Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Ways to help strengthen your bond with your dog

Just as spending frequent, quality time together with a friend makes us feel closer and improves our relationship, the same goes for our pets too. The more time, activities and experiences you have together will further strengthen your understanding, bond and it’s also enjoyable and beneficial for you both.

There are lots of easy ways to make sure you do this on a regular basis that are practical and flexible to fit around busy schedules. Although walking and playing are often overlooked as an opportunity to bond and considered more a duty, it’s important to recognize these as vital time and activities that help to keep you as best buds. Playtime in particular helps with bond building through the shared communication it involves, and your dog’s association of their happiness and excitement with you as the source. Try not to get stuck into a rut by doing the same familiar walks, instead go to different and new places, or even just change up your route slightly and the toys that you take along – a ball, Frisbee or tug of war rope all make for great interactive play. Exercise is important but not just to provide physical activity but also to provide an opportunity to explore. This is the reason why dogs like to go for a walk; it provides an opportunity to explore their environment, re-encounter familiar items or places, or to make new discoveries not simply because they need physical activity. Exercise provides opportunities to explore their environment using all of their senses; off lead exercise provides optimum opportunities for a dog to explore but can only be safely provided to dogs which will recall reliably.

If you’re an active type and are prone to a lot more vigorous activity than just walking, why not get your dog involved as a furry (and very eager!) exercise partner. With lots of energy to burn off themselves, dogs can make the perfect running partner which will help their health and bring a sense of importance and focus. Perhaps you’re an avid hiker and could include your dog more often in any excursions. Think about your own activities and where your pet could fit into this as a way to strengthen your relationship.

Training is another great way to use and improve communication with your dog, and get them to learn a new trick in the process! The lessons learnt through training are valuable ones that can benefit your friendship in all kinds of instances. Along with teaching obedience and responses to basic commands, it also helps you to build trust and understanding with your pet. This can be vital for situations when you may rely on this established bond for either their or your own safety. Ultimately too, dogs love to please their owners, so by seeing your reaction at their success and hard work it will bring them a sense of joy and achievement. To get the most out of training, be sure to praise your dog enthusiastically and use rewards to communicate their successes.

Physical contact and interaction with your dog, such as regular petting and grooming, also help to enhance your bond. Just like most pets, dogs enjoy the attention and quality time together this brings, and touch can be another powerful communication method. Research shows the human benefits are significant too, in terms of the positive effects on our health such as lowering stress levels and blood pressure. It’s even becoming used more widely as a therapy treatment, due to the impact interaction and establishing a relationship with a dog can have on our wellbeing. Most owners will agree their friendship with a pet is top of the list of the many wonderful things having a dog can bring, so try and use these simple ways to make sure your relationship is the best one possible and it will help to keep you both healthy and happy.

Contact the Barrington Oaks Veterinary Hospital team at (763) 441-4000 for more tips for bonding with your pet this summer!

Source: http://intl.petsafe.net/intl/blog/dogs/ways-to-help-strengthen-your-bond-with-your-dog.html

Make Sure They Can Get Home: Check Your Pet's Microchip

Is your pet's microchip up-to-date? If your pet were lost, would an animal hospital or shelter be able to contact you once your pet was found?

It's important to get your pet microchipped; but it's just as important to make sure that microchip contains the correct information in order for your four-legged friend to get home.

How does a microchip work?
The microchip, which is about the size of a grain of rice, is injected by a veterinarian or veterinary technician just beneath your pet's skin in the area between the shoulder blades. This is usually done without anesthesia, and the experience can be compared to getting a vaccination.
Each microchip has a unique registration number that is entered into a database or registry, and is associated with your name and contact information. If your lost dog or cat is found by an animal hospital, shelter or humane society, they will use a microchip scanner to read the number and contact the registry to get your information.

Make sure you can be found, too
While it may be comforting to know the microchip won't get lost or damaged, and that it will probably last the pet's lifetime, the microchip is useless if you're not updating your contact information with the registry. If your pet has been microchipped, keep the documentation paperwork so you can find the contact information for the registry. If you don't have the documentation paperwork, contact the veterinarian or shelter where the chip was implanted.

Keep in mind there are more than a dozen companies that maintain databases of chip ID numbers in the U.S. By using AAHA's Universal Pet Microchip Lookup at petmicrochiplookup.org, you can locate the registry for your chip by entering the microchip ID number. If you don't have your pet's microchip ID number, have a veterinarian scan it and give it to you.

Only about 17% of lost dogs and 2% of lost cats ever find their way back to their owners. Prevent the heartache and ensure your pet has an up-to-date microchip.

Originally published by Healthy Pet.