Monday, August 31, 2015

Back-to-School Tips for a Happy Pet

Rocco and Sophie Havanese
Rocco and his pal Sophie had plenty of fun times this summer
This post is sponsored by Purina. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about 
the Purina Back-to-School program and tips from Dr. Kurt Venator, but To Dog With Love only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Now that summer is winding down, many of us will be changing our routines. No more summer hours at work or summer vacations. Kids are back in school and soon the days will be (sadly) getting shorter. 

You may not realize it, but pets are deeply affected by changes in routine. Pets may feel lonely or experience separation anxiety as the kids head back to school and household activity levels change. 

We recently had the chance to chat with Purina veterinarian Dr. Kurt Venator about the signs of separation anxiety in pets and what you can do about it.


Dr. Kurt spoke with us and a few of our blogger pals on a recent Google hangout

The Signs of Separation Anxiety in Pets


Dr. Venator says that separation anxiety in pets is more common than you may think. 

"Separation anxiety is one of the more common conditions we see in pets," says Venator. "The pet is having distress due to the fact that their family members have separated from them for a period of time.  Some studies have shown up to 20 percent of the 80 million dogs in the U.S. can suffer from separation anxiety."

Common symptoms or behavior that may indicate separation anxiety
  1. Improper urination or defection in the home
  2. Excessive barking or howling
  3. Excessive chewing or destructive behavior
  4. Change in appetite
  5. Pacing
While these are common indicators of separation anxiety, if you notice these changes in behavior and are unsure about them, talk to your veterinarian as it may be a sign of a medical issue. 


5 Tips to Address Separation Anxiety during Back-to-School Season


Dr. Venator offers these tips to help keep your pets happy during back-to-school season.

Get your pet into a routine

Pets love routine because it makes them feel secure. During the summer, kids are always around to make things entertaining and exciting for their pets. When they suddenly disappear, some cats and dogs will feel sad and confused while others may experience real separation anxiety.

Thus, it’s important that pet owners help get their pet acclimated to the change by replacing the old schedule with a new one, such as allocating time to play with them after work or keeping a consistent schedule when coming and going from the house.   

Burn off some energy

Some pets deal with separation anxiety by becoming destructive (e.g. howling, chewing on objects or other parts of the house). A great way to keep your dog from doing this is by taking them on a walk in the morning before you leave the house to help burn off some of that extra energy. For cats, consider playing with them at night as well – whether it’s making them chase a feather wand or play with a ball.  

Create an interactive environment

Back-to-school season is a great time to buy your pet a new, interactive toy to play with. This will help mentally stimulate them and keep them occupied during the day when the kids are away at school. For dogs, chew toys are a way for them to relieve their anxiety, frustration and boredom.

For cats, creating a play area where they can be entertained even when you’re not home, can help ease the separation anxiety. This can include having things like scratching posts or cat furniture in your home. 

Turn up the tunes and start with baby steps

Try leaving some soothing music on at your home while everyone is out of the house. The music will help drown out distracting noises that your dog may mistakenly associate with the kids coming home. 

Additionally, get your pets comfortable with noises that may indicate your departure. For example, jingle your car keys occasionally and practice opening and closing the door to get them accustomed to noises that could increase anxiety.


Spend time with your pet

And, by spend some time, Dr. Venator says to spend some quality time with your pet. Don't just pat them on the head when you come home from work. Remember, your pet's been home alone waiting for you all day. Get down on the floor and really play with them! Or take your pup out for a walk. It'll be good for both of you!

For more information, visit www.petcentric.com


Friday, August 28, 2015

A New Place to Hike With Dogs

Italian alps

Guess where we're heading?!

Rocco and I have been busy this week preparing for our next vacation.  We'll be heading out to ................. Italy! I took the photo, above, the last time I was there with Cosmo. It was taken as we were flying out over the Alps.

Cosmo had the chance to travel to Italy twice, and while we were there we found so many place to explore with dogs. And the best thing about it is you can take your dog almost anywhere! Even inside of restaurants and on public transportation.

This will be Rocco's first international trip... keeping my fingers crossed that he'll be good on the flight!

We're planning some hikes and plenty of exploration. We'll be visiting the Italian Lakes region at Lake Como.

We'll take lots of photos and share them with you when we get back! There's nothing like a change of scenery to inspire your Fit Dog activities, right?!

Where's your favorite place you've visited with your dog? Let us know in the comments below!



The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and My GBGV Life to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the hop.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fido's Freebie Friday Hits the Road Again


Welcome to Fido's Freebie Friday (FFF), the weekly giveaway blog hop for all things pet!

We're busy preparing for another BIG trip! This time Rocco's taking his first international trip, traveling with me to Italy, wow! I'll have plenty of photos to share in a few weeks.  Planning any flight travel with pets yourself? We learned a lot about preparing for a long flight and international travel requirements when we took Cosmo to Italy several years ago.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Montrose Dog Beach: Dog Friendly Chicago

Montrose dog beach Rocco Havanese

Last week when we were in Chicago, we met up with Dolly the Doxie, her sister Taffy and mom at Montrose Dog Beach.  Rocco had a big old time, zipping around the beach and bounding through the water. 

We've got lots of photos to show you and video, too!

Montrose dog beach

Rocco and Taffy... Taffy likes to retrieve balls in the water. Rocco is more interested in running all out!

Montrose dog beach

Taffy, going after her ball.

Montrose dog beach Chicago Rocco Havanese

A moment to ponder who to run with next.

Montrose dog beach Chicago

Wheeee!

Montrose dog beach Chicago

Dolly enjoys cruising the shoreline.
Montrose dog beach Chicago Rocco Havanese

Montrose dog beach Chicago Rocco Havanese

Montrose dog beach Chicago

The video shows the REAL action!


We had the best time! Rocco can't wait to go back.

Montrose dog beach Chicago Rocco Havanese

What's your dog's beach personality? A water wader? A shoreline cruiser?
Something else?
Let us know in the comments below!


The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and My GBGV Life to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the hop.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fido's Freebie Friday at Lincoln Park

Rocco Havanese at Lincoln Park Chicago Skyline

Welcome to Fido's Freebie Friday (FFF), the weekly giveaway blog hop for all things pet!

We're back from our Chicago trip where we had lots of fun both on the lakefront and at the Havanese National Specialty. Come back tomorrow and we'll tell you more about the fun we had at the Montrose Dog Beach!

In the meantime, it's time once again to check out all the great giveaways at Fido's Freebie Friday!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

How to Relieve Digestive Problems in Dogs (+ Giveaway!) #sponsored

Rocco and I are both happiest when tummy troubles are kept at bay
This post is sponsored by Purina. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals, but To Dog With Love only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

There's nothing worse than tummy troubles in dogs... except, perhaps, tummy troubles in long-haired dogs. 

It's no fun cleaning up that kind of mess. So it makes both Rocco and me very happy when all his parts are working correctly!

Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 Havanese National Specialty Agility Fun!

Rocco Havanese at 2015 Havanese National Specialty dog show
Rocco puts on his game face!
We're in Chicago this week at the Havanese National Specialty dog show, competing in agility! The show offers competition in agility, obedience, rally and conformation.

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