Response to the Question, “Why do you have a dog if you are just going to put it in a cage?”

Here’s Why…

Lucidium Dog Pen
Miss Madison’s Palace

Occasionally well-meaning animal lovers will send impassioned messages berating us for making a “cage” and putting dogs it in it forever.  We reply by trying to point out the many reasons that a person might need to contain their pet while they are not home (not 24 hours a day) – for the safety and security of their animal.  For example, new puppies are like babies and they must be protected.  Post-surgical animals need to rest and be kept from jumping on furniture.  Some senior dogs are confused and might not be able to find their water bowl.  Whelping dogs need a defined space to give birth.  Furthermore, some people want to protect their furniture and moldings, or prevent a dog from going to the bathroom all over their home.

A Better, Kinder, Way to Meet a NEED

We designed the Lucidium Dog Pen as an alternative to the traditional options available for securing pets and homes – cages and kennels.  Our pen is larger, far more comfortable for pets, and much better looking.  If your dog wants to have a “den”, then you can fit one inside our pen, and still have space for them to come out and move around.

Lucidium Dog Pen

Madison’s Story

The other day we received a beautiful note and picture from a customer who shared her experience.  Thank you for sharing Madison’s story with us, and for agreeing to let us write this blog.  This is a perfect example of why we made the product!

Madison is a 7 year old 6lb Yorkie. Last summer she fell off something (we are thinking the couch) when we weren’t home and tore 3 ligaments in her neck. She went through major surgeries and had to be crated for the first 6 weeks while she healed. However, we weren’t taking any more chances.  Miss Madison has been crated (while we are not home) for almost a year. Recently we had noticed her becoming very depressed and her back legs became stiff. We saw your ad on Instagram and decided we would try it!!!  Needless to say, our baby girl loves it! As we have her now a whole Tiffany theme. (She is spoiled 😊) since we have had it she has been soooo happy and full of energy….since she has been in her “Palace!!!” Thank you guys for helping our baby girl have a place of her own where she can stretch her legs and walk around in a good size area while we are away. On behalf of the family we are over-joyed!!

Introducing a New Pet to Your Kids, Home and Other Pets

Girl with new dog
Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels

Few things bring joy into our lives — and our homes — like a happy child and a beloved pet. However, that joy can sometimes be delayed if the two get off on the wrong foot — or paw.

Bringing a new pet into your home takes time, patience and a bit of courage, especially if there are children in the mix. From puppies and toddlers to kittens and teens, a successful integration happens if you go about introducing them with intention and awareness. This guide shows you a few steps to consider so your furry friend becomes:

  • Accustomed to your home and the house rules
  • Buddies (or at least civil roommates) with your other pets
  • Best friends with your young children

Presenting a new pet to your house can take hours, days or weeks — and possibly even longer if you’re adopting a puppy or a rescue animal that has experienced some trauma. It’s important that you stay calm and positive through the process, as animals can pick up on our moods and tend to feed off of them. When introducing a new dog or cat to the house, try to:

  • Stock up on the right supplies, like a crate (if you’re crate training a dog), food and water bowls, treats for training, a collar and leash (for a dog), a litter box and litter (for a cat), toys, carpet cleaners and baby gates (to block off rooms you don’t want the pet to have access to).
  • Escort the new pet as it explores each room of the house. Both dogs and cats will be concerned with smells; everything here is new and different, and they can learn a lot from scent.
  • Show the cat where the litter box is kept so it knows where to go to the restroom right away.
  • Put some blankets over furniture that you don’t want to be chewed or clawed if you’re bringing in a puppy or kitten. Be sure to keep closet doors closed and shoes picked up off of the floor. Everything is fair game to a puppy!
  • Give your new dog or cat a temporary, separate living space that’s safe to stay in when you’re not around. Choose a room that has a view of the center of activity in your household (like the living room) so your new pet doesn’t feel isolated. Cats tend to like small spaces, so giving them a comfy box, dresser drawer or closet can help a new cat start to feel at ease in your home.

If accidents or messes do happen (and they will), remember that if you aren’t there to see it, punishing your animal does no good. They simply won’t make the connection no matter how much you rub their nose in it. Be calm and collected, and address the behavior when you see it occur.

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, there is a hierarchy in your home. Someone (probably you) is the alpha, and the rest — cats, dogs and kids — are all part of the pack. When you bring in a new animal, you disrupt that hierarchy, even if only for a few days.

Your pets will try to get to know each other in a natural, organic way, but that can sometimes come with aggression. As the decision-maker for your pack, it’s up to you to introduce everyone in a way that keeps the peace and creates a warm, hospitable home for your new furry family member. You can try to:

  • Let your new pet get to know its new home without the others around. Put existing pets in a separate room to give your new pet a chance to comfortably explore its surroundings.
  • Be present and in control when your pets do meet. Step in at the first sign of aggressive behavior, and be sure that dogs do not chase or corner cats — even if tails are wagging.
  • Avoid forcing them together, but give them time to come around. Being timid or unsure around a new animal is natural, so let them all adjust at their own pace.
  • Praise and reward every time your crew does something good with each other, no matter how small or simple. This will get them to think of each other as bearers of love and affection.

Kitten-and-puppy

  • Avoid leaving them together without supervision until you are confident they will interact politely and safely.
  • Keep separate food and water bowls, maybe even in separate spaces. For new cats, you may even want to offer a separate litter box until you’re certain conflict won’t occur over food and bathrooms. This is a good rule of thumb for toys, too.
  • Create a safe place for your cats, a place where a dog simply can’t reach. If possible, try to give your cats individual spaces in several rooms. Don’t over think it — they won’t need much. Even the top of a bookshelf or a dresser will be a good spot.
  • Introduce a cat to a dog, or a smaller animal to a larger one, by putting the dog in a crate or behind a gate and letting the cat come check out the dog in its own time. Do not hold the cat during the first few introductions. A frightened or nervous animal may scratch, bite or struggle.

Your family may be so excited to adopt this pet that they come rushing in, arms open with love. However, to a dog or cat unsure of their new environment, this can be terrifying, and a fearful animal is one that might act unpredictably. It’s just as important that you teach your children, especially little ones at the toddling age, love, respect, and self-control around a new pet. When introducing new pets to your kids, be sure to:

  • Make sure the kids aren’t offering sticky, sweet hands when first petting a dog — the pooch may mistake it for food, which could potentially lead to a nip or bite. Try to make sure their clothes are also free of food stains so the dog doesn’t jump up to get a taste.
  • Have two adults around during the introduction, one to focus on the dog and the other to focus on the children.
  • Make introductions one at a time so the new cat or dog doesn’t feel overwhelmed or bombarded.
  • Use “time out” to separate a dog from a child when they aren’t practicing good manners. When the dog comes back into the room, have the child invite them with petting, play or a treat.
  • Keep the children from making sudden, quick or erratic movements around a new dog or cat.
  • Teach your kids that animals are not toys, and their space needs to be respected. Show them pictures of dog behaviors, like relaxed ears, bared teeth or tucked tails, so they understand how to read the way a dog feels.

Watch for signs of stress, like decreased appetite, constant hiding or aggressive behavior. And remember, just because things start out OK doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remain vigilant for a while. Animals — like humans — can get on each other’s nerves, so you’ll find you may need to step in months after a new pet comes home. Be patient and flexible, and you’ll soon find everyone has enough space and room for a happy, healthy life.

Author:

Alejandra Roca of Redfin

What is Whelping?

Chihuahua Puppy

If your dog is pregnant and you’re excited about supporting her during whelping, then this is the place for you!

Whelping is the term used for giving birth to puppies. Frequently, bitches can deliver their puppies without any help.  However, if you want to help your dog, you may sit and be with her during the entire process.  She will feel comfort in having you!

In some cases, you or a veterinarian must intervene to protect the dog and the little puppies. Although it is not common, you must be prepared in case your immediate help is needed.

Knowing the date your dog will be whelping

In order to know an approximate date your dog will be delivering her puppies, you should visit the veterinarian for some x-rays. It is advisable to do it about 60 days into your dog’s pregnancy so the veterinarian can provide a more precise date and tell you the number of puppies your dog is expecting.  In order to prepare for delivery, you will need be sure you have safe and comfortable place for the birth.  A whelping box is recommended.

After you have an estimated delivery date, you will know when to begin watching for behavioral signals. Usually, one of the first signs that the puppies are coming is the dog’s lack of interest in food 24 hours before whelping. Around this time, she may also begin to clean herself and have some abdominal cramping.

The abdominal contractions will start to get more frequent when the time for whelping approaches, about every thirty minutes. Once she delivers her water sac, the first puppy will be coming soon.

It’s puppy time!

Usually, the first pup will be delivered within 60 minutes of the water sac. The first pup tends to be the most difficult delivery and may be painful for your dog.  If your dog is having excessive pain, or trouble delivering the pup, call your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

Once the pup is born, she/he will be covered in a membrane. Typically, the mother will clean the  membrane away from the puppy immediately.  If she does not begin cleaning her pup after several seconds, then you must do it. It is critical to ensure that nothing is blocking the pup from breathing.

The mother will continue to clean and lick the baby, which stimulates breathing.  If she ignores the little pup, then you can use a clean towel to rub the puppy and dry him/her.  While licking the puppies, the dog might start to present each one of them to you. Although they are unable to see, they will find their way and begin nursing.

The process of whelping usually takes from two to twenty hours. For example, a Golden Retrievers could have three puppies in the first hour, rest for three or four hours, have some more puppies, rest more time, have another puppy and finish the next day. This process is completely normal. Nevertheless, if the dog is straining, and having contractions every minute and no pup comes within thirty minutes, then you must call the veterinarian. Furthermore, if your dog has not delivered the puppies after 65 days of pregnancy, there could be a problem and you must tell the vet about it.

For the majority of dogs, the whelping process will be very natural and healthy. There are some breeds that tend to have more trouble while whelping, including Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Pugs, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs. For those breeds, veterinary assistance should be taken into consideration before whelping. You must remember that no matter the size, breed, or weight of your dog if she is pregnant, you should regularly communicate her changes to the veterinarian.

After the process is complete, you will be able to enjoy being a puppy grandparent!  Be sure to take care of the dog’s health and wellness, and monitor all the new puppies. Overall, this will be a fantastic experience for you!

Clearly Loved Pets offers over sized, clear walled enclosures that can make an ideal whelping box. The clear walls allow you to monitor your dog’s progress toward the start of whelping, and provide for easier observation after the puppies are born. Check out the colors and sizes available on our website.

Article by Matt Barnett of the Dog Dojo.

The Dog Dojo provides health and wellness tips on dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Matt Barnett - author
Matt Barnett – author

Millennials Are Buying Homes Because of Their Pets

Millennials are driving change.  Spending trends reveal that they are an ethical group, concerned with environmental protection, and health-conscious behaviors. They choose Whole Foods over fast food, and flavored wine over wheat-based beer.  From paper napkins to diamonds, it seems a wide range of industries will be affected as Millennials surpass Baby Boomers in purchasing power.

Not surprisingly, savvy Millennials look for value in their investments, and in 2016 they were the largest demographic of home-buyers.  However, there is a twist.  Millennials have a special reason for purchasing homes, according to the American Kennel Club.

I Bought this House For My Dog

While some people purchase for investments, and others to start a family, Millennials are buying homes for their dogs.  The AKC cited a Harris poll taken of new homeowners, and their reasons for purchasing a new home.  According to the study, 33 percent of Millennial homeowners bought a house so their dogs would have more space to roam, particularly a yard.  By comparison, marriage was only the driving force for 25 percent of Millennials homeowners, and children fell far behind with only 19 percent citing them as motivation for getting a home.

That might seem like unusual behavior, but for the millennial generation it’s anything but. Millennials have traditionally pushed marriage down the list of priorities, choosing to live with partners for longer before tying the knot. Having kids is similarly lower on the list of priorities, because millennials understand better than anyone how expensive it can be to care for kids. However, as the product of the Great Recession, millennials also seek comfort and stability in their lives. And what is more stable or comforting than a dog? Someone who is always happy to see you, and who loves you unconditionally?

Other data backs up the close relationship millennials have with their dogs. When compared to baby boomers, and members of Generation X, millennials were more likely to buy presents for their pets (toys, treats, etc.), and they were more likely to take their pets to the vet more often. Sure signs that, for millennials, the quality of life their pets experience is important. And, perhaps most tellingly, millennials own the most pets now, surpassing previous generations in the sheer volume of animal companions they have.

Deciding What Matters

Millennials have confused so many businesses because the things they value seem so drastically different from previous generations. In many ways that’s true. However, understanding that value and thrift are at the core of millennial spending habits is key to making sense of why they do what they do. They understand value, and they want to know what they get out of every dime they spend. A status symbol doesn’t matter to them, and they have no interest in the luxuries and leisure of older generations… they want what they want, and they’re not shy about paying for it. Which often means that older, more established trends get thrown right out the window.

For more information about the relationship between millennials and their pets, simply contact us today!

Top 5 Dog Gadgets for Busy Millennials

We all love our pets, but today’s busy world makes it difficult for us to spend as much time with our furry friends as we would like to. Additionally, most pet activities can tie up our hands and make it difficult to stay connected to our friends, family, and jobs.

Through using modern pet technology, we can keep up with our busy days while making sure that our dogs are not missing out on our affections or guidance. Check out these 5 amazing pet products that will help bring you and your best friend into the 21st century:

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker
Anybody who has had their dog go missing knows that it is one of the most frightening and stressful experiences for pets and owners alike. The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker is an award-winning device that easily fastens to your pets collar and sends an alert to your smart device if they ever get out.

Using an interactive map and advanced GPS, you can easily recover your lost pet before they get into any more trouble. You can also track your dog’s daily exercise levels at home or on a leash using the free app, which is available on both iPhone and Android.

Clearly Loved Pets Lucidium Dog Pen

Lucidium Dog Pen by Clearly Loved PetsPet parents who prefer to leave their dog at home in a more controlled environment need look no further than Clearly Loved Pet’s revolutionary Lucidium Dog Pens, which offer a safe and aesthetically pleasing space for your dog to romp while you are away.

Available in various colors and three sizes to accommodate small to medium-sized breeds, these modern dog pens create a cage-free environment in your home that can both aid in training and decrease stress.

Petnet

Petnet SmartFeeder, Automatic Pet FeederMake sure Fido never misses lunch with the Petnet Smartfeeder and the Petnet App, which work together to allow you to schedule and portion meals according to your pet’s age, weight, and activity level.

The Smartfeeder holds up to 7 pounds of pet food, keeping it fresh and dispensing the correct amount every meal time. This automatic pet feeder also integrates with Nest Cam and Amazon Alexa, making it the perfect new addition to your pet friendly smart home.

Petcube Bites

Petcube Bites Pet CameraCheck in on your pet and reward them for staying out of trouble when you are away with Petcube Bites, the Wi-Fi enabled pet camera with a built-in treat dispenser.

This sleek device can be placed on a flat surface or mounted on the wall, automatically recording any major movements and notifying you of what your pet is up to. The Petcube App’s HD video and microphone functionality allows you to see and speak to your dog, even when you are away from home.

Pavlovian Puppy Potty Trainer

House training a new puppy is a difficult endeavor, especially with a busy schedule that leaves your new pet unsupervised at home. The Pavlovian Puppy Potty Trainer gives your new pup a safe and appropriate place to relieve themselves while also reinforcing their good behavior with treats. It works like this: the internal sensors in the puppy pad base detects moisture and sends a signal to the treat dispenser, which releases a reward. The device also features a handheld remote so that owners can continue training when they are home.

While technology has made it possible to keep our dogs at home despite the ever-increasing demands of a modern lifestyle, it is important to be present and spend time with our canine companions whenever possible. Ultimately, fostering and maintaining the bond between you and your pet is more important than a text message, conference call, or an impromptu night out. What sort of cool gadgets do you use for your pets when you are on-the-go? Contact us today to learn more about our modern dog pens and the rest of our amazing products!

Dogs are Man’s Best Friend: Benefits of Having a Dog

In today’s modern plugged-in world that unfolds on so many screens rather than in real life, many people feel increasingly isolated. Pressures at work seem to have no end, and we are increasingly encouraged to stay plugged into so many social media outlets. Friendships with people seem to be based on clicks rather than genuine connections.

With so much noise around us, how can we find an authentic companion who loves us simply for who we are?

Girl with Her Dog
Dogs are Part of the Family

For so many the answer is obvious. Our dogs are our best friends. They explode into wiggles when we come home. They are thrilled to get in the car with us. They do not care about petty squabbles or unsubstantial gossip. They just want to be a part of our lives. In return for us providing them with food and shelter (and probably more than a few toys, and maybe even a spot on the bed) we get a fantastic best friend, in more ways than one.

Dogs Keep Us Physically Healthy

Let’s be honest. When we get that 6am phone call from a chipper friend reminding us to meet them at the gym for a workout, we more often than not want to let the call go straight to voice mail. But something about an early morning dog walk is much more inviting. Not that 6am is really anybody’s cup of tea, but your dog is just thrilled to go outside with you. And he will never yell at you to do more push-ups or burpees, or shout at you to do ten more reps.

Dog walkers experience better cardiovascular health, stronger bones, lower blood pressure, and decreased stress. (BetterHealth) And since most dogs want to check out the sights and smells of nearly everything on the walk, you will also develop an eye for the things you might normally just walk past. You and your best friend are literally stopping to smell the roses.

Dogs Keep Us Psychologically Healthy

Studies have shown that within five to twenty minutes of positively interacting with a dog, stress hormones in a person’s blood can decrease dramatically. This is far quicker than any anti-depressant or mood-stabilizer can work. (PsychologyToday) Dogs just make people happier due to the affectionate bond and consistent support a dog can offer a person. Even looking at a dog can make people smile, and the mere act of smiling can improve our moods immediately. (PsychologyToday)

Many people turn to pets in times of loss and grief. Criminal court systems will often offer emotional support dogs to witnesses. As early as the eighteenth century saw The Society of Friends, an organization that allowed mentally ill persons to care for animals as a means of emotional rehabilitation. (AmericanBarAssc)

As beneficial as it is to own a dog, their loss can be as devastating to us as losing a person. Studies have shown that the grief we feel when we lose a dog is very close to that of losing a family member. (PsychCentral) That’s because to so many of us, our dogs are indeed family members.

There is unconditional love followed by financial and/or social sacrifices we have made for our dogs. We have made vacations into trips for the dog as well. We have turned down invitations because our dogs were not invited as well. And unlike complicated human-human relationships, bonds with dogs are non-judgmental. We may not like it if they poop on the carpet, and they may not love it when dinner is an hour or two late. But once everything is taken care of – cleaned and fed – judgments are over and life goes on very simply.

Suggesting a dog is “just a dog” is at once inaccurate and true. A dog is not diminished by being a just a dog, as non-dog lovers might suggest. But for dog-people, being “just a dog” is the best thing their best friend can ever be.

We believe in this bond between people and dogs, and want to enhance it as best we can. Please contact us at Clearly Loved Pets to learn about our products that allow for dogs to be your best friend.

5 Things Toddlers Learn from Growing Up with Dogs

One of the major lifestyle debates for parents of young children is whether or not to get them a dog. Naturally, most parents help their children care for the dog at first and keep a closer eye on the two playing together in return for the dozens of rewards the kids will get from this early bonding experience. The incredible empathy of dogs allows them to detect your child’s mood and cheer them up when they’re down but dogs can also detect things like illness as well.

Of course, besides companionship, the most important things a dog can offer your child are learning experiences. Studies have shown that children who had dogs as babies and toddlers are even more prepared for school than their pet-free peers. Here are 5 of the most important things children can learn from their dogs.

1) Responsibility and Leadership

If your child is old enough to walk and communicate, they are old enough to start contributing to the care of the family dog. You may start with a single task like cleaning and refilling the water bowl and work your way up from there, but soon your child can take care of everything from food to training. Having a creature that relies on them and does what they say gives children an inherent understanding of responsibility and the challenges of leadership.

2) Empathy and Relationships

Dogs are very emotional creatures and so are children. In fact, dogs are like children in many ways, from their unerring desire for snacks to their boundless energy with which to chase toys. Bonding with their pets helps children to understand each other later on because they have seen the base happy nature of emotions. Children with a close relationship with their dogs are more likely to understand the favorites of others vs themselves and concepts like “friends even when you’re mad at each other”.

3) Patience and Self Control

Dogs are not always what we want them to be. Sometimes they are over-excited, jump too much, bark, slobber, and they usually can’t be included in board games no matter how cooperative they are. Learning these things teaches a young child patience, and learning to be patient with their dog even when it is being frustrating teaches self-control. Through training their dog, they also learn how a soft but firm voice and careful actions have a better effect that yelling, hitting, or tantruming ever could.

4) Inter-Species Biology

Children who have dogs before they go to school are more likely to understand basic biology and how that translates between animal species because they have spent a lot of time thinking about their dog. Activities like counting ribs or laying on their dog listening to heartbeats and tummy gurgles passively familiarizes children with the inner workings of another form of life, giving them a surprising bonus in later science classes.

5) Living an Active Lifestyle

In a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to pull kids away from the TV and video games, having an active loving companion who always wants to play outside is incredibly beneficial for growing children. As part of their duties as responsible pet owners, your kids will head outside with balls and sticks at the ready and end up running around for at least a few extra minutes each day. Even if this doesn’t seem like a lot, a few more daily minutes of exercise stacks up throughout weeks and years of happy dog ownership and this habit will stick with them as they get older, leading to a more sporty and active lifestyle.

Dogs are wonderful companions for children at any age, but are especially attuned to bond and care for babies and toddlers. Older dogs introduced to a baby often take an adorable protective role while puppies raised with your toddlers will learn to tumble and snuggle like litter mates for the rest of their lives. However, perhaps the most valuable thing gained from the bond between children and dogs is what your kids learn as loving, responsible, and active pet owners starting from a very young age. For more fun news about dog ownership, contact us today!

Millennials and Their Pets

Pets of Millennials are some lucky little critters. If there’s still an argument about whether Millennials are “Generation Nice” or “Generation Me”, the animals that live with them might be able to settle that debate. Millennials are more socially, ecologically, and empathetically aware than previous generations. This has led to a conscientious approach to pet care that creates happy homes, healthy lifestyles, and enduring bonds between Millennials and their four-legged family members.

Animal Welfare and Animal Rights

Animal welfare and animal rights are not novelty concepts to Millennials. Their generation was raised in a society that more frequently called out inhumane treatment and rejected animal cruelty as acceptable. Given their unprecedented access to information via the Internet, Millennials have gained an advanced education in pet food and grooming ingredients, composition and design of bedding, toys, and housing, and whether these things are healthy or harmful.

With compassion for animal welfare instilled in them as children, they’ve taken this education to heart. As adults, Millennials demand healthy and sustainable pet food and pet care solutions, driving pet supply industries toward greater transparency and ethical product manufacturing.

Millennials and Their Relationships with Pets

The significance of pet relationships to Millennials is enhanced by their lifestyle choices. They are staying single longer or holding off on marriage indefinitely, and, for many, adopting pets has replaced having children in their early adulthood years. Family is as important to Millennials as it is to their predecessors, but with a larger percentage of their generation enrolled in college and fewer of them purchasing homes, traditional lifestyle choices aren’t as feasible or as practical as they once were. Millennials provide homes for pets that need them, and those pets become family members, providing companionship and care-taking fulfillment.

The importance of pets in the lives of Millennials is evidenced by their inclusion in daily activities and social circles. Millennials’ love for animals has given rise to pet-friendly cafes and department stores, animal family social media accounts, thousands of YouTube pet videos, and a new wave of animal rescue and pet welfare organizations.

Millennials are the generation that animals have been waiting for. A generation that respects them as individuals, is concerned about their quality of life, and is empathetic to the effects of poor or proper care. Lucky for them both, independent, kind-hearted Millennials are reaching adulthood at a time when the homeless pet population is exploding. The nature of the Millennial generation provides the opportunity to fully enjoy the benefits of the symbiotic people-pet connection while promoting responsible action to mitigate the negative impact that domestication has had on animal populations.

Millennials Are Socially Minded

Many Millennial priorities diverge from those of generations before them. Placing less emphasis on material wealth, they are more socially minded and choose healthy relationships with people, animals, and the environment over accumulation of goods. They prioritize the health, well-being, and happiness of their pets and their purchases reflect the value that Millennials place on these significant relationships.

According to Nathan Richter of Wakefield Research, 76% of Millennials say they would splurge on their pet instead of on themselves. Empathetic to their pet’s physical, mental, and emotional satisfaction with daily life, Millennials are redefining the concept of well-cared for pets, setting a precedent for the compassionate treatment of animals for generations to come.

Humane Treatment of Animals

The idea of humane treatment of animals has taken root in society and is bearing fruit in this generation. Clearly Loved Pets considers this to be the right direction and our acrylic indoor enclosures reflect our dedication to improving the lives of animal family and friends. Contained but uncaged, our enclosures provide the boundaries of a crate when needed, but with the comfort of visual inclusiveness and a paw-friendly design. Contact us today for more information on how our acrylic pens enhance the safety and well-being of your pet when circumstance requires them to have their own designated space in your home.

Healthier With A Pet

 

Pets make us smile, laugh, and give us unconditional love, which must improve our health, right?  Right!  They do some other amazing things as well… Let’s take a look at how pets impact costly, chronic, health problems.

small cute dog for a walk redhead

Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity, Hypertension, and Type 2 Diabetes

Many different types of pets can have health benefits including cats, snakes, and even goats!  However, dogs are most likely to increase physical activity, thus reducing risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity, and their numerous comorbid conditions. Specifically, studies have found that dogs impact physical activity by providing motivation to walk and companionship.  One key element may be that dog owners “plan” to walk their dogs.  The plan becomes a habit and ultimately creates a lifestyle change.

Anxiety, depression, and mental health effect

The relationship between pets and mental health is fascinating and complex.  The impact of the human animal bond has been found to increase positive neurochemistry, for example, animals promote positive feelings by increasing the sense of stability, improving self-worth, and promoting adherence to a positive routine.  They also appear to buffer against negative events, decreasing the physiological reaction they create (i.e., stress hormones).  Furthermore, pets provide social support, reducing our sense of isolation, which in turn protects both physical and mental health.  One study found that cat ownership was as effective in improving mood as a human partner.  In addition, the benefits applied even within a group setting with animals effectively alleviating loneliness and isolation in elder-care facilities.  I’ll take a lap blanket and a goat, please!

Goat sitting on lap of old man

Learning disabilities and autism

Learning disabilities and autism, steadily on the rise, are challenging and multifaceted conditions. A wide range of interventions are typically used, and response to treatment is variable. While numerous tools exist, the conditions are still poorly understood.  Treatment is often ongoing and tremendously expensive.

Including animals in this tool box of interventions may prove to be cost effective and efficacious.  Petting an animal improves fine motor skills, promotes communication, and can be used to integrate sensory and motor coordination in a non-therapeutic setting.  There is a positive relationship between pet ownership and empathy, with improvement shown in “offering to share”, and “offering comfort”, useful in the treatment of autism.  Other areas of functional improvement include language skills, social interaction, decreased stress, and decreased problematic behaviors.

While examining the impact of dogs on autism, one study broadened the scope to include primary care givers, as these individuals were also theorized to benefit from pet ownership.  Researchers concluded that “dogs provided a uniquely adaptable form of intervention for complex problems”, providing “flexibility and sensitivity to diverse needs”.  In other words, dogs were able to adapt their supportive behavior according to different people, and to different needs.  Astonishing really! (But of course, if you think about this, we see this type of behavioral change and adaptation in our own animals all the time).

Children are fascinated and motivated by animals.  Studies indicate that Children who grow up with pets in the home a have higher self-esteem and greater task perseverance.  Dogs have been proven to reduce blood pressure and anxiety in children when they are reading aloud.  The cherry on top….a classroom dog improves the overall attitude of children regarding school.

Cancer

The nose of the dog that is sleeping, close-up

Dogs have anatomical, physiological, and genetic  traits that create an outstanding sense of smell.  These characteristics allow dogs to sample and “cognitively process” a tremendous amount of information from their environment.  The relationship between humans and dogs evolved, in part, because man wanted to take advantage of dog’s ability to hunt and track.  Today, dogs continue to aid humans in odor detecting tasks.  Interestingly, while hunting was a necessary activity for both man and dogs, modern dogs are now able to odor-detect on tasks that are entirely human-driven, for example detecting drugs or explosives.  And cancer.

Dogs can smell cancer-specific chemical compounds, demonstrating early detection, and extremely high levels of sensitivity and specificity.  Promising research is being conducted with colorectal, bladder,  cervical, breast, lung, and melanoma type cancers.

 

So for young and for old, from heart disease to learning disabilities, pets are proving to be a low-tech, user-friendly solution to what ails us.

Shelter Dogs: An Untapped Public Health Resource

As growing research supports the health benefits of pet ownership, consider that people may benefit from animals, even if they can’t own them. Thousands of animals remain in shelters, or worse, are euthanized, when they could be doing what they do best-spreading unconditional love. Let’s ramp up the policy-change initiatives and get these animals where they belong. With us!

Here is a short and incomplete list of some places shelter dogs can help, if given the opportunity. Look for a more expansive description of each location in my upcoming blog series on shelter dogs.

Shelter Dogs in the Workplace

Progressive (and cool) companies are introducing, “Bring Your Dog to Work” programs to improve employee satisfaction, increase productivity, decrease stress, and decrease negative office gossip. Companies such as Google, Amazon, and Purina all have dog-benefits for their employees.
But maybe you don’t have a dog, or your company is not ready to institute a full-blown everyone bring-your-dog policy. Imagine that you are at work, and you go to the break room and there is a shelter dog. Or maybe a few dogs. You sit down, scratch a belly, take a walk, then head back to work. Productivity increases, the dogs will have a wonderful time, dogs will be adopted (undoubtedly), and then new dogs can be brought in.

Shelter Dogs in Retirement Communities

Picture a volunteer run program to foster 5-6 dogs who live as communal pets. Everyone’s dogs. Volunteer opportunities provide a sense of purpose, decrease loneliness, increase socialization, and improve depression. And guess what…dogs do all those things, too. So this one is a double win-win.

Shelter Dogs in Schools

Kids love dogs. Having dogs in school could be a wonderful way to teach responsibility and foster a loving, caring atmosphere. Possibilities include charter schools with veterinarian programs, agricultural schools, schools with disabled kid (which is all schools these days), or vocational training in the pet industry. Today’s children are tomorrow’s solutions. Increasing awareness and creating an emotional connection to this problem will improve the future for our furry friends.

Shelter Dogs in Prisons

Georgia and Colorado both started innovative programs, which have been proven effective at saving dogs and decreasing violence in jails. Arguably the most compelling reason to institute such a program – lower rates of recidivism.  Regardless of whether you like dogs, ex-cons who have participated in the program are less likely to end up back in jail and that saves taxpayer money!
So don’t be afraid to get involved. Start a Shelter Dog program wherever you may be.

Dr. Julie Huthmaker
Clearly Loved Pets