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Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

I came across this story today and loved it for so many reasons. I particularly am fond of Joanne saying “Rupee is a fine example of what can be achieved when a homeless dog is given a second chance”. If you are ever thinking of helping a local rescue with their homeless pets, check out our Take Action section of our website as a place to get started.

Read on about Rupee, his pet parent Joanne, and their Everest adventure here.

Healthy Paws Foundation - Take Action!

You can help a homeless pet!

 



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

Finally finished my preparations for this weekend’s trip to the Bay Area. Heading to San Diego for a quick weekend getaway with some friends but sadly I couldn’t bring my furry-friend on this trip. But I can’t help feeling a bit guilty as I caught a glimpse of Fido playing at the corner of my room. Luckily, I asked my neighbor if he could take care of Fido for the weekend and he gladly said yes.

We can’t bring our pets during every trip. And some of us might not have the luxury of having an awesome pet parent living next to us who would gladly open his to door to our four-legged kids.

This is where pet boarding services come into mind. These professionals specialize in providing a second home to our pets when having them along on long trips is not an option. But choosing from the dozens of pet boarding services that offer the same type of services could be a journey on its own.

In this week’s article, Emily from Adventures of a Dog Mom shares her thoughts on how to safely choose a pet boarding facility. These tips should definitely come in handy when we want to enjoy a trip that is worry-free for both us and our furry-kids. Our thanks goes to Emily for being this week’s featured contributor. And if you think this was great, please visit Emily at Adventures of a Dog Mom for more tips or simply share in her wonderful adventures.

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Sometimes we can’t help it we just can’t take our pets with us everywhere we go and that’s where boarding comes in.  I’ve found that for boarding to be successful you need to do several things in advance.

First, know your pet, this is the most important step.  By this I mean you should know how your pet will react to being in such an environment, how they will feel being handled by people they don’t know, if their eating habits will change, etc. If you feel that your pet will be under too much stress then maybe boarding isn’t the right solution for you, maybe a family member, friend or even a petsitter would be best for you and your pet.

If you feel that your pet would do OK the second thing you should do is tour the facility, and yes ask to go behind the scenes to see what goes on back there, after all you’re considering leaving your pet in their care.  And, sometimes you can arrange extra walks or one on one time with an employee.

Third, once you’ve decided on a place to board make sure your pet is current on all vaccinations and the boarding facility has a copy of the records.  They should also have the phone numbers for you, your vet and an emergency contact if you can’t be reached.

The fourth and last step to successful boarding is dropping your pet off, and this is a tough one.  You’ll probably want to hug your pet or give them extra attention since you won’t see them for a while but this can make the separation harder for the pet.  The best thing to do is calmly say goodbye and that you’ll be back and hand over the leash or carrier. The less excitement on your part, the less excitement in your pet.

I’ve been able to apply these same steps with Boomer and Dottie.  Unfortunately there have been times they can’t go with me on a trip so I’ve found a boarding facility that I trust.  I went on a tour and spoke with several different employees about their procedures and how my dogs would be treated.

But the most important thing I think is that I know my dogs, I know Boomer will make friends with anyone and would be fine hanging out in a boarding facility but I know Dottie isn’t. Dottie is more high strung and gets nervous really easily so when it comes time to board I ask for extra walks and play time, an extra large indoor/outdoor dog run with two beds and have Boomer board with her.  This helps her to not feel as anxious because she has her “big brother” with her.  And, when I pick them up they are both ready to go home to their own beds, toys and of course cuddles with me.

Author Bio: A recent transplant to Longmont, Colorado, Emily Ingram is the dog mom behind the blog Adventures of a Dog Mom.  When not busy sharing adventures on the blog and working for the Longmont Humane Society she spends her time exploring her new home with her husband and two Labrador Retrievers, Boomer Sooner and Dottie Mae.

Visit her blog: adventuresofadogmom.wordpress.com
Comments and suggestions: adventuresofadogmom@gmail.com

 

 

 

 



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

In a city where millions of people find themselves cramped in small places, Boston’s Public Park and JFK in Cambridge will always be a welcome respite for the city’s two and four-legged residents. It is also here where you could catch an occasional glimpse of pet parents taking snapshots of their furry, four-legged friends.

Yes, Boston loves their Red Sox and their pets. And luckily, they also happen to have these awesome pet photographers who could shoot photos out of the ballpark. Just like professional ballplayers with ridiculous RBIs, Boston’s A-list of pet photographers is ready to send the competition packing for the next season.

Pet photographers are a breed of their own and the photographs below are like precious home runs for pet owners who are lucky enough to have their pet’s photos batted by these photographer’s lenses.  Pets_Choice_Award_Badge-125x150

Our thanks go to the gracious pet photographers for sharing some of their best works here at Healthy Paws. Great pet photographs should never be a Hit or Miss or a Minor League game. If you want to play with the big boys then these pet photographers are your best bet at bat. So lets sit back and enjoy grab your ball caps, Cracker Jacks, and let these pet photographers take us for a ride.

 

Penzi Pet Photography

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Photography by KLC

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Blue Amrich Studio

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 Boston Dog Photography

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Life “Pawzed” Pet Photography

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Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

Your four-legged friend doesn’t have to be a Belgian Malinois or a scent sniffing German Sheppard in order to know there’s something magical a-brewing in the oven. Heck, even your neighbor’s Chihuahua would be doing his best Taco Bell dog impression and be saying “Yo Quiero?” if he were to catch a whiff.

You don’t have to be pastry chef to conjur up these ol’ factory canine delights, either. All it takes is a lot of love and a few tips from this week’s pet parents to come up with great tasting treats. And after hearing the dozens of recalls on pet food and treats in this year alone, it never hurts to up the health factor a bit with some home cooked treats. Pets_Choice_Award_Badge-125x150

There’s a good reason why we call ourselves pet parents. And there’s nothing wrong in showing the same level of concern for our four-legged family. Keeping our pets safe will always be of the utmost importance. And knowing exactly what goes into each treat ensures that our kids are getting the healthiest treats free from additives and preservatives.

Just be sure to leave something extra, you just might find yourself digging into these treats before they tantalize the tongue of your four-legged friend. Bon appétit!

 

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As we get closer to Halloween, pumpkin starts to creep into all sorts of items: coffee (Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, yum!), beer, and desserts – pumpkin cheesecake anyone? – among many.

But all too often, our four-legged friends miss out on this frenzy of pumpkin. And did you know that most dogs really, REALLY enjoy the taste of pumpkin? Give them a little taste of pure pumpkin when you make your next pumpkin pie and you’ll see.

Or better yet, try the recipe below and give them a well-deserved treat. Pure pumpkin is loaded with fiber and key vitamins and minerals, so the treats will be good for them, too.

Pumpkin Poppers for Halloween

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 tbsp Criso
1/2 cup pure pumpkin, canned
1 whole egg
1/2 cup milk (I mixed from powder)

To make it gluten-free: 

3/4 cup rice flour (brown or white)
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup cornstarch 
(1/8 cup = 2 tbsp) 

Directions:

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Gather your ingredients together and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Cut in shortening until no large lumps appear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Beat egg with milk and pumpkin. Add to flour mixture, and mix well.

 

Stir until soft dough forms. (it will be sticky)

Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

 

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Let cool and serve. They should be slightly crisp on the outside and warm and soft on the inside.

 

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Enjoy!

 

Our dogs actually start to drool as soon as these come out of the oven. Try giving them one while it’s still warm, and they will go crazy. Yes, you’ll be tempted to try one yourself, and you should! Don’t feel bad–you deserve a treat, too.

You can put the cookie cutters away for this recipe, it’s a sticky dough. And when you drop them onto cookie sheets, have fun with the shapes. After all, dogs don’t care about the shape of their treat, just the flavor. Your dog will enjoy Pumpkin Poppers for Halloween!

Author Bio: Liz Sommers, of Beggles Dog Treats LLC, hand-crafts delicious and allergy-friendly dog treats. Along with the flavors dogs love, like peanut butter, Beggles treats contain wholesome grains and healing herbs and spices. For helpful information on healing foods and natural remedies, pet allergies, and to purchase home-baked and healthy dog treats, follow her at Beggles Dog Treats.

 

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strawberry lemon chicken jerky

Ingredients
1 cup pureed Strawberries
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon dried Mint
1 to 2 cups Water
2 – 3 Chicken Breasts

 

Directions

 

1. Combine strawberry puree, cinnamon, lemon juice, dried mint and water in a bowl.
2. Clean the chicken breast and cut into strips, removing all the fat you can from the meat. It is easier to cut if you freeze the chicken slightly.
3. Place chicken strips into the marinade and allow to marinate for at least an hour in the refrigerator.
4. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Place on a cookie sheet 1/2 inches apart, brush with marinade for additional flavor.
6. Dry in an oven, with the door slightly open to let out moisture, for about 3 to 4 hours, until meat is dry appearance and texture.

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*If you have a food dehydrator that can be used to dry the meat as well, just follow the manufactures instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Bio: Tennille Tejeda, better known as the Doggy Dessert Chef, creates and develops recipes for dog treats and biscuits. You can find her two pups, dog treat and biscuit recipes, and other doggy fun at DoggyDessertChef.com. Woof!

 



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

Beep-beep! Your furry friend barks in approval as you pull out of the driveway. “Adventure here we come” says each of the excited dog breaths panting in the backseat.

However, no all dogs are immune to motion sickness. Some actually feel stressed on shorter trips, which is difficult for those who have to drive with their dogs during the weeks. And worse yet, it can add a lot of complexity when taking them on vacation.  So how do you know if your dog has motion sickness? Well, there are a few tell-tale signs.

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Identifying the Signs of Motion Sickness

This experience could be so unpleasant for our pets that they could equate hopping along any moving vehicle as something to be avoided. Dogs express their emotions through gestures and barking. A distressed dog might signal something’s wrong when they bark or suddenly become restless. However, episodes of motion sickness in dogs may not be as expressive or noticeable. And since our dogs can’t verbally express what they’re feel it’s especially important for pet parents to be aware of the signs.

One all too easy to recognize sign (and a rather pungent one at that) is vomiting. Not all dogs vomit though. So one should also keep an eye out for:

  • Restlessness or discomfort
  • Long periods of inactivity
  • Whining
  • Unexplainable fear of cars or moving vehicles
  • Excessive drooling
  • Yawning or sleepiness

Motion sickness is a common occurrence in puppies. One of the reasons why younger dogs might not have the same “car legs” as their older counterpart is because ear structures which function for balance isn’t that well developed.

Any sudden change in mood or behavior can be the first signs that your pet is suffering from motion sickness. If they show this behavior every time they get in or even near a car, then seeking professional help is in order. If you believe that your pet is showing signs of motion sickness, consulting a veterinarian is the best way to determine if this is a symptom of motion sickness or another condition.

Managing and Treating Motion Sickness

Motion sickness in dogs can be minimized by strapping your pup to the seat with a specially designed seatbelt. It keeps them looking forward and prevents them from moving about in the vehicle. Place them at the seats furthest from the dashboard.

A sudden change in air pressure can cause dizziness. This can be felt especially when you are travelling from places of varying altitudes. One way of minimizing motion sickness is by opening your windows a few inches helps equalize the pressure inside and outside the vehicle.

Vomiting is always a danger with pets suffering from motion sickness. Be sure to minimize their food intake of both food and water before the trip. At least you’ll be dealing with a smaller less if he does (wink).

Keep your pet distracted during the trip by bringing along some treats or toys. It keeps their eyes from wandering.

Some pets may have overcome their episodes of motion sickness but are still difficult to bring along because they have developed negative experiences. This could be treated by building their confidence and making each ride a pleasant experience.

If your pet still remains skeptical or unwilling to hop in the car, then giving them a break from car rides for a few weeks could help lower their stress and anxiety.

Try using a different vehicle and see their reaction. If your pet had many negative experiences during their ride on the vehicle, using a different car make it easier for them to hop on the car.

Make short trips around the block or trying bringing them inside the car while leaving it running. Gently build their trust by getting them accustomed to the presence of a vehicle. If you’re still having trouble getting them into the car, give them a break from training.

If these tips fail, then consult with your vet about medications which could prevent vomiting induced by motion sickness. A vet could help you identify the underlying cause of motion sickness and help you avoid them. Other factors like stress or anxiety are also known to cause motion sickness both in pets and humans. Treatment for this could include additional therapies which only a professional vet can provide.



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

While we can’t always bring our pets on every work trip or every week long excursion, it’s always great when we can. And lets face it, it’d be nice to at least have the option of bringing our pets along. Or, at the very least, to be able to more easily weigh our choices.

The problem is we don’t always know where to find those “pet friendly” places to stay. And even when the journey is underway, when the kibble is all packed & the canine carry crate is full, we still don’t always know all the tricks of the pet travel trade to make our adventures go as seamlessly as we might want. Bottom line, traveling w/your pet  can be difficult. It isn’t nearly as simple as it should be.

Thankfully, there are resources out there. Many, actually. And other pet parents have blazed these trails before us.

So this week, with help from Ann Staub & Terry Frum, we’re sharing a few helpful pet travel tips that we hope will come in handy the next time you load up the minivan or print your boarding passes. Special thanks to both Ann & Terry for taking the time to share their insights with us.

 

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Pawsitively Pets – mypawsitivelypets.com

Most dog owners enjoy time spent together during walks. One popular dog walk destination is the park. Taking a trip to the park sounds simple enough. Just leash up and head off, right? If you want to be prepared and heighten your dog walking experience for yourself, your dog, and others, there are a few things you should bring along on your walk.

Are you prepared if “dooty calls” during your walk? It’s a dog owner’s responsibility to pick up after their dog. Dog poop is not fertilizer and is actually considered a pollutant that can make other dogs and humans sick. Be considerate of others and make sure you bring along some sort of disposable dog waste bags.

Dogs get thirsty just like people. Bring along some water along with a bowl. There are many kinds of travel bowls for doggies available. They are usually compact and easy to carry. It’s important for Fido to stay hydrated, especially during the summer. Plus, disease can spread from dog to dog with community dog water fountains.

And of course, be sure to bring treats! Treats are a great way to reward and reinforce your dog’s good behavior while on a walk. Treats are fun too! If you bring enough along, maybe you can share with other dogs in the park and make some new doggy friends.

Following these simple tips when walking your dog at the park will ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and safe walk. Remember to be respectful of other dog owners and park-goers and most of all – have fun!

Author Bio: Ann Staub is a former Veterinary Technician and pet mom to a senior Pit Bull, a cat, a pet rat, and two goldfish. She has worked with animals of all kinds including dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Now, she spends her time networking with other animal lovers and sharing her knowledge of pets on her blog – Pawsitively Pets. You can follow Pawsitively Pets on Facebook and Twitter for more great advice and tips on pets from Ann.

 

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Brian’s Home – brianshomeblog.com

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but more and more families are opting to travel with their furry family members.  The lodging industry seems to be slowly but consistently embracing the “pet friendly” market.  Most major travel sites now include an option to search for “pet friendly” along with other search criteria.  There are also websites, such as PetsWelcome.com and BringFido.com that are dedicated to helping travelers easily identify destinations that welcome you and your pet.

Perhaps you are thinking about taking your pet with you on your next vacation, or maybe you already travel frequently with your pet.  The seasoned travel veteran will tell you that a little thought and preparation can help make the trip more enjoyable for all of you.  When traveling with your pet, remember, you will need to take their necessities just as you take your own.  Your pet, whether feline or canine, will need safety, food, water, and, in the case of cats, some sort of litter box arrangements.  The marketplace is filled with accessories to make traveling with your pet so much easier and I’d like to share a few of my personal favorites.

The Doggie Dorm, available in multiple sizes, is an ideal place of security for medium to smaller pets.  If you’re staying in a hotel you will want your pet to be safe and secure when housekeeping is attending to your room.  Contrary to what the name implies, cats love this product too. Plus, it folds flat and is so easy to take along and set up is a breeze.

A very nice option for packing food, treats and medicines are the Lock & Lock Storage Containers available through the online shopping network QVC.  We’ve tried quite a variety of containers and these really seem to hold the seal better than others we’ve tried.

When it comes to feeding time, some folks like to pack their pet’s favorite bowls.  However, if space is an option for you, something like the Pop Up Travel Bowl fills the bill quite nicely.

Now, let’s not forget the litter box needs for cats.  While dogs will be most happy to go for a walk and attend to their business, that simply isn’t an option for most cats.  The Nature’s Miracle Disposable Litter Box gets the job done, so to speak, and you simply bag it up and place it in the trash when you’re ready to leave.

Finally, let me tell two things you must always take with you.  Although these items are not accessories, they are necessities, and those are current photographs and vet records.  Technology helps us in both regards.  I always have the most recent photographs on my smart phone as well as on an online backup service.  Heaven forbid that your pet gets lost while you’re traveling, but having current photos of your pet could make the difference in those situations.  You should always have access to your pet’s vet records, especially when you are traveling.  We all know that pets get sick when pets get sick.  I always scan my pets vet records and carry them with me on a small USB drive so we can be prepared for any medical emergency we may encounter along the way.

Author Bio: Terry Frum is an animal rescue advocate and popular pet blogger from South Carolina, USA. Terry’s rescue blog ForeverHomeWanted.com highlights animals in search of homes and features news stories of motivational interest to those involved in animal rescue. Terry’s cat blog,Brian’s Home, features the activities of his seven rescue cats through the voice of his male tabby cat Brian. Brian, as the main Spokescat, has a worldwide presence and is active on all of the major social networks.

 

 

 



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

On the way home from work, you make a pit stop at the pet store to grab some of your dog’s favorite treats.

When you walk in the front door, those eager eyes are begging you to tell them what you have in the bag. “Whattaya got for me, whattaya got for me” says the wagging tail. So you put the new treats into the bowl and your usually docile pup churns out an uncharacteristically nasty growl. “Where did that come from?” you think to yourself.

The reality is, almost all of us have experienced one or two instances when our pets have shown some form of aggressive behavior during meal time. This might be due to occasional mood swings, oh yes our pets have their own personalities, too! But it’s concerning when they exhibit this behavior during meal time.

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Photo courtesy of kiradedecker.com

The trouble with many pet parents is that they usually respond with force when they see this type of aggressive behavior. In an effort to show who’s boss, we often respond back with our own aggressive fit. The problem is that when we fight fire with fire, we forget that even the most domesticated pets still possess animal instincts.  Rather than dousing their fire, pets with this condition gnarl at their pet parents further aggravating the situation.

Showing who is top dog may calm your dog’s fits when you’re around the table, but what happens when you’re not there? Guests and other family members may not have the same respect that Fido has shown you and this may lead to serious accidents.

Let your pet gradually accept your presence by first placing a small portion of his dog meal and moving to a safe distance. When he or she is almost done, slowly approach and toss the treat(s) into their bowl. Do this a couple of times moving closer each day. Take note of gestures and measure their personal space. The key here is to keep your dog relaxed during this process. Then, gradually shorten the distance until they’re able to build trust & not feel the need to be overly protective of their new treats. And to ensure that he is comfortable with people around, bring in family members during feeding time. If no real progress is achieved then proceed to the next step.

For those with extremely difficult pets, try removing their food bowl. They might have grown too attached with their food bowl that they regard anyone’s presence as a threat. Start his training by placing a leash during meal time. Delay their regular meal time by a few hours to make it easier for you to feed them. Toss his meal before them making sure that you are always at a safe distance. Do this for a few weeks to get him accustomed to your presence during meal time.

When you think that your pet is ready to be bowl fed, proceed to the first step. Just remember to keep them leashed during training. Do each step in the process one or two weeks at a time – and keep a watchful eye during meal times. Be especially careful when guests or small children are around, too.

Many pups never have this form of treat aggression. Many do. So it’s goo do be aware of.

And certainly, if these tips don’t lead to the results you’re looking for, then consult a professional dog trainer. Working with a professional dog trainer can help you and your dog deal with this and help you keep treat time as enjoyable as it should be for both you, your pet and your everyone in your family.



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

While we love Clevelanders for a number of reasons – including the fact that their city is the proud home of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, today we’re dancing to a slightly different tune by celebrating another type of rock star: pet photographers. The pixel perfect performers whom we’re proud to say are Ohio’s Jaegers & Joplin’s from behind the lens.

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And lets face it, pet photographers are a breed of their own. They genuinely share our love for pets and possess the technical prowess to know when to take that snap or how to best capture your pet’s essence. It truly is a talent.

So, while LeBron may have “Taken his talents to South Beach” – pet lovers in America’s 45h largest city need not fear. Far from it. As you can tell from the photos in this article, plenty of amazing skills still remain in Cleveland.

Special thanks to the generosity of each photographer kind enough to share their work with us. Please respect their work by not sharing their pictures without both permission & attribution. And, of course, by sharing their work on Facebook if you find the below muzzles as marvelous as we did.

 

Brittany Graham Photography - brittany-graham.com

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 Janicki Photography - janickiphotography.com

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Danielle Neil Photography –  www.danielleneil.com

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doodliebop -  doodliebop.com

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Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

You’ve seen the commercials that pull at our heart strings by showing us the tragic faces of unadopted shelter pets. Those sad eyes & hopeless, behind-the-fence stares.

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Well, in recent years all of us in the pet community have seen a growing number of documentaries that pull at those very same heart strings by exposing the sickening underworld of puppy mills, which, while we don’t talk about puppy mills enough (in large part, I think, because it’s such a horrifically unsettling topic for all of us who love pets), remains a huge problem.

Thankfully many companies & videographers are working to raise public awareness. We applaud their efforts immensely – as raising awareness is a critical first step.

However, too few puppy mill documentaries have addressed the root of the issue & examined the umbrella of monetary support that allows the puppy mill system to thrive. Rather than looking at individual mills – which are the effect of the system, not the cause – too few films have zoomed the magnification out & looked at what’s driving the economics that have sentenced millions of healthy dogs death and allowed the most irresponsible dog breeders to thrive.

DOG BY DOG First Trailer from 5414Productions on Vimeo.

In Dog by Dog, a documentary that will be released in 2014, Chris Grimes and the team behind the award-winning documentary A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR, do what most haven’t: they take a look into the underbelly of the puppy mill system. Grimes asks tough, then follows the money trail from lobbyists to state capitals and Washington D.C. The not for profit film confronts those responsible in an effort to help catalyze change to an irresponsible system.

Mill-by-mill and dog-by-dog things need to change, which is why we applaud the in the trenches work that Chris & other passionate videographers are doing. Scene-by-scene and frame-by-frame the Dog by Dog documentary – and other unbiased non-profit films – are tangible steps in the right direction toward putting an end to puppy mills.

To learn more about the Dog by Dog project 0r to track the upcoming release date of the film, check out the Dog by Dog Facebook page.



Steve Siadek Posted on by Steve Siadek

Eat healthy and exercise. Staying in shape is that simple, right?

Well, for my string bean nephew with his boundless energy & mile a minute metabolism it is. However, for me – and perhaps the rest of us who’re older than 8-years-old – eating well and keeping the pounds off really isn’t that easy. In fact, it’s really hard. Especially as we get older.

Being healthy matters though. A lot.

Why? Not because you have a wedding to prepare for or because you need to shimmy into a belly bearing swimsuit. You might. And those are all perfectly fine reasons to shed a few pounds. However, those motivators, while they might help sell magazines at the grocery store, are not why we care here at Healthy Paws.

We care about the topic of your health – and your dogs health, too – not because we ourselves ourselves have Photoshopped beach bodies. We don’t. Heck, I’m the first to admit that my own profile is more sausage-like than svelte. Really though, physical perfection is not the point.

The point – for both humans and canines – is that with weight gain comes higher risks for serious and debilitating medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, cancer, as well as a myriad of other tragic and often preventable causes of death among loved ones with 2 or 4 legs.

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So, while more than half of all Americans say they want to lose weight, our focus today is on the fact that, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (http://www.petobesityprevention.com/), over 53% of US dogs are overweight.

We’ve written about this incredibly important topic before at Healthy Paws. However, today we’re excited to share some fantastic and highly tactical advice from a group of pet ambassadors who feel as strongly about the topic as we do, who’ve combatted the issue firsthand.

Please enjoy the post and, if there are any tips you particularly love, be sure to check out the our pet ambassadors on their own blogs.

 

Husky Haven - huskyhaven.org

Beth,Lizzy and Tank-revised

 

I’d like to give you a few tips that I use to keep my menagerie of dogs fit. I have Lizzy and TJ, my 7 year old Huskies, Tank, my 8 year old Pit Mix and my current foster , Faith, a two year old Pit. During the winter they are usually OK, the weather is fairly decent in the Houston area , so 5 mile a day walks are the routine. They also play for hours everyday in the backyard. Because they get so much activity they get fed regular dry food (about ½ cup) with a quarter can of wet food twice a day. They also get a rawhide or some other chewy treat daily.

In the summer I have to change our routine to keep my kids fit in our grueling heat. Every day we are looking at 100 degree heat index, that includes our 90% humidity. We take shorter , more frequent walks, usually a mile early in the morning and a mile or more late in the evening. Once a week we will go on a 3 mile shaded trail hike, very late in the afternoon. Since I have the four dogs and own a sports car , dog parks are out of the question for summer fitness fun. So I decided to make my own dog park/ agility camp in our backyard. I set up a couple of small jumps and a tunnel and teach the dogs how to use these.

Whether they succeed at the jumps or the tunnel is not the point in my backyard, it’s to have fun and exercise. I also have four plastic pools situated around the course so they can cool off during their exercise. Because they aren’t as active in the summer,  I change their diet to reflect that. They have the same amount of dry food twice daily, but no canned food, just a dollop of canned pumpkin , some cooked carrots or a handful of green beans.

Keeping your dogs fit is like keeping yourself fit, it takes consistency. No matter what the weather, go out and have fun with your dogs!!!

Author’s Bio: 

Beth is a retired chemical technologist living in suburban Houston , Texas. All of her dogs come from rescues in the Houston area. She has been with Husky Haven for the past six years, and is their event coordinator. Please go to Husky Haven at  http://www.huskyhaven.org/  and  Best Friends FurEver at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1156.html  to check out the dogs Beth currently works with. She started her blog, http://lizzyslifewerejusthangingoutinit.blogspot.com/  to feature her dogs , but expanded it to emphasize the rescue dogs and their stories. Stop by the blog to say hi and see the current featured dogs !!!

 

A Tonk’s Tail - atonkstail.com

mommy n me2-revised

 

My own personal recipe for keeping a cat nice and trim? Clone Faraday. Mix one part maniac (see aforementioned feline) with one part full figured kitty, and the result is a pretty decent daily workout.

And one rather ticked-off girl cat, but I digress.

Seriously, we’ve found success by switching our home to grain-free.  I’d love to say we were completely off dry food but some cats (yes, Maxwell, I’m looking at you) just refuse to part with the crunchy goodness.

Cats are obligate carnivores as many know, and they’re not built to efficiently process plant proteins or grains. So we focus our diet on brands that provide meat first, plus all the necessary supplements a cat needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as taurine.

Faraday and Allie eat a raw diet, reconstituted from freeze-dried nuggets. They love it, and it’s a ton of fun to watch Faraday eat, too. I swear he thinks he’s some big game hunter, ripping meat off the bone with his bare teeth!

I’ve seen him eat canned cat food and sneak bites of Maxwell’s kibble every once in a while. In those instances, he’s like every other cat on the planet – a fairly dainty eater.

But put raw food in front of him and Faraday turns into the Rare White Housepanther: with each bite, he’ll jerk his head around and give it a good shake before consuming it. Makes me wonder if instinct is kicking in, and he’s ensuring it’s good and dead before he eats it!

This has been our only successful weight loss diet with Allie, too. Our glam girl with the pink mani/pedi is slowly shedding the pounds and getting her svelte curves back. Of course, “slowly” is key for cats, as rapid weight loss can be deadly.

We won’t be able to call her our Buxom Tuxie much longer. She’s lost 2 pounds since her March weigh-in!

Author’s Bio:

From Lisa Richman, author of pet blog, A Tonk’s Tale (www.atonkstail.com) and her three cats: Allie, Maxwell and Faraday