Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Taking or leaving your dog on holiday?

Many Australians love to travel and many of these love to have their dogs accompany them. Why leave that very important member of the family behind? If you have dog and want to travel in Australia then PetPlaces is a great resource for all dog lovers. Learn from other dog owners travel experiences and get useful recommendations by checking out their comments at this helpful website. 

PetPlaces objective is to help make travelling with pets easier and enjoyable by being a source of helpful information, providing a meeting point where like-minded people can exchange knowledge and experience thereby ensuring others enjoy their holidays with their pets all that more. It offers a range of useful services for you and your four-legged friend.

Pet Sitters for the Travelling Dog
Travelling with your dog? Sadly they can't go everywhere with you. Find a sitter nearby for a few hours or days while you be the tourist, or, become a sitter yourself!

Local Mates for Dogs Staying Behind
Leaving your dog behind when you go away? Dog owners getting together to help one another with dog minding or dog sitting.

Pet Friendly Holidays Accommodation & Caravan Parks
Source dog friendly holiday accommodation for you and your pooch in Australia.

House Sitting/House Swapping Opportunities
Are you taking or leaving your dog when you travel? Registering with PetPlaces can help you solve this dilemma.

Possibilities are endless for sharing and caring for homes and pets between members. 

I particularly like this website because it offers a special free service for the elderly and incapacitated in time of need.

Local Mates for Elderly or Incapacitated
There are many older people in our society who live alone with their beloved pets. If they fall ill, are bedridden or need to go into hospital for a period of time, many have the additional worry about looking after their best friends. What great peace of mind for them if they knew that their "darlings" were being looked after by other local pet-lovers; with a PetPlace registered "Local Mates".

Become a "Pet-Minder to help the elderly and incapacitated" by registering your services with PetPlaces.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Reasons Why A Dog Will Make Your Life So Much Better

Anyone who owns and loves a dog knows it becomes hard to live without their consistent and utter devotion to you. And even though they may love you at least partially because they literally rely on you to do things like eat, it's a two-way road when you own a dog. You may keep them alive by feeding and taking care of them, but they are also taking care of you. Numerous studies have shown that owning a dog benefits a person's physical and mental well-being. So thank your dog for making your life so much better.

You get exercise too when you take your dog out

Walking your dog helps you stay more active than people who don't have to walk the dog. A 2006 Canadian study found that dog owners were more likely to participate in moderate physical activity than those who didn't own a dog. They walked an average of 300 mins per week, compared with non-dog owners, who walked an average of 168 mins per week.

Dogs can strengthen the bonds between humans

recent study at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University found that people who have strong connections to their pets also have social and relationship benefits. The researchers surveyed 500 18-26yr-olds and found that those who had "strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships." They also found that the more attached a person was to an animal as a teenager and young adult, the more empathetic and confident he or she was.

Some dogs can detect if you have cancer or not

A black lab named Marine could save your life. The specially-trained eight-year-old dog can detect when a person has colorectal cancer 91% of the time just by sniffing the person's breath. And if she smells stool, she can detect whether the person has colorectal cancer with 97% accuracy. It's estimated that a dog's sense of smell is up to a million times better than a human's.

Dogs can also help make sure you don't eat things you are allergic to

Pups trained at the Florida Canine Academy can smell even the slightest hint of peanut in a room. This comes especially handy for people who have intense peanut allergies. These dogs are so good that they can detect peanuts in a cookie or in a candy bar that is wrapped in a lunch bag. In Texas, a place called "Southern Star Ranch" provides trained dogs to people who are suffering with severe peanut allergies. 

Just looking at your dog will make you feel happier

2009 study by Miho Nagasawa of Azabu University in Japan found that one's level of oxytocin (the neurohormone that elicits feelings of happiness) raised intensely after interacting with their dogs. And the only interaction they needed was to stare into their dog's eyes. Those who looked longer into their dog's eyes had the bigger dose of oxytocin. Fun fact: A dog's willingness to meet eyes with humans is one of the things that separates them from wolves.

A dog's face could bring out the caretaker in you

Homans writes that Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz, speculated that a dog's face could possess an "infant schema" - meaning that its "high forehead, big eyes, short snout and floppy ears might have evolved to take advantage of human's innate responses." The features are known as "social releasers" and can elicit a human caregiver's response.

Dogs seriously calm you down in high-stress situations

Karen Walker, a psychology professor at the University of Buffalo, performed a series of tests that proved dogs help reduce people's everyday stress. She wired volunteers to blood-pressure monitors and had them count rapidly backwards by threes from a four-digit number (a task that seems simple, but is actually pretty challenging. Just try it.) She found that the subject's stress response was significantly lower if there was a dog in the room. 

They help us recover psychologically from a crisis

Dogs have been proven to help the recovery process of soldiers going through post-traumatic stress disorder. One army veteran, Robert Soliz, a former army specialist who served in Baghdad, found that engaging with dogs in a program called "Paws for Purple Hearts" helped him get his life back to the way it was before he left for war. When he returned, Soliz was so traumatized that he couldn't show any affection and struggled to even hug his kids. After spending 6wks with a golden retriever, Soliz began to feel more comfortable with his family.

Your dog could help prevent your child from developing eczema

In 2010, a study found that children who were allergic to dogs but lived with at least one of them during their first year of life had a lower risk of developing the chronic skin condition eczema by age four. Interestingly, the complete opposite is true for cat ownership. Researchers found that children with cat allergies were 13 times more likely to develop eczema if they lived with a cat within their first year.

Your pooch could be your cure for loneliness

Loneliness is common among the elderly. Studies have shown that in people 60yrs of age and older, owning a dog were four times less likely to be diagnosed as clinically depressed. "The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interactions: Benefits and Responsibilities" cites a study on medical visits by elderly people. The study proved that, compared with non-owners, pet owners made fewer medical visits over the course of a year.

Your dog will force you to be social, for better or for worse

When you own a dog, you are forced to interact with people because you have to walk that dog in public. People are more likely to stop and say hello to you because you have a cute pup bouncing alongside you. In some cases, these interactions could change the rest of your life.

Owning a dog could make you more attractive to potential love matches

According to a study conducted by Dog's Trust, the United Kingdom's largest dog welfare charity, when they surveyed 700 people, 60% said that owning a dog can make people more attractive, while 85% think people are more approachable when they are with a dog. Even more, it could matter what kind of dog you own. 

A dog makes us appreciate the simple things in life

Homans presents one of the best arguments for why a dog is a great asset to one's life: The dog "takes us back to simpler modes of interaction." Homans writes "In a world of email and texting and videoconferencing, a relationship with a dog is unmediated by technology." Couldn't we all use a cuddly canine to tear us away from our smartphones?

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Major Summer Hazards for Your Pet

1. Heat and sun exposure
Dogs and cats become dehydrated quickly, so make sure they have access to plenty of fresh water and shade when outdoors. In fact, dog houses aren't ideal, as they trap heat.

American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends filling up an inflatable pool for your pooch if he or she is spending the day outside. If it's over 80 degrees and/or humid, avoid long walks and asphalt or other hot surfaces, which can burn paw pads. Walk your dog early in the morning or in the evening, especially if you plan to run or play.

Signs of heatstroke and dehydration include heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red gums or tongue, thick salvia, and unsteadiness. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, act immediately. Give your pet water or ice cubes, move her to a cool location, and immerse or spray her with cold water - just be careful not to overdo it.
Just like you, pets can get sunburned. "Dogs can get sunburned on their noses where they have no fur, in areas where they've been shaved, or if they're older and have a sparse coat," says Dr. Bonnie Brown, founder of the Gotham Veterinary Center in New York City. "You do need to put sunscreen on them." Consider using a kiddy sunscreen if you don't want to splurge on doggy SPF. 
Finally, never, ever leave your dog in the car, even if it's parked in the shade and the windows are open. 
2. Toxins in and around the house
Commonly used lawn products may be poisonous if ingested, so look for natural, non-toxic garden care products if your pet likes to nibble. Steer clear of treated areas on walks. 
For a complete list of toxic plants for pets, check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)'s database.

Keep bug repellent, Citronella candles, and other insect-killing products away from pets. If you suspect your dog or cat has eaten something toxic, call the ASPCA/RSPCA Poison Control Center hotline or head to the vet immediately. 
3. Parties 
While your pooch may love socializing as much as you do, you're less likely to be watching him closely at a busy party. Hot grills and barbecues are a hazard for pets as well as open pools. Beware of human foods that are poisonous to pets, including alcohol, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chives, avocado, chocolate, macadamia nuts, and products sweetened with xylitol. And always avoid feeding your dog raw or undercooked meat and bones as they may contain harmful bacteria.

4. Water
Never leave your dog unsupervised around a swimming pool - even if he's a swimmer, he may not be able to get out of the pool without help. Luckily, it's okay for dogs to drink some pool water! "Just like kids, dogs do sometimes ingest chlorine water or salt water, but they don't usually ingest enough of the water to be a problem... though sometimes it will make them vomit," says Dr. Brown. She also recommends rinsing off your pooch after swimming in a pool or ocean as both chlorine and salt can irritate a dog's skin.

5. Open windows at home
When it gets hot outside, we tend to open the windows, but it poses a serious hazard to pets, especially if not on the ground floor. People should not open a window without a screen.


6. Traveling
Planning to take your pet with you on a summer road trip? Never leave a dog or cat in a parked car or trailer. Dogs should not ride in the front seat, where they could be thrown against the car if you stop short or get under your feet. Dogs should have pet seat-belts. And don't forget that they need bathroom breaks, too.

If you're planning to fly with a pet, be very conscious of potential overheating. Make sure your pet's crate is stocked with water and possibly even ice packs. 
And always talk to the airline about their safety procedures.

Plan for your flight with your pet
  • Choose the most direct flight to your destination. This will help reduce the stress on your pet.
  • Contact the airline you and your pet will be traveling on. Make sure your pet has a reservation and find out if there are any new travel restrictions or issues you need to be aware of. You will want to inform the airlines as early as possible as some limit the number of pets on a flight.

When you choose a kennel/carrier for your pet make sure:
  • It is sized correctly. There should be enough room for the animal to stand and sit in a natural position, turn around, and lie down. Some airlines require brachycephalic, or pug nosed dogs, to have a kennel an extra size larger for their safety.
  • The kennel door closes securely. A major cause of pet injury during airline travel is the animal getting out of the kennel. The door must not be locked as federal regulations require that your pet is accessible in the event of an emergency.

Approved for air transport
  • You should begin crate training as early as possible to ensure that your pet is comfortable in the kennel. Trying to escape and actually escaping from the kennel during the flight is the most common cause of injury for pets that fly. Some pets may take up to 6mths to become comfortable in a kennel, and some may never completely accept the kennel. If your pet does not become comfortable with the crate before the flight, you may want to reconsider flying your pet.
  • If you are traveling to a foreign country, make sure that you have met all the quarantine and health requirements of your destination. In some cases failure to do so may cause your pet to be destroyed.

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