Nov 25 2020

Winter Enrichment

It’s that time of year where we can see our breath outside and the winter chill pushes us indoors. Don’t let this change in weather limit your animals’ learning, energy release, and fun! By getting a little creative we can keep our pets mentally engaged. Check out these enrichment ideas for dogs and cats!

DOGS

Nose work interests most dogs because there is the promise of a yummy reward! Pick your dog’s favorite treat and something to hide it in which requires your dog to think. We love using dog puzzles and crinkle mats!

A treat hunt is also a fun way to get your dog moving. While your dog is outside or distracted hide treats throughout the home and encourage your pet to search for them. Using small treats to lead to a grand ultimate reward such as your dog’s favorite toy or high-value bone is a great way to start the hunt. Be sure to use lots of praise when they find a treat! 

Treat rolls make for a great DIY puzzle! Collect toilet paper rolls and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, tuna, etc. and fold the edges to seal it. Your dog (and cat!) will have to figure out how to open the roll to get the goodness within. If this is too easy for your brilliant companion Kongs are great for freezing peanut butter or tuna in so that they have to work at it a little more.

CATS

Cats are easily visually stimulated! There are free apps just for cats and Youtube channels dedicated to engaging them. If your cat is old school and prefers enrichment without screens try these ideas:

Cat puzzles! There are several treat puzzles/mazes that you can purchase online for your feline that will keep their brains busy. If your cat is anything like mine, he prefers the boxes that toys come in versus the toy itself. Boxes and paper bags make for a great DIY cat puzzle! Cut out holes (big enough for your cats arms to reach inside) throughout the box and place toys and treats inside so that your cat has to go fishing for them. Paper bags can also be cat heaven, especially with some catnip inside. 

Laser pointers have stumped our cats for years! The mysterious red dot comes and goes with no apparent pattern or reason and most cats love to hunt/chase it. You can’t go wrong with this classic! If you want to be able to fully focus on finding your winter chill try automated laser pointers.

What are your pet’s favorite indoor activities during the winter months? Please share in the comments!

Written by: Tara Cleveland


Jun 8 2011

Keep Your Pet Cool This Summer

Summer is definitely here!  After an extended rainy spring season, the heat is here in full force!  Our furbabies don’t always handle the heat well.   The heat effects dogs and cats the same way it impacts humans.  Dogs and cats can suffer from the same problems that humans do, such as overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. By taking some simple precautions, you can celebrate the season and keep your pets happy and healthy.

1. Keep pets inside. If it’s too hot for you, it’s definitely too hot for your Waif!  Imagine being outside in the heat with all that fur, not enjoyable for any human or pet.

2. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle-heat exhaustion can be fatal. Even with the windows open, a parked automobile can quickly become a furnace in no time.  During warm weather the temperature inside a car can rise to 120 degrees in a matter of minutes.  Think about how hot it gets when you park your car and run into the store to grab something.  Even leaving the windows down is not enough.  You wouldn’t leave your children in the car- please don’t leave your pets!

3. Walk your dog in the morning or evening when the heat and humidity are the lowest.  

4. Don’t let your dog stand on hot asphalt.  Their body temperature can rise quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.

5. Time for a summer cut!  Get a long hair dog groomed for the summer.  Long haired breeds can be shaved to a one-inch coat.  Never shave down to the skin as this robs the dog of their protection from the sun.

6. Be sensitive to older and overweight animals in hot weather. Snub-nosed dogs such as bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, Lhasa Apsos and Shih Tzu’s, as well as those with heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible. 

7. Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. While you do want to protect pets that have light-colored noses or light-colored fur on their ears, ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.

8. Avoid taking your pet to events where there are crowds, like concerts and fairs.  The loud noise combined with the heat can be extremely stressful and dangerous for our furry friends.  Trust me, your pet will thank you later.

If your dog or cat is exposed to high temperatures: 

1. Pay attention to signs of over-heating and heat stress.  Heavy panting, glazed eyes, increased pulse, staggering, throwing up, unsteady walking are all signs.  Also check your pet’s tongue- a deep red or purple tongue is another sign. 

2. If your pet is overheated, you must lower their body temperature immediately. 

3.  Take your pet to a shaded area and put cool, not cold, water all over their body to gradually lower their body temperature.

4.  Apply ice pack or cool towels to your pet’s head, neck and chest only.

5. Let your pet drink small amounts of cool water or lick ice cubes. 

6. Finally, always visit and consult with your veterinarian.  These tips are only a recommendation, and you should always consult with your personal veterinarian about your pets health.

 

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


Dec 8 2009

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Miss Lucy in her jacket, grabbing a snack after a walk in the snow.

Miss Lucy in her jacket, grabbing a snack after a walk in the snow.

Winter is definitely upon us!  Not only is it time for humans to dig out their cold weather clothes, it’s also time to think about keeping our pets safe during these arctic cold days.  Here are some tips to keeping your pets safe.

1.  Keep your pets inside.  Limit your pets outside time for bathroom breaks when temperatures start to tumble.  If its too cold for you, it’s defintely too cold for your pet.  If your pet is normally outside, move them to a sheltered garage or heated dog house, away from the wind.     

2. Outdoor cats have been known to find refuge underneath the hoods of cars.  When the car is started, the cat could become injured or even killed by moving parts of the engine.  If you have an outdoor cat, honk the horn before starting the car to give the cat a chance to escape.

3.  Keep your dog on a leash in the winter weather.  Pets can lose their scent in the snow and ice and find refuge in unfamiliar places.  This is also a good opportunity to check your dog or cats id tag to make sure they have the most current contact information in case your pet becomes lost or stolen.  We also recommend mircrochipping your pet.  More dogs are lost during the winter than any other time of the year.

4.  When getting your pet groomed, don’t have them shaved down to the skin.  A longer coat provides more warmth.  Bathing your dog?  Be sure to completely dry them before taking them out for a walk.  For short-haired breeds, put them in a warm sweater with a high collar that gives the pet coverage from the base of their tail to the belly.  My toy poodle Lucy loves to wear her jacket and waits for me to put it on her before going outside.  

5.  Make sure to keep a dry towel near the door when you bring in your dogs from being outside.  Thoroughly dry their paws, legs and belly.  They can pick up bits of salt, antifreeze and other lethal chemicals from being outside.  It can also be painful for the animal to have shards of ice in their fur.   A dogs paws can actually bleed from encrusted ice.  This is also a good opportunity to give them some extra love and praise them for good outdoor behavior.

6.  Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle.  The vehicle can act as a refridgerator, keeping the cold inside and causing your pet to freeze to death. 

7.  If your pet spends a lot of time playing outside, increase his food supply.  Make sure to include extra protein to help keep his fur in great shape.

8.  Coolant and antifreeze are lethal for cats and dogs.  If you have any spills in your garage or driveway make sure to clean them thoroughly.  Stay away from product s that use ethylene glycol.  If your pet should ingest any of these products, call your veterinarian immediately.

9.  Rock salt is also dangerous for pets.  “Safe Paw” is pet safe ice melt is available for sale at Wayside Waifs and is safe for pets. 

10.  Give your pet a warm place to sleep.  Make sure beds are located away from doors and drafts.  Warm blankets or a large pillow is great. 

Written by Trish Stinger
Web Marketing Manager at Wayside Waifs


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