Reasons to Adopt an Older Pet

When you’ve finally made the decision to adopt a dog, it can be a very long and tiring process trying to figure out what type of breed you’re interested in. One thing a lot of people overlook is adopting a dog that might be slightly older. Here are some of the top reasons you should consider adopting an older pet to be the newest addition to your family!

Size

When you find the puppy of your dreams, it’s a very exciting time in your life, but many people notice that the transition from puppy to adult dog is harder than they thought. Whether the dog doesn’t grow to what you anticipated or the behaviors they develop over time aren’t behaviors you expected, these are all things that can occur while they’re growing.

The benefits of finding an adult dog to adopt is that you never have to worry about these issues. This is clearly because the dog is already full grown and after the age of two, generally they’ve picked up all the behaviors they’re going to carry with them the rest of their dog lives. If you find an adult dog that you like, you’ll never have an issue with their size as they grow older.

Easy to train

Training might be one of the most difficult parts of having a dog, especially when you get them as a puppy. One of the greatest benefits of adopting an adult dog is that they’re usually 100% trained, and when they’re not already, they’re much easier to train than puppies. This is because they’re calmer and listen better to your commands.

Settle in quickly

Since older dogs have obviously been around longer and most likely have been around the block, they’ve already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. This means they’ll be more apt to become a member of the family and warm up to everyone quicker than say an adopted puppy.

Better behavior

When you have a puppy, you better be prepared with all of the cleaning supplies, because it will inevitably get messy. Getting up at 3am, cleaning up messes, etc, this process can get extremely tiring. However, if you find an adult dog that’s a little more mature, you don’t have to worry about this. Aside from them being potty trained, chances are they’ll also be able to be left alone without tearing up all of your furniture while you’re gone.

Easy to take care of

The older a dog is, the easier they are to take care of. It’s as simple as that. As a dog gets older, their energy levels generally decrease and because of that, you’re not constantly worrying about taking them for long walks or giving them as much exercise as possible. They’re much happier just sitting by your side or cuddling with you as they are going outside and running around.

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Preparing Kids for the First Family Pet

Massachusetts Turtle CelebrationYour child is growing up. They’ve been campaigning for a pet, and you’re finally considering allowing it. There’s no better combo than kids and animals! By welcoming a pet to the family, your child will learn how to be caring and responsible. What do you have to know about pet ownership? What pet will you choose? How will you take care of it? Follow this guide so you can prepare!

Before anything else, determine if your child is fit for owning a pet. A child younger than Kindergarten-age probably won’t have the capacity to truly comprehend pet ownership. If your child is older than that, consider his/her behavior. Is your child out of control or well behaved? Are they quiet or loud? These factors have an impact on what pet your child is ready for. Make sure to teach your children that pets have emotions, need exercise, and need medical attention just like humans, but in different ways. If you feel your child is extremely responsible for their age, you could consider a dog or a cat.  Just know that some kids can have bad allergies around dogs and cats. For younger kids and parents who have never owned a pet, it’s probably better to start small. Consider a turtle, hamster, fish, etc. But remember – any pet takes responsibility, be it big or small.

Young boy with dog
Once you’ve decided on the pet you want, begin researching the best places to get it. You can adopt, or buy from a pet store. Both options have their advantages, but there is an excellent feeling that comes with adoption. You can ask family and friends where they got their pets. While in the pet buying process, develop a weekly care chart for your new pet. Make sure your child understands the consequences if they don’t follow through with the rules and care days you’ve set. If you’re in the market for a dog especially, it’s very important to clean your home! Having a pet will lower the air quality in the home, and children need quality air; pets do too! Have air filters ready, and be prepared with a schedule for home cleaning alongside of the care schedule.

When you welcome your pet to the home, make sure you are supervising your child with the pet until you feel comfortable with things going out of sight. Make sure the pet is getting fed properly, walked (if applicable), etc. If you plan on getting other pets in the future, make sure your pets can adapt. For instance, if you get a dog first, make sure you don’t leave it with a new kitten. This can be dangerous.

Above all, remember that owing a pet is fun! Adding a new member to the family is exciting.  Enjoy the process.

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Pets for Kids with Allergies

Every kid should be able to have a pet. Pets can play a huge role in teaching your child responsibility, while providing many years of love and great fun. Unfortunately, allergies can get in the way. Some studies show that 15% of Americans are allergic to animals. Even people who aren’t allergic to certain animals can develop symptoms over time. It’s very important to be careful when selecting the perfect pet for your allergy-prone child.

Just remember that when your child has a pet allergy, the best solution is for him/her to stay away from the pet whenever possible. Conversely, if you get a pet, your child will not be able to stay away. Make sure to keep all the areas clean, and assign designated pet areas.

Below you will find two categories containing potential pets!

Cold-blooded

Fish Tank
Cold-blooded animals are the safest choice for a child with allergies. Although they don’t provide the furriness and warmth that an ideal pet may have, they can still make for a interesting, fun pet. Some kids want them even more than common pets!

Most frogs, fish, and lizards are fairly easy to care for. Their maintenance and food costs are very low. And the less your child handles their choice of cold-blooded pet, the lower their chances of getting sick. Don’t worry, children can still form a bond with cold-blooded animals!

Warm-blooded

Hammy the New Year's miracle hamster
Warm-blooded animals are a trickier, riskier choice. For children with allergies, a choice of a hamster, guinea pig, or dog will fall into this category. Make sure to avoid cats! They’re allergy magnets.

Some children may experience allergic symptoms around hamsters and guinea pigs, but the reactions could be decreased greatly if the cage is cleaned often. As for dogs, there’s good news! You may have heard that some dogs are “hypoallergenic.” There is no solid research proving this term true, however, some dogs will work a lot better than others for your child’s allergies. Consider small and medium sized dogs, like a poodle or a maltese. Keep them and their areas clean, as well as air filters in your home, and you may be good to go. Remember, if you’re allergic to one dog, you’re allergic to them all. So be careful!

Remember to keep your home and air clean, and have fun with the pet of your choice! Please remember that there are no perfect animals to go hand-in-hand with kids who have allergies. Your child’s safety is the most important, and if it means not having a pet in the home, it will be much better than your child developing serious health issues.

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Exotic Animals: Not Your Average Pet

There are many types of exotic animals that can make great pets for those looking for a companion other than your typical dog or cat. Exotic pets can range from pocket pets like sugar gliders to endangered animals like wolves. By nature, these animals are wild and can be potentially dangerous to humans. Truth is, you’re keeping a wild animal as domestic pet. However, while some exotic animals can make good companions, they often require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance. Here’s a list of exotic animals that can make great pets:

Alpaca

AlpacaAlpacas can make very good pets if they are treated well and you have realistic expectations for the animal. Like any livestock, the more you interact with alpacas as babies the more comfortable they will become with humans as they mature. In time, many alpacas will eat comfortably out of the palm of your hand. You can also train them to lead by a halter. Alpaca fur is made of luxurious fiber, which is known for its fineness, lightweight and luster.

Chinchilla

Chinchillas are quick, happy little animals. As part of the rodent family, they are closely related to guinea pigs. Chinchillas have soft fur, clean living habits and lack of odor, which make them great pets! Nocturnal by nature, you can expect your chinchilla to be most active at nighttime. However, they can adapt to daytime activity too. Chinchillas come in a variety of colors, the most common color being silvery gray. For the most part, chinchillas are low maintenance, but they cannot tolerate hot weather well.

Gecko

Geckos come in all sizes and colors and make wonderful pets. There are over a thousand different species of gecko lizards available, with several of these species livingeckog in human homes. Geckos have many unique characteristics, including the chirping vocalizations they use for communication. They also have one of the longest lifespans of any lizard, living on average, 10-20 years. Geckos are widely available in pet stores. But, before you purchase a gecko, take the time to become knowledgeable of their care and breeding.

Sugar Glider

Also known as pocket-size pets, sugar gliders are cute, friendly and fun! They’re named due to their fondness of sweet food and their love of gliding from tree to tree. One reason why sugar gliders make great pets is because you can take these charming animals wherever you go. Sugar gliders love to they be carried in pockets or pouches. More importantly, sugar gliders are extremely lovable, outgoing and they enjoy being around people.

Wolfdog

WolfProbably the most exotic animal to make this list is the wolfdog, which is a crossover between a wolf and a dog. Because they are part wolf, they require more patience and care than a normal dog. Wolfdogs consider themselves as members of the family and are very loyal. Be prepared to own a wolfdog for a long time, as they can live up to 20 years. Wolfdogs prefer to be outdoors, with plenty of room to roam. Keep in mind, the legality of owning wolfdogs in your area. For example, U.S. law states that it’s legal to own a wolfdog if he or she is less than 75 percent wolf. Any percentage over that and you must have a “dangerous animal” permit, which is the same type needed to own a lion.

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July is National Blueberry Month

 

These tiny little berries are packed full of health benefits, and if you ask me, they are one of the best tasting fruits out there. They are so good in fact, that an entire month has been dedicated to them! There are so many recipes incorporating blueberries that you don’t have to look far to find one you will enjoy. However, research has shown that eating them raw provides the most nutritional benefit. We all know that blueberries are full of healthy antioxidants, but recently a study has shown that eating blueberries can actually help improve your memory. Blueberries have also been shown to improve cardiovascular health when consumed regularly, as well as helping to regulate blood sugar.

It would seem that the health benefits are endless when it comes to this sweet little fruit. Luckily for me, I live in an area where they readily grow. If you also live in an area that blueberries are common, check into your local farms and see if they offer a Pick-Your-Own type service. Many farms in my area of upstate New York will let you come out and pick your own sweet blues. However, this service is not limited to just blueberries; there are a variety of different fruits and veggies that you can go out and pick for yourself. The benefit of picking your own produce is that you can be as selective with the quality and quantity of each item you choose, and on top of that you get the rewarding experience of harvesting your own food. It gives us just a small taste of what our farmers are hard at work doing come harvest time! After spending an afternoon picking my own produce, I have a new level of respect for them.

Blueberries are ready for harvest from mid-July through late August, so you still have plenty of time to check your area for a blueberry farm. These delicious little berries also freeze well so they can be used later in the year for recipes. Let’s not forget our four-legged friends either. The health benefits of blueberries are not just limited to us humans! Our dogs can also benefit from the antioxidants found in blues, and just for them I have included a very simple, Martha Stewart recipe for homemade blueberry biscuits! I can assure you that my dogs will be getting some of these once I get my Pick-Your-Own blueberries from a local farm. I hope you and your wagging friends enjoy National Blueberry Month!

Homemade Blueberry Dog Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour

  • 2 1/2 cups quinoa flour

  • 3/4 cup flax meal

  • 1/2 cup frozen, organic, unsweetened blueberries

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 large egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients with 1 cup water to form a dough. Roll out mixture between two sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thick; remove plastic wrap and cut out biscuits with a 3 1/2-inch bone-shaped cookie cutter. Re-roll scraps and continue cutting out biscuits.

  3. Space biscuits 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until nicely browned and firm.

  4. Transfer biscuits to a wire rack. Turn off oven and place biscuits on wire rack in oven overnight. Remove from oven and store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.

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How ID Tags Can Save a Pet’s Life

LostOne of the best items we can purchase for our pets is an identification tag. Let’s face it, accidents happen. If your pet wonders out of sight, pet ID tags can help to ensure their safe return. Even an up-to-date rabies tag on your pet will help in the returning process. Just be sure to register your pet with a veterinarian.

An ID tag is like your pet’s get-out-of-jail-free card, if ever it were to be picked up by up by Animal Control. According to The Humane Society of the U.S., pet owners reclaim 30 percent of shelter dogs each year. More shockingly, only two to five percent of cats are reclaimed yearly. While the vast majority of these stray animals have no identification, those who do often get to return home before heading to the shelter.

What should be on the tag?

At the very minimum, your phone number should be on the pet’s ID tag. This will provide the rescuer with a means to contact you. In our technologically advanced world, you may want to use your cell phone number, as you’ll likely be out looking for your pet and you’ll only be reachable by cell. Another piece of information you will want to include on your pet’s ID tag is your address. This way, if your pet were only to wander down the block, it will be more apt to be returned immediately.

Tags are cheap and accessible

Do not put your pet’s life at risk, purchase ID tags. They are super cheap and easily accessible. You can order them online or pick them up at your local veterinarian. At Ketchum, we specialize in pet identification tags. We produce all of our tags in your choice of materials, including aluminum, brass and stainless steel. We also offer a variety of shapes and sizes to match every pet identification need. More importantly, our tags are Taro models his new custom black twill collar from kninecouture.comcreated with your pet in mind. They are built to last and perfect for hanging on your pet’s collar, no matter where he or she might go.

Pet ID tags save lives; it’s as simple as that. While our country has come a long over the years increasing pet ownership and decreasing euthanasia, there are still an estimated 2.7 million healthy shelter pets not adopted each year. And with a good percentage of these pets strays, it’s more important than ever to use animal identification.

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Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities in the US

It’s no secret that we love our pets, which is why today we want to highlight the best cities throughout the United States for having pets! From east coast to west, here are the best pet-friendly American cities.

Phoenix, Arizona

freakin' at the dog parkPhoenix is well known for their abundant sunshine, but did you know they have a plethora of pet stores, dog parks, and even an annual Halloween costume contest for pets? With six off-leash dog parks, 14 pet stores, over 270 veterinarians, and a variety of pet-themed events, it’s no wonder Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best US cities for owning a pet.

Sacramento, California

Redondo Beach Dog ParkOver to the west coast, Sacramento ranks at number nine on our list for pet-friendly cities. Having seven off-leash dog parks and four major pet stores is a good start, but there are also some fantastic pet-friendly events such as the annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash-a 2k/5k walk and other big pet festivals. Some pet policies include mandatory spay-neuter law for dogs and cats and a permit number is required in all advertisements selling animals.

Fort Worth, Texas

DSC_6010aHave you ever heard of Barktoberfest? If you live near Fort Worth, Texas, chances are you have! With strict spay and neuter laws, this city isn’t messing around. This city includes four dog parks, six major pet stores, dog meet up grounds and dog park events. A pet policy in this city to note is that all female dogs and cats over the age of six months and male dogs and cats over the age of eight months have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner obtains an intact pet permit.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dog Walk - ARLSRI Oct 2011-30Charlotte is not only a beautiful city, but it’s a fantastic place to spend with your favorite furry friend. Not only does this city love pets, but they also love volunteering. They have a total of eight dog parks, three major pet stores and 160 vets. Some great fundraising opportunities include Pet Palooza, where dog owners can do a fundraising walk or run a 5k with their pet as well as the Ties & Tails Gala.

Tucson, Arizona

North Domingo Baca Dog Park, Albuquerque, NMThis city has it all – 10 dog parks, nine major pet stores and over 200 veterinarians. It doesn’t end there! Some great pet-friendly events include The Puttin’ on the Dog Tucson Cover Dog Search, Chow Down for Hounds, Paws in the Plaza, Tails and Ales, Paws for the Holidays, and more.

Denver, Colorado

Dog 'n' I at the Summit.Denver is already well known for their outdoor activities, but chances are you didn’t know how seriously pet-friendly this city is. There are 28 dog parks, four major pet stores and about 220 vets. In a city that’s all about activity, there are so many pet-friendly events to keep your average pet-owner busy! This includes puppy preschool training classes, the canine festival and European market, and doggie meet ups!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dog Park 2/28/10Talk about a city full of events – Minneapolis is full of them for pets! The American Humane Society puts on three pet-friendly fundraising events each year in Minneapolis, as well as two formal dining events each year. There are 10 dog parks, plus five off-leash dog parks, and 200 veterinarians.

Seattle, Washington

Kermit at the Miyuki Dog ParkLove having options? Seattle, Washington has all the dog park options one needs. With 40 dog parks, you can visit a different one each day with your pet! They also have Put O Ween, the annual Halloween party that’s set specifically around your pet’s schedule!

Dallas, Texas

Pixie dog halloween costumeDallas has its southern charm, but it’s also a great place to have a pet! Some big pet-friendly events that occur there are the Christmas country dog events, walk wag and run event, Walk to Nowzad, and Barktoberfest. Dallas, Texas also has around 22 dog parks and seven major pet stores to cater to your dogs every need!

San Diego, California

Dog-on-the-Beach-at-Sunrise__64858Rounding out our list is this west coast city, which ranks as number one for a variety of reasons. Aside from it’s nine off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly beaches, this city includes 60+ pet-friendly hotels and over 50 dog-friendly restaurants as well. For San Diego, the city has many laws for the protection of animals, including rabies vaccination laws, enclosure laws and feeding and watering and sanitation requirement at kennels.

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How to Prepare for a Summer Road Trip with Pets

dog in windowSummer is all about having fun, right? But when you plan your summer road trip, there’s more to it than just packing up your stuff and driving away. Your pets need to be planned for as well! Make sure your pets are comfortable and taken care of for your vacation by following these tips for summer road trips!

Familiarize yourself with animal travel gear

Responsible passenger, wearing his seatbeltIf you’ve never traveled with your pet before, pay close attention to this tip. Having the right pet travel gear is a must for long trips! First step is to go and visit the local pet store to see what types of harnesses they have. Look for a dog harness with a handle on top, which makes it easier to walk with your dog as well as strap your animal in the car by running the seat belt strap through the harness handle. Just remember – a harness might be uncomfortable for your pet to wear for the first time, so make sure you give them lots of praise and treats!

Check your pet’s health prior to traveling

Niya @ the vet'sBefore taking your pet on a long road trip, have them examined at the vet for any health conditions. You want to make sure that your pet is updated on all of their shots and vaccinations, especially if you’re traveling to an area that will have other animals your pet might be in contact with. Finally, stocking up on your dog’s medications is a great way to ensure you’ll be prepared throughout your travel, especially if the trip ends up lasting longer than anticipated.

Test your pet in the car

It was, apparently, an exhausting weekend!If your pet has never really traveled in the car for long periods of time, you want to test out their behavior over time. Practice by taking pretend road trips that are in short bouts of time, but are long enough to test your pet in the car. During these short trips, check your pet to see if they’re nervous or are drooling excessively or panting. If this is happening, you might want to consider treating your dog with anti-nausea medication for the real trip to prevent over-heating or discomfort.

Potty-train

Tongues outIf you’re bringing a very young animal on your trip, it might be more difficult simply due to potty-training. If your animal hasn’t yet learned to use the restroom on command, you might want to make this a priority before your road trip. While you might be able to pull over every hour to make sure your animal doesn’t go in the car, you’ll be more efficient and effective if you can hold off stopping that often and having inner peace knowing your dog can hold it for longer.

Toys

southbound MA to FLALastly, don’t forget to bring the toys for your road trip! Toys will help keep your pet occupied and more comfortable on the long trip. They’ll also help to be distracting during any potentially stressful situations in the car.

 

 

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Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Pet

take me home #2Considering a new pet? Look no further than your local animal shelter. There are plenty of shelters with a great selection of animals, including cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. In fact, the animal you’re considering buying from your local pet store or breeder is probably waiting to be adopted in a nearby shelter.

Why adopt a shelter pet

Between 6 and 8 million pets end up in shelters each year, half of which, will never be adopted. The saddest part is that most pets end up homeless for circumstances beyond their control. These animals fall victim to a death, illness, divorce or a move that doesn’t include them. By adopting a shelter pet you are saving a life. Your new pet will be extremely appreciative of the life you’re giving them. Plus, your adoption fee will benefit other animals at the shelter. This fee is used to support the shelter’s community and help care for other homeless animals.

Cost effective

Adopting a pet from a shelter is highly cost-effective. The cost of getting an animal from a pet store or breeder can be very high, which can make it extremely hard for the average family to afford the animal. That doesn’t even include the pets’ first round of shots and to be spayed or neutered. These expenses can cost well over $100 within the first year of having the pet. Most animal shelters include the cost of first shots and spaying/neutering in the adoption fee. Depending on the age of the pet, adoption fees can range from $50 to $250 dollars.

Semi-trained pet

The majority of shelter pets come semi-trained. All cats will come litter-trained and most dogs will come somewhat potty trained. However, when the pet first comes home expect some mistakes due to the stress of moving and adjusting to a new place. Contrarily, getting a pet from another owner does not always guarantee that your pet will be potty trained. This can led to clean up and frustration for you. Many shelters rescue wonderful pets that are trained and family ready.

Socialized animalShelter dog looking friendly

Animals that spend time in a shelter are often socialized. Because animals are taken out of their cages for playtime they become comfortable with both volunteers and other animals. This allows the animal to adjust to different types of people and animals. In most circumstances, the shelter can tell you if the pet you’re looking at is good with children and other pets. When you get a pet from a breeder, it usually has only been around a select few people and pets.

At Ketchum, we are passionate about adopting pets. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting a pet for your family, please consider the benefits of adopting a shelter animal. While pet stores and breeders may seem like the more advantageous option, rescuing a pet can be equally rewarding and perhaps a better fit for your family.

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It’s National Pets Are Wonderful Month!

April is officially Pets Are Wonderful Month (PAW), a time to honor the animals that bring love and happiness to our lives. There’s no question that our pets give us love and companionship daily, but they are also benefit our physical and mental health too.

Research has shown that pets can improve our cardiovascular health, reduce stress, decrease loneliness and depression, and facilitate social interactions among people who have pets. That’s why pets are so frequently used in nursing homes, for people with disabilities and children with autism. Here are five benefits of having a pet:

Good for the heart

In one study, people who never owned a cat were 40 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than those who did. Another study showed that people who owned dogs had a significantly better survival rate after one heart attack. In general, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiovascular disease than non-pet owners. Owning pets has also show to lower your blood pressure too.

Natural mood enhancers

Pets are natural mood enhancers; just a few minutes of watching your cat or dog play will instantly reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Therapists have even prescribed pets as a way of dealing with depression. Because no one loves you more unconditionally, or listens to you talk without interruption, than your pet. Having a pet can brighten even the worst of days!

Better physical fitness

While this one may be a given, people who have pets tend to be more physically active and less obese than those who don’t. And exercising with your pet will benefit both of you! Just two 15-minute walks a day will ensure you meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity. Plus, who makes a better exercise buddy than your four-legged friend?

Social interaction

Having an active social life is key to staying healthy. And pet owners have a tendency to interact with other pet owners. A dog is an instant conversation starter. Bring your furry friend to the local dog park and the social interaction will blossom.

Sense of security

Pets also provide us with a sense of security. Dogs in particular can alert us of potential hazards and intruders. They can also seek help in emergencies. For example, the “seizure dog” has been trained to live and work with people who have epilepsy. They bark to alert parents when a child is having a seizure. Some even lie next to a person having a seizure in order to prevent injury.

Here at Ketchum, we were thrilled to find out that April was National Pets Are Wonderful month. So, get out there and hug your furry friends today. We sure will!

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