September 10: National Pet Memorial Day

Throughout history, pets have been loyal companions. In recent times, pets have also come to be viewed as friends, family members, and even “kids”. National Pet Memorial Day offers an opportunity for pet owners to honor beloved pets who are gone but never forgotten. Celebrated on the second Sunday in September, this special event was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC).

nationalpetmemorialday

National Pet Memorial Day is now celebrated by hundreds of people across the United States. According to National Day Calendar, one idea that is becoming a popular tradition is to plant a tree or a shrub as a living memorial. When our adopted dog died, this is how our vet paid tribute to him. Through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees For Pets program, you may have a tree planted in memory of your pet and a personalized card or certificate identifying where the tree has been planted.

What follows is a compilation of other ideas gathered from the IAOPCC and Dog.com. The majority of the ideas involve thinking about your deceased pets.

  • Look at old photos. Pictures tangibly capture the wonderful times we had and often refresh memories that may have become blurred or even forgotten. You might even want to frame favorites or compile them into a scrapbook.
  • Talk about your pet with others who knew your pet. These conversations, besides bringing smiles and tears, might also prompt fuzzy or lost memories. You might even want to write a letter to your pet.
  • Revisit your pet’s favorite things. If you’ve packed away special dishes and toys, now might be the time to pull them out to rekindle old memories. Looking at items that were important to your pet may provide cathartic relief.
  • Visit your pet’s burial site. Make a tribute by decorating the site with something your pet treasured in life. Talk to your pet while at the burial site.
  • Some ideas instead involve the act of giving to others. For example, you might use the day to send sympathy cards to pet owners who have almost pets. Alternatively, you might donate money or give time to an animal welfare group. These groups are working daily to care for and find forever families for homeless pets. This is a tangible way to give back to your pet who gave so much to you.

One idea not listed is to donate to animal medical research. To do so, have the name of your pet, your name and address, and amount of donation. When our first cat died of Chronic Kidney Failure, a leading cause of death in felines and so one of the most dreaded diseases cat owners face, this is how our vet paid tribute to her.

Whatever way you choose to remember your departed pets, the thought behind your tribute is what’s most important. There is no one right way to keep alive the memories of their life. How have you honored pets who have now passed to Rainbow Bridge?

August 30: Pet Holistic Day

Holistic Pet Day was started by pet advocate, Colleen Paige, to encourage owners to look at health care for pets. One of those methods is holistic health, wherein a pet’s diet, lifestyle, and environment are recognized as having a potential impact on its overall health. Some believe that holistic treatments will improve nutrition, increase pet energy, and even manage diseases or cure illnesses.

Some aspects of holistic health seem like typical health care. For example, Pet Meds says that the most important aspect to holistic treatment is an adequate diet. A minimally-processed diet is considered the best option. For dogs and cats, who are carnivores, a low-carb and low-grain diet is the current popular trend. For other animals such as guinea pigs, who are herbivores, fresh vegetables and fruits are standard fare.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) reports that 98 million pets (54% of dogs and cats) living in the United States are overweight or obese. During a pet’s annual exam, inquire about your pet’s Body Condition Score and your veterinarian determine an appropriate weight-loss or maintenance plan. Pets that maintain a normal body condition throughout their life are less-prone to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Other aspects of holistic treatment are more controversial. For example, pet owners are encouraged to reduce their reliance on prescription medications. One example given by a veterinarian at The Honest Kitchen is that a dog’s pain can be managed by taking a multi-modal approach, including:

  • Environmental modification (making your home, yard, and car ‘pet-safe’, etc.)
  • Physical Rehabilitation (massage, stretching, range of motion, acupuncture, laser treatment, etc.)
  • Nutraceuticals (fish oil-derived omega fatty acids, joint support products, antioxidants, etc.)
  • Healthy weight management (dietary modification, exercise, calorie restriction, etc.)

In conjunction with the above, other alternatives to conventional medicine might include acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy.

Although holistic health is growing in popularity, including among veterinarians, not everyone is a proponent. I’d need to do more research to know what I believe. What are your experiences?

August 28: Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day was founded by a fellow pet blogger, Deborah Barnes. The author of Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, Deb created this special day in tribute to her Ragdoll cat, Mr. Jazz, whom she said goodbye to on August 28, 2013. Upon receiving overwhelming support for her book about his death (Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond), Deb decided to create the day in his honor as a way for others to share memories of their own departed pets.

Rainbow Bridge carries on an ancient tradition of memorializing our beloved pets with the same care and consideration as we do our departed human family.–Deborah Barnes

This year, I wish to honor Jazzy and Jonesy. Jazzy belonged to my in-laws. He was a black toy poodle, and he died last year at the age of 15. My in-laws have only owned toy poodles, and they only have one at a time. Jazzy was their third. After he died, they went the longest they’ve ever gone without a dog since getting their first toy poodle in 1975. But a couple of months ago they got their fourth toy poodle – an eight-week-old cream-colored puppy that they named Toby.

Jonesy belonged to my family, and especially my sister. Jonesy was one of two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels that needed a home. The dogs came to my family at the age of four. They were mellow and amicable dogs. Everyone who knew them considered them sweet. This past year, Jonesy welcomed my parents’ new puppy, Lexie, and even played with her, despite being 13 years older than her. On August 17, while my parents were playing a game of Scrabble, they noticed that Jonesy was unusually still. When they checked on him, they discovered that he’d passed away quietly. You can read my dad’s tribute at: Jonesy

For those who have ever lost a pet, Deb is hosting a Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day blog hop. The post will go live at 12:00 a.m, EST, on August 28 with the code and linking information available at that time. She has also created a Facebook event page where you may want to post a picture, upload a video, or share a favorite memory. This is the event link: http://bit.ly/2h0NXUU.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to remember the other pets I have lost but not forgotten.

And as with every year, there is no pressure to participate and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. I know it’s a sad day. But it’s also a beautiful day. The outpouring of love I see is so touching, as people share in the love they had (and still have) for their pet(s). It’s a time when we can all take a moment to collectively come together and comfort one.–Deborah Barnes

August 26: National Dog Day

Do you remember when you adopted your first dog? Pet & Family Lifestyle Expert and Animal Advocate, Colleen Paige created a national pet calendar event in honor of the first dog her family adopted. National Dog Day was founded in 2004 and is celebrated on August 26. Paige is also the founder of National Cat Day, National Puppy Day, and National Mutt Day, all designed to bring attention to the plight of homeless animals and encourage adoption.

Millions of dogs are killed each year because they’re simply unwanted. They’re unwanted because no one realized how to properly care for the demands of the breed. They’re unwanted because they were bought as a Christmas gift for a child that didn’t keep their promises about caring for the dog… because they shed too much… because they bark too much… because someone changed their mind.—Colleen Paige, National Dog Day

One of the goals of National Dog Day is to celebrate all dogs for selflessly bringing us comfort and keeping us safe every day. Special emphasis is placed on the service dogs that put their lives on the line for the sick or disabled, and for members of the law enforcement or the military. For example, some dogs can alert owners to cancer, seizures, or other illnesses. Some dogs can instead detect bombs and drugs or pull victims from wreckage. In honor of these dogs, National Dog Day started a Heroes Dog page: the first dog inducted was a sixteen-year-old Bretagne that was he last known FEMA Search & Rescue Canine that served at Ground Zero. In 2013, in recognition of all that our canine companions do, National Dog Day was adopted into New York State legislation.

Another goal of National Dog Day is to encourage ownership of all dog breeds, mixed and pure. To that end, National Dog Day is against all breed bans. In addition, it discourages buying dogs from pet stores supplied by puppy mills, backyard breeders, and internet and newspaper ads. Instead it encourages adoption. The goal of the National Dog Day Foundation is to rescue 10,000 dogs each year.

National Dog Day is the perfect time to take a trip to your local shelter or to reach out to your local dog rescue group. If your household is full, spend time with your dogs by taking them for walks or watching dog movies with them, and use #NationalDogDay as an excuse to post photos of your dog(s) on social media. You could also dip into your pocket book. If everyone gave just $5, imagine how many more dogs our local animal welfare groups could help.

All a dog wants to do is love you and be loved by you. Dogs are amazing, courageous, sensitive and sentient beings that deserve compassion and respect. Please consider bringing what was once considered “unwanted love” into your heart and home on National Dog Day!.—Colleen Paige, National Dog Day

What dog is the center of your world? And how will you celebrate National Dog Day? Drop us a line at LAA Pet Talk and let us know.

August 22: Take Your Cat to the Vet Day

Copyright free, Flicker
Stock photo, Flicker

The American Veterinarian Medical Association recommends that every pet have annual veterinary visits for preventive care. Yet less than half of cat owners in the United States take their cats to a veterinarian on a regular basis. In 2009, the company Feline Pine created Take Your Cat to the Vet Day to build awareness of the need for regular veterinary care for cats.

The American Veterinarian Medical Association notes that cost is an issue for about 20% of cat owners and transportation is an issue for about 5%. But it also stresses that about 54% don’t take their cat to a vet simply because there are no signs of sickness. One problem with this approach is that cats, while fully susceptible to many of the same diseases as people, are also masters at hiding illness. In other words, by the time our cats are acting sick, they may be dangerously sick. Not only does this make recovery and life in general more difficult for our cat, but it can also result in costly bills which might have been avoided with routine visits.

What does your vet do during these routine visits and why are they important? According to Pet Health Network, a vet performs:

 Physical Exam: Your veterinarian will check for signs of illness and do a head-to-tail exam to look for changes or abnormalities.

 Immunizations: There are an important way to protect pets from preventable infectious diseases.

 Parasite Prevention: Your veterinarian will check your cat for external parasites like fleas, ticks and ear mites, and internal parasites like roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms and coccidia. They will also discuss products available to prevent parasites.

 Lab Work: Depending on your cat’s age and the results of its physical exam, your veterinarian may recommend blood tests. These are an important way to detect diseases early so treatment can be started right away.

If you’ve been procrastinating that annual check-up, Take Your Cat to the Vet Day is the perfect time to make an appointment. Routine medical care cannot only help your feline friend stay supple and healthy, but it can also catch diseases early when they are easier to treat. Why not call your vet today?

August 19: International Animal Homeless Day

On August 19, unite with other animal lovers around the world to advocate for homeless animals. Founded in 1992 by the International Society for Animals Rights (ISAR), the event brings together people from all over the world to shed light on pet overpopulation. The day has been celebrated across the United States, in over 50 countries, and on six continents.

What are some ways groups have honored International Animal Homeless Day? Some are simple, such as dog walks, slideshows, live music, raffles, open houses, rallies, and award ceremonies. Others are more involved, such as blessings of the animals, spay/neuter clinics, microchip clinics, adopt-a-thons, and speeches given by council members, veterinarians, humane officers, and shelter personnel.

Individuals and groups wishing to hold their own International Animal Homeless Day events can order a complimentary downloadable event planning packet by contacting ISAR through its website: http://isaronline.org/programs/international-homeless-animals-day-ihad/contact/. The packet includes tips on site selection, speakers, target audiences, poems, songs, and press releases. It also includes posters to advertise the event, and proclamations to be signed by your governor and mayor declaring the day as International Animal Homeless Day. Finally, ISAR guarantees advertisement of your event on its website and through its online communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

Not interested in hosting your own event? Nebraskans can join two animal rescue groups in their promotion of the day.

Organization:  Little White Dog Rescue (LWDR)
Date: August 19, 2017
Time:  12:00 PM -2:00 PM
Location: That Dog Wash, 1401 Jackson Street Omaha, NE 68102
Contact:  Jennifer Fredrickson, Phone:  402-709-4425;  Email: jjeusterbrock@yahoo.com
Website:  http://www.littlewhitedogrescue.org/
Event:  Meet & Greet on International Homeless Animals’ Day!
Details: Little White Dog Rescue invites you to come out and meet the dogs at That Dog Wash, Jackson St. Omaha, NE on International Homeless Animals’ Day, Saturday – August 19, 2017 from Noon to 2PM!  They have lots of wonderful dogs looking for their forever home.
Sponsor(s): Petsense
Date:  August 19, 2017
Time:  10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location(s):  Nationwide – Nebraska location:  Grand Island
Contact:  wowteam@petsenseonline.com
Website: http://petsenseonline.com/
Event: Operation Home – August Adoption!
Details: Join Petsense at any of their 160+ stores nationwide on International Homeless Animals’ Day, Saturday August 19, 2017 for a special adoption event.  Petsense helps educate the public on the importance of adopting and will partner with local shelters, rescues, and vendors to help home thousands of pets across America!

The simplest way to honor this day is to participate in ISAR’s online candlelight vigil. The virtual candle can be in honor/in memory of a furry loved one, someone who has dedicated their time to rescuing animals, victims of pet overpopulation, or to promote spay/neuter.

August 15: National Check the Chip Day

CheckChipNo matter how careful we are, sometimes our pets get lost. And because they can’t tell people their address, the easiest way to get them back is to make sure they have ID. Tags are the traditional way to let people know who your pet belongs to, but it’s not enough. Collars can come off. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, you can have a microchip implanted under your pet’s skin.

National Check the Chip Day was created by The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The purpose of National Check the Chip Day, as you can tell by its name, is to give people a yearly reminder to make sure their pet’s microchip record is up to date. It’s also a little nudge to those who haven’t yet had their pets microchipped.

How do you update your pet’s microchip record? First you need to go to the website of your pet’s microchip provider. The easiest way to find that, if you don’t remember, is to search for your pet’s microchip ID number using a website called the Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. Once you’ve navigated to the website of your pet’s microchip provider, just log in and check your info and your pet’s info. That’s if you’ve already created an account and remember your username and password. But if you’re like me, and you created an account but forgot the username and password, and also never registered your pet with your account, it can be a bit of a hassle. But thanks to my extremely well-organized wife, who saved Barnaby’s microchip enrollment letter, I finally got logged in and registered Barnaby with my account.

According to a great infographic at the AVMA website, microchipped dogs are twice as likely to be returned to their owners, and cats are twenty times as likely to be returned. But when a microchipped pet can’t be returned to its owner, it’s usually due to missing or inaccurate information in the microchip registry. That’s why National Check the Chip Day is so important. As a result of writing this article, I discovered that I hadn’t registered Barnaby with my account on his microchip provider’s website. Fortunately, my vet had enrolled Barnaby in the microchip registry when they implanted his microchip, and they included their contact info in his record; so he’d gotten lost any time in the last five years, they would have been contacted and then they would have contacted me, and I’d have gotten him back. But were it not for the diligence of my vet, my own negligence would have resulted in Barnaby’s microchip being worthless. So please take advantage of National Check the Chip Day to check your pet’s microchip records and correct any problems you find. It just may be the difference between a quick reunion and never seeing your pet again.

Editor’s Note: Thanks to my husband, Andy Frederick, for writing this post for me!

July 21: National Craft for Shelters Day

We are calling all fellow blog friends, pet lovers, and crafters around the Nation to join us on this special day. Help us keep National Craft for Shelters Day going and growing! Please spread the word!—Erika Lindquist, Sew Doggy Style

nationalcraftdayEstablished in 2012 by Sew Doggy Style blogger Erika Lindquist, National Craft for Shelters Day has a simple message. If you know how to make handmade-crafts, you can use your talent to give back to local shelters on July 21 by making budget-friendly gifts.

On her site, Lindquist offers the below tips to interested crafters.

  • Decide on a shelter to donate to. Then contact them and make sure they want to receive your donation.
  • If you aren’t sure of what handcrafted items to make, ask your shelter of choice what they could use the most. Alternatively, check out Sew Doggy Style for ideas, some of which include: beds, painted bowls, leashes, and toys. The group’s number one requested items? “Adopt me” bandanas.
  • Devise a realistic “game plan”. Some questions to consider are: Do you need a pattern? What other materials will you need? How long will one craft item take to make? How much time can you afford?
  • Consider getting others involved. Organizing a craft night, wherein you set up “stations” and assign tasks based on each crafter’s skills.
  • Ask for sponsors! Maybe your local craft stores have supplies that they’d be willing to donate. Or friends? Think outside the box and don’t give up.

When your crafts are done and you’re ready to donate, follow-up with a call to your selected shelter and make arrangements to donate your completed items. While at the shelter, take photos of pets using your group’s handcrafted items so that you can share them online and help spread the word.

On her site, Lindquist also includes a request to shelters to contact Sew Doggy Style for specific items of need. One of the more unusual projects developed as part of National Craft for Your Shelter came from the Women’s Humane Society, which stated that their shelter needed agility and obstacle course pieces made out of supplies like PVC pipes. Finally, Lindquist provides a pledge that crafters can make. As she explains, we’re all more likely to do something if we make a public commitment.

I wanted to come up with a way for people to give/donate to their local shelters that would be fun and affordable. If someone is unable to help their shelter financially, they can help by making simple, yet meaningful, items for the animals.—Erika Lindquist, I Love Dogs

July 15: Pet Fire Safety Day

fire_safety_dayPet Fire Safety Day was started in the early 2000’s through the combined efforts of the American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services. This special calendar day, which falls on July 15, is about creating awareness of how to prevent pets from starting fires and how to keep pets safe if they’re caught in a house fire.

One of the hallmarks of responsible dog ownership is keeping pets safe and planning for unexpected emergencies, including house fires. Pet-proofing the home, developing pet-friendly escape routes, and alerting rescuers of your pets’ presence with ‘window clings’ is the best way to keep your four-legged family member from harm.–Lisa Peterson, AKC spokesperson

According to the National Fire Protection Association, pets are responsible for 1,000 house fires each year. Below are some ways to pet-proof your home.

  • Cover (or remove) stove knobs: Pets who like to jump on countertops could just as easily walk onto the stove, bump into a stove knob, and turn it on. If you don’t think this is a big deal, think again. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading cause of pet-started house fires is pets accidentally turning stove knobs.
  • Keep appliances out of reach of pets: Some appliances such as irons and hair dryers can produce enough heat that, if knocked over by a pet, they could start a fire.
  • Protect electrical cords from pets: Pets who like to nibble on cords can not only end up with serious burns but might even start a fire. Train your pet to not chew on cords and consider coating cords with a bitter agent for pets, such as Boundary or Bitter Apple, as a deterrent. Especially if you have young pets, you might consider unplugging cords when electrical devices aren’t in use or crating your pets in your absence.
  • Extinguish open flames: It just takes one playful or curious pet to knock over a candle. Cats in particular are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Invest in flameless candles: You can completely remove the danger of candles being knocked over by investing in flameless (electric) candles.
  • Install a barrier in front of other sources of fire. Many pets like to lay close to a source of heat to stay warm. Unfortunately, lying too close to a fire could result in your pet’s hair catching fire. In addition, it’s possible for many pets to knock over a portable heater or a barbecue grill.

According to the American Kennel Club, 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. Below are some ways to increase the chance that your pet will survive this emergency.

  • Affix a pet alert decal to your window: Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. If you need a Pet Alert Window Cling, both the ADT and the ASPCA distribute free alert stickers on their website. (LINKS!) The National Volunteer Fire Council also distributes them for free through local volunteer firehouses nationwide.
  • Keep pets and supplies near entrances when you’re out: Keep collars on pets and leashes and/or crates near the door in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. You might also keep pets in areas or rooms near entrances so that firefighters can readily find them.
  • Practice escape routes with pets: Teach your pets to pay attention to the sound of a smoke alarm going off. The siren can be a nonverbal signal to your pets that they need to follow a predetermined plan, whether that plan is for them to retreat to their crate or to exit safely with you. Working with your pets to get them to respond to a fire alarm can be part of their basic training.
  • Use monitored smoke detectors: Pets left alone can’t escape a burning house. Monitored smoke detectors, connected to a home security system, will result in emergency responders being contacted more quickly than battery-operated smoke alarms. This could turn not only result in less fire damage to your home, but increased likelihood of your pets surviving a house fire.

The responses to a question posted at Riley’s Place about the effectiveness of pet alert window clings reveals that everyone has different ideas about how to maximize the chance of pets being rescued from a fire. One pet owner suggested making neighbors aware of what pets you have, so that they can alert rescuers in the event of a fire. Volunteers with fire departments weighed in too, with one saying that pet alert decals should be made of high quality material to withstand outdoor weather, and that the best location for decals is on the window AND on the electric or gas meter where firefighters go initially to secure the utilities to the building.

After I shared my research with my husband, we had our own discussion about which of the above options were practical and viable for us. And I think that’s the point of Fire Safety Day. Pet owners should all take advantage of Pet Fire Safety Day to develop a concrete plan for handling such an emergency. How have you prepared?

July 11: National Pet Photo Day

Copyright free image from Pexels
Stock photo,  Pexels

No one knows who created National Pet Photo Day or even much about it except that July 11th has been set aside to get special pictures of your pets. Whether you take candid or posed shots of your pets, photograph pets at home or bring them to a park, or allow pets to stay casual or force them to dress up, be sure your camera is fully charged. Pictures can be put into a photo album, on the refrigerator, framed to sit on your work desk, or posted on the Internet.

Looking for tips of how to take the best pet photos? For dogs, Bark Post recommends:

  • Get your dog’s attention. Use treats if needed.
  • Get your dog to smile. To do this, play with your dog before settling into a photo shoot.
  • Vary your perspective. Get on your dog’s level and take pictures from different angles.

Read the full article at: 13 Tips for Taking the Greatest Pics of Your Dogs

For cats, Catster recommends:

  • Set up activities you know your cat can’t resist.
  • Catch them in a relaxed mood.They’ll feel safe and secure enough to let you close for some candid photos.
  • Get on your cat’s level. Your cat might feel less distracted if you sit on their level rather than hover over them, and so just might get comfortable with you taking their photo.

Read the full article at: Take Great Cat Photos

If you’d like to enter a pet photo contest, an event is being held in honor of Pet Photo Day on Facebook. Should you miss it, there are plenty of contests, the most recognized perhaps being The Page-A-Day Weekly Contest. You could also just post photos on the social media of your choice using #AllAmericanPetPhotoDay or below in the comments.

What are you waiting for? Get out your camera and snap away!