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How to Love Your Dog: Tips, Tricks and Must-Knows

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.
Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.
Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
Dog-friendly Outings : Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy (back and forth a few thousand times), play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.
Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.
Food : Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dog’s don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables, not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
Grooming : Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
Vet Care – Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.
The Special Treatment – Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.
Dog Massage – Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
Treats – Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s really nothing better than a dog. A true friend and companion, a trickster, a playmate, and often the life of the party, what would our lives be without our four-legged friends? The famous humorist Will Rogers once said, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Dogs live to love us, so here’s a few ways to return that love and show your best friend how much they mean to you.

Hanging Out with Your Buddy – Every day you have your routine, and it undoubtedly includes time spent away from home – at work, running errands or just living your life. But don’t forget that you have a buddy at home whose whole life revolves around you. Of course you can’t be with your dog all day, but it’s important to make time to hang out with your dog every day.

  • Walks and Runs: Every dog breed needs daily exercise, but do a little research on your pooch and make sure he is getting enough physical fitness every day. You’re not only assuring your dog’s health, but you’re showing him that he’s important enough to show off. And remember that it’s his time to enjoy the outdoors, so be patient when he stops to smell the flowers.
  • Dog-friendly Outings: Pet-friendly activities are popping up all over, so take a little time to research dog-friendly spots in your neighborhood and town. Many outdoor restaurants and more shops than ever are not only allowing you, but inviting you to bring your dog along for the fun. Call ahead to make sure, or check out Bring Fido, a great online search tool that highlights the best in dog-friendly spots, complete with user reviews and pictures.
  • At Home: Long day at work or just feeling like keeping it local? Don’t forget that even if you’ve had a busy day, your dog has been busy waiting for you to come home, so don’t forget to give him some attention. Throw a favorite toy, play a game of hide and seek, or set up a doggy treat hunt in your home.

Taking Care – You watch what you eat, have good hygiene and have regular checkups with your doctor, so why wouldn’t you want the same for your dog? One of the best ways to love your dog? Making responsible choices when it comes to their everyday health.

  • Food: Your dog’s diet can determine not only the longevity of his life, but also the quality. Dogs don’t judge their food in calories or health benefits, so it’s up to you  to make good choices with what to put in his bowl. Read the bag, check the ingredients, do your homework, because don’t you want to have your best friend around as long as you can? You want a food that has real meat, fruits and vegetables; not fillers, and the artificial flavors or colors have to go. Choose a diet suitable for your dog’s breed and stage of life; Wellness Pet Food makes it easy to make the right choice for your dog.
  • Grooming: Can you imagine what your hair would look like if you didn’t brush it for months and you only got a haircut every couple of years? Or what if you never trimmed your fingernails or brushed your teeth? If you wouldn’t neglect your own hygiene, why would you neglect your dogs? Not only does poor grooming cause your pet discomfort, but some factors, like not regular teeth-brushing, can pose serious risks to his health.
  • Vet Care: Regular veterinary care for your dog is part of being a responsible owner, and this includes two exams a year at the minimum. Stay up to date on vaccinations (most importantly for distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and rabies) and visit the vet if your buddy is injured or shows lingering signs of sickness.

The Special Treatment - Hopefully you have lots of opportunities to show your dog a special reward; he didn’t chase the mailman at lunch, or you left your brand new shoes out all night and not a chew mark to be seen, or maybe it’s your dog’s birthday. Whatever the reason for celebration, here are some ways to give your buddy the special treatment.

  • Dog Massage: Sure, that can sound a little strange at first, but dogs, especially dogs with more than a few years under their collars, can reap the benefits of a good massage. Massage can be calming in times of anxiety, relieve joint stiffness in arthritic dogs, or even provide a warm-up for athletic dogs before play. This article in Modern Dog Magazine has some great tips on how to give the right kind of massage for your dog’s health.
  • Treats: Treats are often the go-to choice for rewarding your dog, but if you truly love your pooch, you will only give treats with the right ingredients and offer these kind of tasty rewards in moderation. Choose the right dog treats, tailored to your buddy’s diet and health needs, and save treats for times of excellent behavior, not to be given as a ‘guilt treat’ for when you have to leave the house.

There’s a saying that goes, “Dogs may not be our whole lives, but they do make our lives whole.” Dogs spend their waking moments vying for our attention and hoping to show us how much we are loved. Take time for your dog today and show him just how lucky you feel to have him in your life. Make your pet be happy, healthy and well.

Happy National Mutt Day!

Embrace your favorite mutt! Whether long-haired with pointy ears or short furred with a stub of a tail, mutts nuzzle their way into our hearts as much as any pure bred pooch.
Pet expert and advocate Colleen Paige created Mutt’s Day as a biannual event (July 31 and Dec. 2) to recognize the lovable mutts waiting for their forever homes at crowded animal shelters around the country.
Every year, thousands of animals are euthanized due to overpopulation and she wanted to do something about it. In 2005, she founded Mutt’s Day as a day to recognize those animals and raise awareness to the problem of overpopulation.
What Can You Do?
Consider adoption instead of buying your next pet and donate time and/or dollars to a local animal shelter.
Get your pet spayed or neutered for population control.
Donate old towels and bed linens to a shelter.  The animals will appreciate having a soft bed to lie on.
If you can, volunteer at the animal shelter. You can walk dogs, foster pups or maybe help organize events like a Mutt Day Celebration!
Benefit of Mutts
In addition to the good feelings that come with knowing you’ve saved a life, mixed breeds have an advantage over pure bred pooches.  Studies show they often live longer, healthier lives thanks to a lack of inbreeding.
They’re devoted. Some people even say rescues are extra grateful to their pet parents, as if they know they were saved. And, maybe they do.
Celebrate Your Mixed Mutt
Whether you call them “mix”, “mutt” or “Heinz 57”,  these dogs deserve loving homes where their biggest concern is which patch of sun to lie in.
Why not take your favorite mutt for an extra-long walk in honor of Mutt’s Day? Maybe even sneak in some extra cuddle time and a special treat.
Long live mutts!
Who’s your favorite mixed breed? We’d love to hear about him/her in the comments below.

Embrace your favorite mutt! Whether long-haired with pointy ears or short-furred with a stub of a tail, mutts nuzzle their way into our hearts as much as any purebred pooch.

Pet expert and advocate Colleen Paige created National Mutt Day as a biannual event (July 31 and Dec. 2) to recognize the lovable mutts waiting for their forever homes at crowded animal shelters around the country.

Every year, thousands of animals are euthanized due to overpopulation and she wanted to do something about it. In 2005, she founded National Mutt Day as a day to recognize those animals and raise awareness to the problem of pet overpopulation.

Browse adoptable dogs like Gatsby here

Click the photo to view adoptable dogs like Gatsby

What Can You Do?

Consider adoption instead of buying your next pet and donate time and/or dollars to a local animal shelter.

Get your pet spayed or neutered to help prevent pet overpopulation.

Donate old towels and bed linens to an animal shelter.  The animals will appreciate having a soft bed to lie on.

If you can, volunteer at the animal shelter. You can walk dogs, foster pups or maybe help organize events like a Mutt Day Celebration!

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Henry.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Henry.

Benefit of Mutts

-In addition to the good feelings that come with knowing you’ve saved a life, mixed breed dogs have an advantage over purebred pooches.  Studies show they can often live longer, healthier lives.

-They’re devoted. Many people believe that rescues are extra grateful to their pet parents, as if they know they were saved. And, maybe they do.

Celebrate Your Mixed Mutt

Whether you call them “mix”, “mutt” or “Heinz 57”,  these dogs each deserve a  loving home where their biggest concern is which patch of sun to lie in.

Why not take your favorite mutt for an extra-long walk in honor of Mutt’s Day? Maybe even sneak in some extra cuddle time and a special treat.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Tower.

Click the image to view adoptable dogs like Tower.

Long live mutts!

Is your pet a mutt? Share your photos on our Facebook page!

10 Summer Fun Ideas for You and Your Dog

Ah, the lazy days of summer are here. Why not make some fun summer memories with your pooch?

Here are 10 fun ideas for you.

1— Go for a long walk early – Whether you like to hike or simply stroll the city streets with your pet, take him or her out for an extra-long walk.  Just make sure you do it early before it gets too hot. You’ll both benefit from the increased exercise.

2- Pack a picnic (for both of you) - Take your dog to a relaxing outdoor setting and enjoy a meal together.

3Freeze a bandanna—Soak a bandanna in cold water and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours. On really hot days, you can tie it around your dog’s neck to help him cool down. This can help keep your pet safe on stifling summer days.

4— Hold a photo session—Whether it’s in your backyard or at a local park, get your pup posing for fun memories. If you really want to take it up a notch, hire a professional pet photographer.

5—Take your pet to the pet store—Let her pick out a new toy. Does your dog prefer chasing balls or destroying stuffed animals? Show her a couple of toys and let her choose.

6—Take your dog on vacation – Beach or mountains? No matter which you prefer, there are tons of pet-friendly options to choose from these days. Just make sure to make a reservation since it’s a busy time of year.

7— Try a dog activity you’ve never done – Dog Agility Courses or Canine Freestyle (dancing with your dog) are fun options.  Who knows, you might find a new hobby!

8–  Hunt for buried treasure –Geocaching is a fun activity where you use a GPS to locate hidden treasures near you.

9-Sprinkler fun – Set up a sprinkler on a hot day and watch your dog go wild with excitement.

10- Host a backyard pawty. Do you have a fenced in yard? If so, invite a few friends and their canine pals. Plan a few games like “Find the Treat” where you hide treats around the yard. You could even set up a simple obstacle course with a few cement blocks and boards for something to jump over. Add a wading pool at the end for water-loving pooches to cool off.

So there you, 10 fun ideas for you and your dog.  Which will you do this summer?

Ask Wellness: July 2014

Q. What is the best Wellness food to feed a 6-yr-old Portuguese Water Dog who needs to lose weight? What supplements might I try for joint health?

A. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight is a good choice for helping your dog lose weight, in addition to regular exercise. It has fewer calories per cup than other Wellness Complete Health recipes, and offers increased levels of fiber to help satisfy appetite. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.

Before you start a weight loss plan with your dog, you may want to check in with your veterinarian. It’s best to take an initial weight and develop a goal. You can begin feeding according to the feeding guide on the bag (or alter based on veterinarian recommendation) and weigh your pet each week. If your pet is not losing weight, reduce the amount fed each day. If your pet losing weight at a rate greater than 2% per week, increase the amount fed to avoid losing too much too quickly.

Regular, daily exercise is essential in order to maintain weight loss. In addition, exercise keeps the muscles toned which also supports the joints and reduces discomfort. To ease your dog into regular exercise, avoid activities that are overly strenuous. A daily walk is a great form of exercise.

Wellness Adopt a Cat Month Giveaway & Donation

It’s National Adopt a Cat Month! You can read more about cat adoption here. In honor of this special month, we’re hosting a giveaway and donation to an animal welfare organization. To enter, simply comment on this Wellness Natural Pet Food Facebook Post and share your cat adoption story. On June 30th we’ll be announcing a winner who will receive a Wellness Cat Prize Pack! In addition to receiving a prize pack, Wellness will make a donation of $250 to the animal charity of the winner’s choice. This is a great opportunity to spread the word about pet adoption and to help raise money for an organization that you’re passionate about.

Comment here to enter!

How to Prepare for Take Your Dog to Work Day- June 20th

Some workplaces are doggie-friendly year round while others wait for the annual event to make pooches welcome in the office. Here at Wellness, we’re lucky enough to get to bring our dogs to the office once a month. But one of our favorite office holidays is National Take Your Dog to Work Day which takes place this year on Friday, June 20. On this day, we offer special services for spoiled pooches such as doggie massage and grooming. Plus, if the weather is nice we spend plenty of time outside with our pups, letting them meet and greet with each other, play fetch, and explore the lovely office grounds.

If you’d like your pooch to participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 20st, these are some things to consider:

1)      Make sure your workplace is participating. Talk with your supervisor and co-workers to make sure everyone’s onboard before you show up with Max. Some offices will want to see proof of vaccinations or may have other paperwork for you to fill out ahead of time.

2)      The temperament of your pet. Some dogs (and workplaces) are better-suited than others. For example, if your dog is aggressive toward strangers, or gets intimidated and overwhelmed by other dogs, you may want to leave him at home. On the other hand, if your dog likes meeting new people and dogs it should be a good match. What about your dog’s energy level? Depending on what type of workload you have, it may not be best to bring your pup into the office if he’ll be pacing all day and yearning to get outside.

Once you have the OK:

3)      Doggie-proof your workspace. Your dog might want to chew on hanging cords or mistake that stack of files for a bathroom location. Spend a few minutes relocating plants and cleaning up books, papers, stray markers and anything else that may look tempting. It’s also a great idea to bring a baby or pet gate along with you to keep at the entrance of your office/cube while your pup is there.

4)      Give your dog a bath or have him groomed a day or two beforehand. A clean dog is always appreciated, and will look extra charming in those office photos!

5)      Bring bowls, food and treats. Your dog will get hungry, just like you. Plus, treats can be a good motivator to reclaim your pet’s attention if he’s excited.

6)      Bring a towel or your pet’s favorite dog bed. This will cue her to settle in and relax.

Allow a few extra minutes at the start of the work day to allow your dog to smell the surroundings and get comfortable with the environment. Put out a bowl of fresh water, arrange your dog bed and let your co-workers greet your pet. Once the initial excitement is over and everyone settles down, your dog should too.

Studies show dog-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, enhance employee interactions and boost morale.

Here are some fond memories of past Take Your Dog to Work Days at WellPet—enjoy!:

Ask Wellness: June 2014

Q. I have our puppy on Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula. She is a  6-month-old Shih Tzu who’s doing great on this food. What do you recommend to put her on as an adult and when?

A. The Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula is an ideal grain free recipe for a small breed puppy and should work well until your puppy turns one.  At that time you might want to consider switching to the  Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Adult recipe which has the same basic proteins and fat as the puppy diet. Usually adults don’t need as many calories as pups, so the Small Breed Adult has less fat and therefore less calories to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass.

Celebrate Adopt a Cat Month

June is Adopt a Cat Month. If you’ve been thinking of adopting a new kitty, June is a good time to choose from frisky kittens to older, more relaxed cats.

Shelter cats are often well socialized because they’re around other animals and the staff. They’re used to being handled and petted which can translate into being good housecats.

Photo credit: Sun Sentinel

Photo credit: Sun Sentinel

Are you open to adopting a cat with special needs? Sometimes, all that means is that kitty needs a dose of medicine in the morning, a special food or a little extra attention. Your new kitty may have a broken tail or may be missing an eye, but he’ll love you just the same! To ensure a good match when choosing your cat, focus on personality rather than looks. Before you go into the shelter, take a moment to think about what type of cat may fit your lifestyle. Are you looking for a high-energy, playful young cat, or a middle-aged snuggle-bug? Which cats do you “click” with? Oftentimes, you’ll find that you don’t pick a cat, your cat picks you.

How a One-Eyed Cat Found a “Forever” Home

The white cat had been adopted and returned to the shelter twice. It seems cleaning out his eye was too unsavory for many people. The cat reached out to a passing man who stopped to investigate and asked the shelter staff if he could hold him. After multiple visits, he and his girlfriend decided to adopt the pirate kitty who’s grown into a sweet belly rub lover.

A Military Deployment Leads to a New Home

In another instance, a woman adopted “Kirby”, then found out she was being deployed. Heartbroken, she felt she had no choice but to return Kirby knowing she’d be gone for months. A family of four met Kirby at the shelter shortly after she returned him and fell in love. Now the kitty joins two dogs and another cat to make a happy home.

Some towns have special “cat only” shelters with a variety of available kitties. The staff at these shelters are especially well-versed in all things cat. Of course, no matter the pet shelter, the staff will take care to make a good match. They’ll ask you questions and help you choose a cat with the right temperament to fit into your household.

What’s your inspiring cat adoption tale? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook Page.

Celebrate National Specially-Abled Pets Day

National Specially-Abled Pets Day is on May 3. It’s a day to honor the amazing pets who’ve braved challenges such blindness, deafness and paralysis, and to bring awareness to the specially-abled pets in need of loving homes.

If you’re thinking of adopting, a specially-abled pet may be the perfect fit for you.  Sadly, specially-abled pets are often overlooked at the shelter based on the assumption that they’ll require too much care, but so many of these pets have a lot of love to give and an opportunity for a happy life with their new pet parent.

Thinking of Adopting a Specially-Abled Pet? Here’s What You Need to Know

The key is to ask questions before you adopt. Find out if the pet needs special medication or surgery or has other ongoing medical expenses. For example, if the condition is expected to worsen and require expensive medical treatment, you’d want to know this so you can be prepared.

You’ll also want to learn what type of “pet-proofing” you’ll need to do before bringing home your new pet. For example, a dog in a wheelchair will need ramps to get up stairs. A blind dog may need gates to block off stairs and prevent falls.

Can They Play?

If you’re considering adopting a dog in a wheelchair, you might wonder how they get around and if they do the things “regular” dogs do like go for walks and play fetch. The answer is “Yes!” Dogs in wheelchairs will love going for walks, playing with other dogs and chase balls as much as any dog.

Likewise, blind or deaf dogs can enjoy runs and even agility training just as much as dogs with great vision. With their strong sense of smell, dogs quickly “map” their landscape and learn where the obstacles are and how to navigate them. Blind dogs can learn certain commands like “step up” to help them maneuver in the world while deaf dogs can learn hand signals.

Specially-abled cats can also make great companions.

As with any successful adoption, the key is learning about the pet’s temperament and needs and matching it with yours. You may find specially-abled pets at your local shelter though there are also special rescue groups devoted to finding homes for these special pets. You can check out Pets With Disabilities for listings of specially-abled pets in many areas.

What’s your experience with a specially-abled pet? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook Page!

Ask Wellness: April 2014

Q. My dog has a mast cell tumor and I am trying to decide what food is best for her to be on. The vet suggested a low carbohydrate, low grain diet. Is there one you would recommend?

A. High carbohydrate recipes are known to support cancer cells, while a lower carbohydrate diet works to fight  the diseased cells. For this reason, feeding a diet that is lower in levels of carbohydrates is recommended. Wellness CORE Original Formula would be a great recipe to try as it is lower in carbohydrates. Adding additional antioxidants would also be a good idea, one way would be with our Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars. I recommend talking to your veterinarian about certain supplements that have been shown to slow the process of some cancers.