Written By: MJ Plaster


Humans buy into “living easy” in the summer, but our pets still want to play. Take a look at some summertime games for pets to help keep them active and cool.

It’s summer, and you’re planted firmly in your hammock, downing gallons of lemonade. You’ve switched your iPod to a playlist of classic summer oldies — “Summer in the City,” “Summer Breeze,” and anything by the Beach Boys — and exercise is the last thing on your mind. Your pets, however, have a different idea: They want to play now!

So why not make them happy, and yourself as well? Check out these fun games for pets, and find one or two that you’d like to play with your dog or cat.

1. Fetch and Swim Circuit Training

If your dog has never met a body of water he could resist, and he’s a mighty fetcher, combine the two into “circuit training.” Start by playing fetch on dry land, and then move into the water with him — don’t just sit on the sidelines. This allows you and your dog to cool down while getting some exercise you might otherwise skip during the dog days of summer. If the lake is large or deep, you may want to use a dog lifejacket. Also, make certain the your pup has easy access into and out of the water. Caution: Keep an eye on your pup at all times, ensure he drinks plenty of water on dry land before going in the water, and be very mindful of signs of tiring or overheating.

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2. Hide and Seek

This is one of the games for pets that works equally well with dogs and cats. Start by letting your pet sniff what you’re going to hide. Then hide it in increasingly difficult places for your pet to find. For dogs, hide treats — for cats, a toy filled with catnip. Your pets will go to increasingly greater lengths to try to uncover the hidden treasures!

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3. Play Ball

An inexpensive ball could become your cat’s toy of choice. For this exercise, use a Ping-Pong or noise-filled ball, or a small toy that can scoot across the floor. Situate your cat across the room and then roll the ball across the floor. Your cat will run after it and swat it back at you. After a while at this, you’ll be surprised at her aim! Watch the dog come out of the woodwork with his favorite toy in his mouth once you start this game. If only you could train your dog to retrieve the toys and put them away at the end of the exercise!

4. Brain Games

Is there anything that tablets can’t do these days? Who would have guessed there would be tablet games for pets! You’ll find several downloadable games for cats on the Internet. Games include laser action, fishing, mouse chases, and more. It makes sense if you’ve ever watched your cat interact with a TV or your computer screen. Caution: Before turning your cat loose with these games, install a screen protector on your tablet.

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5. Go Fish

No feline home is complete without a kitty fishing pole. Move the pole around in the air so your cats have to jump to catch the “bait” or wiggle it around the floor and watch them go crazy. Caution: Do this in an open space to prevent injury.

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This summer, let out your inner child by letting loose and enjoying a relaxing game or two with your pet!

Do you and your pet have any special games that you play together? Let us know in the comments!

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May is Pet Month, which means it’s time to catch up on all the benefits of pet ownership. Of course, most pet owners know all about the joys of spending time with a four-legged companion, but are you aware of the many health benefits that come with pet ownership? Here are some reasons why humans with pets are living healthier, longer lives:

With dogs to walk and toys to toss around, pet owners have plenty of opportunities every day to be more active. Increased activity helps fight obesity and some heart-related diseases.

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Although a broken heart doesn’t usually lead to real heart trouble, people with dogs and cats are less likely to be lonely or develop depression.

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When it comes to your psychological well-being and livelihood, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that everyone needs to feel safe and secure. Having a dog in a home helps many single people as well as families feel safer, which can lead to less worry and anxiety.

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Did you know people who feel loved and safe have a higher self esteem? Pets offer unconditional love and form incredibly strong bonds with their owners, which helps their owners live longer and happier lives.

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Another great health benefit of owning a dog is the ability to meet new people. From visiting dog parks, to play groups, to dog shows, meeting new people that share a similar interest helps people stay active and reduce stress and worry. If you haven’t found a pet group activity, pet month may be the perfect month to cash in on this wonderful health benefit!

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Both cats and dogs are useful and helpful in so many ways, but recently some animals have actually been able to detect cancer in humans earlier than via normal cancer screening methods. With early detection, cancer survival rates are very high — living a long and cancer-free life is a huge benefit for pet owners and their families.

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If your pet has helped you live a healthier life, be sure to use the month of May as your time to spread the word on how great pet ownership really is!

 

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1. Be seasonally aware

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Spring and fall are the peak seasons for ticks, so be especially diligent in checking your cat for ticks at this time. Ticks can drop onto your outdoor cat from trees, tall grass or shrubs. A tick that makes its way inside on your clothing can attach itself to your indoor cat.

2. Limit the risk of exposure

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Help keep your cat safe from ticks by keeping him indoors. If your cat is allowed to roam outside, keep the grass mowed and bushes trimmed, and inspect him for ticks when he returns home. Use a medication to deter ticks, or outfit your cat with a tick collar.

3. Know the signs and dangers

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Ticks survive by drinking the blood of their “host” animal, so cats with ticks may become lethargic or anemic from the loss of blood. Other signs include fever or loss of appetite. When a tick attaches to your cat, it can transmit diseases, viruses and bacteria into his or her bloodstream. This includes Lyme disease, which affects the joints and lymphatic system, causing fatigue and dehydration.

4. Remove them the right way

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Use tweezers to remove the tick from your cat’s skin. Squeeze the tweezers onto the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out without twisting. Do not crush the tick as you remove it—this could force a release of bacteria into your cat’s bloodstream. To kill the tick, put it in rubbing alcohol or insecticide—flushing it won’t kill it. Be sure to wash your hands after handling the tick.

Once the tick is removed, treat the wound with an antiseptic. Watch your cat for the next few days for changes in behavior that could signal disease. If you notice any changes, consult your vet.

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Dogs get parasites. It’s a part of life. But there are signs your family can watch for, and actions you can all take to ensure the health of your dog.

First, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of parasites, some more common than others, and some more problematic than others. Your family veterinarian can run a full check, but here are some of the more common parasites for your family to look out for:

Fleas and Ticks

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These insects live on your dog’s skin. You may see fleas moving quickly through the hair coat, but if there are just a few, they can be missed. Flea dirt is a sign that the fleas are there somewhere. You can make your dog flea and tick-free with some preventive measures.

Heartworm

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Heartworms are mosquito-transmitted and can be fatal to your dog. Getting rid of heartworms once a dog has become infected can be very difficult. Thus, it is much better to try to stop the problem before it starts. Start with an annual test to see if your dog is already carrying these deadly worms. This test involves having a blood sample taken and analyzed by a veterinarian.

If the test is negative, your veterinarian will recommend a preventive heartworm medication. Medications may be given either once a month, or daily according to your veterinarian’s instructions. These medications keep heartworms from maturing and harming your lovable, family canine.

Ear Mites

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Ear mites are tiny parasites that lice on the surface of the skin lining the ear canal. They pierce the skin surface to feed, causing inflammation and discomfort. If left untreated, bacterial infections and loss of hearing may result. Ear mites can be transmitted form one household pet to another, and that includes both cats and dogs. Checking a pet’s ears as part of the family grooming routine helps identify ear infections. When you do so, be sure to look for:

  • Excessive and persistent scratching around the ears
  • Head shaking
  • Restless behavior
  • Ears that are painful to the touch and the pet may cry out in pain
  • Brown material present in the ears
  • foul-smelling odor

If you notice any of these signs, consult your veterinarian and follow the advice and treatment recommended. When you clean your pet’s ears, use a cotton ball or clean washcloth, Avoid using a cotton-tipped swab, which can push debris into the eardrum and may damage the inner ear.

All in all, parasites are a normal part of a dog’s life, but they need to be treated and taken care of. that means the whole family has to work together to make sure your dog is in tip-top health.

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