Category Archives: kids and pets

How to Keep Your Dog Safe at Summer Gatherings

By Bear (Canine Guest Blogger)

I just love summer, don’t you? There’s swimming and running around, playing ball and of course, lots of cookouts and people to play with. Yep, it’s a dog’s life that’s for sure! Today I’m taking a break from the social whirl to talk to everyone about some safety rules to keep us doggies healthy and happy through the summer. Summer get-togethers can be dangerous for dogs, so we count on our people to keep us safe.

Small Children

I’m a good dog; I love the kids at our house and I like to play with them because they don’t get too rough and don’t treat me like I’m a pony. I may be a little on the heavy side but I’m definitely not a horse! My mommy knows that I don’t have a lot of patience and may get snappy if a little kid pulls my hair or climbs on me, so she makes sure to let everyone who has small children know that I’m off limits. If there are going to be a lot of little kids around, my mom will put me on a run in my own area or keep me in the house so I can get a little peace! My mom definitely doesn’t want me to bite someone’s child, so she makes sure that I’m kept at a safe distance from small children who probably don’t want to hurt me, but might by accident. You might also want to read our article “Teaching Kids How to Approach an Unfamiliar Dog.”

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Ten Great Reasons to Have a Pet

By Julia Williams

This morning I was sitting at my desk when my dear sweet Belle came in to ask for some love. Of my three cats, she’s the one who most enjoys having hugs and kisses lavished upon her, and I was happy to comply. As I held her close, I told her that I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it. It’s the truth.

There are so many great reasons to have a pet, I knew I could easily come up with ten. Naturally, this list barely scratches the surface of all the many reasons people love their pets.

1.  Pets make wonderful, loving companions for people of all ages. They don’t criticize our faults, our looks, or the things we lack. Pets are good listeners, and they’re always happy to see us and greet us when we come home. Single people with pets can live by themselves without feeling lonely or alone. Everyone benefits from the special unconditional love of a pet, but teenagers, the elderly, the anti-social, and people with disabilities are especially helped through difficult times when they have a pet by their side.

2. Pets amuse us with their silly antics. Pets are natural born comedians, and they make us laugh every day. They provide countless hours of entertainment, and alleviate boredom like no video game or TV program ever could.

3. Pets protect us and our home from intruders. Dogs are good low-tech home security systems, but cats can be too. My current felines alert me to visitors by making a mad dash into the bedroom. Many years ago, my cat Binky sat on my dresser facing the window and growled nonstop. When I looked outside, I saw the Peeping Tom who’d been annoying the neighborhood.

I feel a bit smug when I hear about people with “rodent” problems, because homes with cats don’t have them. That is, unless you have a cat like my Rocky, who once brought in a rat and turned his back, whereupon it scampered behind my stove. This did require human intervention, but still – cats are great for dispatching rodents.

4. A pet might save your life one day. Stories abound of pets that wake their owners to alert them of a fire in the house. I’ve also read about a cat that saved its human family from carbon monoxide poisoning, and a dog who performed a canine version of the Heimlich maneuver on his choking owner. An accidental discovery of a dog that could “smell” cancer on his owners leg has led to scientists training them to detect various types of cancer cells, with remarkable accuracy.

5. Having a pet can improve both your mental and physical health. Pets help people overcome depression, anxiety, pessimism, melancholy, mood swings, shyness, rebelliousness and loneliness. These amazing animal healers can lower our blood pressure and pulse rate, calm frazzled nerves, reduce the effects of stress on our bodies, and help us live longer, healthier lives.

6. Pets make great lap warmers and bed warmers on cold winter nights. Who needs an electric blanket when you have a furry form heating up your bed naturally?

7. Pets can help you find friends and partners. You might meet “Mr. Right” at the dog park, in the vet’s waiting room, or on your daily walk around the neighborhood. While Fido plays with his four-legged friends at the dog park, you can socialize with other owners.

8. Pets are great workout partners. Walking or running with a dog, and playing games with our pets provides the beneficial exercise we all need. With the hectic lifestyle so many of us lead, it makes sense to incorporate the family pet into our workout regime. Besides the daily walk, there are many things you can do to get fit with Fido. For starters, you can take a Doga class together, which is basically yoga for dogs and their owners, and read this article for other fun ways your pooch can help you lose your paunch.

9. Caring for pets can teach children valuable life skills like patience, consistency, goal setting, perseverance, leadership and communication. Encouraging children to take an active role in the care of their pet helps them learn about responsible pet ownership too.

10. Pets can inspire us be better human beings. Like Jack Nicholson said to Helen Hunt in the movie As Good as It Gets, “You make me want to be a better man,” pets can encourage important qualities such as compassion, playfulness, nurturing and kindness.

Readers, now it’s your turn – are there other special reasons why you love having a pet? Tell me why having a pet brings you great joy!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Teaching Kids How to Approach an Unfamiliar Dog

By Linda Cole

When I was a kid, old enough to know better, I saw a dog chained to a parking meter. The owner was nowhere in sight. Kids raised with dogs have a tendency to view all dogs like their pet at home. That’s exactly what I did. As I approached the dog, it lunged at me and I had to jump back to avoid getting bit. It was a good lesson to learn. Kids can learn how to look at a dog and understand what the dog is telling them before they approach it. A child is more at risk for dog encounters because of their small size. A more aggressive dog isn’t as intimidated by a child as they are with adults.

It’s just as important to teach your children what to do when meeting an unfamiliar or stray dog as it is to teach them what to do if a stranger approaches them. Dogs are everywhere and sooner or later, kids will find themselves face to face with an unfamiliar or stray dog. The dog could be a family or friend’s pet, a dog in the back of a truck or a stray dog who’s trying to find his way back home.

Teaching kids how to read a dog’s body language is their best defense. Most dogs mean us no harm and they are experts at reading our body language. If a child shows fear or aggression towards the dog, it can lead to an unwanted and unnecessary confrontation, even if the dog and kid know each other.

Avoid direct eye contact with an unfamiliar or stray dog. Teaching kids how to look at a dog is as important as understanding the dog’s body language. To a dog, direct eye contact is perceived as a challenge. It’s alright to keep an eye on it, but don’t stare. If a stray dog starts to walk towards you, walk away from the dog, but do keep an eye on him to see what he’s doing. Even a friendly dog can bite if we give wrong signals.

Never run away from a dog, because running will activate his prey drive. A friendly stray may give chase because he wants to play, but it can be frightening to a child or adult when a dog is chasing them. Don’t kick at them or try to push them away with your hands. Teach kids to stand completely still with their arms held straight down next to their body if a stray dog approaches them outside. Stay calm and try not to tighten up because the dog can tell if we’re frightened. Most dogs will give a few sniffs and then be on their way if they’re completely ignored.

If knocked down by a stray dog, curl up in a ball with your hands over your head and remain still and quiet. Excitement from us will create excitement in the dog. The best way to keep a situation under control is by staying in control and remaining calm.

Enter a home with a dog as if there is no dog. Even if there’s a comfortable and safe relationship between kid and dog, the dog should be ignored until the greetings are over and everyone has calmed down. Dogs get excited when company arrives and the best time to give them attention is when everyone’s in a relaxed state of mind. Encounters with dogs happen because we don’t always understand them. They have days when they aren’t feeling up to par, just like we do.

When meeting someone’s dog who is unfamiliar to them, kids should be taught to always ask before approaching the dog. It’s only natural for kids to want to pet and play with a dog. However, even laid back, friendly dogs don’t always like having a child pull on their ears. Injuries can be avoided with one simple rule. Never try to pet a dog you don’t know. Dogs react the only way they can and will use a growl and bite, if necessary, as a warning to us to leave them alone.

Teaching kids how to approach an unfamiliar or stray dog, even if it looks friendly and is wagging its tail, can help protect them from negative dog encounters. As long as they aren’t threatened by us, most dogs will leave us alone. A stray dog doesn’t know we want to help them and we don’t know what they may have been through while living on the streets. A stray dog can be defensive, fearful or friendly depending on how it’s been treated by people it has met along the way. Teaching kids how to look at a dog and understand the dog’s body language is your child’s best defense when meeting an unfamiliar or stray dog.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Back to School for Kids and Pets

By Linda Cole

Once again, summer vacation is coming to an end for millions of kids around the country. Hopefully, pets were able to spend quality time with their little humans, but like all good things, summer vacation is over and children are off to another year of school. Suddenly, pets are left with nothing to do and boredom can set in. When kids go back to school, what’s a bored pet to do with all the extra time they now have?

Parents are usually the only ones happy to see summer vacation end as kids prepare for their first day of class, a year older and hopefully wiser. Pets, on the other hand, have no idea what’s going on. The first day of school is a flurry of activity as parents pry kids out of bed, which is way too early after a summer of sleeping in. Parents and kids rush out the door so everyone can get where they need to go on time. The house is quiet and the poor pet is still sitting in the middle of the kitchen, alone and confused. Where did everyone go?

Pets don’t do well with sudden changes in their routine, and that’s exactly what back to school means for them. Routines make them feel safe and comfortable. This is the time of year when pets can become confused, depressed or exhibit signs of separation anxiety when the routine they grew accustomed to all summer suddenly changes. Pets get used to certain things happening at a certain time, or close to it, each day. Once school starts, watch your pet for signs of boredom or separation anxiety. This can become a problem when a dog or cat who is used to having someone around most of the day is left on their own to figure out how to entertain themselves.

Sit down with your kids and talk to them about responsible pet ownership. This is a good time to remind them their four legged friends need attention from them after school. Pets don’t require a lot of our time, and spending an extra fifteen minutes in the morning before school exercising the dog will help him get through the day until everyone is back home in the afternoon. A walk or playtime in the backyard after school will reassure a pet they haven’t been forgotten.

Cats don’t usually tear up furniture or leave claw marks on the front door, but even they can experience separation anxiety when it’s time for kids to go back to school. Pets don’t understand why the summer routine they grew accustomed to has suddenly changed, and bored pets can be destructive. Separation anxiety can turn into a serious behavioral problem if it’s not dealt with. Establishing a new routine that includes all members of the family will help kids learn more responsibility in the care of their dog or cat, and help pets deal with their time home alone once they know what to expect before and after school.

Since a pet’s routine will change when the kids head back to school, now is the perfect time to help ease them into a new schedule before they’re left on their own. Start by having your kids give the dog or cat extra attention in the morning. Go for a walk, play tug a war or wiggle a toy for the cat. Once a pet realizes someone will return home to give them attention at a certain time, they have something to look forward to that can help them pass the hours. They may still be bored, but once a pet learns the new schedule, they’re willing to wait for the kids get home from school.

Ask your kids to think of games or activities they can do with their pet to help them adjust to a new routine. Have the kids help put out toys for pets to entertain themselves with while everyone’s gone. Hide treats around the house to give a bored pet something stimulating to do. Fill treat toys for dogs to chew on. If your dog stays in a crate when everyone’s gone, start now and give him time to gradually adjust to spending more time in his crate.

Back to school means a new routine for the entire household and everyone needs to adjust, but it doesn’t have to be upsetting for pets. With a plan in place and your kids help after school, pets can adjust to a new schedule knowing they haven’t been forgotten. They can still spend time with the ones they love. It’s just at a different time of the day.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

How to Help Kids Learn Responsible Pet Ownership


By Tamara L. Waters

Becoming a responsible pet owner is something kids can learn early on. Helping your children learn how to care for pets responsibly and lovingly is easy enough to do, and more important than you might realize. Responsible pet care can also teach a number of life lessons to kids that will lead to them becoming responsible adults in many aspects of their lives. Here are a few tips on helping your kids learn these valuable lessons.

Feeding and Watering Chores

Children can take an active role in pet ownership by becoming part of a pet’s daily care. Adding the feeding and watering of a pet to a child’s daily chore list helps them develop a routine while taking part in the pet’s care.

At my house, the kids are not allowed to put off the feeding and watering of the pets until they feel like it, or find time. When they get up in the morning, feeding the cats is the first thing they are expected to do and of course, our kitties remind them of this. The two oldest children rotate this task: one feeds the indoor cats and the other feeds the outdoor cats. The next day, the roles switch.

Exercise and Playtime

Setting aside regular time to exercise and play with pets isn’t difficult and actually, it’s fun. Most kids will love this part and making it fun can help them to see that pets should not be ignored – they should be part of the family. Just like children enjoy running and playing and having a good time, so do the pets.

When you take the dog for a walk, let the kids go along. This can be an opportunity to teach the kids proper dog walking techniques and help them establish a pattern that they will follow when they are older and have pets of their own.

Allow Kids to Be Part of Simple Decisions

Part of learning responsible pet ownership is taking ownership. Kids can do this by taking ownership of some of the simple decisions regarding the pet. Examples of simple decisions could be: the pet’s name, pet toys, accessories (leash, collar, dog house, cat condo, food dishes) or pet food.

Allow children to help by doing research on pet care online. Let them check out books at the library about pets so they can read for themselves about proper care. Give the kids tasks that allow them to take an active role and ownership in the pet. The more they feel part of and valued in the decision-making, the more they will want to participate.

Taking the kids to routine veterinary appointments is also a great way to allow them to be part of decisions. When our cat has been sick, the kids will help remind me when it’s time to give her medicine.

Cleaning and Maintenance

This is not a favorite part of pet care, but it is necessary. Learning about proper cleaning and maintenance for pets is a must. Whether it is scooping and changing the litter boxes or scooping the doggy doo, kids can take part.

In my home, my children are expected to clean up any messes their cats make. If the cat pukes up a hairball or knocks a glass over, the kids are expected to help clean up after them. Not only do they learn that Mom isn’t the only one capable of cleaning up the messes, but they learn that Boo is their cat and therefore it is their responsibility to clean up after him. This is a good lesson to learn for life in general, not just for dealing with pets.

Teach your kids early on that being a pet owner requires responsibility in addition to love. They can begin learning these lessons at a young age and continue throughout their lifetime. Caring for a pet can help prepare them for their future as a responsible adult and they – along with your pets – will thank you for it.

Read more articles by Tamara L. Waters

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.