During the past month or two, I’ve honored people in my life who have had birthdays. Friends, colleagues, family – those milestones of years, experiences, and relationships are important, and therefore, should be recognized.
My husband's birthday is next month, and my birthday occurred on Sunday. My husband, dogs, and I took an outdoor adventure on Saturday (the nicest weather day of the weekend), traveling nearly 200 miles total to experience the spring migration of sandhill cranes through eastern Wyoming. We also visited Kindness Ranch, a livestock and pet sanctuary for former research animals. Both were grand experiences!
My husband and I don’t just celebrate people’s birthdays. Our springer/cocker mix Mary had her 12th birthday in early February. We celebrated with a cake – white with cream icing. This is a tradition in our household; it began more than 15 years ago with our blind springer, Sage. Greg started the tradition, deciding to purchase a dog-shaped cake to honor Sage’s birth. Such celebrations have been part of our life with canines in our home ever since.
We’ve also honored our pets by cooking or buying hamburger and feeding the treat to them, in particular our dogs. For the cats, tuna is the food of choice for their August birthdays.
Various websites provide ideas for celebrating our furry friends’ special day. Some of those thoughts include:
According to the UK’s Daily Mail, nearly 75 percent of pet owners celebrate their furry family member’s birthday. Do you? If so, how do you celebrate?
PersonalCreations.com provides a guide and some recipes on cakes that are edible for dogs and cats (the meat cake is thought to be best for cats; but, there are many varieties of special treats which pets can enjoy). Visit their website for ideas: https://www.personalcreations.com/blog/dog-cake-recipes. Writers for this site also give thought to what types of foods are NOT good for our animal pals, which is also important information. Check it out.
Happy Spring, and Happy Birthday to you and your pets!
According to the calendar, spring arrives today. Many of us, however, may doubt what we see on that wall ornament as we look outside. No matter if the season has changed where you live or if you still see piles of snow in the yard, knowing that the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and travel will commence. Taking your furry friend on the road with you can be a wonderful experience and can also help you maintain your exercise routine. This week I welcome fitness expert and dog lover Paige Johnson -- she shares with us ideas and insights about how you and your dog can stay fit while traveling.
Guest Post by Paige Johnson
Staying fit while you’re on the road can be a real challenge, but if you decide to bring your dog along in lieu of leaving him with a kennel, friend, or loved one, you’re more apt to maintain your routine. Studies show that dog owners have a better chance of attaining their fitness goals than those who forgo having a furry friend. Why? You’re forced to move more (by an impressive 69 percent), dogs can increase your walking endurance, and mental health is improved while blood pressure is decreased.
If you have yet to choose a destination for your trip, consider checking out resources that help connect dog owners to pet-friendly establishments around the world. Along with hotels and restaurants, you’ll find tips for the best dog beaches, parks, and even walking tours you can bring your dog to.
Standard activities that may come to mind may include running (consider signing up for a canine charity race), walking, cycling, and hiking. Consider these alternatives:
Maintain a Healthy Routine for Your Pooch
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you should forgo your dog’s regular, healthy routine. This includes a healthy diet to avoid stomach problems, access to fresh water at all times, clean food and water dishes, and regular walks.
When packing your fitness gear, consider what additional items your dog may need based on the activities you have in mind. Some suggestions include:
Not only does traveling with your dog help you stay on top of your fitness game, it’s also a bonding experience. Do your research in advance to make the most of your experience. Don’t forget to get your dog vaccinated if traveling overseas and ask your vet for any tips for car and airplane travel prior to departure.
Paige Johnson is a fitness nerd and animal lover. She shares her insights on LearnFit. She loves offering advice on a variety of topics. As a personal trainer, she has a passion for fitness training and enjoys sharing her knowledge with those seeking to live a healthier lifestyle. She's also mom to three dogs, all rescues, and volunteers at her local animal shelter. Through her time with her own pups and working at the shelter, she's picked up some great tips on pet care and training.
Credit for Photos: Pixabay
Last week I wrote about loss of hearing and deafness in dogs. This week, we’ll explore the same afflictions in cats.
I have two cats. My husband and I adopted these sisters more than a decade ago. Always curious, they have brought us great joy. This summer they will be 13 years old and have slowed down since becoming seniors. I once had a cat who lived to be almost 19; in fact, cats 20 years and older are not uncommon. However, with age, just as with humans and canines, come health issues. One of those concerns is loss of hearing, even deafness.
Feline Hearing Loss
According to VetWest.com, an Australian veterinary clinic, hearing loss in older cats occurs “as a result of damage to the ear system and nerves. Normally sound waves vibrate the ear drum between the outer and middle ear. The tiny bones in the middle ear transfer the vibrations into nerve impulses within the inner ear. When any portion of this system is damaged hearing will be affected.”
According to veterinarians at Cornell University, there are a variety of reasons for loss of hearing in cats, in additional to aging. Those include: tumors, polyps, and other growths in the ear canal; hypothyroidism; medications, including antibiotics; infestations of yeast, bacteria, and ear mites; and household chemicals that are ingested or somehow seep into the ear. Additionally, hearing loss and deafness is hereditary, especially in white cats with blue eyes. In fact, researchers believe 65 to 85 percent of all-white cats with two blue eyes are born deaf, or at least become totally deaf as young kittens, and white cats with one blue eye generally have a 40 percent chance of being deaf.
How You and Your Cat Can Cope
As a cat owner, there are some things you can do to help both you and your cat adjust to hearing loss and deafness.
Learn more about deaf cats and how to help and communicate with them at these websites:
Living with a deaf or hard of hearing cat presents challenges, but nothing that a loving pet parent can’t handle. With plenty of patience and positive resources, including tips from your veterinarian, you and your feline friend can enjoy many happy years together.
Our springer/cocker mix, Mary, recently turned 12. During the past few months, she’s experienced ear problems, including debris from rolling in the grass and infection, from rolling in the snow. Spaniels are prone to ear infections due to the type and length of their ears; the breed is also prone to deafness. Mary has allergies, both environmental and food, and therefore, is also easily susceptible to ear infections, especially after being groomed or rolling in snow (water in the ears).
My husband and I recently noticed Mary's lack of response when we called her name and her sleep is deeper than ever. These are potential signs of deafness.
Loss of hearing in dogs occurs for many reasons; one of those is aging. My husband and I have traveled this road before. In 2011, our then 12-year-old springer spaniel Sage became deaf. That experience was especially difficult because Sage was also blind. Her hearing loss caused her anxiety because she had relied on that sense so heavily due to her blindness. We worked with her, however, and those additional trainings via the sense of touch generated calmness and greater trust.
How do you know your dog is losing its hearing? According to the Drake Center of Veterinary Care, there are several symptoms of deafness. Those include:
Read more about deafness and its symptoms here: http://www.thedrakecenter.com/services/dogs/blog/deaf-dogs-living-hearing-loss.
Although some dogs, especially older ones who have lost their hearing gradually, may adjust to deafness, others may experience anxiety, just as Sage did. Work with your dog in different ways to help your canine friend as we did. Some ideas include:
Animal Magazine provides an article about training with hand signals. Visit their online site here to learn more: https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/sign-language-deaf-dog/..
Adjusting to a disability such as deafness can be a challenge, for both you and your pet. However, that challenge can be met with grace, perseverance, and patience. Just as we humans must adjust to our changing bodies and mental capabilities as we age, we can adapt to the changes in our pets, and be a strength and comfort to them as they, too, adjust to the changes that take place as they age.
Read more about living with a deaf dog here: https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/13_10/features/Senior-Dog-Going-Deaf_20100-1.html.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.