Power Play

By Laura L. Benn
It’s the first thing they like to do when they wake up. It’s the last thing they do before going to sleep. They dream about it, bark about it and run around excitedly in circles whenever mention of it reaches their furry little ears. That’s right, we’re talking about play! True, it seems like a no-brainer: dogs like to play. But did you know how much power play holds over your pooch’s health?

Not only does play give your dog tremendous exercise, but it also provides mental stimulation and can help strengthen the human-canine bond. From about fours weeks of age, puppies begin to have fun and games with their siblings and mother. Although their clumsy actions and awkward movements may seem infantile, puppies at play are actually learning how to coordinate their fluff-ball bodies and how to socialize with others of their kind. Even if the rough house gets a little too rough and results in a pint-sized snap, a puppy is still learning a valuable lesson about boundaries and acceptable canine behaviour.
As puppies grow into their paws, their play develops as well. Their antics escalate, helping them to learn dominant and submissive roles, which in turn helps them develop social bonds. Dogs are physical creatures, meaning they communicate foremostly through tactile perceptions and a puppy who has grown up with a good dose of regular playtime is likely to have superior communication skills than a puppy who did not.
All too quickly, however, puppies grow up into adults, but that doesn’t mean life should suddenly become too serious. Often times people mistake an adult dog’s lower energy levels as sign of fatigue and disinterest. The truth of the matter is that play is an ageless past time and helps a dog’s brain to remain active, encouraging problem solving and satisfying their instinctual urges to hunt, chase, tug and run.
But perhaps the most beautiful thing about play is the respect and affection that it generates between the players. Dogs of all ages, shapes and sizes look forward to romping around with a playmate and quickly associate positive feelings with the activity. In other words, play keeps a pooch happy. So our advice? When you get home from a long day at work, no matter how tired you may be, take 20 minutes and play with your dog. Simply drop the briefcase and hit the park or the living room rug and have some quality one-on-one time with your waggy friend. You might be surprised how positively powerful regular playtime can be for your relationship.
What are your dog’s favourite games?

Dixie Days

Ah, Friday is here at last and although we’re sad to leave you for two days, we must confess that a busy week of organizing the new website and lining up content for the oh-so fabulous month of February has us happily awaiting the prospect of a wonderful weekend washing over us.

Thank you to everyone who has made our first week on the new website such a joy! Your comments, support and feedback have meant the world to us as we embark upon a new phase of pet journalism. We’d also like to extend a warm welcome to all of our new Twitter friends and thank everyone for helping spread the PAWSH love.

We will be back on Monday, bright-eyed and bushy tailed and hope that you all have a lovely weekend too! Indulge a little and lounge about in bed all day just like this little fellow, Dixie

Sweet Beans

Brrr! It’s cold outside! Especially for the little short haired dogs, which can only mean one thing — they need a sweater to keep warm. But not just any sweater, something bright, stylish and full of beans, like these adorable handmade creations from Beantown.

This crocheted catch sports a large vintage button that fastens at the neckline, ensuring your little one cannot wriggle free. A thick wool and acrylic blend that is machine washable (bonus!) will keep them snug as a pup in a rug and is sure to turn heads when strutting their stuff down the street.

For the more dignified pooch, however, why not entertain the possibility of a Shakespeare Warmer? Custom made to fit your dog’s neck size, this charming little whats-it makes a superb addition to any sweater for those extra chilly days. Not only will it keep large ears protected from wind, but it also shields your pup’s face and nose from the elements. And the best part is the open weave patterns leaves plenty of room to hook the inevitable leash to collar; although your pup may be too excited about his new look to let you put the leash on him!

Ice Ice Baby!

What could be more wonderful than a good long romp outside in a snowy winter wonderland with your best canine chum? The air is crisp, the snow glittering and your pooch is having a grand old time chasing snowflakes and enjoying the elements. But there’s something owners should be aware of when working their dogs in the depth of winter. Hydration.
“Hydration?” many of you are probably asking. “But it’s not hot outside.” True. However, no matter how cold the temperature gets the fact remains that your dog will still be in need of liquids. Running around like a maniac causes a lot of panting and the low humidity in the winter actually leaches more water molecules from the body when breathing.
“Alright,” you may be thinking. “No problem. There’s lots of snow on the ground. Instant refreshment.” This is the biggest mistake most dog owners make. Contrary to popular belief eating snow and nibbling on ice isn’t going to help your pooch either. In fact, it’s down right unhealthy. Although it seems logical to hydrate by eating snow (it is frozen water after all), the sub-zero temperatures can have harmful effects internally. Consuming ice cold water lowers body temperature and constricts the blood vessels in the stomach, for humans and canines alike, which makes digestion infinitely more difficult. So remember, say no to snow (yellow and white alike!)! The best solution for any thirsty pup is clean fresh water.
Bring along a water bottle on your next outing and a plastic dish to serve it in. Metal dishes should be avoided because they cool water faster and…well…there’s always the risk of getting one’s tongue stuck on the edge. It may sound silly, but keeping your dog properly hydrated during these frigid winter months is one of the most important things you can do. Plus, it means they can have even more winter fun!

By Laura L. Benn

Welcome to the New Pawsh!

By Remy Alexandre
Our New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to bring you even more information and heart-warming tails…um, we mean tales….from the pet world. And we couldn’t think of a better way to keep our promise than to build a new, more interactive website!

So after many sleepless nights of working, organizing and preparing for this very day, it is with great pleasure and enormous excitement that we present you with our new and improved web format! We have a brand new look, a brand new name, and a brand new publishing schedule so that we can celebrate a life well lived with pets every day!

To help spread the love, we’ve added even more ways for you to stay connected with Pawsh Magazine! Follow us on Facebook, join the conversation and find us on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS feed, or follow along with Google Friend Connect! It’s our hope that you will continue to share your thoughts, stories, photos and more with us as this year progresses! Oh, and we’ve even designed some stylish buttons for you to grab and use on your own websites or blogs too!

So without further delay, we happily welcome you to Pawsh Magazine! Please stay a while, make yourself at home and click around some of our new features. We hope to see you all here every day! Enjoy!