Archive for April, 2013
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Martha Stewart has a new book coming out, entitled Living the Good Long Life: A Practical Guide to Caring for Yourself and Others. Now, you may know Martha as the domestic diva, with the perpetually perfect home, beautiful gardens, and exquisitely decorated cakes. But now she’s moving onto a new topic: living life well, no matter how old you are. And one essential element in Martha’s formula is the companionship of your pets.
Here’s a quote from the book:
Now, as your Marshfield dog walker, we’ve long been advocates of happy, healthy lifestyles. The companionship of a good dog makes the tough times easier to bear and the great days even more fun. Researchers have found that simply spending time with and snuggling your pets can dramatically lower stress levels. Getting out and playing with your pets is strongly recommended by neurohumorists like Karyn Buxman. “When you’re having fun, you’re making yourself healthier at the same time – and it’s good news for your dog’s emotional health as well.”
Dogs and cats like different kinds of play at different stages in their life. Puppies and kittens are easy to entertain: everything is a game, especially if it involves hiding or pouncing! As our dogs and cats get older, they start to develop the skills necessary to play different types of games. Dogs love fetch, tug of war, chase the frisbee, and exploring the neighborhood. Some cats will fetch, and many can be motivated to do almost anything if catnip is involved.
When our dogs and cats are in their senior years, don’t think they’ve lost their love of play! You may need to initiate the good times – but many an older dog and cat has surprised their owners with their energy and enthusiasm. Play keeps us all young and healthy – whether or not we’re furry!
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
This has been a rough week for South Shore residents and pet lovers. Who expected there to be a bomb at the Boston Marathon? The emotional distress associated with an event like this can be significant, whether you’re directly impacted or merely a witness. Here are some tips that you can use to help handle the overwhelming emotion and stress:
Tip One: Turn the News Off
If we learned anything from 9/11, it’s that 24/7 news coverage of horrific events is not your friend. In fact, too much exposure to graphic news coverage can be traumatic in and of itself. Turn the television off. Log off of the computer. It is okay to take a break from the news. Do something else instead! The news will still be there when you’re ready to come back to it.
Tip Two: Take the Dog For a Walk
When you’re overwhelmed and stressed out, it’s time to focus on life’s simpler joys. As your South Shore dog walker, let me recommend walking the dog to you. Getting out of the house, into the spring weather, and strolling around the neighborhood with your canine companion is a good way to expend some of the nervous energy generated by traumatic events. Physical exercise produces mood-lifting endorphins, for you and for your dog.
Tip Three: Don’t Try To Bottle Up Your Emotions
Traumatic events can provoke strong emotional reactions. You may feel angry, you may cry, you may feel numb or in shock. It’s important to understand that all emotions are valid and appropriate: there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to feel at this point. However, it is important that you be mindful when you share your emotions with other people. Are they able to cope at this point with your feelings? Don’t forget that talking with your dog or cat is always an alternative: they’re great listeners!
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Photo by Mdk572, Creative Commons
Now, if there’s a big problem facing America right now, it’s definitely the lack of high-quality programming aimed at dogs. Once upon a time, dogs had it good. There was Lassie. There was Rin Tin Tin. For the cartoon-set, there was Scooby Doo and Clifford, the Big Red Dog. But what is today’s sophisticated media hound supposed to sink his teeth into?
Ladies and gentlemen, may we present to you Dog TV?Direct TV has created a station designed specifically to appeal to our canine companions. For $6.00 a month, your dog can watch as much pooch-friendly programming as they’d like.
Now, as your Norwell dog walker, we have to say that our goal is to help your dog be their happiest, healthiest selves. That means getting out from in front of the TV and out for a vigorous, revitalizing walk around the neighborhood!
That being said, we think it’s great to see recognized the fact that dogs have a wide range of health needs. There’s physical health, emotional health, intellectual health, even social health. These are the same types of needs that human beings have. We meet these needs through interacting with other people and our environment. However, our dogs are in the house while we’re at the office – they can’t exactly get out and meet those needs for themselves. The result is that dogs can become depressed, anxious, and generally stressed out.
Dog TV believes that their programming can help dogs meet some of their psychological and social needs. It’s an interesting experiment. What we already know works to promote total canine health is regular vigorous walks and energetic play with other dogs. As your Norwell dog walker, that’s what we provide. Our goal is keeping your dog happy and healthy.
And if they want to watch a little Dog TV after they’ve had their workout? That one is up to Mom and Dad 🙂
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~ Anatole France
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Spring is just around the corner! Even though it’s exciting to finally see color in our yards, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers spring plants and fertilizers pose for pets.
Daffodils (Narcissus spp.) Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and even possible cardiac arrhythmia or respiratory depression. Also, toxins found in the outer layer of the bulbs, similar to hyacinths, can cause severe tissue irritation and drooling.
Tulips (Tulipa spp.) and hyacinth (Hyacinthus spp.) The toxic principle of these plants is very concentrated in the bulbs. When the plant parts or bulbs are chewed or ingested, it can result in tissue irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Typical signs include profuse drooling, vomiting or diarrhea, depending on the amount consumed. Ingestion of large amounts can result in increased heart rate and changes in respiration.
Crocus (Crocus spp. and Colchicum spp.) Ingestion of spring crocus can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhea. Autumn crocus, also known as meadow saffron, is highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and respiratory failure.
Lilies (Lilium spp. and Hemerocallis spp.) Many types of lilies are highly toxic to cats. Even small ingestions (such as the pollen, petals or leaves) can result in kidney failure. The most dangerous, potentially fatal varieties include tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese show lilies. If you see your cat consuming any part of a lily, bring your cat—and the plant—immediately to a veterinarian.
Fertilizers Though most fertilizers are not very toxic (resulting in minor gastrointestinal irritation when consumed), some fertilizers can be fatal if ingested. Use caution with blood meal, bone meal, systemic rose and flower care products, pesticides and iron additives.
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis spp.) Ingestion of lily of the valley causes symptoms similar to foxglove ingestion. These symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, drop in heart rate, severe cardiac arrhythmias and possibly seizures.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested anything harmful, seek immediate veterinary advice. Pet Poison Helpline is available 24/7 at 800-213-6680
References: Lieske CL: Spring-blooming bulbs: A year round problem. Veterinary Medicine 580-588, 2002; Burrows GE, Tyrl, RJ: Toxic plants of North America. Iowa State Press. Ames, IA 2001. Pp. 773-776, 778-780;Poppenga R H: Toxic Household, Garden and Ornamental Plants. Western Veterinary Conference, 2002.
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Did you know that owning a cat can reduce your risk of heart attack by up to one-third? Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute have discovered the positive impact feline companionship has on people includes some serious cardiac benefits. If you have a heart, and you want to keep it healthy, stress management is very important. Here’s how to bring your cat into the picture:
Spending time simply petting your cat can drop your stress level. Researchers have found that blood pressure goes down after only a few minutes spent stroking a cat. It’s good for your cat, too – scientists have found that cats manufacture less of the stress hormone cortisol when they are petted regularly.
Talk Out Loud To Your Cat
If you’re stressing out over a situation, discuss it with your cat. They may not be able to reply to you, but you’ll still feel better. Behavioral researchers have found that vocalizing anxieties and concerns can help bring stress levels down. Ever hear the expression “Get things off your chest?” Talking to your cat is a safe and easy way to do that – and you never have to worry about any secrets being spilled!
What is your cat’s favorite plaything? Most cats love chasing the laser pointer or batting a ball around long after they’ve grown out of kittenhood. When you’re super stressed, take five minutes out to play with the cat. It’s an instant mood booster that can revitalize and refresh your spirit. Neurohumorist Karyn Buxman is a strong advocate for the power of play. “When you spend time doing the things that make you happy, that give you joy, you’ll feel better. Play when you’re stressed out – that’s when you need the power of play the most!” Your cat will be happy too.