray showing a mass in her abdomen. Not being able to tell much about where exactly it was, he wanted to keep her for another night and perform exploratory surgery the next day.

The Snider family had been anxiously awaiting the call, and when it came, the news was grim.

“He said he had bad news…there was a large tumor attached to her pancreas and it had metastasized to her liver,” Vanessa explained. “He said there was really nothing that he could do. He suggested that we take her home and ‘love on her as long as we could stand it.’ He thought she might live a week at the most.”

The Sniders didn’t want to lose their beloved Zayda, but they also didn’t want her to have to endure anymore pain. After talking with her husband and children, Vanessa decided to wait a day before making the decision. Kate, the oldest Snider daughter, was celebrating her 22nd birthday and Vanessa didn’t want her to remember it as the painful day they lost Zayda. Vanessa’s husband, Jimmy, called to tell the doctor the decision, and the doctor explained that Zayda was standing up and wagging her tail. She wasn’t in too much pain at the time. The Sniders knew if Zayda wasn’t in pain they had to bring her home. The decision wouldn’t be made until Zayda let them know the time was right. The vet sent her home with pain meds, and left the shunt in her leg to easily inject the medication to put her to sleep when the need arose.

“Because she really couldn’t eat or hold down much food, I wanted to try to find something I could give her that would give her the nutrition she needed, and ANYTHING that might help her condition,” said Vanessa. “I looked online for ‘holistic pet stores’ and Hollywood Feed is the only one that popped up. Although not far from my house, I didn’t know anything about it.”

All You Need Is Love…and Goat’s Milk

Vanessa drove to Hollywood Feed in Mountain Brook, Alabama, not knowing what she would find, if anything, to help her sweet Zayda.

Vanessa explained to the staff that she had a “sick dog – very sick – who couldn’t really eat.” She was hoping to find something to give Zayda that provided the vitamins and minerals that she needed. The Hollywood Feed employee immediately recommended goat’s milk and led Vanessa to the store’s freezer.

“She told me it was raw and had all the nutrients my dog would need, even if she couldn’t eat,” explained Vanessa. “She told me how much to give Zayda, and told me about grain-free food, and I left with several cans of food and two quarts of goat’s milk.”

Vanessa immediately started to mix the goat’s milk and food for Zayda (and even mixed some goat’s milk with Zoe’s food).

“I began to see immediate gradual improvement. At the end of the first week, the vet’s office called to check on Zayda (because I truly believe they thought we would have already brought her back). I told the vet’s assistant that she was doing better, eating and keeping her food down, and seemed to have more energy. She sounded a little skeptical, but told me to keep in touch.”

The same happened multiple times. The vet’s assistant would call to check on Zayda and Vanessa would explain that it seemed that every day and every week Zayda got a little better. “I also told her about the goat’s milk at that point. I could hear the skepticism and maybe a little doubt (like maybe I had gone crazy), but she said ‘well, just keep doing what you’re doing I guess.’

“The same pattern continued for the next several months, with Zayda improving and either the vet’s office calling me, or me calling them to check in. At one point, the vet’s assistant told me, like she had to defend their diagnosis, ‘I was in surgery with him with Zayda, and I saw it – I saw the tumor!’ I told her I didn’t doubt them, and also couldn’t explain Zayda’s improvement. I told them, and pretty much everyone, that the only things I could attribute her recovery to were goat’s milk…and prayer!”

You’ll Never Walk Alone Because I’ll Always Be With You

Jimmy took Zayda back to the vet just two weeks ago for the first time in six months. It was time for her annual visit and rabies shots. After a physical exam, the veterinarian thought he could still feel something in her abdomen but was completely amazed at how well Zayda was doing. Jimmy answered lots of questions the doctor had and told him all about the goat’s milk. The vet excitedly said “it’s working so don’t change a thing!” and recommended they “keep doing EXACTLY what you’ve been doing!”

The family and doctor don’t know for sure if the cancer is still there or not. There’s no way of knowing without doing another surgery, and that’s something neither wants to do. “The disease could progress again at any point, but everyone is AMAZED she lived beyond a few days, much less almost seven months now. And she hasn’t just stayed alive, she is happy and appears healthy, she has a great appetite, and runs and plays with Zoe and the family.

“She’s just a joy to have around, and we are so thankful to have been given more time with her, and that she’s been happy and felt good,” Vanessa said. “She is such a sweet dog and loves each of us and I can’t imagine our family without her. But even if the illness returned today and she passed, we are still SOOOO thankful that the folks at Hollywood Feed cared enough to ask me what I needed and took the time to talk with me and show me the goat’s milk, and the other grain-free food. They have been so caring…always asking about Zayda when I go in every couple of weeks for milk.”

“The Journey of Life is Sweeter When Traveled with a Dog.” -Bridget Willoughby

As for now, things are back to normal for the Snider family. The only difference? Goat’s milk is now a staple in the Snider canine diet! Fetch, tug, visits to the neighbors, and car rides are again part of everyday life.

We can all learn a lesson from Zayda. When the going gets tough, hang your head out the car window, feel the breeze rushing through your hair, then lean back in the car and give your favorite human a big, slobbery, kiss to let them know how much you love them. Never take one minute for granted, and never stop putting one paw in front of the other and moving forward. With the help of God, family, and friends you can make it through anything.

A Note From Hollywood Feed About Our Beliefs on Health and Nutrition

At Hollywood Feed, we live for days like this – days when we get to hear remarkable stories about how nutrition has made a life-changing difference in a beloved pet’s life. We’re delighted to provide paramount nutrition for dogs and cats and offer a veterinarian-trained staff to help guide consumers to what’s right for their specific pet. When customers return to us with stories like Zayda’s the feeling is indescribable. The only way I can think to express it is the feeling a puppy experiences when they FINALLY catch their tail; relief that we helped make life better for an animal, excitement that we now have more successful information to provide to the next customer, and joy – pure joy – that one more cherished pet gets to spend more time with his treasured human family.

We work hard to stay up-to-date on the latest health and nutrition needs of dogs and cats (and lots of other animals, too). We discuss our own research and reading amongst ourselves at the office and the stores, speak with veterinarians about different issues, and listen to customers when they tell us what has worked and what hasn’t all in order to provide our clientele with the best advice possible. We, in no way, want to undermine a veterinarian’s recommendations, and we don’t suggest that you ever stop giving medication or prescription food without talking with your pet’s doctor first. We also know that many times holistic nutrition choices aren’t enough. Sometimes God is calling your pet home and nothing can change His plan. This breaks our hearts and pushes us to learn more and more about providing nutrition that paves the way for a long and healthy life for our pets. Many times, desperation sends pet owners our way and a change in nutrition makes a huge difference in the pet’s life. Other times, we aren’t so lucky. We are, in no way, trying to make anyone believe that goat’s milk is the answer to all problems, but it’s definitely worth a try! But obviously, nothing can replace excellent care and, of course, prayer!

golden puppy peeing outside

Foolproof Guide to Housebreaking New Puppies!

Housebreaking a new puppy can seem like a daunting task! I know some people who have adopted an older dog just so they can skip this very important and necessary step in training. Some people even give their new puppy over to a trainer for a few weeks to get the housebreaking done.

These are both fine options, but the thing is, housebreaking is a very easy thing to do. All it takes is timing, patience, positive reinforcement, and two weeks of consistency!

When Should I Start?

Experts say puppies are developmentally ready to start housebreaking somewhere around 2-4 months of age. I think it differs depending on the puppy. I think you should start training as early as you can, depending on your puppy’s needs. I started working with all 3 of my dogs somewhere between 2-5 months (as soon as I adopted them from the shelter).

My Experience with Housebreaking

Skeeter is the first dog I ever housebroke or trained at all! He’s 10 years old now. I took on the task of housebreaking without any prior experience with dogs (I had a cat named Scooter when I was a kid, but no dogs), and without any research into housebreaking. I used common sense, and it worked very well! I have since used the same method on Annie (9) and Fitz (2), and Hollywood Feed’s foster puppy, Seymour (about 4 months) is staying with me for two weeks and is now getting the same treatment.

I try to be very observant of my puppy’s habits, as this helps me predict when he may have to use the bathroom. Is he standing by the backdoor? Is he walking around sniffing out good places to pee? Seymour, when he was very young, used to start turning in a backwards circle when he had to poop. It was pretty cute, but it also gave me time to rush him outside before anything happened, because I paid attention to his routine.

Eat, Sleep, Play…Poop

If we think about it, puppies have a pretty cyclical life. They eat, they sleep, and they play. Our job is to train them to have the habit of using the bathroom outside in between these other very important parts of their life. Within 5-30 minutes of eating, a young puppy will be ready to use the bathroom. We need to create a habit for our puppy.

Of course, there will be a few accidents indoors during the training process, and some dogs may take an extra week’s worth of work to get this habit down.

 

The Schedule

  1. The very first thing we should do in the morning is to take our new puppy into the yard and wait patiently until he has urinated. Praise your puppy for a job well done verbally and with a little petting.
  2. Next, feed your puppy breakfast, and after a few minutes take him outside again. Be very patient again, and wait until your puppy defecates. This could take a while, as puppies are easily distracted by smells, other dogs, and the sound of our voices! Wait patiently and quietly. It is very important to stay outside until your puppy has done the deed, even if it seems to take forever. Once your dog does his business, pet him and tell him what a good boy he is! Your puppy will likely then play with you for a little while, get worn out, and go to sleep.
  3. The next step is to take your puppy back outside immediately after he wakes up, patiently wait again, and give positive reinforcement again. Take your puppy out every time he wakes up from his naps and after every meal. If he stays awake for longer than an hour after he last went to the bathroom, take him out again. If your puppy has an accident in the house, take him outside immediately.
    YES, EVEN OVERNIGHT!!
  4. I think the hardest part of housebreaking is taking your puppy out overnight. A young puppy will need to go out about every 2-3 hours during the night. You need to set an alarm and take him out! This is a very important part of housebreaking training, and two weeks worth of poor sleep will give you a housebroken dog for a lifetime.

But, I Work All Day!

I know this can be difficult if you leave your puppy kenneled at home while you work all day. I know there is really no way around this for most people. If this is the case, then you need to be consistent when you ARE home in the evening and on the weekend. Take your puppy outside immediately after getting home from work, and follow the schedule from there.

If you can take a week of vacation when you first get your puppy, all the better. Think about adopting your puppy in the summer when your teenager is home from school and can do the daytime training.

Consistency Is Key to Lifelong Habits

That’s all there is to it! I promise, this works, and it’s just common sense observation of a puppy’s natural routine. Consistency is key. If you will live on your puppy’s schedule for a couple of weeks, then he will live on your schedule for the rest of his life!

long haired chihuahua scratches face on white background

I Have an Itch that Needs Scratching

Wondering Why Your Puppy Might be Itchy?

Unfortunately the list of possible reasons for a puppy to have itchy skin is practically endless. However, the following reasons are some of the more common causes that we see:

One. Puppies do quite a lot of growing at that age and their skin stretches to accommodate that growth. To some degree, this or general puppy acne could be the reason. Feeding a diet high in omega-3 fats (like fish or duck) might help to condition the skin. There are also many other health benefits associated with diets high in omega-3 fats. It reduces inflammation, helps to maintain hips and joints, and the DHA in it helps puppies learn and may prevent senility in older dogs.

Two. Your pup could be suffering from a food allergy or environmental allergy, or both. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine what particular allergen might be causing the issue as even allergy tests are fairly inaccurate. If you can eliminate some of the more common ones, you might see a drastic reduction in itching. In terms of food allergies, the most common are beef, dairy, chicken, wheat, soy, and corn. Try switching to a diet that doesn’t contain any of these items. And you could try bathing in a pet shampoo to rid the skin of environmental allergens like grass, pollen, dust, dust mites, etc. One of my favorites is Vet’s Best’s oatmeal and tea tree oil shampoo.


Three. Another, and probably most common, cause of itching in dogs and cats is flea bite dermatitis. Even though you might not see any fleas on your pup’s skin, all it takes is one flea bite to trigger a reaction for which the animal may suffer for weeks. I am all too familiar with flea bite sensitivity myself as I have a rescue that suffers yearly. I’ve found that it helps tremendously to use a topical flea preventative that actively repels and kills fleas just through contact. I use Advantix II (which is safe for pups seven weeks and older) and Advantage Multi with heartworm preventative. Oral flea medications (as well as several of the topical types) will only kill fleas once they have already bitten your pet and ingested the chemical circulating in their blood stream…which doesn’t really do a pet with flea bite sensitivity any good at all.

Remember that using antihistamines and steroids can have both short and long term side-effects and will only cover up your pet’s problem. While they may help a pet with severely itchy skin get some temporary relief, they will never resolve the problem completely or permanently. They may even exacerbate the issue by suppressing your pet’s immune system.

No one can say with 100% certainty that doing any of these would solve your puppy’s itchy skin issue, but any one might help and is worth checking into. They certainly couldn’t hurt. If possible, bring your pup into one of our stores so that we could get a look at him or her. We enjoy meeting our clients and watching them grow, and a face-to-face might help us determine what exactly is going on with your pet. Bring in any food or treats you might be feeding as well. We’ll gladly check them for anything that might stand out as a potential problem. Sometimes we end up suggesting that you take your pet to a veterinarian, but sometimes we can help.

happy dog sits outside with leaves falling around him

What Is Your Dog Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. On this day, we humans will be enjoying spending time with the family and friends we love. During the holiday season, we consider ourselves blessed to have our family and friends, good health, plenty to eat and a roof over our heads. What do you suppose makes our pets thankful? If your pet could talk, he would tell you he is thankful for:

  1. YOU! You let him into your home and heart. Whether you found him or he found you, he was trying so hard to get your attention, and it worked! He is eternally grateful!
  2. Car rides to anywhere but the vet. But, he really does appreciate the fact that you care enough about his health to get regular check-ups and vaccinations. He’s grateful, too, that you care enough to get him fixed so that he is not contributing to the overpopulation crisis in the county.
  3. Going on walks, playing tug-of-war, chasing a ball, or any activity when he’s doing it with you.
  4. You caring enough to protect him. You protect him from other dogs, scary people and traffic by keeping him inside or within a fence at all times. He also appreciates that you protect him from that loud, scary machine mom pushes around the carpet by keeping it in the closet most of the time.
  5. You taking the time to learn about proper nutrition and for giving him healthy dog food that doesn’t taste like cardboard. He’s grateful, too, that you sometimes allow him to “prewash” the dishes going in the dishwasher
  6. The supply of entertaining toys you bought for him, as well as the simple pleasures found in the dirty clothes basket.
  7. Your taking time to bathe, brush, and comb him, and taking him to the groomer if he needs a haircut. Matted and unkempt fur can cause painful and itchy skin issues.
  8. A warm, dry, cozy dog bed to curl up in every night. And, although he may feel a little foolish wearing it, he appreciates the thought that went into his little sweater, too.
  9. Cuddling with you! He feels so much love from your kind touch when you are petting him.
  10. Your patience and positive reinforcement when teaching him new things. He really wants to learn and please you, and loves how you forgive him for mistakes.

It should warm our hearts to know that we are the most important things in the lives of our pets. So, this Thanksgiving, when we are giving thanks for all that we have, let’s put our pets right at the top of the list. What a blessing to be surrounded with such unconditional love every day.

Happy Thanksgiving

yellow lab sits outside with pumpkins

Thanksgiving Treat Dos and Don’ts for Dogs

It’s that time of year again. The humans begin to decorate with all kinds of sparkly, enticing balls on prickly trees, family and friends visit and bring canine cousins to stay, and the chef of the house starts cooking things that make your dogs tail curl they smell so good. Your canine family members may not completely understand the holiday season, but trust me, they know something special is going on!

Thanksgiving and Christmas are most definitely two very special holidays. Your pets are part of your family and you don’t want to leave them out of the celebration, and your shouldn’t, but there are a few things to remember that will help make this holiday season a joyful and vet visit free time of year.

 

Turkey: The main dish
Turkey will be on the top of most grocery lists. It’s the typical meat chosen for thanksgiving feasts. This lean meat makes a great thanksgiving treat for your pup. Just make sure it’s fully cooked and remove the skin, then put a few pieces on top of your dog’s food! They’ll love the snack and feel like a part of the celebration.

Dressing: The sidekick to the main dish
Dressing makes our turkey taste just that much better. We can’t imagine having thanksgiving dinner without it. But dressing isn’t a part of a dog’s natural diet and shouldn’t be a part of his thanksgiving celebration. Many cooks use sage as a seasoning in dressing and the herb can leave your dog’s stomach quite disgruntled. Just say no to giving your dog dressing.

Sweet Potatoes: The perfect side dish
Sweet potatoes are that perfect blend of healthy and scrumptiously good! We love them, and dog’s do too! As a matter if fact, they’re great for digestion and an overall healthy human food for your dog. Just remember, if you’ve got sweet potato casserole instead of plain sweet potatoes you should probably refrain from sharing. Your dog doesn’t need all the extra goodness that comes in the casserole!

Pumpkin Pie: The dessert
Pumpkin is another human food that makes a great snack for dogs. Pumpkin has lots if great benefits for canines including digestive health and urinary health. Remember portions are the main thing here. Your dog doesn’t need an entire pumpkin pie, but a lick or two, or three, won’t hurt him!

 

A few things to make sure an avoid giving your dog include onions, garlic, and nuts. All of these foods can make your dog very sick. With so many great options for a thanksgiving snack, why would you want to risk making them sick by giving them one of those items?

And last, remember how you feel after eating all day. You’re stuffed and possibly regretting the last plate of food. Don’t give your dog so many snacks that he spends the rest of his day feeling that way. No one wants to feel bloated and sick! No, not even your dog (although he’ll probably eat anything you keep putting down)!!!

close up of dog eye

7 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month! I have two senior dogs, Annie (9) and Skeeter (10) as well as a senior cat, Fender (10)! They are great companions, and I couldn’t love them anymore.

Here are some great reasons to bring an older dog or cat into your home:

1.  NO MUSS, NO FUSS – Generally speaking, a senior dog is already housebroken, and a senior cat knows how to use a litter box. This means less mess for us to clean up!

2. MELLOW – A senior dog has calmed down and lost most of that puppy energy! They probably won’t be chewing up our furniture or shoes. The same thing goes for senior cats. They will not be scaling curtains or running through the house like they are mad. If you are looking for a companion to lie next to you or in your lap while you work or watch TV, a senior pet is perfect.

3. FREE TIME – A senior pet allows us time to do what we need without messes, a constant need for our attention, and bathroom trips outside every hour! A senior pet can rest calmly while we go about our days, and he will be perfectly happy!

4. SIT! – Senior dogs probably already know many commands and are familiar with a leash. They also know to listen when we speak and do what we ask. Also, despite the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, it can actually be easier to teach a senior dog than a puppy! They know what it’s like to learn, they are calmer, and they have a longer attention span.

5. A PERFECT FIT – A senior animal’s personality has already developed, so we know if she will fit in with our other pets, our children, and our routine. Also, a senior pet is fully grown, so we know exactly how much dog or cat we’re in for. We’ll also know the grooming requirements of our new pets up front.

6. AFFECTION AND LOYALTY – A senior cat is much more likely to be into cuddling than a young kitten. Also, senior pets seem to know that we have taken them into our homes in their time of need and will be loyal, loving and devoted to their new families.

7. TIME IS ON OUR SIDE – If you are a senior human, you may be worried to get a young kitten, as they have such long life spans! A senior pet can be the perfect fit. Senior animals can still live many happy, healthy years with us, but won’t be a ten to twenty year commitment.

dalmation wears happy new year tiara

Your Pets Have Goals, Too!

Let’s not forget about our pets as we set goals for the year! Maybe Spot has gained a few pounds with age and needs to lose some weight. Maybe Rover needs to get more exercise to keep him younger, longer. Here are a few resolutions for us to consider for our pets!

Let’s Lose Some Weight

I know I gained a few pounds over the holidays and I’m working to correct that right now! For our pets, though, any chance of losing some weight rests on our human shoulders. Pets WILL NOT lose weight without our help.

First, we need to recognize that our dog or cat is overweight. If we are in denial about this, then we will have no incentive to help him change. Our pets should have a waistline!

Next we need to stop free-feeding. We don’t want our pet to have access to as much food as he wants all day long. Many dogs or cats will simply eat until the food is gone, not until they are full. Free feeding with multiple dogs in the house is an even bigger risk if we have one pet who is overweight, and another who is not. Our food-motivated pet will eat whatever food our other pet leaves.

Start feeding two meals a day. If we already do this, great! If our pet is still overweight, then we need to reduce the amount of food we are feeding at each meal. And cut out all the treats-they have lots of calories as well!

It is easy for us to make these decisions for our pets, so let’s do the right thing so that our dogs and cats can live longer, healthier lives. Read more at: How to Win the War Against Pet Obesity

Let’s Get More Exercise

Getting regular exercise is also high on the list of resolutions people set for the new year. Let’s remember how good regular exercise is for ourselves and for our pets!

Your dog wants to get out of the house with you daily. Whether you take him for an easy walk, or for a more difficult run, or even if you go to an off-leash park where he wants to run and play while we stroll nearby. Any form of exercise is good exercise for our dogs.

Cats need exercise, too! It can be as simple as getting your cat interested in playing with a string, or you can look into some cat furniture on which he will enjoy climbing. Just find any way to get your cat moving some each day.

Getting exercise will not only help with our pet’s weight loss, but it will also help with older pets’ mobility and health. Just like getting regular exercise can help humans live a longer, healthier life, it can do the same for our pets.

Read more about why walking our dog is important here: Skipping Your Dog’s Daily Walk? Here Are 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t

Let’s Stimulate Our Minds

There’s losing weight and getting more exercise for keeping our bodies healthy, but what resolution can we make to keep our pets mentally sharp as well? Humans can do crossword puzzles, play games, or do creative writing, but what do our pets have to keep them young mentally?

There are things like maze bowls and slow feeders that cause your dog or cat to work for his food, to even get a bite out of the bowl! My dogs and cats use these at every meal, and they’ve become very good at them. We can also stuff a Kong with treats or peanut butter and give them to our dogs so they can work on getting the food out as well as occupy their time.

Read more about interactive feeders here: Does Your Doggy Have the Winter Blues?

We should never stop teaching our dogs new commands and tricks, either! Learning something new is great mental stimulation for humans and for pets, and like I’ve said before: we can definitely teach an old dog new tricks.

Besides learning something new, we should do something new to keep our minds young. Our dogs will learn from simply going on new outings or trips, meeting new humans, and meeting new dogs. Learning how to navigate new social situations will help dogs, cats and humans stay younger, longer. And can help all of us become well socialized!

Read more about helping older dogs here: How Can I Help My Aging Pet?

So, when we get some exercise, let’s bring our dog along. When we want to get out of the house and do something, let’s take our dog to the park. When we decide to skip dessert, let’s skip our dog’s nightly treat as well. Let’s give the health and wellness of our dogs and cats as much attention as we should be giving our own health. When you think about it, the same principals really do apply to all of us. Let’s have a healthy and happy 2020!