Cedarcide blog post image, What You Need to Know About Mange

What You Need to Know About Mange

Cedarcide blog post image, What You Need to Know About Mange

What is Mange and What Causes It?

Mange is a skin disorder caused by parasitic mites. There are two types: Demodectic mange (also known as red mange) and Sarcoptic mange, sometimes called scabies. Demodectic mange, the most common type, is less severe than Sarcoptic mange and is not contagious. It’s an inflammatory response to a mite that lives on the skin and hair follicles of nearly all dogs, usually without causing problems. However, a compromised immune system or an unusual spike in the mite’s population can lead to irritation—this is Demodectic mange. While complications and further infection occur in rare cases, Demodectic mange normally resolves fairly quickly without requiring treatment.

Sarcoptic Mange, however, is highly contagious, and can affect dogs, cats, pigs, horses and even humans (human infestation is known as scabies). It’s caused by a mite that burrows into the skin, resulting in intense, often painful itching. Skin damage, hair loss, and scabs are all common in Sarcoptic mange. Complications are more common with this type of mange, and it’s usually much harder to get rid of, as it’s easily passed between people, pets and places that have become infested with the scabies mite. 

What Are the Symptoms?

Mange symptoms vary somewhat depending on the type. Hair loss is more common with Demodectic mange, for example, and Sarcoptic mange tends to cause more intense itching, and is normally located on the ears, face, legs and elbows. But in general, the following symptoms are seen in both forms of mange:

  • Hair loss and bald spots
  • Scabs
  • Sores
  • Redness or crusting of the skin
  • Moderate to severe scratching
  • Restlessness

How Can I Prevent Mange?

Methods for preventing mange will depend on the type. Demodectic mange can normally be prevented by keeping your pet clean and healthy. Basic hygiene and a balanced diet are almost always sufficient (in general, choose fresh, organic options over pre-packaged foods). Sarcoptic mange is another issue entirely. Many of the same methods used to repel fleas and ticks can be used for scabies mites—such as regularly cleaning bedding and practicing basic pest prevention. Again, Sarcoptic mange is highly contagious, so limiting possible points of exposure is essential. Similarly, if your pet contracts scabies mites, you’ll need to isolate them, to keep them from infesting other animals and your home.


What to Do if Your Pet Has Mange

First thing’s first: take them to a veterinarian. A vet will use skin scrapings to verify a mite diagnosis. Also, a vet visit is important to rule out and prevent secondary infections from taking hold. When at all possible, natural methods are our preferred approach, as they can be both effective and non-toxic. However, never employ natural options instead of consulting a vet, do so only in conjunction with their professional advice. 

4 Natural Tips for Dealing Mange

Olive Oil

Olive oil is said to both soothe mange-damaged skin and help control the mites that cause mange. Gently apply directly to affected areas. Just be mindful that an oily pet can easily leave oil spots on carpet, furniture and bedding.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is said to relieve itching and kill mange-causing mites. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties can also help regulate pH levels, which will in turn aid in the healing of damaged skin. You can apply ACV directly to affected areas using a spray bottle, or if the issue is widespread, you can apply all over as a post-bath treatment. Allow the ACV to air dry. Do not use on pets with raw or otherwise damaged skin.

Natural Bug Repellents 

Natural, pet-friendly bug repellents, like Cedarcide Original, can help keep mites at bay. Apply to both your pet and yourself before enjoying outdoor activities, like visiting the dog park or hiking, to deter biting pests—including mites, fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.


Honey is said to help clean and relieve the sores caused by mange. Apply it directly to affected areas using a cotton ball or other gentle applicator.

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our 
Facebook page and let us know what you think!

What You Need to Know About Ear Mites

What Are Ear Mites?

While there are several kinds of mites that can live in your cat or dog’s ears, “ear mites” usually refers to a specific type, Otodectes cynotis (an infestation with this mite is called “otodectic mange”). These nearly microscopic parasites can live deep inside the ear canal or on the more external portions of the ears. Their life cycle lasts approximately 4 weeks and they feed primarily on wax, oil, and skin debris. Ear mites typically cause inflammation and irritation, but significant damage to the ear and secondary infections may occur if left untreated. If your pup scratches hard enough they may also rupture blood vessels inside their ear flap, a condition known as aural hematoma. Surgery is usually required if this occurs.


How Do Pets Get Ear Mites

Ear mites are spread by contact with other animals infested with ear mites. Unfortunately, these parasites are extremely contagious, especially in younger cats and dogs. If your pet has been around other animals with ear mites, chances are they now have them, too.


What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Ear Mites

The following signs and symptoms are common with ear mite infestation:

  • Frequent shaking of the head
  • Frequent scratching near the ears, neck and head
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Black or red crusts on the outer ear
  • Ear inflammation
  • Abrasions on or around the ear
  • Dark, waxy discharge


What to Do if Your Pet Has Ear Mites

Because ear mites can be easily confused with common ear infections, it’s advisable to visit a veterinarian if you suspect ear mite infestation. As with any pest issue, prevention is always the preferred route as far as treatments go. Regular ear cleanings can help prevent ear mites, as can naturally sourced bug repellents applied before and after potential points of exposure—in other words, any time your pet is contact with other animals. From medications to natural alternatives and home remedies, there are several ways to approach the treatment of ear mites. Before attempting any treatments on your own, we urge you to consult your vet to see what options are right for you and your pet.

Advice for Cedarcide Customers

Here’s a tip we often give Cedarcide customers to help control ear mites: Dab a cotton ball with Cedarcide Original and gently massage it throughout your cat or dog’s ear.  Make sure to treat both the ear and the ear flap, but be careful not to treat down into the ear canal, as Cedarcide Original is not recommended for internal use. 


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

Cedarcide blog post image, How Cedarwood Oil Kills Bugs

In case our name didn’t give it away, cedarwood oil is the driving force behind our pest control products here at Cedarcide. So naturally, the obvious question is: How does it work? How does cedarwood oil (aka cedar oil) kill bugs? While the answer can get a bit technical, there are 6 basic ways cedarwood oil works to kill and repel pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, mites and more. Here’s a simple outline of each one.


Most bugs are extremely sensitive to moisture loss, which is bad news for bugs that come into contact with cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is extremely effective at leaching moisture from insects and other bugs, leaving them dried out and eventually dead.

It Disrupts Their Pheromones

Pheromones are chemicals that many bugs use for navigation, mating, searching for food, as well as to regulate bodily functions. Cedarwood oil disrupts these pheromones which not only disorients the insects but interferes with their fundamental bodily processes like breathing. The disorientation helps repel insects and other bugs, the interference with their bodily mechanisms kills them.

It Dissolves Them

Insects in earlier life stages—eggs, larvae, pupae—are extremely vulnerable, so vulnerable in fact that cedarwood oil can dissolve them on contact. In adult insects, arachnids and other bugs, cedarwood oil helps dissolve their exoskeleton. This allows the essential oil to penetrate their shell, hastening the oil’s pest control effects.


Emulsification, or the breakdown of fat particles, is another way that cedarwood oil works to control bugs. Like many organisms, bugs require fat to live. By helping disintegrate this fat into smaller, more fluid parts, cedarwood oil attacks bugs from the inside out.



As mentioned above, cedarwood oil can interfere with bugs’ capacity to breathe. Unlike mammals, bugs breathe through openings located on the surface of their bodies. When faced with the lethal effects of cedarwood oil, bugs attempt to limit their exposure by closing these openings, which prevents them from breathing. In other words, the bugs suffocate themselves.

It Messes With Their Body Chemistry

Like most every living thing, bugs must maintain a specific chemical balance to stay alive. Any drastic changes in this balance can have deadly results. Cedarwood oil neutralizes the acidity within bugs’ bodies, effectively throwing this balance out of whack. As a result they cannot properly function, and shortly die.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, 10 of the best cats for people with allergies

10 Cats for People With Allergies

While no cat is completely hypoallergenic, if you love cats but suffer allergies there’s no cause for concern. There are several breeds that might work for you. But why are some people allergic to cats in the first place? The answer mostly comes down to a single protein, Fel d 1, which is the primary cat allergen. Saliva, urine, skin, dander—all carry this allergy triggering protein. Some cats produce less of this protein than others, and other cats shed less, making the spread of the Fel d 1 protein less extensive. Essentially, all hypoallergenic felines fall somewhere in this range. Here’s 10 of our favorites.



Don’t let their long and luxurious coats fool you—Siberians are a suitable breed option for allergy sufferers. Siberians are hypoallergenic because they produce less of the Fel d 1 allergen, making them far less likely to trigger symptoms than most other breeds.


This curious and loyal cat is often called the “long-haired Siamese” (the Balinese is basically just a furrier Siamese). Not only are they one of the most intelligent breeds, they’re one of the most hypoallergenic, too. Like the Siberian, there are less allergens in their bodies than most other types of cats. The Balinese is a particularly good choice for those who prefer lap cats to more reserved breeds.



This exotic-looking cat tends to shed far less than other breeds on account of its unusually fine fur. Less shedding means less personal grooming, which makes for fewer allergens. While their bodies produce just as much allergy-triggering proteins as most cats, their unique hair makes them a solid option for cat lovers suffering from allergies.

Cornish Rex

Whereas most cats have three layers of fur—guard hair, awn hair and down hair—the Cornish rex only has down hair, or what’s commonly called the undercoat. Because they lack the layers of other breeds, the rex is far less likely to spread allergy-causing dander around the home. Bonus: they’re just a really unique looking feline!

Devon Rex

The Devon rex is a short-haired cat with fine, curly hair (like the Cornish rex, Devons only sport an undercoat). So thin is their coat that it’s not uncommon for them to lose a large portion of their hair as they age. This quality is exactly why they’re an ideal match for allergy prone cat admirers. Less hair equals less allergy symptoms.


Athletic and popular as a show cat, the Javanese is an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Javanese cats like many hypoallergenic breeds have just a single layer of fur instead of the usual three. With just a medium length top coat, the Javanese shed very little dander, making them great for allergies and clean floors alike.

Oriental Shorthair

Elegant and renowned for its countless patterns and colorways, the Oriental shorthair is closely related to the Siamese cat. If you have cat allergies and enjoy a highly sociable cat, this might be the right breed for you.

Russian Blue

Despite their dense, compacted fur, Russian blues are one of the most hypoallergenic breeds in the world. Russian blues, like other allergy friendly cats, produce less of the protein associated with triggering allergy symptoms, Fel d 1. Their silvery coat and sea-green eyes also make them one of the most beautiful breeds on the planet.


 Perhaps the most obvious of all hypoallergenic cats, the sphynx is a completely hairless breed. While no cat is entirely allergy friendly, the sphynx is close. But prospective owners be advised, no hair does not necessarily mean no maintenance. Sphinxes like most hairless breeds, require regular baths due to skin oil buildup.


One of the more unusual looking cats, LaPerms have just the type of hair you would expect: Very curly. The breed’s curly tufts and infrequent shedding are likely why allergy sufferers tend to do well around these cats.


If you’re looking for more ways to help manage cat allergies, check out this resource. Questions, thoughts or suggestions? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter?

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Do Fleas and Ticks Bite in the Winter?

Yes! While these pests thrive in humid, warm conditions, they can also live (and bite!) throughout the winter. It’s true they cannot endure freezing weather for extended periods, but they often find ways to survive anyway. In fact, some species of tick are most active in winter. Adult blacklegged ticks, for example, take their first blood meals during late fall or early winter. The winter tick is another especially durable individual, living exclusively during the year’s coldest months.

How Do Fleas and Ticks Survive the Winter

Whether hiding in leaf litter, attaching to a warm host, or overwintering in a garage or animal den, fleas and ticks have several methods for surviving freezing conditions. While fleas cannot hibernate or enter a dormant stage, ticks can. Going dormant on a host or under brush is actually a tick’s primary means of remaining alive through winter. Fleas, however, mostly seek warmth in shelters or hosts—like inside your home or on your pet.


Do I Still Need to Treat for Fleas and Ticks in the Winter?

Absolutely! Regardless of your environment, we suggest protecting your pets, your home, and yourself from fleas and ticks year-round. The risks are simply too great. Halting pest prevention, even for just a few weeks, can have frightening results. A single flea slipping through the cracks can lead to a full blown flea population in no time. Ticks are another matter entirely—we all know how dangerous they can be. We don’t even need to mention the diseases a tick bite can spread (but we will! Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, American boutonneuse fever, Powassan virus, tularemia, Colorado tick fever, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, tick paralysis and more).


How Can I protect Myself and My Pets from Fleas and Ticks

Prevention is your best friend. First, you need to ensure your home and yard are inhospitable to fleas and ticks. Remove all sources of clutter and debris from your lawn—this is where fleas and ticks will likely hide during cold snaps. A monthly preventative yard treatment with a naturally-sourced outdoor pesticide is also recommended (we do not suggest using traditional, toxic-based pesticides on your lawn or garden for the safety of your pets and family). For more detailed instructions on safeguarding your yard from pests, click here.

For indoor prevention, regularly spray possible entry points—like doorways, window sills, baseboards, attics, basements, etc—with a non-toxic indoor pesticide to create a repellent barrier against fleas and ticks. For more tips on preventing fleas and ticks from entering your home, click here.

For you and your pets, simply reach for a naturally-sourced insect repellent, like Cedarcide Original. Make sure to apply it before enjoying outdoor activities like hiking or visiting the dog park.



Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

How to Prep Your Dog for Holiday Guests

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Savory food, crackling fireplaces, traditional decorations—all are essential elements to the holiday season. But above all else, family and friends are what really make this time of year so special. As our homes buzz with the traffic of a busy kitchen and visiting relatives, it’s easy to forget this annual hustle and bustle can be overwhelming for our beloved pups.

Even the most well behaved dogs can act strangely when faced with the loud noises and unknown visitors the holiday chaos brings. So to ensure the safety and enjoyment of both your guests and your pups, consider the following 5 tips when preparing your pets for the big holiday celebration.


Create a Refuge for Your Pup

When the holiday crowd and noises get to be too much for your pup, she’ll need a secure and quiet retreat to escape to. Creating a space for your dog to chill out when she gets stressed or anxious is important to keeping everyone safe and happy during holiday festivities. The area should be comfortable, familiar, calm, and closed off from the busier parts of the house—a laundry room or guest bedroom will work fine. Consider including the following: blankets, a dog bed, their favorite toy, a water bowl, treats, their crate, and soothing music (Spotify and YouTube have lots of dog-specific music playlists). Finally, let your guests know this area is the dog’s safe space, and that she should be left alone when inside.


Use Baby Gates

Even when your dog is not in her safe space, you’ll still likely want to limit her movements throughout the house. After all, the kitchen and front door are hotbeds of traffic during events like Christmas day. Baby gates are the best tool for this task, and will make hosting celebrations that much easier for you and your guests.

Prep Your Guests

Your dogs aren’t the only ones in need of preparation before holiday get-togethers, your guests are, too. Before the big day arrives, inform your visitors not to feed your pup party snacks or table scraps to save them from tummy aches. Not everyone owns dogs, so inform your guests about basic canine body language, so they know when it’s best to give your pup some space. It’s also a good idea to explain why the baby gates are up and what areas of the house your pup is allowed to explore. Any other special needs—like behavior quirks or medical issues—should be mentioned, too.

Be Mindful of Children

Dogs unaccustomed to children can behave out-of-character when faced with unfamiliar kids. If that describes your dog, and children are planning to visit this year, it might be best to keep them seperate. However, even if your pup is kid-friendly, supervision is a must. For the safety of your dog and the kids, never leave them alone together. Educating visiting kiddos about how to treat your dog is key to avoiding potential mishaps.

Exercise and Distract

As they say, “a good dog is a tired dog.” Exercising your pup an hour or so before guests arrive can make your life much, much easier—plus, your dog will be happier, too. After a walk or visit to the dog park, your dog is much less likely to jump on arriving visitors or beg at the dinner table. Keeping your dog busy with distractions—like KONGs and other puzzle toys—will help manage her behavior throughout the day as well.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think. 

Cedarcide Blog Post Image, How to Capture the Perfect Holiday Pet Photo

How to Capture the Perfect Holiday Pet Photo

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At Cedarcide, pet photos are our favorite type of holiday photo. Capturing these photos is usually fun and memorable, but it’s not always easy. By considering the following tips, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and sanity, and score some terrific shots, too. And when you’re done, surf on over to our Facebook page and share them with us—we’d love to see your cat or dog!

Familiarize Your Pet with the Camera

Ever met a dog that just doesn’t like cameras—maybe he barks every time it flashes or clicks, maybe he even nips if it gets too close? Chances are the owner never got his pup familiarized with the camera. After all, all those noises and flashes can be scary to unfamiliar pets. Before taking holiday photos—maybe a few days or a week in advance—spend some time getting your cat or dog used to being in front of a camera. Rewarding them with a treat after every practice photo can do wonders—this will help him or her associate the look and sounds of a camera with something positive. Before you know it, they’ll be just as excited for holiday photos as you are.


Turn Off the Flash

Pet photos are often plagued by blurry or glare-filled eyes. The cause? Flash. To achieve the ideal look for holiday pet photos, skip the flash and go with natural lighting instead.


Take Improv and Action Shots, too

Sitting and standing still for long periods of time is difficult for most pets. Capturing them in a more natural setting—playing, sleeping or running, for example—will make things easier and more fun for both you and your pet. You might be surprised: action shots often deliver far better results than traditional holiday-card-style portraits.


Change Your Perspective
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Lowering yourself down to your cat or dog’s level can produce some gorgeous holiday pet photos. For whatever reason, photos taken at the same eye-level as your pet just tend to be a little cuter.


Go with a Calm, Familiar Setting

Distractions are the most common reason pet photos go awry. Choosing a calm setting free of unnecessary distractions—like extra people, other pets, and toys—will make things go much smoother. A room in your own home is usually the ideal location, as unfamiliar locations can be the biggest distraction of all. If your pet is not comfortable, you’re far less likely to snap a decent picture. However, if your pet generally does well in public settings, consider taking them to a special holiday location—pet photos with a local Santa Claus can be especially unforgettable.


Be Patient

When there’s holiday decorations to get tangled up in, family running amok, and dozens of errands left to run, staying patient is not the easiest thing in the world. But finding just a little extra patience when tackling pet photos can make your task all the easier. The logic’s simple: the more time you allow for taking photos, the more priceless memories you’ll likely end up with.


Play with the Focus

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Toying with your camera’s focus settings can turn a good picture into a great one. Specifically, capturing your pet in sharp focus against a blurry backdrop will create a beautiful, professional-style shot. If you have a newer smartphone, check for a setting called “portrait mode.” This essentially does the same thing, rendering closer objects in focus and the backdrop out of focus. The stark contrast will really make your holiday pet photos pop.


Grab Their Attention

From squeaking toys behind the camera to luring their attention with a treat, using something to get your pet to look into the camera will make taking holiday photos a much less stressful activity.


Include Props

If they’re not too much of a distraction for your pet, holiday props like sweaters and santa hats can really spice up a holiday photo. Give it a go, you might be surprised by what your cat or dog lets you get away with.


Pick the Right Time of Day

Consider what times of day your pet is most relaxed and docile. For younger dogs this might be towards the end of the day, when they’ve sufficiently tired themselves out. Whatever time you go with, make sure your pet has been well fed, out to the restroom, and exercised before starting a photo session. Doing so will make your life much, much easier. You’re certain to get far better photos, too.


6 Winter Dangers Every Pet Owner Should Watch Out For

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From large family gatherings and comfort food to holiday decorations and crackling fireplaces, winter is an amazing time of year. But amid all the gift buying and meal preparation, don’t forget about your pets. Winter might be a magical time for us, but it presents unique hazards for our cats and dogs. By making yourself aware of these dangers and planning accordingly, you can save your pet a terrifying visit to the vet—and maybe even save their life, too.  Here’s 6 winter dangers every per owner should watch our for.


Hypothermia (or extremely low body temperature) is one of the most serious dangers your pet faces during winter. Coma, organ failure, and even death can result if not promptly treated. Sick, underweight and older pets—as well as those with little fur—are especially vulnerable to hypothermia, and should be kept indoors during winter when at all possible. It’s important to monitor your pet during winter, as early detection is crucial to tackling hypothermia. Here’s the common symptoms to look out for:

  • Intense shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing/shallow breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Weak pulse

If you fear your pet may have hypothermia, contact your vet immediately. To help raise your pet’s body temperature, you can place warm water bottles wrapped in towels under their armpits and chest. Wrapping them in a blanket warmed in the dryer is also effective. (Never use methods such as hair dryers or electric blankets, as these can cause burns to hypothermic animals). To prevent hypothermia, never let your pet endure cold weather for extended periods of time, and consider bundling them up in warm clothing whenever the temperature drops.


Freezing of the skin and tissue, commonly known as frostbite, is one of winter’s scariest threats. Exposed to sub-freezing temperatures and chilling winds, your cat or dog can succumb to frostbite in only a matter of minutes. From permanent tissue damage to loss of limbs to death, frostbite should be at the top of every pet owner’s mind as fall and winter roll around. Frostbite symptoms include:

  • Red, gray, blue, white or pale skin
  • Shriveled skin
  • Pain in the ears, tail, paws or other extremities
  • Skin that remains cold to the touch over long periods of time

You can help prevent frostbite by quickly removing ice and snow from your pet’s paws after they’ve been outside (pay special attention to any snow or ice balls that may have formed in between their toes). If you worry your cat or dog may have frostbite, contact your vet right away. Applying warm—but not hot—water to frostbitten extremities can provide relief. Be careful not to rub or massage areas suspected of frostbite, doing so can cause irreversible damage.


From small spills to slow vehicle leaks, antifreeze can kill your cat or dog. And unfortunately, due to its sweet smell and taste, animals often confuse the substance for something edible. If you suspect antifreeze poisoning, and your pet seems disoriented, is excessively drooling, or simply acting abnormal, consult a vet immediately. Remember to always store antifreeze out of reach of your pets, regardless of the season.

Running Cars

In winter, cats and smaller dogs will occasionally seek warmth near running vehicles. While most will curl up next to the exhaust, some kittens have been known to work their way under the hood of a vehicle for added heat and shelter. To guard you and your neighbors’ pets from possible disaster, check your car before taking off each day. You might just save a little life by doing so.

Ice-Melting Salts

Salts used to melt snow and ice pose several health risks to pets. If ingested, these substances can cause mouth burns, painful gastrointestinal distress, and in rare cases even death. More commonly, these salts will irritate or damage your pet’s paw pads and skin. Thankfully, there are ways you can help protect your pet from such injuries:

  • Place waterproof booties on their feet before walks in snowy or icy weather
  • Using warm water, wash your pet’s feet, legs and underbelly after winter walks
  • When treating your own sidewalks and driveway, choose pet-safe de-icers—like sand, gravel or kitty litter
  • On walks, avoid areas that tend to be heavily salted
  • Contact your local city officials about switching to pet-friendly de-icing methods


As the cold returns and pests move indoors, homeowners commonly arm their houses with rodenticides, poisons intended to control rats and mice. Sadly, rodenticides represent one of the most common sources of pet poisoning during the fall and winter months. For the sake of your pets (and family), we suggest going natural with your rodent control instead. Regardless of what direction you choose, never place rodenticides in areas accessible to your cat, dog or other pets. (Similarly, we suggest going non-toxic with your insect control, too).

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Fit & Active This Winter

Winter can be tough on our dogs. Being cooped up all day not only robs them of their usual outdoor entertainment, but it makes it difficult for them to get the exercise necessary to maintain their health. Given that 54% of U.S. dog are dangerously overweight, it’s important to seek alternative means of exercise to help your pup stay fit through the winter months. Here’s some quick and and easy ways to give your pup some added physical activity when the weather makes it unpleasant to go outside.

Sign Your Dog Up For a Class

From social skills to increased fitness, canine classes are a quick way for your pup to learn some new skills and get some exercise in the process. Swimming courses, socializing classes, obedience and agility training—there’s tons of options to choose from. It will take a little research to see what’s available in your area and what’s right for your dog, but you’ll both be glad you did it.

New Tricks

Winter is the ideal time to teach your pup some new tricks. Not only can this be done in the comfort of your own home, but it’s a fun way to get your dog some needed exercise in the colder months. Remember to stay upbeat, positive reinforcement is the most effective way to educate your dog.

Bring Fido Along For the Ride

Whether you’re heading to the pet store, visiting friends or just running errands, bringing your dog along for the ride is an easy way to get your pup out and about when it’s cold outside. As long as your pet is well-mannered, consider visiting pet-friendly coffee shops, restaurants and bars, too. Your pup will love the extra attention. (Remember to make sure your dog’s safely secured before taking them anywhere in your vehicle).

Schedule a Playdate

Playdates are one of our favorite ways to exercise our doggies during the cold season. Call up your pup’s favorite pal and see if they’d like to meet up at a local dog park, an indoor space, or even in your own backyard. Just be sure to monitor the weather and dress your puppy friends accordingly (including dog boots if your neighborhood uses salt or other anti-ice chemicals that might irritate their paws).

Turn Mealtime Into Playtime

To add a little fun and exercise to your dog’s daily winter routine, make your pup’s meals (and snacks) into a game. One option is to hide treats throughout your home like a scavenger hunt. Another is to use a food puzzle toy (like a Kong) to feed your pup. The thirty-or-so minutes of extra playtime might not seem like much, but any extra winter exercise is well worth the effort.

Indoor Games

Simple indoor games like tug-of-war are an effective way to supplement your dog’s exercise routine when it’s too cold to go outside. Fetch, wrestling, hide-and-seek—the possibilities are endless. As a precaution, make sure the space you’re using is pet-friendly and free of potential safety hazards, such as sharp objects, open flames, and steep inclines like staircases.


Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

10 Ways Dogs Make Us Happier And Healthier

As every dog owner can attest, dogs make our lives better. They make us feel better, they love us unconditionally, they protect us, and they’re always there for support when the world gets us down. But it turns out they do more for us than we might even realize. From improved mood and fitness to longer lives, here’s 10 ways dogs make us happier and healthier.

Lower Your Blood Pressure

From stroke to heart attack, high blood pressure can have lethal, life-changing consequences. Did you know owning a dog can help lower your risk of blood pressure and blood-pressure-related health issues? In one study, researchers at the University of South Carolina, Columbia found that simply petting or speaking to an animal was enough to lower one’s blood pressure. When both petting and speaking to an animal, subjects’ blood pressures dropped even lower.


Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease and Improve Your Chances of Surviving a Heart Attack

While scientists are still working out the details of why, studies consistently show pet owners are less likely to suffer from heart disease. In addition to lower cholesterol and healthier hearts, dog owners are also more likely to survive a heart attack should one occur.


Help You De-Stress

Dog owners have long recognized the therapeutic rewards of their pups. After a long, stressful day at the office, those warm puppy greetings and loving smiles are just what the doctor ordered to help you unwind. A study conducted at Virginia Commonwealth University has now confirmed this, finding that spending time with dogs can significantly lower your stress levels. Fortunately, our doggies benefit from the interaction, too—research has shown dogs experience less stress after enjoying one-on-one time with humans as well.


Make You Fitter

On average, pet owners live healthier, more active lives. From daily walks and park visits to activities like hiking, having a dog can significantly raise your cardiovascular activity. But by how much? The international Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity reports that dog owners enjoy 50 more minutes of physical activity each week than those without pets.


Strengthen Your Immune System

Do you commonly suffer from colds, infections and other annoying illnesses? Owning a dog might help. Research suggests owning a dog increases one’s secretion of immunoglobulin A, an antibody crucial to immune system health. Furthermore, it was found that children raised in homes with a pet are sick less often than those who weren’t.


Alleviate Depression

As you might have guessed, loneliness and depression can be alleviated by owning a dog. Research shows that when humans interact with dogs, certain hormones are released into the bloodstream, including oxytocin, serotonin and prolactin, all of which are tied to improved mood and decreased depression.


Reduce Chronic Pain

Following surgery or catastrophic accident, patients often require prolonged use of pain medication to treat their symptoms. Sadly, these medications come with serious side effects, not to mention the risk of addiction. Owning a dog, it turns out, can help lessen your dependence on such medication. A study conducted at Loyola University Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing found that joint replacement patients needed less pain medication following surgery when their therapy included animal interaction.


Increase Life Expectancy

Given all the health benefits associated with dog ownership, it should come as no surprise that pups help increase our life expectancy, too. By lowering the risk of depression, stress and heart disease, and by helping increase the frequency of exercise and immune system health, dogs allow us to live longer, healthier lives. It’s not just physical health, either. Owning a dog has also been shown to help prevent cognitive decline, such as dementia.


Improve Your Relationships

Ever wonder why people with pets tend to be more friendly? Research has found those with strong animal relationships enjoy better social lives and more stable relations with fellow humans. A study conducted by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University concluded that people with close animal bonds are typically more involved with their community and more empathetic toward others.


They Can Help Recovery From Trauma

Several traumas—from assault to warfare—are known to be helped by consistent interaction with animals, dogs in particular. For example, soldiers suffering from PTSD have shown drastic, life-saving improvements on account of animal therapy. Scientists believe the hormone oxytocin—which is released into the bloodstream when humans engage with animals—is likely the cause. Oxytocin is associated with increased trust, social activity and improved mood.

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