4 Ways to Celebrate National Pet Week

National Pet Week is designated as the first week in May each year. It’s a time to show appreciation for all the pets we love and commit to promoting responsible pet ownership. Through the ups and downs, our pets are always here for us. Now more than ever, we recognize the importance of the extraordinary bond between humans and our pets. So even though this week might be hectic, take some time to celebrate your animal BFFs.

1. Take a Hike

 

Exercise is important for both humans and pets. Not only does regular exercise help maintain a healthy weight, it is also key to promoting mental health. If the weather is nice, enjoy a walk or hike with your dog. The fresh air will be beneficial for you both!

2. Make Time for Playtime

Pets who are stimulated physically and mentally are typically better behaved and less destructive. Playing fetch or tug of war with your dog helps increase your pup’s focus and mood. Using a feather wand to bring out your cat’s inner hunter will also help keep your cat active and happy.

So next time your dog brings the rope toy and plops it in your lap, or your cat paws its favorite toy over to your feet, take some time to enjoy playing with them. You could even surprise your pet with a fun, new toy this week!

3. Feed Them Well

Just like with humans, a healthy diet is crucial to overall health and well-being. The right diet can help keep your pets feeling their best and aid in weight management. The same goes for treats. Check food and treat labels to make sure the ingredients listed are simple and nutritious.

Treat your pet to a special snack this week!

4. More Cuddles

For most animal lovers, snuggling with your pet is a given, but there’s evidence petting and cuddling with our pets actually helps reduce stress and prompts the release of the bonding hormone oxytocin. So show your pets some extra love this National Pet Week. With all the love and friendship they give us each day, they deserve it.

 

 

 

 

Does My Dog Really Love Me?

Man’s best friend earned that honorable title by teaching humans the importance of unconditional love for thousands of years. With every tail wag, excited bark, and gentle nuzzle for affection, dogs have displayed what definitely seems like love toward us. They have made us laugh and cry and have always been there for us through the difficulties of life. Most dog parents are certain that their dogs love them, but since dogs can’t speak those crucial three words, how do we know for sure?

Thanks to increased research into canine behavior, we’ve gained enlightening information about what our dogs actually think of us. An animal behaviorist at Azabu University in Japan studied the effects of humans and dogs gazing at each other. Unlike other mammals where direct eye contact is viewed as aggression, humans and dogs frequently communicate using eye contact. The behaviorist suspected this might be similar to mothers looking at their babies and the biological response that occurs during this interaction. Sure enough, the studies found that mutual gazing caused levels of oxytocin – the hormone involved in social bonding – to increase dramatically for both dogs and owners.

Another study conducted at Emory University in Atlanta determined that the scent of a dog’s owner elicits a strong reaction in the portion of the dog’s brain that is associated with positive expectations. When also presented with a stranger’s scent, the dog’s own scent, a familiar dog’s scent, and an unfamiliar dog’s scent, the brain scans indicated the dog’s most significant response was to its owner each time.

Perhaps the most compelling study regarding a dog’s love for its owners was undertaken by canine scientist Clive Wynne. Wynne recalled a study that had dog owners pretend to have heart attacks to observe what the dogs’ responses would be. The dogs involved did not appear to do anything to help their owners. Wynne wondered if this was because dogs don’t love their owners, or if they simply didn’t know what to do to help.

To find out, Wynne built a box that study participants had to crawl into and act distraught, as if they were trapped. One third of the dogs rescued their owners from the box, while all the dogs acted extremely upset. Wynne and his team conducted the study a second time and taught the dogs how to open the box before putting their owner inside. When the owner cried out for help, all the dogs opened the box. This suggests that with the heart attack study, the dogs just didn’t know how to help, or they would have.

While these studies probably confirm what we’ve known – that dogs do indeed love us – they also highlight what makes dogs special. Dogs can form strong emotional bonds with us and any other type of creature if raised with them when they are puppies. This capacity to bond makes them unique in the animal kingdom.

A dog’s love is not exclusive to humans but perhaps we have benefited from their love the most. As canine research continues to grow, I imagine we’ll discover even more ways a dog’s love helps us.

References

Brulliard, K. (2019, September 25). What makes dogs so special and successful? Love. Retrieved from The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2019/09/25/what-makes-dogs-so-special-successful-love/

Grimm, D. (2015, April 16). How dogs stole our hearts. Retrieved from Science Mag: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/04/how-dogs-stole-our-hearts

Langley, L. (2014, March 24). Dog Brains Link Pleasure With Owner’s Scent. Retrieved from National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/3/dogs-animals-pets-science-brains-scents/

Tips for Walking Your Dog at Night

There are tons of benefits to you and your dog getting exercise by walking at night. Especially during the summer and fall months, the temperature is much cooler, and the concrete is bearable for your dog’s sensitive paws without the sun blazing down. There is typically less traffic, making for a more peaceful and safer walk. And your dog adds a level of security to your exercises at night if you are alone. There are drawbacks to walking your dog at night, mainly the decreased visibility. Read on to learn about a couple of tools and tips for ensuring you and your dog’s safety on late night strolls.

Use the Proper Leash

While retractable leashes can come in handy, they’re not recommended for use at night. If the retractable leash isn’t locked and your dog is able to dart into the road, oncoming traffic won’t be able to see your dog in time to react and swerve. Also, you can’t see as well at night as your dog. If your dog is all the way out on a 15-foot retractable leash, he might encounter another animal you weren’t able to spot. It’s best to keep your dog close with a standard 4 – 6-foot nylon leash. That way you maintain control and minimize any risks of accidents.

Don’t Walk Your Dog Off Leash at Night

Same safety issues with the retractable leash apply to walking your dog off leash at night, plus more. No matter how well your dog listens to you, if he smells a raccoon rummaging through the neighbor’s garbage, it is highly likely he will give chase. The risks of your dog running off or getting injured outweigh the fun of off leash walking, so skip that on your nightly walks.

Dog Reflective Gear

Not only should you wear some sort of reflective gear on your nightly walks, your dog should too. There are tons of convenient products to help make your dog more visible at night. During warm weather, you could use a reflective leash or a reflective harness. Add a safety light like the Poochie Bells Clip On Safety Light or Ruffwear’s The Beacon for good measure. The light clips easily onto your dog’s collar and helps your dog stand out in the dark. The Beacon is rechargeable, so no need to worry about replacing batteries.

For colder months, combine a safety light with a jacket to keep your dog warm and safe during your nightly strolls. 

Use Extra Precaution When Out at Night

Seems like a no-brainer but be sure to keep your phone with you as you and your dog walk in the evening. Also, stick to walking in areas that are well lit and that you’re familiar with. That way you’ll be more inclined to notice if anything is out of the ordinary. Follow these tips and you and your pup will have fun and be safe exercising at night.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Fleas on your dog or cat can be extremely dangerous. Some dogs are severely allergic to fleas, and just one bite can trigger an allergic reaction that can last for weeks. Fleas also can cause anemia with small dogs, puppies and kittens when they are constantly biting. Tapeworms are transmitted through fleas after your dog or cat has ingested the flea. With so many threats to your pet’s health, it is essential to use a flea preventative. If you forget to use preventative or the flea infestation is so severe that the preventative is unable to kill all of them, be sure to handle the flea problem on your pet quickly.

How to Spot Fleas

Since adult fleas make up only about 5% of the flea population, it can be difficult to spot a flea infestation. If your dog or cat suddenly begins scratching, this may be an indication your pet has fleas. To confirm fleas are the culprit, check for flea dirt on your pet’s skin. Flea dirt is essentially flea feces and can best be seen easiest on your pet’s stomach, at the base of the tail, or on her favorite bed as tiny, dark specks. A flea comb can also be used to locate flea dirt and adult fleas on your dog or cat. Make sure the fine-toothed flea comb touches your the skin as you brush, and any fleas or debris will be caught in the comb. This method works best for dogs with shorter coats.

How to Get Rid of Fleas

Getting rid of fleas on your dog or cat and in your home and yard can be challenging. That’s why we recommend using a flea preventative to kill pests before they multiply. Whether you choose a monthly topical, flea collar, or natural spray, consider what the best option is for each pet.

Topical prevention is one of the more common options. Products such as K9 Advantix II and Petlock use an ingredient that employs the natural oils on your dog’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients, covering your dog’s entire body. These products are applied to a small area on your dog’s neck once a month. There are many topicals on the market for dogs, but we’ve found that most aren’t as effective as the two brands mentioned above. One of the many reasons we recommend these products is that they not only kill pests, but also repel them. Other topicals and ingestible preventatives require the flea or tick bite the dog before they die.

It is very important to note that dog flea treatments are unsafe for use on cats. Certain dog topical treatments are also unsafe for cats to come into contact with on your dog, typically during a 48 hour period after initial application. Be careful when selecting a treatment for your pets, especially when you have both dogs and cats who groom or interact with each other. Cat specific topical preventatives, such as Advantage II and Petlock II for Cats, are effective as monthly preventative solutions for your feline family members.

Flea collars are another option but 90% of the products on the market are not effective. The only flea collar we at Hollywood Feed trust is the Seresto collar by Bayer. This collar has active ingredients infused into the plastic during production. Others are dipped or powdered on the collar and don’t protect the entire pet or last very long. The Seresto collar is effective for up to 8 months and uses the same ingredient as topicals to spread protection across your dog’s entire body. Most other flea collars on the market only protect within a small area around the collar.

Flea sprays are another option but can be time consuming. The sprays should be sprayed directly onto your dog, and while you don’t have to soak him, you do need to thoroughly cover your entire dog with spray and rub it in for it to be effective. Sprays usually last for 24 – 48 hours. If your dog has fleas, his bed and living space has fleas and flea larvae and eggs. It’s important to treat the dog’s bed, the area around the dog’s living space, your couches, rugs, curtains, etc. to rid your home of fleas and flea eggs and prevent the infestation from occurring again. There are also options for your pet, home, and yard that aren’t all natural, such as Advantage and Petlock, that will last longer and require less applications.

Shampoos are often effective at removing fleas that a dog currently has on him, but usually have no residual effects past 24-48 hours. Work the shampoo into a lather over your dog’s entire body, using caution around his eyes and ears, and leave on for the recommended amount of time before rinsing.

Should You Treat the Yard for Fleas?

If you are dealing with fleas on your dog and in your home, more than likely you also have a flea infestation in your yard. Therefore, it’s best to treat both your home and yard to get rid of pesky fleas for good.

Yard sprays are an effective way to kill and repel fleas outdoors. Most sprays attach to your garden hose for easy application. Most gallon sized yard sprays up to 5,000 square feet, so you are often able to use multiple times depending on the size of your yard. You’ll want to cover your entire yard and pay close attention to areas under bushes and trees where fleas and ticks like to hide. Bayer makes an effective, easy-to-use spray that lasts up to a month and kills and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other pests. With the Advantage Yard & Premise Spray, you’re able to treat up to 16,000 square feet.

For an all-natural yard spray, Wondercide uses cedar oil as the active ingredient to kill fleas and ticks on contact. Wondercide Yard Flea & Tick Spray will cover up to 4,000 square feet using no artificial colors, fragrances or synthetic pesticides.

Treating your yard in addition to using a spray carefully indoors and flea preventative for your dog will ensure fleas die and do not return. Spray your pet’s bedding with an indoor specific treatment, like Petlock Flea and Tick Indoor Home Spray, to ensure you’ve killed all adult fleas. For indoors, be persistent with vacuuming and washing your dog’s bedding and toys for multiple weeks to make sure flea eggs, larvae and pupae are being eliminated too. 

Make Sure You Kill All Life Stages of Fleas

Fleas can be tough to get rid of when there’s a serious infestation in your home or yard. It’s crucial that you take a comprehensive approach as quickly as you can to prevent the flea population from multiplying rapidly. Make sure you treat your pets, home, and yard, and retreat everything within three weeks’ time to ensure you’ve gotten the adult fleas and flea eggs.

Natural Flea and Tick Remedies: Do They Work?

Natural flea remedies for dogs can work well but require additional application time compared to other methods. For those concerned about using synthetic pesticides in their home and yard and on their dog, the extra time is a worthwhile trade off for the peace of mind an all-natural flea treatment brings.

Why Use Natural Flea and Tick Products?

While topicals such as Advantix and Advantage and collars like Seresto work well to prevent flea and tick infestations, some dogs and cats may be sensitive to the chemicals used in these and other synthetic preventatives. As an alternative, all-natural sprays, collars, and shampoos are options for pets with sensitive skin.

Some pet parents may also be concerned about their children being exposed to the harsh chemicals used in some topical and collar preventatives and are opting for a natural approach. Others might be concerned what the long-term effects of year-round use of these chemicals on their pets could be.

Are All-Natural Flea and Tick Preventatives Effective?

Using an all-natural preventative requires more application time than the standard monthly approach. Many all-natural preventatives use cedar oil as the pest repellent. This will not stay on your dog’s coat for longer than a couple of days, so reapplication every 24 – 48 hours is required. If your dog or cat is not playing outside in areas that haven’t been treated for fleas and ticks and instead spends most of the day lounging on the couch, reapplication does not have to occur as often.

Best All-Natural Preventatives

Wondercide Flea & Tick Spray is made in the USA from human food-grade ingredients and is safe for children. To prevent pests, you will need to apply every 2 – 3 days by rubbing your dog’s coat in the opposite direction of growth, spray, and rub in. If your dog enjoys swimming, you will need to reapply after your dog’s coat is dry. If you take your dog to an area other than your yard or any place that has been treated, you will want to reapply. Wondercide’s sprays are gentle enough to be used several times a week.

Wondercide also lists what ingredients are used in their products and where those ingredients come from on their website. Everything is USA sourced and made and all packaging is biodegradable and recyclable.

Ready to make the switch to all-natural preventatives? Stop in to one of our locations and ask a Feed Team member to show you all the options available.

Does Your Dog Have Dry Skin?

You’ve noticed your dog has dry, flaky skin. If you’re able to rule out parasites like fleas or biting lice, which can cause excessive scratching, or mange, which can lead to dry, inflamed skin, you can try to incorporate a skin and coat supplement or switch to a fish-based food to see if either improve the quality of your dog’s skin over time. Since dry skin can be indicative of an underlying health issue, if the problem persists, it’s best to take your dog to the vet to eliminate possible concerns.

What Causes Dry Skin on Your Dog?

Your dog’s dry skin could simply be caused by the environment. Just like with humans, cold weather causes dry skin in dogs. Warm environments can also dry out your dog’s skin.

Do you give your dog a bath every week? Bathing your dog too much can also contribute to dry skin. No matter how gentle a shampoo you use, the moisture in a dog’s coat is depleted with each bath, especially if you are using human shampoo. Be certain you use a shampoo and conditioner designed for dogs to reduce the risk of dry skin and decrease the frequency of the baths you give.

In some cases, dry skin can indicate nutritional deficiencies. Adding more omega-3 fatty acids may be necessary to combat dry skin in this circumstance.

Allergies or environmental factors can also play a role in skin issues. If your dog’s skin is dry and inflamed or red, this may be the case. Adding a fish oil supplement could alleviate dry, red skin but a trip to the vet for prescribed allergy medications is necessary if your dog needs immediate relief from constant scratching.

There are underlying health issues associated with dry skin that would also require veterinarian assistance. Autoimmune issues or hormonal imbalances can result in dry skin. Your vet can help narrow down to these issues with testing and hopefully rule any serious issue out.

Supplements for Dry Skin

To combat dry skin, try adding Prudence Skin and Coat or Alaska Naturals Salmon Oil or Pollock Oil for increased omega-3 fatty acid intake, which is a strong anti-inflammatory. They also help maintain the health of your dog’s skin and coat on a molecular level. Both supplements are in liquid form. You simply squirt a drop (or more depending on your dog’s size) on top of your dog’s food. They typically love the taste too.

You’ll want to try skin and coat supplements for a 60-day period in order to be able to notice the benefits. If for some reason the dry skin persists after trialing the supplements and your vet has ruled out any of the serious underlying issues like an autoimmune disorder, try switching your dog’s food to a higher quality food. Or if you’re already feeding a high-quality dog food, try changing the formula to incorporate a different protein. Any of our Feed Team members will be happy to help you select a new food for your pup!

Should You Use Training Pads with Your New Puppy?

You just picked out a new puppy and are planning out what pet supplies you need. You’ve heard mixed reviews about puppy pads, so you aren’t sure whether to include those on your list. Below we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using puppy pads with young puppies, especially those learning house training.

Training Pads for Older Dogs

It’s important to note that puppy pads are extremely useful for senior dogs or dogs with mobility or incontinence issues. If your dog is unable to walk outside to go to the bathroom, having a puppy pad available as the designated bathroom spot is necessary.

Where Does Your Puppy Live?

Very young puppies must go to the bathroom every hour or so until their bladders develop the ability to hold it for longer periods of time. They are physically incapable of holding it and will develop the ability to hold it for longer periods of time as they grow. If you live on the tenth floor of a high-rise apartment building, getting your puppy down to the grassy area on the ground floor can be a challenge.

This is where using puppy training pads comes in handy. The attractant added to the pad coaxes your puppy to use the pad and having the pads in the same spot in your apartment trains your puppy to only go to the bathroom in that area on the pad.

If you live in a house with a fenced in backyard, you’re less likely to need the training pads. As long as you’re able to let your puppy out on a regular basis (at least thirty minutes after any food or water), you shouldn’t need to incorporate training pads into the process.

However, if you are not able to let your new puppy out multiple times during the day, puppy pads are essential. Best way to keep your puppy safe is to keep him or her contained in an exercise pen and have a potty pad in one corner of the pen.

How Many Puppies are You Taking Care of?

How many puppies are in your care will also determine whether you need to use training pads or not. If you are fostering a litter of puppies, it will be almost impossible to take every one of the puppies out to potty when needed.

Many puppy fosters always opt to use an exercise pen or sectioned off safe area in the home and have puppy pads available for them to use. This also cuts down on the amount of mess to clean up.

Why Can Puppy Pads be Counterproductive Sometimes?

Using puppy pads out of convenience rather than necessity can sometimes backfire when you want to discontinue using the pads. You’ve trained your puppy in their formative development stage that the puppy pad equals going to the bathroom. This makes it difficult to teach them to associate outside as the designated potty area.

Therefore, it may take a longer time to get your puppy accustomed to using the bathroom outside. One tip to help with the transition from pads to outside is to keep a training pad outside where you want your puppy to go. Eventually, you’ll be able to remove the pad from the yard, and your puppy will be potty trained.