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Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats...
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Can I Convert My Freshwater Aquarium Into a Saltwater Aquarium?

Freshwater aquariums are often the starting point for those new to fishkeeping. It’s a lower-cost entry point and generally more forgiving than saltwater aquariums as you learn the ins and outs of maintaining your tank. But what if you started with a freshwater aquarium but are now ready to switch? Must you purchase everything from scratch to set up a new aquarium? It’s a question that we hear often. The good news is that you CAN convert a freshwater aquarium into a saltwater aquarium with some planning, preparation, and a few key steps. This article will discuss the pros and cons of having a saltwater aquarium and some other essential information to help you decide if this is right for you and your fishkeeping journey. If you are ready to make the change, we’ve also included a step-by-step guide to switch your tank over properly. Let’s get started… Can You Put Saltwater Fish in a Freshwater Aquarium? If the reason you are considering changing to a saltwater aquarium is a love of the bright, colorful fish, you may be wondering if you can simply place the new fish in your current aquarium setup. Spoiler alert: Don’t do that! Saltwater fish have adapted and evolved to thrive in environments with a high salt concentration. This means changes in their bodies at a cellular level and how their bodies process water to eliminate the excess salt. When placed in freshwater, they cannot adjust to the new environment. As they take in the water, their cells absorb it through osmosis, causing them to swell. Ultimately, this is a fatal mistake. If you want your saltwater fish to survive, let alone thrive, you must ensure that they are in a saltwater environment.

What Are the Benefits of Snuffle Mats for Dogs?

Our Snuffle Mat of Choice: The Pet Parents Forager MatsI would be lying if I pretended that we don’t have a collection of different snuffle mats here at the house, including an assortment of sizes, colors, and styles. The truth is that we love the option to feed our dogs with snuffle mats, and that has led us to try many different options – including several that we love and a few that fell short of our expectations. However, one mat has stood out above the others in terms of its quality, washability, and functionality, and that’s the Pet Parents Forager Mat.With our girl Daviana being older, her eyesight is starting to fail. Feeding her in a snuffle mat is an excellent way to challenge her mind without risking her hitting her nose off a hard puzzle feeder that she can’t see to solve. Unfortunately, it also means that she tends to rub her nose around on the material even more than our younger boys, and with some of the felt snuffle mats, that can leave her nose raw and painful.The soft material of the Forager mats is very forgiving as she sniffs about. Meanwhile, the non-slip back ensures that it stays put so that she doesn’t have to worry about it sliding (and her slipping with it).Our favorite part about this particular mat is its convenience for travel as we often spend our time in campsites across the province. The mat rolls up easily with a strap to hold it in place, making it easy to bring wherever the road takes us. When feeding the pups in the tent or the vehicle on a rainy day, it helps to keep our space clean – even when you have a slobbery dog. Indiana has been known to make quite the mess with his food and water, but this mat just soaks it up and keeps everything contained. Throw it in the wash when we get home, and we’re ready to go.Our boys are speed eaters, and offering meals in this mat has slowed them down considerably.Final Thoughts: The Benefits of Snuffle Mats for DogsWhether you’re searching for an easy solution to slow down the speed eater in your life or simply looking for a way to offer mental enrichment with your dog’s meal, a snuffle mat is a great solution. They tap into your dog’s natural desire to forage for their food, challenging their mind and encouraging them to use their strong sense of smell. It’s a great way to take your dog’s meal to the next level!

Survey Reveals the Most Common Pet-Related Myths Pet Parents Believe

With the growing wealth of online information, the answers to all your questions are just a click away – but how much of that information can be trusted? There have always been myths and misconceptions within the pet industry, but experts warn that this misinformation is bigger than ever.A recent study conducted by OnePoll with Stella & Chewy’s, a well-respected pet food brand, revealed that a startling 92% of pet parents still believe myths about their pets.These common myths include everything from basic pet anatomy, overall health and wellness, dietary needs and concerns, and basic pet care. While some of these myths are harmless, just a funny misunderstanding, others can have a significant impact on your pet’s health and well-being. In fact, of the 2000 survey participants, nearly half reported that knowing how to best care for their pet with the conflicting information available can be difficult.For example, it has long been stated that a cold, wet nose on a dog means that they are in good health, with 38% believing this outdated information. The truth is that your dog’s nose likely only feels wet because your dog recently licked it. While this can improve their sense of smell, it’s not a reliable indicator of your dog’s health.Some other pet care myths addressed by the survey include:42% of cat parents believe their cat can see in complete darkness. They CAN see in very low light conditions, but not in a complete absence of light.41% of cat parents believe that cats always land on their feet. The hard truth is that your cat is more likely to land on their feet, but it can be impacted by many critical factors, including their overall health. Conditions that affect their balance or mobility may prevent them from landing safely.29% of cat parents believe that cats enjoy milk. Cat’s milk (which can be purchased at many pet stores) is a great option, but many cats are actually lactose intolerant.68% of dog parents believe a wagging tail is always a sign of happiness. This body language is essential for dog lovers to understand because, depending on how your dog’s tail is wagging and other body language indicators, it could mean your dog is overly alert or stressed.In addition to exploring these basic pet care myths, the survey then drilled down into even more diet and nutrition-focused questions.More than a quarter of the dog parents surveyed believed homemade pet foods are always healthier than store-bought diets. But this fails to address the importance of proper nutritional balance and the fact that many homemade meals created by well-meaning pet parents may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Of the cat parents surveyed, 30% believed it wasn’t safe for their cats to eat any human food. But some human foods are not only safe; they could also help support your cat’s health or address specific health conditions. For example, pumpkin has been found to improve digestion and even manage hairballs naturally.

Can My Cat Get an Ear Infection?

I’ve you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Can my cat get an ear infection?” – You’re not alone! As loving cat parents, we strive to provide our feline friends with the best possible quality of life, including staying informed about their health.Yes, ear infections in cats can indeed occur, and they can cause our cats a lot of discomfort and distress. If left untreated, they can even lead to permanent hearing problems.In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of feline ear infections, shedding light on the possible causes, common symptoms to watch out for, and how to best protect your cat’s delicate ears. You’ll walk away feeling empowered to ensure your cat can enjoy a cozy, comfortable, and infection-free life.What is the Most Common Ear Infection in Cats?The good news is that ear infections are far less common in cats than dogs. But this doesn’t mean they don’t occur or shouldn’t be taken seriously. The types of ear infections a cat may suffer from can be sorted into three categories based on the location in the ear where they occur. This includes outer ear infections, middle ear infections, and inner ear infections.The most common type of outer ear infection is ear mites. These tiny parasites live on the skin's surface and inside the ear canal. These microscopic pests are uncomfortable and irritating, often causing cats to scratch at their ears until the outer ear is inflamed. They also leave behind debris that can build up within the ear, adding to the irritation.Inner ear infections are often the result of a bacterial infection. There are several different causes that can lead to the introduction of bacteria to your dog’s ears, including a less serious outer ear infection left untreated. These infections are far less common but are the most damaging if left unaddressed, as they can permanently alter your cat’s hearing.

How Can You Prevent Bloat in Dogs?

The most valuable tool as pet parents to keep our dogs happy and healthy is knowledge – both knowledge about how to improve their lives but also about the potential risks they may face along the way. One serious condition that every dog parent should be familiar with is Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV), otherwise known as bloat. This potentially life-threatening condition can strike quickly and unexpectedly, requiring us to be familiar with the early warning signs and when an emergency vet visit is needed. In this article, we’ll dig into the nitty-gritty of bloat in dogs, including the possible causes, symptoms to watch out for, and steps you can take to prevent bloat in dogs. Let’s get started… What Is Bloat in Dogs? GDV, or bloat, is a condition where a dog’s stomach expands after it fills with food, fluid (like water), or gas. As it grows, the stomach either rotates or twists, blocking the entrance and exit, preventing your dog from digesting any food. Additionally, this condition causes blood flow to the stomach and other vital organs to be restricted, which can cause your dog’s health to deteriorate rapidly, making it a life-threatening medical emergency. What Are the Main Causes of Bloat in Dogs? While there has been considerable research into gastric dilatation-volvulus and its causes, the exact cause remains unknown. What experts do understand is that there are multiple factors that we can consider when determining if our pup is at risk. By understanding these potential risk factors, we can take steps to reduce the risk and keep our dogs safe. Some of the leading potential causes and risk factors of bloat in dogs include the following: Eating too quickly Eating too large of a meal in one sitting Genetic predisposition BreedAge Exercise right after eating However, even if you do your best to avoid all controllable risk factors, that doesn’t guarantee that your dog will never suffer from GDV. Always watch for the warning signs and be prepared to react accordingly.

Beenie Von Weenie Crowned Fastest Wiener Dog in the West

Hold your horses (or your dogs); there’s a new legend racing its way across the finish line. The 26th Annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals were held July 15th at the Los Alamitos Race Course. This event brings together Dachshunds from all over to race for the title of the “Fastest Wiener Dog in the West.” When picturing the horizontally gifted Dachshund, most people aren’t picturing race dogs like they do with Greyhounds. But Dachshund racing isn’t a new sport. Records show that it started in the 1970s in Australia. The sport didn’t take off in North America until it was featured in a 1993 Miller Lite commercial. Today, the United States is the most prevalent location for wiener dog racing (although it still happens in other countries around the world). It is often seen as a publicity event or fundraiser, drawing in record attendance numbers and offering entertainment for dog lovers of all ages. But what was the Dachshund initially bred for? The breed can trace its roots to Germany, where they were first bred to track and hunt badgers. This explains their unique size and stature. Their short legs allow them to burrow into the dens of their prey, while their long body gives them the ability to move through the underground burrows with ease. The breed’s original creators would never have pictured their little hunting machine tearing down the racetracks. The race held in California involved smaller groups of Dachshunds racing in short 50-yard trial heats. From approximately 100 competitors, a winner was crowned, and that winner was a 2-year-old chocolate-colored doxie named Beenie Von Weenie! “Racing from post number two, Beenie Von Weenie flew to a big lead early on, drifted outside to bump Cannonball Charlie and Rowdy, then barked at Penny G in mid-run before focusing on the finish line to win the title by a long ear and tail,” stated race organizers in a press release about the event. Beenie Von Weenie and his proud owner Nicolee Leonard took home the title of “Fastest Wiener Dog in the West,” along with a new doghouse, $1000, and a trophy to proudly display at home.

Why is Mental Enrichment Important for My Dog?

While physical exercise and a balanced diet are essential elements of a healthy, happy life for your dog, there’s another aspect of their well-being that often goes unnoticed – mental enrichment. Like us, our dogs require mental stimulation to lead fulfilling lives and avoid unnecessary boredom. But you may be asking, why is mental enrichment important for my dog? In this article, we will look at the different types of enrichment dogs need for a balanced, happy life and how you, as a devoted and loving dog parent, can meet all your dog’s needs. What is Mental Enrichment for Dogs? Have you ever been in a situation where you were so bored that your mind was wandering, and you thought you were going crazy? This is because your mind isn’t being challenged. It’s a struggle that your dog can experience too. The difference is that your dog can’t tell you that they are bored and need to do something to exercise their mind. Instead, we need to be proactive and incorporate mental puzzles and challenges into their daily routine to keep them entertained and occupied. These enrichment activities tap into their instincts and innate behaviors, allowing them to engage in behaviors often discouraged as domesticated pets, like chewing, digging, chasing, scavenging, and hunting. By giving them a safe outlet for these behaviors, we allow them to fulfill their needs while also discouraging them from bad habits like chewing our shoes or digging up the garden. Why is Mental Stimulation Important for Animals? Exercising your dog’s mind can help improve their quality of life in several ways. First, it’s critical for preventing boredom. Many behavior issues can be traced back to a bored dog looking for ways to entertain themselves or relieve pent-up energy. Eliminate the boredom, and, in many cases, you can eliminate the problem behavior. Another great reason to include mental stimulation in your dog’s daily routine is that it helps to keep their mind sharp. As dogs age, many will experience cognitive decline and may develop doggy dementia. The best way to slow the impact of aging on your dog’s mind is to start offering mental exercises regularly at a young age and continue it as your pup gets older. Finally, experts have discovered that mental enrichment can wear your dog out even faster than physical activity. Have you ever heard the phrase, “A tired dog is a good dog?” By offering mental stimulation, you make it easier for your dog to settle down and relax. This is great for those dealing with issues like reactivity, stress, or separation anxiety.

What is the Best Type of ID for My Dog While Travelling?

Travelling with our dogs is an exciting experience, but it also comes with responsibility – ensuring they are safe at every turn. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip together, camping with your canine companion by your side, jet-setting on a flight, or hiking your local trails, one of the most critical aspects to consider is proper identification. While traditional ID tags have been a reliable choice and are often seen as the standard ID solution, there are many innovative options for today’s dog parents to choose from.In this article, we’ll explore the significance of dog identification during travel and delve into many of the options available beyond just traditional hang tags. From microchips and QR codes to GPS tracking devices, discover the many ways to keep your pup safe and accounted for on your next adventure. Why is Dog ID Important When Travelling?Before we get into the specifics of different ID options for your pup, let’s start at the beginning. Why is dog ID necessary while travelling, and how can something so simple keep your dog safe? Every dog parent should be aware of the risk of their pup going missing. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 10 million pets go missing every year in the United States. While it is always a frightening experience when a pet goes missing, imagine it happening somewhere far from home that you and your dog aren’t familiar with. You don’t know where they will go or where to start looking. It can happen in the blink of an eye despite taking all precautions. Kennel locks fail, leashes break, and dogs can take off quickly when spooked. Even if your dog is picked up and taken to the local shelter eventually, that is only a piece of the puzzle in bringing them home safely. Without proper identification, the shelter workers have no way of knowing who this dog belongs to, whether they are a stray or someone’s beloved pet, or how to contact you to let you know that they have been found safe. Ensuring your dog has proper ID at all times can make all the difference in whether they are brought home safely.

Owning a Dog May Protect Your Child From Food Allergies

When it comes to the relationship between children and their pets, many conversations focus on the potential risks of allowing them to interact. But what if having a furry companion could significantly reduce their risk of developing food allergies? Approximately 1 in 13 American children have food allergies, with 40 percent suffering from allergies to more than one type of food. This number has been on the rise, increasing by approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. As a result, we have seen changes in our homes, classrooms, public spaces, and every other aspect of our lives. But these food allergies are more than an inconvenience. They can be life-threatening! We have seen studies exploring the impact of pets on children, their health, and their development before. They have been found to lower blood pressure, improve relationships, and even improve their future career success. It’s also not the first time that researchers have explored the connection between pet ownership and the development of allergies in children. It’s a concept that has been analyzed and discussed for quite a while. “Some studies show that early exposure to furred animal dander does protect against food allergies. Some show it doesn’t,” stated Dr. Carolyn Kwiat, an allergist and immunologist at Mount Sinai Hospital. The conflicting information baffled scientists and those in the health community. But a recent study published in March 2023 has shed light on the connection between owning a dog and its potential impact on childhood allergies, and the results are promising. The study, conducted in Japan, found that exposure to a dog or cat while a child is in utero or during the first few months of their life lowered the risk of developing a food allergy by approximately 14%. It included a sample size of 66,000, making it the largest of its kind. However, a few aspects of the study may lead some to question the accuracy of its findings. The biggest concern was that the diagnosis of food allergies in the children being observed was not confirmed with medical testing. Instead, it was based on a questionnaire completed by the participating parents. Still, the study introduces new information, encouraging researchers and healthcare professionals to explore the potential connection further. The large sample size allowed researchers to explore not only the fundamental question of whether a connection existed but also to better understand the impact of different pet species, the timing of the child’s exposure, and how it applied to allergies associated with a variety of foods.

Can I Let My Cat Go Outdoors Safely?

As cat lovers and parents, we understand our kitties' curiosity and desire for the great outdoors. We’ll often find our two cats sitting by the window, entirely in a trance, as they watch the birds or just the leaves moving in the breeze. But the thought of letting them roam freely outside stirs up many worries about their safety – we don’t endorse the outdoor cat lifestyle. Does this mean our cats are stuck indoors without ever having the chance to feel the grass under their paws? Not necessarily! This article will delve into the exciting world of outdoor adventures for your cat while prioritizing their safety. Whether it's learning the art of leash and harness training, creating a cat paradise in the form of a catio, or exploring other safe containment options, you can rest assured that your indoor cat will enjoy the wonders of nature without compromising their well-being. Do Indoor Cats Want to Be Outside? It’s a question that we often hear as cat parents, especially having such an outdoor-focused lifestyle ourselves. Do our indoor cats want to be outside? Does keeping them indoors somehow take away from their quality of life? Would it be better to give them the freedom to explore the outdoors around us? The truth is that you can give a cat an incredible and fulfilled life indoors. In fact, most experts recommend an indoor life for cats to keep them safe and extend their lifespan. Of course, there are pros and cons to both indoor and outdoor lifestyles. Many indoor cats suffer from obesity and other unhealthy lifestyle challenges due to a lack of physical activity. They may also feel bored due to a lack of enrichment in their daily lives. Luckily, these are challenges that you can overcome. If you have an indoor cat, there are a few key elements of their lives that you need to consider, including: Feeding a healthy, balanced diet Encouraging daily physical activity Supporting their instinctual urges (scratching, hunting, etc.)Providing mental enrichmentThis isn’t to say that your indoor cat is never interested in exploring outside, especially if they spend much of their time watching wildlife through the window. Many indoor cats are curious about the sights and smells.

Which Dog Breeds Make Us Happiest, According to Social Media?

As dog parents, we love sharing pictures and stories of our pups. After all, we all have the cutest, most adorable dog. Right? Sometimes these stories are funny, share special heartfelt moments, and sometimes these posts are sad stories that tug at our hearts. Curious about this range of emotions, Protect My Paws recently analyzed the content in nearly a quarter of a million dog-themed tweets. From here, they identified the 10 dog breeds that make us the happiest – and the results were surprising!To analyze and understand the emotions connected to each tweet in the study, they used the NRC Lexicon. This tool looks at the entire sentence, scanning it for recognizable emotional words and phrases. This included happy, sad, fearful, and trustful phrases.The result was a breakdown of which dog breeds associated with each emotion, and the results were surprising. While you may have expected to see German Shepherd Dogs among the most trustworthy or Golden Retrievers topping the dogs that make us feel the happiest, you may be shocked. The breeds that made this list stray from the usual stereotypes.So, what dogs make us the happiest?The study found that the little black furball known as the Affenpinscher was happily talked about the most on social media! This breed may only weigh between 7 and 13 lbs. fully grown, but they are full of personality. They are described as being feisty, inquisitive, stubborn, and humorous. Of the 200k tweets analyzed, 240 “joyful” words were identified per 1000 related to the Affenpinscher.Other dog breeds on this happiest list included:Staffordshire Bull Terrier (207)Vizsla (194)West Highland White Terrier (192)Portuguese Water Dog (185)Bullmastiff (183)Chesapeake Bay Retriever (184)Samoyed (176)American Staffordshire Terrier (175)English Cocker Spaniel (174)

Can I Travel With An Anxious Dog?

Traveling with your pet can be an exciting experience, but it can also come with a unique set of challenges for those with anxious dogs. Whether you’re planning a big summer road trip, flying to a distant location, or simply visiting friends and family, understanding and addressing your anxious dog’s needs during travel is critical to ensuring a safe and comfortable experience for both of you.In this post, we will discuss how to navigate the world of travel with your anxious pup, including how to prepare for your next trip and help them feel secure and calm during the journey.Is Traveling Stressful for A Dog?There is no easy answer to this question. Why? Like people, some dogs will be happy and comfortable traveling. However, others may find the whole experience frightening. This could result from a bad experience in the past or simply a lack of travel experience. The good news is that (in most cases) you can take steps to help your dog feel more comfortable during your adventures.