Pets: A Varying Palette

September 11, 2018

I’m sure that everyone at some point in their pet’s life have heard that human food is not good for your them. Though there are certain spices and foods that you should avoid, not all human food is actually bad for your pet companion!

Think about it this way, your cat and your dog, they eat foods that are enriched with chicken, turkey, beef, etc. Well aren’t those all foods that we as humans eat? Have you ever taken a look in your pet’s wet food and noticed veggies? How about looking at the back of the food bag and reading the ingredients. I bet that you will find some familiar foods, some of which might be some of your favorites!

Not only do your dogs and cats have a wide variety with in their food, so do some of the not so average pets such as pigs, birds and lizards to name a few. Just like Humans our companions also have quote the varying palette.

Lizards, dogs and birds are predominately carnivorous , but it doesn’t mean that they won’t eat those healthy fruits and veggies. For example Apples are a great snack ( sans the seeds ) for your furry AND scaly friends in moderation. They are high in fiber and low in fat making for a yummy change up for the pets that you love. Another fruit that is has a dual purpose is watermelon. Not only is this good for your pet but it will also help keep them hydrated seeing as it is mostly water based. Watermelon is packed with vitamins that help with muscle and nerve function.

Lets not leave those veggies out either! Carrots are a favorite of dogs, lizards and birds because of the crunch that comes with it. They also promote great eye and skin health. Sweet potato is a base that is used in several brands of treats, but can easily just be cut up and fed to your pet raw. This is also a nutrient rich treat, and much healthier than white potato.

Here are a list of safe fruits and veggies that you can give your pets in moderation:

Spinach                Green Beans      Pumpkin              Broccoli                Brussel Sprouts Apricot

Cabbage              Carrots                 Cucumber           Celery                   Apple                    Mango

Banana                                 Blueberries         Raspberries         Pear                       Cantaloupe         Watermelon

Here is a list that you should try and avoid:

Cherries               Grapes                 Raisins                  Lime                      Lemon                  Grapefruit

Persimmons     Onion                    Garlic                     Rhubarb               Mushrooms

When it comes to meat, you can never go wrong with added protein as a treat, or as an addition to meals every once in a while. What you want to look out for here is seasoning. You should never give your pet meat that has been seasoned. Most seasonings have adverse effects that could cause long term damage when ingested, so make sure you are paying attention! A great treat for any type of pet would actually be eggs! This is a tasty treat that has great benefits for your furry ( or scaly ) friends skin. This is generally something that you would not give your bird.

So next time you go to grab yourself a snack or cook dinner, go ahead and look what you are making and maybe surprise your pet with a new treat!

Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday in the United States. Even though many nonprofit animal welfare organizations consider Christmas to be the best time to launch fundraising campaigns, Halloween is actually better. 30% more consumers entered promotion campaigns at Halloween than at during the Christmas season. Why? Your supporters aren’t feeling the financial stress of the expensive holiday season – yet.

Advantages
Consider these four advantages before skipping Halloween this year.

  1. Increased donations.
    Launching your fundraising campaign months before the holiday craziness boosts your overall donations. Your animal welfare organization supporters haven’t maxed out their budget buying gifts and are more willing to donate.
  2. Less competition.
    Shhh! Halloween fundraising success is still relatively new and many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues still overlook it as a prime fundraising time. Less competition means your campaign or fundraisers are more likely to capture supporters’ attention. Often times, supporters become overwhelmed and inundated with donation requests in November and December, they ignore or politely decline all requests.
  3. More volunteer involvement.
    Volunteers keep you up and running every day. Without their commitment and time, many animal shelters and rescues are forced to close their doors. Many volunteers have out of control schedules with extra family events and holiday preparation in December. Launching a big fundraising campaign at Halloween increases their ability to help.
  4. Innovative ideas.
    Chances are your past major fundraising drives revolved around the spirit of giving in December. You probably copied the same fundraiser from year to year. Focusing on Halloween this year gives you a NEW list of fundraising ideas. Your long-term supporters will be happy for the change.

Fundraising ideas
Do you avoid Halloween fundraising because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch? Schedule a meeting with your fundraising committee to review these # ideas and pick one to start with.

  • Partner with a local pumpkin patch or fall fest. Contact local organizations and see if they are willing to host fundraising days for your animal welfare organization. Request a portion of the ticket sales be donated to you. In addition, set up a table the day of to collect donations and hand out information.
  • It’s all about the treats. Invite supporters to your location encouraging them to bring “treats” (food, toys, blankets, bowls, etc.) for your animals.
  • Sponsor a costume ball. Invite your community to a costume party. Sell tickets in advance and then offer dinner, raffles, and costume prizes the night of the event.
  • Launch a social media contest. Encourage your online followers to participate in a Halloween-themed contest. Invite participants to submit pictures of their Halloween decorations, carved pumpkins or pets in costume. Publish them online and request donations. Every five dollars = one vote. Award your winners with online recognition and prize.
  • Trick or treat for adopters. Promote adoptions in the month of October by offering a special gift to adopting families. They can pick either a ‘trick’ (training DVD or CD) or a ‘treat’ to take home with their new loved one.
  • “Mommy and me” costume contest. Host a costume contest for pets and their parents! Encourage participants to dress as famous duos or family members.

There is success in Halloween fundraising drives and events. Don’t less this time of year pass your animal welfare organization by. Brainstorm innovative fundraising ideas or use one of these to increase your donations this fall.

Animals in shelters typically come from a background of abuse and neglect. Sometimes these animals have little or no social skills with other animals or humans. Similar to humans, social skills with humans or other animals are vital.

What is socialization?

Socialization teaches dogs to interact with humans and other animals in a friendly manner. Those responsible for socializing dogs use different tactics and methods. Placing dogs in foster homes and forever homes requires they have certain socialization skills. The skills required depend on the makeup of those homes. Do the homes have children, other dogs, or other pets? How does the dog respond to children, males, females, and other animals?

Often times, animal shelters know little about the dogs in their care. Especially when the dogs are found abandoned. In these situations, how do you know what type of environment they will thrive in? The best shelters perform aggression testing to determine what social skills are in place and which need to be worked on.

Proper socialization decreases the dog’s stress and the chance of lashing out. Shelter dogs need to be introduced to socializing differently than a 3-week old puppy. Follow these steps for socializing your shelter dogs:

  1. Choose the right volunteer. Choose volunteers who are calm by nature. Anxiousness is easily detected by the dogs. If the volunteer is anxious or quick to yank on the leash, the dogs get scared.
  2. Introduce them to other shelter dogs. During the initial meetings keep both dogs on a loose leash. This gives the dogs chance to move freely to check out the surrounding environment. Keep the dogs about 8 feet apart to avoid a face to face meeting which many dogs don’t enjoy.
  3. Pay attention. Take notice of how the dogs react to one another. Look for signs of discomfort – stiff body, bared teeth, or growling. Maintain distance between the dogs in these situations or stop for the day if they don’t calm down.
  4. Introduce them to a group setting. After the dogs do well in the one on one introduction, they can be introduced to a group setting. Have the volunteer take the dog into a group environment on a leash. Drop the leash inside – give them chance to explore while still having a method to manage them. Take them off the leash after 20-30 minutes of good behavior. Continue to watch them for another 20- 30 minutes to make sure they remain calm.
  5. Slowly move them full-time to the group setting. Move new dogs into the group setting in stages. Let them stay for a few hours adding time every day until you work up to a full day with the other dogs.

Forming a good animal connection is essential for health and happiness for both the animal owner and the animal.  So how do you do that?

The easiest way is to think about the way people connect with their babies and even with other people.

Bonding with an animal is natural for any animal lover.  Most people love cats or dogs or both.  Some ideas to help the animal connection develop deeper and faster are:

1 – Spend time.   There is no substitute for time in a relationship.  This goes for people but also for animals.  Animals are often nervous at first but over time, they warm up and bond with their new owner.  Dogs and cats tend to “grow” on people over time.

2 – Play with them.  Both people and animals love to play.  Play is enjoyment.  For a cat, chasing a laser pointer or a ball of yarn works great.  For dogs, nothing beats a good game of fetch.  For most people, one of the reasons they get the pet is for play.  Animals are cute when they play or as some people (who like puns) say “they are more fetching”.  Animals appreciate and bond to the person who they see as their play/fun mate.

3 – Groom them.  People bond with animals if they groom them.  This can be simple petting through to brushing them.  And who does not want a better groomed pet.  Animals and people both respond to touch.

4 – Walk them.  This mostly applies to dogs.  Dogs love to go for walks and hikes.  And it is healthy for them and their owners.  Pet owners live longer according to Dr. Oz.  Pet owners have less stress, lower cholesterol, and higher immunity.  Likely a good part of this is the added exercise pet owners get.

Animal connection is natural.  Follow your instincts and you will bond easily. After all, dogs and cats are people too.  OK – so they are not really but they will seem like it after there is a good bond formed.