We all need to get away sometimes.  Seeing new things and experiencing great new adventures can renew the spirit and give you a refreshed outlook on life.  When you are traveling with animals, however, road trips and flights can be stressful, particularly when they are not planned properly.

Before you head out for your next expedition, keep these animal activities and comforts in mind if you are taking your four-legged friend with you:

  • Snuggly Soft.  Your pet can easily feel anxious when they are outside of their normal comfort zone.  The same sights and sounds that you find exhilarating can create the ultimate stress for your furry family members.  Pack your pet’s bed, or, at a minimum, his favorite blanket. The familiar feel and smell will help ease discomfort that can happen in otherwise unfamiliar environments.
  • Tasty Treats.  You may use treats to reward good behavior or simply show your appreciation for your pet when you are at home, but these tasty treats can go a long way when you are in strange new places.  Pack enough of your pet’s favorite treats to last the duration of the trip.  Introducing unfamiliar foods can actually upset their stomach, leading to even more unwanted ramifications than a little homesickness.
  • Soul Food.  Speaking of avoiding belly issues, treats are not the only things your furry friend will be ingesting.  While you will want to make sure you have favorite treats on hand to let them know what a good animal they are, they will also need a substantial diet of normal food.  Be sure to pack enough of their normal food so you do not experience stomach upsets along the way.  If your pet is on a special diet, map out potential places to refill their food, should you run out unexpectedly.
  • Trick or Treat.  Plenty of pet toys these days are made to occupy the animals’ minds.  To prevent boredom, which can lead to disruptive behavior, pack a few toys in your suitcase that are created to entertain them, too.  Animal activities that incorporate treats and puzzles can be the perfect way to eliminate unwanted behaviors that can easily escalate when your pet is feeling restless.

While it is common knowledge that you need to exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, most people overlook the fact that their pets need to stay fit as well. Pets that don’t get enough exercise can become obese and become susceptible to serious health conditions such as, cancer and diabetes. For this reason, it is important to make physical fitness a part of your pet’s everyday routine. Here is a list of health benefits that prove exercise helps your animals:

  • By engaging your pets in physical activity, their overall health will improve. It will reduce their chances of developing diseases and help them to live a longer, healthier life.
  • Hyperactive cats and dogs can benefit from exercise because it will alleviate extra energy and restlessness.
  • Regular physical activity is very helpful when it comes to improving your pet’s digestive health. A simple walk has proven to be extremely beneficial in relieving constipation in animals.
  • If your pet excessively chews, digs, or scratches, exercise can help reduce or eliminate this destructive behavior.
  • Your dog or cat will develop stronger muscles and increased flexibility. Their improved strength and nimbleness can reduce their risk  of being injured.
  • It is a no brainer that spending time with your pet is extremely important. Playing sports and games with your pet not only strengthen their body but your bond as well.

As the hot sunny days of summer approach, it’s inevitable that we spend more time outdoors – pets included. Summer activities are a great source of enjoyment and exercise, but it’s important to ensure your animals stay cool in the heat of the summer. Here are a five tips from experts to keep your pets cool and happy. Animal Care Tip 1: Stay in the shade Have you ever noticed your dog or cat lying on a cool surface? They’re trying to cool themselves down. When you’re playing outside and your dog finds a shady spot, let him. Animals naturally gravitate to the shade when they’re hot. And remember, they don’t wear shoes – so imagine how hot the concrete or asphalt is when it’s been baking in the sun all afternoon. A walk in a shaded forest is a much better choice than a walk through the city. Animal Care Tip 2: Play outside at the right time Try to avoid taking your pets outdoors during the hottest time of day. The scorching mid afternoon sun can cause health issues very quickly. Try to plan your outdoor activities in the early morning or in the evening once the sun has gone down. Animal Care Tip 3: Hydrate frequently Pets can dehydrate quickly – especially on a hot day.

  • Make sure they have plenty of fresh water available. If you’re thirsty on a hot day, chances are your pets are too.
  • Ice cubes or frozen broth make a great hydrating treat for dogs.

Animal Care Tip 4: Visit the groomer You wouldn’t go outside on a summer day wearing your winter parka! Imagine how your dog feels. Depending on the breed, some dogs benefit from a summer haircut. Even frequent brushing can help eliminate loose fur and prevent your pet from overheating. Animal Care Tip 5: Be mindful of your pet’s health Animal health experts encourage all pet owners to be mindful of their pet’s health, especially in the summer. Some breeds with flat-shaped faces like pugs, bulldogs, and terriers can’t pant as well as other breeds. These dogs should be expect inside on extremely hot days. Pets that are overweight, elderly, or have other medical conditions should also be kept indoors.

Winters aren’t just tough on humans they’re also hard for pets. True, they don’t have to shovel snow but unless they’re pulling sleds in Alaska, their activity is mostly limited to indoors. So take advantage of the many summer animal activities available in your area before those cold months return.

WATER. There are different forms everywhere; oceans, lakes, rivers, swimming pools. If your dog loves the water, this can be a great break from the heat. Make sure to take safety precautions when allowing your pet into the water:

  • Be aware of currents in oceans and rivers.
  • Life jackets are made for dogs too, and available in all sizes.
  • Use canine ear-drying solution to avoid ear infections.
  • Make sure the water is clean. If you wouldn’t go in, don’t allow your pet to.

CANINE AGILITY COURSES are popping up all over. You don’t have to be in training for a competition to enjoy the fun these courses have to offer. Dogs of all shapes and sizes will find something fun to do. Most courses are equipped with obstacles like tunnels, ladders and jumps. You can even build a DIY course in your own backyard.

PARKS are a haven for our four legged friends. Just make sure to check each park’s leash rules before releasing your dog. Some parks offer specific off-leash hours. If you’re camping out for the day, don’t forget to bring your pet’s favorite toy, a blanket, water, food and maybe even a small collapsible tent for shade.

NIGHT TIME ACTIVITIES are great during heat waves. Wait until the sun goes down then bring your pet along for your run, not only good for him but healthier for you.  Take your dog to a lit tennis court and toss her the ball or better yet, let her play “doggie in the middle” as you and a mate hit the ball back and forth.

OPEN THE WINDOWS in the house. Cats love to look outside, even if they’re too “scaredy“, or not allowed to go out there. When windows are closed they only get half the show. By opening the windows they get the smells and sound effects too.

No matter what animal activities you choose for you and your pet make sure you protect them from common summer dangers like fleas & ticks, heartworm, dehydration and heatstroke.

Have a safe, happy & fun summer!

 5 More Summertime Fundraisers

 

There are a number of ways to help raise money for your animal shelter, including summer time fundraisers. Here are five fundraiser ideas to get people outside and raising money.

 

Sponsor a 5K

While it will be work, setting up a 5K event will help to get people’s attention. You can make it a dog friendly event to help emphasize the purpose of the event. For a fee, participants will be able to get some exercise while earning money for the shelter. If you make it an annual event, it is likely to gain in popularity and grow every year.

 

Hold a Silent Auction

This one will require you to first gain donations from local businesses or sponsors, but it will be more of an investment of time than money. You can add a meal or snacks to the event to make it last a little longer, giving participants a little more time to increase their bids. Holding the auction outside is ideal so that people can bring their pets to mingle as they browse.

 

Torture the Boss

Create a short list of “tortures” for the shelter owner (or a willing substitute), like dying the boss’s hair or cleaning after the animals for a day. Then anyone who pays a set amount will be allowed to vote on what type of torture they would like to see. This is an easy way to do fundraising with minimal cost, except to the boss. Once the votes are tallied, the crowd watches as the boss gets a shaved head or begins painting the shelter. Coupled with a 5K, this could help attract a larger crowd.

 

Setup a Garage Sale

Ask for donations of gently used clothes, bikes, furniture, books, or whatever people are willing to donate, and then hold a garage sale. If you have the time to invest in a garage sale, it is probably one of the easiest ways to maximize the returns on your fundraiser.

 

Create an Obstacle Course

Much like the 5K, you can create an obstacle course. Participants can raise money from their sponsors to join the event. This is an excellent way to get outside and get dirty, but it will require some time to consider safety, as well as money to create the course. You will probably need waivers for the participants.