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Babies with pets healthier

posted July 9th, 2012 by
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When I first found out I was pregnant, one of the things I worried about was how my other babies would react to the new one. You know, all of my dogs and cats.

Well baby arrived and as it turned out I had nothing to worry about. And now, there is even less to worry about for families with both furry and human babies living under the same roof.

A new study has found that babies who live with pets, especially dogs, are less likely to get sick in the first year.

According to the article:

“The study of nearly 400 children found that dogs were especially protective, and the babies who lived with dogs during their first year were about one-third more likely to be healthy during their first year, compared to babies who didn’t have a pet in the home.” 

You can read the complete article here.

So far, this checks out at my house. Two dogs, four cats, one baby and only one cold in 11 months. Works for me!

Previous research has also found that children who live with pets during their first year are less likely to develop allergies.

And for anyone who is expecting a (human) baby and already has (furry) babies, check out these tips on preparing and introducing your pets to a new baby.

-Lauren Cavagnolo

Have a happy (and safe) Fourth!

posted July 2nd, 2012 by
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The Fourth of July is right around the corner and any celebration at my house includes every member of the family, even the furry kind.

I know we have all seen the warnings on social networks and in our email about pets and the Fourth of July. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, be sure to check out these safety tips from PetMD.)

Even so, it is still possible to include your pets in some of the holiday’s festivities while being safe.

Most of us will probably be enjoying some nice, juicy hamburgers and hotdogs this Wednesday, usually fare that is reserved for people only.

If you want to serve up a pet-friendly version, check out Rachael Ray’s recipe for dog sliders. I’m pretty sure your dog will thank you.

Although, just having some favorite store-bought treats on hand will be sure to please any pet.

The Fourth of July is also a great day to break out the frisbee or a good ol’ rope toy and, if your dog enjoys it, the baby pool!

Between all of the eating, playing and running around outside, your furry friend won’t have his feelings hurt when you leave him in your nicely air conditioned home to snooze on the couch while you take in the fireworks display.

-Lauren Cavagnolo

Beating the heat

posted June 27th, 2012 by
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I hope everyone, pets included, is staying nice and cool during this week’s heat wave.

Every time I open the back door to let my dogs out, I find myself telling them, “It’s too hot for dogs!”

And forget walks, my short-nosed boys just wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Instead, we sometimes take car rides to go through a fast food drive through. They love ice from Sonic and eat it up like treats!

I also try to keep them more entertained indoors by playing games like hide and seek with their favorite toys and treats in an attempt to prevent cabin fever since their outdoor time is more limited.

So far so good, they don’t seem too stir crazy yet.

I know many dogs enjoy cooling off in a baby pool, but mine just won’t do it.

I once spent the better part of a summer standing in ankle-deep water begging them to just try it. They thought I was nuts.

So no baby pools at our house, but another fun way to cool off for the more adventurous canines.

Tell me, how are you and your pets beating the heat? Leave a comment below.

 – Lauren Cavagnolo

Moving day not as stressful as imagined

posted June 25th, 2012 by
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Hudson sits in his new favorite window

Moving day finally arrived and after a week in the new house, I think I can confidently say all six of my animals are adjusting well.

The actual transporting of the animals from the old house to the new one was the worst part. Somehow, my husband and I managed to get both dogs and all four cats (plus one baby) in one car at the same time. That was probably the longest 10 minute drive of my life.

Once in the house, we picked a smaller room for the cats to start out in. After the stress of the car ride started to wear off, we slowly opened up more and more of the house to them.

Favorite toys and bedding, comfort food and treats and even some Feliway helped with the transition. Now that they are getting braver in their new home, they are enjoying exploring all of the new rooms and sitting in the windows. The old house didn’t have as many windows or any kind of view like our new home does.

One of my four cats, however, would still prefer to hide under the bed. I hope it is just temporary, but he has always been the most skittish.

The dogs were, of course, much more easygoing about the whole thing than the cats were. I have never seen Spock and Yoda look so happy now that they have a yard four times the size of their last one. They hardly want to come inside anymore and I swear they smile all the time now. Dogs can smile, right?

Now, off to drag that cat out from under the bed.

- Lauren Cavagnolo

What’s in a name?

posted May 15th, 2012 by
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It was recently reported that Tim Tebow has decided to change his dog’s name as a result of being traded to the New York Jets.

The dog formerly known as Bronco has now been dubbed Bronx. It’s kind of similar, but will it confuse the dog?

I have to admit, anytime I have adopted an animal that already had a name, I have changed it. But I always figured, new owner, new name.

In another life, my Boston Terrier was called Checkers.

But the people who called him that also abandoned him when they moved. So, I’m guessing he wasn’t too sad when I showed up and started calling him Yoda.

Now that Yoda has been a part of the family for several years, I would have a hard time calling him anything else. His name suits him and he wears it well.

As for Bronco/Bronx, he isn’t getting a new owner, just a new name.

So what do you think? Would you ever change your dog or cat’s name and why or why not?

- Lauren Cavagnolo

Researchers confirm what most pet owners know

posted May 2nd, 2012 by
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Discover Magazine’s Discoblog recently reported on a study that confirms what I’m sure most pet owners have already figured out: Cats are manipulative, dogs are easy to manipulate and they both act like babies.

I learned long ago that my dogs can be easily played. Yoda and Spock will do just about anything I ask as long as I use my excited voice.

It is easy to convince them to go outside, get in their crates at night or just about anything else when I say it as though it is the greatest thing in the world. And apparently, I was on to something.

According to the study in PLoS ONE, “dogs will prefer a plate of food preferred by a person, even if that plate has less food on it.”

Not so with cats. In fact they are the ones who will do the manipulating. Cats will use what is described as a “solicitation” purr when they want something from their owners.

I can definitely back that up. The purring is most obnoxious around meal times at my house.

Read more and get links to the two studies at Discoblog.

- Lauren Cavagnolo