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Happy New Year, Pet Parents!

We would love to wish you all a happy and healthy new year!

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4 New Year’s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make

It’s that time of year again – time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and ways to improve your life in the coming year. Sometimes we need a little help deciding which resolutions to make and who better to ask than the person that spends the most time with you – your pet. After all, your daily habits and routine have a direct effect also on the happiness of your pet. So, we did the research and asked pets all around the country – “What New Year’s resolutions do you think your human should make this year?” We discovered that if your dog could choose your New Year’s resolutions, this is what they would be likely to say.

“Get out of the house more often – and take me with you.”

When questioned further, pets (especially the dogs) had a lot of specific suggestions on places that their owners should go. The Dog Park and pet food stores were two of the most popular answers. Go figure.

  • Trips to the Dog Park are mutually beneficial to both you and your dog. It’s great social interaction and exercise for your dog and leaves you with a healthier and happier dog, which is always a plus.

*Of course, the dog park is not for all dogs. Before checking out the dog park, you’ll want to make sure your dog is comfortable around other dogs. Check out this list of Dog Park Safety Tips before you visit.

“Take on a new hobby – one that includes me having fun, too.”

This was another one that was really popular with the dogs that were interviewed. Turns out, humans aren’t the only ones with a passion for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. And did you know that dogs could excel at paddle boarding? Apparently it’s a new thing.

  • Enjoying various hobbies with your pet can really strengthen the bond that you share, and the exercise that comes along with it is mutually beneficial for both of you.

“Let loose and get frisky every once in a while.”

Now, we heard this one from the majority of the cats that were part of our research. They kept talking about how it’s not necessary to be so serious all the time, and how it’s important to let loose and have a little fun. During the interviews with most of the cats, we kept getting the distinct feeling that the cats were actually talking about themselves rather than their owners. Typical cat behavior. The mention of catnip on multiple occasions was a dead giveaway.

  • Cats can come off as being very serious and low energy a lot of the time, but it is important to still exercise their active and frisky side on a regular basis as exercise is beneficial to all of our pets. One of our favorite ways of doing this is with catnip or the ever famous red laser light. Almost all cats have a wild side and deep down they are dying for you to bring it out.

“Include a 30 minute walk in your daily routine – and bring me along.”

This was a popular answer, obviously among dogs, but we were surprised with how many cats were craving a daily walk. We suspect this may be the culprit of some of the bitter feelings toward the family dog.

  • Did you know that cats can also enjoy joining you on your daily walk? They can even be trained to wear a harness and leash to do it safely.
  • Regardless, adding a daily walk to both your routine as well as your pet’s routine can make a huge difference in yours and your pet’s overall health.

Now that you have a little bit of insight into your pet’s brain, thanks to our dedicated research, what are your New Year’s resolutions going to be this year? Here’s to wishing for a happier and healthier coming year for both you and your pet!

How to Keep Pets Safe at the Holidays and During the Cold Months Ahead

Dropping temperatures often means you and your pets may find yourselves indoors more than usual. The month of December can also present unique challenges for young or “new to you” pets in terms of schedule changes and holiday decorations.

With the first day of Winter approaching (Dec. 22) it’s also “Keep Pets Safe in Winter Day.” It’s a reminder to us of the hazards of the season.

You may think of the usual outdoor concerns such as making sure your pets steer clear of antifreeze and chemical de-icers – more on those in a minute – yet the indoor arena presents its own challenges.

Cords, Gift Wrapping and Tinsel – It Must Be the Holidays!

If you have older pets who have been with you through multiple holiday seasons, they may snooze through the gift wrapping and guests with barely a raised eyebrow.

On the other hand, if you have young pets, or even “new to you” pets, you’ll want to take precautions as you see how they behave.

Christmas Trees – Talk about excitement and confusion. You’re bringing a tree inside and hang it with shiny objects that swing about when batted. It smells good, it’s unusual and you’re giving it a lot of attention.

All of that makes it of interest to some pets. That interest may range from kittens batting ornaments off of it to jumping into the tree. Dogs may be delighted that you’ve brought them indoor plumbing.

Only they know what goes on in their minds.

Until you know your pet’s reactions, here are a few precautions.

  • Leave low branches empty — Don’t hang ornaments on low branches where they may tempt your furry friends to chew on them or knock them onto the floor. Delicate ornaments can break and cut your curious pets.
  • Don’t leave them unattended – Make sure your pets can’t access the tree easily when you’re not home. I’m sure you’ve heard of at least one story of a pet knocking over a Christmas tree. Or dogs who’ve chosen to forget their indoor manners – if you know what I mean.
  • Don’t use tinsel in your decorations. Animals who chew on tinsel can end up at the emergency vet. Why? Because the strands can twist around their internal organs and cause major damage. It’s not worth the risk.

Other Potential Indoor Hazards

  • Open flames from candles – keep them out of the way of wagging tails and curious kittens. It only takes a second for a disaster to occur.
  • Extension cords or electric throws/blankets – Chewing electric cords can electrocute your pet. Veterinarians say it’s quite common so please make sure your pet doesn’t have access to these.
  • Space heaters – Pets get too close and get burned. It’s also easy to knock over space heaters which can even start a fire. Use them with caution and only when you’re home.

Brrr…It’s Cold Outside

When the temperatures settle in the low ‘30’s or below, there are dangers of the elements for both humans and pets. Earlier I mentioned the dangers of antifreeze and chemical de-icers.

You may be familiar with these but in case you’re not, it’s important to realize the hazards.

  • Antifreeze is a magnet for pets. They like the taste of it and it’s poisonous. So make sure that the lids are on tight and out of reach of curious pets. It’s also important to clean up any antifreeze that may spill or leak from your car as it doesn’t take much of the stuff to trigger a reaction – especially in small animals.
  • Paw Pads take a beating. They’re exposed to the elements outside which means snow and ice crystals can lodge themselves deep in the nooks and crannies of your pet’s paws. So can chemical de-icers which you or your neighbors may use to keep your steps, driveway and sidewalk clear of ice.

The de-icers themselves are usually made of calcium chloride (a form of salt) which can burn your pet’s paws – and mouth when they lick their paws clean.

Your best protection is to use a combination of dog boots and to rinse off your dog’s legs and underbelly (if your pet has long fur) when you come in from outside. A towel, a brush and a pan of warm water (for legs/paws) will help keep your pet clean and free of harsh chemicals. It won’t, however, prevent your pet‘s paws from dryness.  For combating dry and flaky paw pads, a pet safe moisturizing balm is useful.

  • Dog Coats and sweaters benefit short haired dogs. Short haired dogs don’t have the extra fur of winter breeds to keep themselves warm so they’re at a disadvantage. Sweaters and dog coats come in all sizes. Even your Mastiff can stop shivering and stay warm in the winter with an extra layer.
  • Be Visible – The winter darkness puts you and your dog at risk when you’re walking. Use a reflective leash or winter clothes with reflective stripes to stay visible to cars, bikers and other pedestrians.

In extreme temperatures, frostbite and hypothermia can affect your pets. In such weather, your best bet is to protect paws with dog booties and keep walks short.

How will you protect your pets this winter?

National Mutt Day

In 2005, pet advocate Colleen Paige wanted to raise awareness of shelter animals in the hopes that shining a light on their plight would encourage dog lovers to adopt. Thus was born National Mutt Day celebrated on July 31st and Dec. 2 each year.

Ah mutts. It’s become an endearing term for all those pups of “mixed heritage.” The lab mix, the German shepherd mix, the “Heinz 57” and so on, there are millions of dogs who get picked up or left at shelters all over the country every year. These dogs have a lot of love to give.

If you have a mutt of your own, you can share your mutt’s photo on our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feed with #NationalMuttDay on Dec. 2. If you don’t have a mutt to call your own, you may be thinking of getting one. After all, mutts are cute and they’re grateful. Imagine your pup looking up at you with those soulful eyes full of gratitude. Are you melting yet? In this season of thanks, don’t forget the mutts.

Considering Adoption?

Good for you! There are great pets to be had at the shelters. However, if you’re considering making one a permanent resident at your address, you’ll want to keep your head about you when you visit.

  • First, be proactive in your pup selection. It’s exciting to go to the shelter and visit with all the wagging tails but don’t take home the first cutie you see. Talk with the staff and find out what they know about the dog’s temperament. You want to make sure you’re going to get a good fit.
  • Be honest with yourself about your lifestyle. If you work long hours, a puppy or very active dog isn’t your best choice. An older, more calm dog will be a better fit. There’s nothing like puppy messes all over your living room floor just moments before your in-laws descend for the holidays to make things real.
  • Other pets? If you have other dogs or cats, you’ll want to know if the dog in question will get along with your current furry companions.  Some dogs are better as only pets while others will be thrilled to have company. The shelter staff can probably give you a good idea.

Not adopting?

You can still celebrate National Mutt Day. Just share pics of your favorite mutt with #NationalMuttDay on social media.

Better yet, you can help your local shelter get their mutts adopted. Just finding their pages and share their prospective adoptees with your friends and family. The more people who share these pages, the more likely it is that someone will find their perfect canine companion online.

Happy National Mutt Day!

Wellness TruFood Thanksgiving Twitter Chat Recap

This year, we wanted to make sure that pet parents would be ready to include their furry family members in the Thanksgiving holiday feast. To do this, we recently hosted a Twitter Chat with Wellness veterinarian, Dr. Louise, DVM. During our 1-hour-long chat, we talked about ways to include healthy superfood ingredients in your pets meals with our Wellness TruFood line for dogs and cats. Take a look at how it went!

In preparation for the Thanksgiving season, as well as the Twitter Chat, we worked on a TruFood photoshoot to capture the delicious, nutrient-rich ingredients up close. We were joined by Wellness dog, Dakota, who was not shy with digging into her holiday plate and showing us all how tasty it was. Check out these behind-the-scenes “blooper” shots!

And now, the final product:

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our Twitter Chat, and we’d like to congratulate winner @rooneyanddesi who won a year’s supply of Wellness TruFood for participating!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

The Purrfect Howl-O-Ween

Pumpkins, scarecrows and goblins, oh my! Halloween is upon us and this holiday is one that is fun for everyone – including our four-legged friends! Pet owners all across America look forward to this holiday and many spend hours upon hours picking out the perfect costume for their pets. How do you celebrate Halloween with your pet? We’ve got some tips on how to have a fun and safe Halloween with your pet!

The Costume Factor

If you have a pet that doesn’t mind suiting up in a festive Halloween costume, then you should consider yourself lucky! Not all pets will be jumping at the chance to wear a costume, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t force your pet to wear something that they aren’t comfortable in. Your pet can participate in the festivities simply by wearing a fun Halloween bandana. Be sure to consider safety issues when choosing a costume for your pet. Your pet should be completely comfortable in their costume.

Trick or Treating

Whether you are going out trick or treating or staying home to give out candy, keep your pet’s safety in mind!

  • If you bring your pet along for trick or treating, make sure they are on a leash the entire time.
  • If it’s dark outside, your pet should be wearing some type of reflective gear so that they are noticeable to all drivers.
  • Don’t let your pet leave home without their ID tag – you never know when they could get away from you.
  • While at home giving out candy, take extra precautions to make sure your pet doesn’t slip out of the door when trick or treaters arrive. If your pet is known to be an escape artists, it’s probably best to keep them in a secure area during this time.

Speaking of Treats…

What’s the first thing you think of when it comes to Halloween? Candy! Dentists everywhere cringe at the thought of what their patients are indulging in on this particular holiday. While candy isn’t really good for anyone, it can be even more harmful to our pets.

  • Keep all Halloween candy in a safe place where your pets cannot get to it. There are some candies that can be fatal to your pet, especially in large doses.
  • That doesn’t mean that your pet can’t have any treats on Halloween! Pick up some special Halloween treats for your pet so they don’t feel left out while everyone else indulges in their favorite candy.

Community Events
There are always some fun events going on in the community during Halloween, and some events are even catered specifically to our furry friends! These events are a great chance to get your pets out and allow them to socialize.
  • Pet Parades: We love a good pet parade! Whether your pet is dressed in full costume or simply sporting a spooky bandana, pet parades are a fun way for your furry friends to get some good exercise and socialize with other pets.
  • Costume Contests: What could possibly be better than a bunch of adorable dogs (and cats) dressed in funky Halloween costumes? If your community is hosting one of these events, you certainly don’t want to miss out! Your pet doesn’t have to be dressed up to get in on the fun! Again, if you take your pet out to any events in your community, keep their safety in mind. Make sure they are on a leash and they are wearing proper identification at all times.
Halloween can be such a fun holiday for the whole family, but it can also be a nightmare if you aren’t looking out for your pet’s safety. Take these tips into consideration and you and your pet are sure to have the “Purrfect Howl-o-Ween!

· Be sure to consider safety issues when choosing a costume for your pet. Your pet should be completely comfortable in their costume.

5 Things Your Cat Wants to Say to You

Calling all cat lovers! October 29th is National Cat Day and we couldn’t possibly be more excited to celebrate.  Their quirky and loving ways are unlike the characteristics of any other pet that you may have. Cat lovers know that the presence of a cat in their life is irreplaceable by any other pet. Well, in celebration of National Cat Day, we’re taking a stab at interpreting the complex minds of our furry cat friends and letting you in on some things that your cat has been dying to tell you – if your cat could talk, these are some things that he might say.

“I love you, but I need my space.”

If there is one thing that we know about cats, it’s that they are far less needy than the other pets in the house. They don’t need the constant attention and affections that some pets (ahem, dogs) sometimes need. There are some moments in which they love nothing more than to be curled up right beside you on the couch, and other moments in which they disappear into one of their secret spots and prefer not to be bothered (or found).

“Excuse me, the litter box isn’t going to clean itself.”

I mean, our cats do us the honorable service of basically training themselves to use the bathroom in the appropriate place, without any help from us. So, the least that we can do is keep their litter box clean so that they can continue to make our lives easier. Trust us, there are consequences for not keeping the litter box clean, but the fault will be all your own.

“The dog can stay, but don’t tell him I said that.”

Cats may not want to admit it, but they have a love/hate relationship with the dog of the house. They may act like the dog is the pain of their existence, but there is a love that exists between them deep down. Now, there are exceptions to every rule and sometimes the two pets simply cannot coexist together, but sometimes we think that it’s all just an act. We would be willing to bet that when no one is at home, Fido and Garfield are taking cozy naps together.

“Cats like treats too, you know.”

We’ve all been guilty of it – we go to the store and buy dog treats in five different recipes, but we don’t even venture over to the area where the cat treats are located. I mean, are cat treats even a thing? Well, our cats are here to tell us – yes, cat treats are most definitely a thing. In fact, Wellness offers cat treats in all different recipes and varieties, so give your cat something to purr about and surprise them with a brand new bag of delicious treats. No wonder cats have so much built up resentment towards dogs, right?

“Are you kidding me with that red laser light?!”

Now this is a game that we all have likely played with our cats. The ole laser light on the wall game. This game will send your cat into a complete focused frenzy where all they can think about is capturing that evil red light and destroying everything in their path while doing it. It’s hard to really tell, do our cats love this game or do they hate it? I guess we will never know, but the exercise has got to be good for them, right? So, grab some catnip and a laser light and make sure someone is ready with a camera – this is going to be good.

How to Spoil Your Cat on National Cat Day

Does your cat rule your life? If so, National Cat Day gives you a perfect excuse to spoil your cat even more – not that you need one. Go ahead and fill your Instagram with a photo shoot of your favorite kitty without shame.

Of course, your kitty would like you to show appreciation in real life. For example, does your kitty like games? There are lots of ways you can help your feline stay mentally stimulated.

Laser pointer – This is an old favorite. Point the laser pointer at a spot on the floor and let it catch your cat’s eye. Move it slowly across the floor and Fluffy will do her best stalking tiger impression. Once she’s fully engaged, you can pick up the speed and eventually move the laser all over the room. If your kitty enjoys this, she’ll get a good workout.

String on a stick – This classic cat toy requires you to tease Fluffy with the string or feathers and then, pull them away. By holding the stick, you maintain control (and can save your fingers from outstretched – and excited – claws.)

Catnip stuffed mice – Roughly 50% of cats feel the effects of catnip. That is to say, they smell the stuff and go into a wild state of ecstasy. If your cat is one of them, you may witness kitty rolling around on the floor as if in the throes of a delicious dream upon sniffing the herb.

You can pick up fabric mice stuffed with this member of the mint family and give it to your cat. If you DON’T see her overcome with the happiness response you expect, maybe your cat is immune to the virtues of catnip.

Your feline may also be given to sedate joys like:

Belly rubs – When your kitty stretches out and rolls over exposing the belly, she’s asking for a belly rub. Give that kitty belly a rub.

Or, you could always get kitty a new collar and make sure she has an updated ID tag. In case she gets out of the house it’s good to have I.D.

There are many ways to spoil your favorite feline.

Of course, the real reason National Cat Day (October 29) exists is to encourage adoption. Pet adoption champion Colleen Paige started the day to remind people that the shelters are overcrowded with pets who need homes.

There’s even a new trend you may have heard about. A cat café.

What’s a Cat Café?

Unlike taking your dog to lunch at a sidewalk café, a cat café is a way to introduce adoptable cats to diners. The idea is that if you take the cats out of the shelter environment and give them a safe place to play, they’ll relax and their personalities will come out.

Cat café’s are popular in Japan and Germany and there are many in the works in the States. However, the U.S. health codes here have so far prevented them from opening – something about mixing cats and food – so while they’re working out the details, if you want to adopt a kitty, the shelters are still your best option.

How will you celebrate National Cat Day?

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National Dog Week

So, let’s be honest here – for all of the fellow dog lovers out there, EVERY week is Dog Week.  There isn’t a week that goes by that we don’t celebrate the love that we have for our four-legged friends. However, some super clever person out there decided that it was time to go NATIONAL with our love for dogs, so the last week in September is now deemed National Dog Week, and that sounds like a perfectly good reason to celebrate our furry friends! Let’s talk about some ways that you can celebrate with your dog.

10 Ways to Celebrate National Dog Week

  1. Take a hike. Chances are, your dog drools over adventure! Plan a hiking adventure for you and your dog to enjoy together – research local state parks and make sure they are pet friendly. Your dog will love the new scenery and you’ll both be glad that you went!
  2. Start a new training activity. Whether obedience, Agility, Flyball, or playing Frisbee, there are a lot of benefits that come along with these kinds of activities – for you and your dog! Teaching your dog something new is a great way to give your dog the mental stimulation and physical exercise that they need.
  3. Start a blog or social media account. Why not share your dog’s life with the world, using stories and pictures? I can guarantee you that people will love it! What’s even better is that you will always have special moments of your dog’s life documented somewhere, and you are sure to enjoy looking back and reliving those memories in the years to come.
  4. Volunteer at a rescue or shelter. This is a great and important way for dog lovers to give back to their community. Animal shelters are always in need of a helping hand and it can be very rewarding knowing that you are helping other dogs in need, even if it’s just taking them on a walk once a week.
  5. Arrange a playdate. Do you have neighbors or friends with dogs? If you know that they play well with other dogs, playdates are always a fun idea. Not only is it great for your dog to socially interact with other dogs, but a good backyard romp with another furry friend is also great exercise for your dog.
  6. Join a dog walking group. Chances are, your community offers local groups of like-minded dog lovers that get together for weekly group dog walks. This is a great way for your dog to get social interaction and also a way for you to meet people in the area that share your love for dogs. Dog lovers unite!
  7. Schedule a health check. OK, so this may not be your dog’s favorite thing to do, but it is one of the most important things that you can do for your dog. Life gets busy sometimes and time slips away from us – this is a good week to schedule a health check up with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog’s health is in check.
  8. Adopt a dog. Adopting a dog is not a decision to be made lightly. It is important to give plenty of thought and consideration to bringing a new dog into your home. If you have been considering getting a dog for some time, this would be the perfect week to save the life of a dog at one of the local shelters in your community.
  9. Share the love. Share the love that you have for your dog this week. Post a tribute on social media with pictures and thoughts expressing how much joy your dog has brought into your life. You never know, you may inspire someone else to adopt a dog of their own!
  10. Hug your dog. Give your dog some extra love and affection this week – or better yet, give them extra love and affection EVERY week!

Are you ready to celebrate National Dog Week now? We all love our dogs every day of the year, but try this week to step out of your routine and show your dog how much you love them in an extraordinary way. Happy National Dog Week, fellow dog lovers!

Take a hike.* Chances are, your dog drools over adventure! Plan a hiking adventure for you and your dog to enjoy together – research local state parks and make sure they are pet friendly. Your dog will love the new scenery and you’ll both be glad that you went!
Start a new training activity. * Whether obedience, Agility, Flyball, or playing Frisbee, there are a lot of benefits that come along with these kinds of activities – for you and your dog! Teaching your dog something new is a great way to give your dog the mental stimulation and physical exercise that they need.
Start a blog.  * Why not share your dog’s life with the world, using stories and pictures? I can guarantee you that people will love it! What’s even better is that you will always have special moments of your dog’s life documented somewhere, and you are sure to enjoy looking back and reliving those memories in the years to come.
Volunteer at a rescue or shelter. * This is a great and important way for dog lovers to give back to their community. Animal shelters are always in need of a helping hand and it can be very rewarding knowing that you are helping other dogs in need, even if it’s just taking them on a walk once a week.
Arrange a playdate.  * Do you have neighbors or friends with dogs? If you know that they play well with other dogs, playdates are always a fun idea. Not only is it great for your dog to socially interact with other dogs, but a good backyard romp with another furry friend is also great exercise for your dog.
Join a dog walking group. * Chances are, your community offers local groups of like-minded dog lovers that get together for weekly group dog walks. This is a great way for your dog to get social interaction and also a way for you to meet people in the area that share your love for dogs. Dog lovers unite!
Schedule a health check.  * OK, so this may not be your dog’s favorite thing to do, but it is one of the most important things that you can do for your dog. Life gets busy sometimes and time slips away from us – this is a good week to schedule a health check up with your veterinarian to make sure that your dog’s health is in check.
Adopt a dog. *Adopting a dog is not a decision to be made lightly. It is important to give plenty of thought and consideration to bringing a new dog into your home. If you have been considering getting a dog for some time, this would be the perfect week to save the life of a dog at one of the local shelters in your community.
Share the love. * Share the love that you have for your dog this week. Post a tribute on social media with pictures and thoughts expressing how much joy your dog has brought into your life. You never know, you may inspire someone else to adopt a dog of their own!
Hug your dog.* Give your dog some extra love and affection this week – or better yet, give them extra love and affection EVERY wee