5 Ways Pets Improve Senior Citizen Health

There’s a reason thousands of well-behaved canines have been labeled “therapy dogs” in the last several decades. During World War II, dogs comforted and provided furry companionship for injured soldiers. Today, therapy dogs are deployed to children’s hospitals and geriatric wards around the world, because they do so much to lift the spirits of those who are hurting or alone.

Dogs also are making their way into homes for specific therapy reasons. Some visit children whose active-duty military parent has just been deployed. Other dogs give senior citizens a much-needed housemate—and a reason to be more active.

The benefits dogs can have on the everyday life of a senior are innumerable, according to Nina Plonka, R.N., B.S.N.

1. A loving pet can make seniors feel less isolated from the rest of the world. Pets give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning; to go for a walk, to fill their food bowls or just to toss the tennis ball for them. This can be especially beneficial for seniors, who often live by themselves and don’t have much company. Interaction with a pet reduces stress hormones among seniors, giving them a better sense of well-being as a result of their pet companionship, according to psychologists. 

2. Elderly pet owners are more likely to be active than non-pet owners. Seniors with pets just tend to get out more. Something about having a dog or other pet lends itself to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Studies have shown that dog walking gives a boost to the parasympathetic nervous system of seniors, which increases their calm and sense of well-being, and may actually have beneficial physical effects as well.

3. Pets reduce stress and dissolve depression. According to WebMd, pets give owners unconditional love, responsibility, and a fuzzy and warm body to pet, which are all factors in helping to reduce everyday stress and aiding those with depression. Pets also can encourage social activity that gets seniors out of their homes and around people.

4. Owning a pet can have medical benefits. While it’s fairly common knowledge that pets can make their owners happier, some studies have shown that they also can make them healthier. Pet owners generally live longer than the rest of the population. Plus, they’re less likely to die of heart disease and generally have lower blood pressure than their peers who don’t have pets.

5. Pets can improve seniors’ overall quality of life. If social and medical reasons weren’t enough to convince you, consider this: Pet owners have a higher quality of life in general, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pet owners are forced to focus outside themselves and on the needs of their pets—and they get a loyal, loving companion as part of the bargain.

Don’t forget to treat your pets like one of the family.  A heated pet bed will warm you pet during the cold winter months.  For your senior pet, consider a Heated Orthopedic Dog Bed to with orthopedic foam designed to provide your dog with lots of support.

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Sleeping with Your Pet

The Dos and Don’ts of Sleeping with Your Pet

More than 31 million Americans sleep with their pet in bed with them, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC offers a number of convincing reasons why we shouldn’t wear a cat like a hairpiece for eight hours a night, including fleas, ticks, ringworm and a variety of zoonoses (diseases spread by animals)—but pet lovers aren’t always rational.

Sharing a bed with your pet deepens the bond between the two of you, and in some cases, it’s just plain easier. If you’re one of the millions of pet parents who prefer to sleep with a fur-baby at your side, do yourself a favor and follow these tips:

Be the Boss

Don’t allow your pets to claim the bed as their territory, or you may find yourself clinging to an inch of space on the edge of the mattress. Maintain the chain of command. Train pets to get on and off the bed at your command. Granted, this is bigger challenge with cats, but it shouldn’t be too difficult with dogs. Waiting until they’re invited reinforces that the bed is your space and you’re the master of it. When you say “off,” pets should get off immediately and stay off until invited again.

The easiest way to “be the boss” is to have a comfortable pet bed  available in your room for your pet.  You can choose from  a cuddler, a bolster or a nest bed.  An older pet would appreciate an orthopedic dog bed.  Whatever style you choose, your pet will be more likely to not sleep in your bed, if he has a bed to call his own.

Shop Smart

Don’t buy expensive linens or dry-clean only bedding. Frequent washing is the key when sleeping with pets. All your linens should be safe in hot water and bleach.

Do buy the best mattress you can afford, especially if your pets are heavy. On average, a mattress should be replaced every 5-7 years, but if you have large pets that regularly jump on and off your bed, you may need to replace it sooner. You can compare mattress types at macys.com, and make sure to look for mattresses that have several layers of dense foam that can stand up to the extra wear of busy pets.

Be Safe

Don’t let small or older dogs jump on or off the bed without assistance. Use a set of doggie steps to make it safe and easy for your pets to get up and down. Pet MD reports that some small breeds such as Shih Tzus, dachsunds and beagles are prone to back injuries, due to their elongated spine and short legs. Jumping off furniture is an unsafe activity for these breeds. Older dogs may also be more at risk for injury from jumping due to arthritis or joint problems. Avoid using area rugs that slip and slide on the floor near your bed, and keep the area where your pet enters the bed safe for everyone’s use.

Humans rarely contract illnesses from healthy, well-cared for pets. People who love their pets enough to sleep with them are probably more likely to keep their pets groomed and current on all vaccines. The most serious problem you’re likely to encounter from sleeping with pets is a crowded bed or a cacophony of snores, but if you should develop an unusual rash or unexplained illness, take your pet to the vet and yourself to the doctor—just to be safe.

Heated Pet Beds For The Winter Months!

Dogs require special care in the winter months.  Dogs should not be left outdoors for any length of time when temperatures fall below 40 degrees.  Dogs should not be left in a vehicle during the cold winter months.  A car in the winter is like a refrigerator, holding in the cold and possibly causing the dog to freeze to death.  Generally, you should keep pets indoors at all time, only letting them outside for bathroom breaks and short walks.

Why not treat your pet and get her a heated bed for these cold winter months?  With the increased risk for hypothermia and frostbite, it is more important than ever to provide your pet with a comfy warm bed during the winter months.

A great bed for dogs is the Thermo Snuggly Pet Sleeper,  pictured at the right.  This bed comes in two great colors, sage/cream or mocha/cream, and is available in medium or large size,  so you can chose the perfect bed for your special pet!  It is energy efficient as it only heats up when your dog is in the bed by sensing her body weight.  The bed is is also easily washable –  you can easily unzip the cover and throw it into the washing machine on the delicate cycle.

Not only are there heated beds for dogs, but there are many designed specifically for cats, such as the Thermo Kitty Cuddle Up.  Indoor/outdoor cats will especially love to come home to a comfy heated bed.  Even the indoor cats who do not dare set foot outside in the winter months will still benefit from a heated bed.

Be sure to pamper your pets this winter with a heated bed!

Dog Beds that are Sure to Make Your Dog Happy and Comfortable

Is it time for a new bed for your dog?  While in the midst of spring cleaning at home, it is a good idea to check out the condition of your dog’s bed. Dogs need a supportive place to sleep and rest and if your dog’s bed is worn out, it may be time for a new dog bed. Dog beds come in all shapes and sizes, so it is important to choose one that is going to be the most comfortable for your dog.  It is also important to choose a dog bed based on your dog’s needs and what you know about your dog’s likes and dislikes.  If you pick the right dog bed for your dog, your dog is sure to use until it is worn out too!

  • Size. The size of of the dog bed is very important because if your dog can’t fit comfortably on it, then he probably won’t use it.  Make sure that when your are selecting the right dog bed to pick the right size for your dog.  One of my favorite dog beds is the Beasleys Couch Dog Bed.  This dog bed is available in three sizes and has a comfortable back support for your dog.
  • Type.  If your dog is older and needs more support, you may want to choose an orthopedic bed like the AKC Ortho Dog Bed.  Think about the type of surface that your dog enjoys to rest on and choose a bed that is similar to that texture and feel.  If your dog loved his old dog bed, choose one that is similar to that bed.
  • Durability.  If you know that your dog tends to be rough on his dog bed, choose one that is made of a durable material that will last you a long time, such as the Tough Dog Bed by Comfort Pet Products.

Give Your Dog a Lift Without Straining Your Back

If you have a little dog or a dog with back problems, you know that bending down to help lift her up and place her on the bed or in the car can put a strain on your back and the repetition can give you back problems.  Placing pet stairs near the bed or couch can make it easier for your dog to climb up on the bed or couch and allows you to spend more quality time with your dog.  If your dog has problems jumping up into the car, use a pet ramp for your dog to walk into the car. A pet ramp is great for vehicles that sit higher up and perfect for dogs who need a boost up.

One of my favorite set of stairs to use is the Ultralite Pet Stairs by Solvit.  This set of stairs is sturdy and lightweight for you to move around for your dog. Your dog will have the freedom to easily get on the bed or couch without aid from you and this helps to prevent your back from additional straining. Constructed of a neutral color plastic, these stairs are also covered in carpet to help prevent your dog from slipping off and getting hurt.

To help make it easier for your dog to get into the car, truck, or van, use a pet ramp for your dog to climb onto.  A pet ramp, such as the Deluxe Telescoping Pet Ramp is ideal for providing a smooth easy surface for your dog walk onto.  With the use of a pet ramp, you won’t have to strain your back to lift your dog into the vehicle.  This ramp is lightweight and easy for anyone to maneuver.  Your dog will enjoy the freedom of getting in and out of the vehicle with little support.

To see more pet stairs and pet ramps, check out GregRobert Pet Supplies for a great selection of dog supplies.

Save Time and Money This Holiday Season When Shopping for Your Pet

No matter what type of pet that you have, online shopping makes it easy for you to get great gifts for your dog or cat without all of the hassels of going out to the store and getting stuck in the crowd.  Shopping for your pet online is easy and quit and allows you to look at lots of items in the matter of minutes. Here are some of my favorite online toys for pets this holiday season:

  1. Eco-Friendly Dog Toys:  These toys are great for the environment and ideal for your dog.  There are many to choose from, but my favorite dog toy is the Bottle Buddies Dog Toyby Kyjen.  Just take a used water bottle and slip the bottle inside the plush toy for your dog to play with.  Your dog will have hours of fun and you help to save a water bottle from ending up in a landfill.
  2. Heated Ped Beds:  Nothing is more soothing after a hard day of playing that a heated pet bed for your dog or cat.  When choosing a pet bed, pick one that will be easy to clean and one that is large enough for your dog or cat to spread out and relax.  A great pet bed for both cats and dogs is the Heated Pet Wellness Sleeper Bed.  This bed is available in a wide range of sizes and four earth-tone colors.
  3. Gourmet Treats for Your Cat or Dog:  Now is a great time for you to splurge on a gourmet treat for your cat or dog. Place these extra special treats in your cat or dog’s stocking for a tasty surprise during the holidays.  For cats, the Kookamunga Crunchy Catnip Treats is a crunchy treat that your cat won’t be able to resist and is extra special for the holidays.  For dogs, the Zukes Z-Filets Dog Treats is made from premium ingredients that will make your dog drool. These treats are available in three cuts of meat. 

No matter what type of animal pet you have, shopping online for them is easy and quick and allows you to avoid the holiday crowds.  Check out GregRobert Pet Supply for everything that you need for your pet!

Keep Your Dog Warm and Toasty Outdoors this Fall

Most dogs love to spend time outdoors as much as possible, but when the weather gets cold, it becomes harder for them to remain outside.  By providing your dog with a heated outdoor space, you can extend the amount of time your dog can stay outdoors.  To create a heated outdoor space, here are some essentials that you will need to have:

  1. First, start off with some durable and sturdy shelter for your dog.  A wooden dog house works great for protecting your dog from the elements.  One of my favorite dog houses is the Premium + Aframe Doghouse that is made of natural wood.  This dog house is designed to safely protect your dog from rain, snow, and other elements.  It also has a clear plastic door that is sold separately for keeping wind, rain, and snow out.  By adding a dog house to your yard, your dog will have a place to go if he gets too cold or the weather is unbearable.
  2. Another piece to creating a warm outdoor space for your dog is a heated pad.   The Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pet Bed is ideal for keeping your dog warm when outdoors.  The pad may be used inside the dog house or in another type of sheltered area.  This pad is great because it offers a soft, warm place for your pet to rest, may be easily cleaned with the wipe of a damp cloth, and has a chew resistant cord.
  3. If you plan on keeping your dog for a longer period of time, it is a good idea to offer your dog a dish of heated water.  The warm water will help to warm your dog inside and make his stay outside more comfortable.  Choose a heated dog dish like the Heated Pet Water Bowl by Farm Innovators.  This dog dish is thermostatically controlled to keep your dog’s water at a constant temperature and holds one and a half gallons of water.

Your dog will be able to stay outdoors longer if you create a warm and cozy outdoor living space for your dogs.  By using a dog house, a heated dog pad, and a heated dog dish, you can easily create a warm place for your dog to enjoy throughout the fall and winter. 

Here is a nice article about the heated cat beds that GregRobert donated this week.