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pet wellness

TORONTO DOG BLOG: #UNLEASHKINDNESS PACT

toronto-dog-magazine-unleash-kindness-campaign-WEBAThere are no words to describe how much I love dogs and animals. There really aren’t! And every time I read a report about animal neglect or hear about the horrific conditions that so many lovely dogs and animals have to endure every day all over the world, my heart collapses. I feel crushed and hopelessly ineffectual because often times animal welfare issues seem too big for one person to take on and solve alone. (more…)

HEALTHY DOG TREATS: LOL DOG TREATS

BK-LOL-Beef-500x500 BK-LOL-Chicken-228x228 BK-LOL-Peanut-new-500x500It’s been a long time since I’ve found a wholesome, hearty dog treat that has knocked my socks off, which is why I just had to share with you the LOL (Lick-out-loud) Dog Treats from Buddy’s Kitchen. I picked up a bag of the Yummy Chicken treats last week for Lucy’s training and both she and Rory are bonkers for them!

WHY WE LOVE LOL DOG TREATS

Reason #1
They are all natural, wheat free dog treats — two things that are extremely important for good canine health and diet. I feel good giving my fur monsters treats that are bursting with natural goodness — plus they are low-cal, which is ideal for training.

Reason #2
They are local! At least, they are local if you live in Toronto. The Buddy’s Kitchen headquarters are in Aurora, ON. Nothing makes me happier than being able to support small businesses, especially ones that are a hop, skip and a jump away from where I call home. Locally made — how refreshing! Plus, the name of these treats is absolutely adorable, don’t you think?

Reason #3
These treats are produced in small batches, which means there is a greater quality control ensuring that our pets are getting the best! How wonderful is that? In a world dominated by mass-production at every turn, having something artisanally made for our dogs is a welcome change.

I would highly recommend these dog treats for any occasion, whether you want to further your dog’s training, reinforce what they already know or just spoil, knowing that each tasty bite is packed with nutrients.

Visit Buddy’s Kitchen today for their great selection and free shipping on orders over $50. And for behind-the-scenes fun, take a peek at their Instagram feed. So fun!

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PET WELLNESS: 3 DOG-FRIENDLY AT-HOME WORKOUTS

dog-friendly-workout-5-Pawsh-MagazineSo the new year is here in case you haven’t heard and with it often comes a determined resolution to ‘get in shape.’ What most of us don’t think about, however, upon declaring our renewed loyalty to fitness is that January is a horribly frigid month to work out. Going for a run or even a long meandering walk becomes infinitely more difficult when -25C comes a calling (yes, for our non-Canadian readers, temperatures do plummet!)

But don’t despair! We have cooked up 3 easy dog-friendly winter workouts that won’t be deterred by bad weather to help you keep your promise to yourself.

1. WORKOUT #1: DOWNWARD DOG
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We talk a lot about yoga (or doga – yoga for dogs) here on Pawsh, mostly because it is a fantastic way to keep body and mind happy and healthy. All you need for this workout is a yoga mat, a large open space to stretch out in and some soothing zen music.

If you know some yoga moves, work yourself through them. If you don’t, pick up any at-home yoga DVD (I personally love TurboFire; the fitness set has some powerful yoga training sessions in it). Yoga not only helps you to keep limber, but it can build muscle strength too. If you push yourself as well, you will definitely break a glorious sweat!

How your dog can join in: Throw a dog-friendly yoga party with friends. The dogs will love being part of the fun.

2. WORKOUT #2: DANCE!
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It’s easy to fall into a case of the ‘winter blues,’ but an even easier way to avoid them is to dance – regularly! A wonderful form of exercise, dancing release endorphins which has been proven to improve mood and emotional outlook.

Take some time each day to throw on the radio or your favourite playlist and dance around the house without a care in the world. 30 to 45 minutes will do! Or, if you’d like to actually learn a particular form of dance, consider another at-home DVD routine and spend some time each day working on your moves.

How your dog can join in: Ever notice how if you’re moving around the house your dog will follow? The same is often true of dancing! Rather than sit on a couch and watch the world go by, your dog will most likely get up to see what you’re doing and (better yet) join in the bouncing around!

A beautiful photo series of dancers and their dogs

3. WORKOUT #3: AN APP THAT FITS
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I have something of a love-hate relationship with gyms. Part of me loves the hustle and bustle, the social factor and the ‘you can do it’ atmosphere. But the other part of me hates how hard it is to cancel memberships, the perpetual smell of feet and waiting in line for machines.
dog-friendly-workout-4-Pawsh-MagazineSo this winter, why not run your own gym at home with some clever apps? Here are two that I’m loving right now:

Nike Training Club – easy to use and oh-so effective, you’ll be sore after any of these workouts. Set your goals, set your desired workout times and off you go! You can choose between get lean, get toned, get strong or get focused and workouts can be as brief as 20 minutes, yet very effective!

The app creates a daily program for you to help you reach your fitness goals without having to spend hours every day working out. Whether its your core, legs or cardio you want to focus on, this app covers it all! ANDROID | iPHONE

PumpUp – this nifty app was developed by students in Waterloo and is remarkable. It too allows you to set goals and work towards them in a totally customized manner. Plus it offers a cool social aspect, kind of like a Facebook feed, where you can interact with other users who are also pursuing fitness. The social aspect is awesome as it allows you to motivate each other and get a friendly sense of competition going. ANDROID

How your dog can join in: While Fido won’t be able to lift weights with you, he can be present for your workout and engaged by your activity. Plus, with all the time you’ve saved not trekking out to the gym and back, you can fit in an extra game of in-house fetch or catch to help pupster burn a few extra calories too.

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this feisty installment of the “Pet Wellness” column.}

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This article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills — the ideal solution if your dog doesn’t love dog parks.
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Adequate exercise is equally important to your dog’s wellness as a healthy diet. Even if you can’t run WITH your dog, we can help you meet his exercise needs, regardless of weather. With running decks scaled to suit any stride, there’s a PetRun treadmill for every size of dog! WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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DOG WELLNESS: HOW TO BATHE A DOG (AND HAVE SOME FUN!)

Pawsh-magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog-7 Several years ago I worked as a bather at a very busy dog grooming salon. I spent my days literally covered in fur, bubbles, slobbery wet kisses and – let’s be honest – a few scratches along the way. In my experience, most dogs didn’t love the prospect of a warm bath. Many would tolerate it, but most would do their best to resist.

However, with a little bit of time and a lot of practice on my own sweet pup, Rory, I have come up with a few simple tips and tricks to help any dog learn to love bathtime. Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog Regular bathing for dogs is important to keep their coats and skin clean and healthy, plus as an added bonus, it helps them smell nice. Here are a six secret tips to make bathtime a fun time!

1.  HAVE THE RIGHT SUPPLIES ON HAND
Imagine if you were at the hairdresser’s and your stylist kept running out of the room to grab the right pair of scissors or the right kind of gel. You would probably be a little peeved, yes? The same is true for dogs.

Make sure you have all of your necessary shampoos, towels, brushes and supplies set up by the tub or washing area so that you don’t get frazzled trying to manage a soggy dog while looking for what you need. Plus, being prepared in this manner will ultimately mean the bathtime will be short and sweet, which most pups will appreciate.

2. BATHE WITH CALM WATER
Sound strange? Let me explain. I personally don’t run a bath with Rory around. Why? Because a dog’s hearing is exceptional and being in a tub with a loud, pressurized facet blaring would be alarming for any dog. (Did you know most dogs hate the rain because it is noisy for their hearing?)

Instead run a bath without your pup present. Test the water to make sure it’s just the right temperature and once everything is ready then bring your pup in. Introducing your dog to a still, calm pool of water will be far less stressful.

Once your pup is in the tub, avoid using a handheld showerhead to wet and rinse them (unless they are indifferent to that). I use a large, empty yogurt container as a bucket to wet Rory down and rinse her off. I find scooping water up and over her to be a more calming action than blasting her with a nozzle. The dog is thereby calmer too.

(NOTE: For rinsing, fill a mop bucket of fresh water so that you aren’t trying to rinse your dog off with soapy/dirty water.)
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog-43. GET YOUR DOG USED TO WATER
Most dogs detest the water element of a bath, so take some time to teach them what a fun wet thing water can be! Fill a tub with a little bit of water, enough so that it reaches halfway up their legs and encourage them to get into the water on their own. Treats can be used to entice the first plunge.

When your dog gets into the tub, let them hop back out again on their own time — slowly so they don’t hurt themselves. This is important so that they don’t feel trapped in an overwhelming environment. Be sure to use lots of praise when they get in and out of the tub so that they know you are proud of them and that the tub is a happy place to be.

I find playing a gentle ‘splash’ game helps to engage dogs with water. Simply pat at the water’s surface or drop a toy that sinks into the tub and encourage your dog to also splash around. Just be sure to keep this game steady and calm. You don’t want a hyper dog in the tub, as they can slip and get injured. (Even better, use a non-slip bathmat in the tub for added safety).

If you tend to bath your dog outside with a hose, spend some time playing with the water nozzle and your pup. Play ‘chase the water line’ in the grass and spray other people as well as the dogs. Believe it or not, this will help a dog feel safe with the hose and associate it with positive, happy energy.

Repeat ‘water time’ as frequently as you can for 10 minute intervals to teach your pup that time in the tub is simply extra play time. Score!
Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog-64. HAVE SPECIAL ‘BATHTIME ONLY’ TOYS
Remember when you were little and your parents had to bribe you into agreeing to bathtime with a special rubber ducky or toy boat? Well, this same trick can work for dogs too. I recommend having two designated bathtime dog toys — one that sinks and one that floats. Make sure that your dog only gets these toys when they are in the tub, ideally only when they get into the tub on their own.

Toys are a great distraction while you’re lathering up the shampoo and rinsing the suds away. With your dog’s mind fixated on nosing around their floaty toy, they will be less likely to acknowledge the actual soaping up process. (This is the bathtime dog toy I use). Allow them to play with the toy for an hour after bathtime so that the toy is a reward for good bathtime behaviour. Then put it away ready for the next mucky occasion.
Pawsh-magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog-1a5. TALK IN A SOOTHING, HAPPY VOICE
While Fido wriggling all over the place during his bath may be enough of a nuisance to make you want to scream, keep your voice light, happy and soothing. As with any situation, the more stressed out you become, the more stressed out your pupster will be.

Use the same vocal cues you use when playing a game with your dog; you’re happy, energetic, yet firm when the play gets a little too rough. Your dog will know how to respond to this sort of verbal direction, rather than getting scared or upset by yelling.

(CONFESSION: Singing to your dog can help keep them calm too. My song of choice is “Rub-a-dub, get the bugs out!” or “Rub-a-dub-dub, there’s a pup in the tub!”)

6. KEEP DRY AND CARRY ON
Contrary to popular belief, bathtime is not over when the last little paw comes out of the water. When you towel dry your dog, remember to maintain the fun game-like mentality. Most dogs get what is known as the ‘heebie-jeebies’ after a bath and will tear around the house in a super hyper manner (here is Rory doing just that after her bath this weekend).

Embrace this happy mood with your dog and settle in for a game of light rough-house with the towel. This may seem like peculiar advice, but by making the drying part of a bath into a game every time your pup comes out of the tub, they will remember the routine and look forward to the chance to go ‘crazy’ after being washed. This also reinforces the bath as a bonding ritual between dog and human.Pawsh-Magazine-how-to-bath-a-dog-2As any seasoned dog parent knows, canine kiddies thrive on routine. They do best when they know what to expect. So no matter what your dog’s bathtime looks like, whether its in the family bathtub, the laundry room tub or with the backyard hose, make it a ritual with these tips.

And above all keep it fun so that your dog looks forward to the treats, the toys, the afterbath antics and the extra time with you!

{Huge thanks to my incredible friend and talented artist Tonya Pet Photography for photographing this special “Pet Wellness” column. And thanks to Ziggy the dog model!}

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dogtrotThis article was made possible by DogTrot Fitness — Canada’s exclusive distributor of the PetRun line of dog treadmills. The PetRun Dog Treadmill, designed specifically for dogs, is the ideal way to ensure your pet has an outlet to expend that pent-up energy, regardless of weather conditions, in the comfort and safety of your own home — and achieve significant health benefits. WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

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