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Bring Your Dog to Work

Why should your business have a pet-friendly policy? The reason that it’s awesome and that it will feed your soul in that special way only fluffy dog kisses can, while true, may not convince your boss. At Unleashed Life we’re very fortunate to have Bring Your Dog to Work Day every day of the week so we’d like to consider ourselves experts on the topic. We’re here to help convince the unbelievers that dogs do indeed belong in the office. So pack your pup a briefcase because it’s time to take care of business!

Strengthen Relationships

Dogs can bridge the divide between humans like no other species. Stopping by someones desk to give their dog a quick head pat and belly rub means a bonding experience for everyone involved. A 2010 study by Central Michigan University showed that the presence of dogs in the office can increase trust among coworkers, which would logically lead to improved collaboration.

The coworker-coworker-dog relationship is not the only one which thrives. Many companies which “employ” their pets report that consumers relate more readily to their business and feel more comfortable making purchases. People want to buy from companies that they feel good about, and if they can see employees enjoying a fun and free atmosphere with their pets they can rest assured that their purchase is fueling that environment.

Relieve Stress & Improve Health

A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study showed an increase in job satisfaction when dogs were present in the office, and also showed a long-term decrease in stress levels by measuring salivary cortisol (levels of this chemical increase in saliva during times of stress).

Multiple studies by the CDC have shown that pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. Pets can also encourage exercise by giving employees a chance to stand up and go for a walk. Besides this, the simple act of petting a dog can increase levels of oxytocin, one of the reasons why therapy dogs have been used to treat depression and feelings of loneliness.

Balance Home & Work

“Out of sight, out of mind” does not apply to your dog, we can attest! Having your pet at work will relieve separation anxiety for both you and your dog. You won’t have to think about how worked up they may be getting without you, which will in turn calm your nerves. Never come home to an upturned wastebasket or destroyed couch cushion again.

Encourage Adoption

The original intent of Bring Your Dog to Work Day was actually to allow non-pet-owning coworkers to experience pets and encourage them to adopt a pet of their own. While no one should feel pressured, the need to adopt and properly care for animals is a large one that needs attention.

A Note on Office Dogs

Proper precautions and preparations must be observed before dogs should be allowed in an office environment. There is also a certain etiquette that should be followed to ensure that both dogs and coworkers can feel comfortable and safe. A few of the big items are to dog-proof things like cords, make sure no one with allergies will be made to suffer, and figure out a game plan before your pet has to piddle. Do your research and make sure the experience is the best possible for everybody. Thanks for reading!

Bowl Spotlight: High-Rise Nickel

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The High-Rise Nickel collection is one of our elevated bowls with a contemporary look. Though their shiny finish lend themselves to a more modern aesthetic, these designer dog bowls work well in any style of environment. It’s just as easy to imagine them blending into a sleek, modern home as it is to see them artfully juxtaposed in a highly traditional setting.

Beyond stylish looks, the elevated architecture of the bowl can have many benefits for your dog. Veterinarians recommend elevated feeders for some dogs because they offer a number of advantages: hygiene and cleanliness, comfort for dogs with arthritis or neck or back problems, and benefits for dogs with conditions that make swallowing difficult. Finally, elevated feeders have an extra bonus. We have had pet owners tell us that they appreciate not having to bend over as far to pick up or fill up water and food dishes. Of course, some breeds of dogs and those susceptible to bloat may benefit more from a low bowl. Always consult your veterinarian with any concerns.

Check out the High-Rise Nickel Collection here, and see our other stylish elevated feeders here.

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog parks are an amazing way for dog owners to get outside and let your pup off the leash, get some exercise, and socialize with other dogs. The benefits of dog parks are many, but it’s important to choose the right one, and to use them correctly.

What to Look for in a Dog Park

According to dog trainers, there are a few things that you should look for when choosing a dog park. If you live in the city, look for a dog park with a sturdy fence (at least 4 feet tall). There should be a double-gated entrance, which helps prevent a dog from slipping out of the gate and running away. Check if there is a water source, and if there isn’t one, make sure to bring plenty of water. Dog parks are sometimes divided into two areas- one for smaller dogs and one for larger dogs. This is a great and safe option for anyone with a smaller dog that might get scared of larger dogs.

During your first visit to a dog park, do a good once-over and look for anything that could be potentially dangerous. If there is fencing, does it look maintained and sturdy? Is there trash in the area? If you live in a more rural area, keep in mind there may be wildlife or snakes to keep an eye out for.

Dog Park Etiquette

A park doesn’t mean turn your dog loose and let them go wild. No one likes getting jumped on or having to manage someone else’s dog. Look for engaged owners who keep an eye on their dog. Proper play is very important when it comes to socializing in dog parks. A dog that is too rough can not only cause a fight, but can make other dogs fearful going forward.

When dogs play together, it’s important to keep an eye on their body language. You want them to have loose body language, like wagging tails and trading roles. You will see this often when they play chase and roll around on the ground.

Other Tips

  • Do not bring your dog if they are in heat or not spayed/neutered. The dog park isn’t a place for copulation…
  • Leave human food at home. This could attract other dogs in an unwanted way and can cause a food possessive situation where dogs may get aggressive.
  • Do not let your dog bully another dog. If you notice that your dog is playing with another dog whose body language is reading that they are scared, tired, or trying to get away, take your dog to another part of the park.
  • Never leave your dog unattended, the dog park is not a daycare.
  • Always be sure to close the gate when entering and leaving. Additionally, if you notice the gate open, always shut it.
  • If there are small and large dog areas, stick to those guidelines.

Finally, make sure to aide by any other posted guidelines and CLEAN UP after your dog.

Learning Your Dog’s Body Language – What are they really trying to say?

unleashedDogs are experts at communicating through body language and physical signals. We are not. It’s easy to see that the way dogs communicate with each other isn’t by barking, but through body postures, movement and facial expressions. Dogs assume that we humans speak that same language and try to use the same expressions to talk with us. If you can learn to recognize certain physical cues that your pup is sending you, you will be able to communicate with he or she much better.

Eye Contact
Direct eye contact – looking for attention or serving as a threat (depending on the context)
Averted eyes – submission/deference
Looking at an object – to direct the owner to the object in question, whether a ball that has rolled under a couch or a door that is creating an impasse
Dog Head
Up – attention or challenge
To the side/turning away – deference/attempts at avoidance
Head held low – submission
Dog Body
Tense muscles – subconscious sign of impending fight or flight
Relaxed body, relaxed musculature – easy going attitude
Head held low but rear end elevated, tail wagging – I want to play
Dog Tail
We can read the dog’s mood from the tail position/movement, but the tail is not really intended to communicate anything to humans. However, when the tail is up it means the dog is actively interested (a confident, attentive gesture). Tail tucked is submission; tail horizontal is neutral mood or indifference; tail movement (wagging) reflects the dog’s energy level/excitement level.
Dog Movement
Movement toward a person is designed to get their attention. Movement away from a person transmits the dog’s uncertainty about that person. The dog’s movement away from the person is a defensive move.

We found this adorable and helpful chart from doggiedrawings.net to explain body language more:

dog_body_language1-600x1013Let’s also not forget that we are able to recognize our own dog’s emotions. Every pet owner knows that they can tell almost by instinct when their dog is sad or not feeling well. This comes naturally to us as caretakers as we can observe the smallest of changes in normal behavior. Learning more about how dog’s physically communicate with us is important to make us better pet owners and it will strengthen the bond between us and our dogs.

 

 

5 Ways to Help Your Dog Age Gracefully

Have Fun Working Out With Your Dog

perroDogs literally make the best workout partners! Think about it – they’re always energetic, they won’t complain, and they definitely won’t cancel on you last minute. There are so many exercise activities that you can do with your dog beyond walking them, though that counts too. Here are some of our favorites:

Running

This one may be obvious, but it’s also the most accessible. Dogs of all sizes make perfect running mates, so there’s no need to worry about them not being able to keep up. Most small dogs have more energy than larger breeds. One thing to remember is that flat faced breeds (like pugs) take in air slower, so runs should be limited to 5 miles.

Rollerblading

Who the heck doesn’t lover rollerblading??? This is another way to way to work your core and burn calories. We suggest rollerblading in traffic free areas, like a park, so you and your dog remain safe. You’ll be having so much fun, you’ll forget that you’re working out.

Yoga

You read that right, yoga. It turns out that “doga” is a real thing and dogs are actually really good at it. Having trouble picturing it? The idea is that your pup would also become a prop during the session. It’s all about the pet-human bond. Do some research and see what “doga” classes are offered in your area!

Active Fetch

One of our favorite exercises – it involves you throwing a ball and while your pup runs after it, you do some muscle building moves like push-ups, lunges, and crunches. Another thing you can do is race your dog to the ball to squeeze in some sprints!

Stair Running

There are tons of places to find stairs and running them works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Dogs have enough energy to keep up and it will be a great workout for them too. The number one thing that veterinarians notice about dog’s health is that they don’t get enough exercise.

Always remember to hydrate yourself and your pup while working out. All dogs have different levels of ability and if your pup isn’t used to high activity, ease them into it day by day.

We couldn’t help ourselves…this is just too good not to share. Happy exercising!

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The Pros of Artificial Turf

dog-run-1When you think you have had all you can take of the destruction your dogs have done to your yard, artificial turf gives pet owners a piece of their sanity back. No matter how many dogs or how big, synthetic grass will be able to stand up to the wear and tear of their paws and claws. In addition, it also eliminates any problems you have had with mud and puddles.

Artificial turf has come a long way since its inception years ago. Today, it looks and feels realistic and extremely low maintenance. Our dog run here at the office has an artificial turf that the dogs absolutely love – and so do we. Considering artificial turf? Here’s what you need to know!

Do your research. There are so many different companies that offer many types of turf, and it’s important that you get the right type for your climate and situation installed.

Consider artificial turf for its superior drainage qualities. It drains quicker and more effectively than that of natural or real grass. One of the first steps in the installation process is putting down the drainage system, and once again the type depends on the company you choose to go with.

Think about the cost. When considering the costs of maintenance for a natural lawn, a synthetic grass lawn actually saves much more money and is less costly than many people think. Aside from being an asset that raises value to your property, synthetic grass lasts for several years, and thus saves money on monthly bills that add up, including water and gas.

It’s tough. Take into account the fact that artificial grass has been used on both professional and college sports fields around the nation. With its meticulous engineering and lasting materials, artificial grass is made to withstand the most rough performance and play.

Maintenance is minimal for artificial turf. Picking up loose objects and materials regularly helps turf to keep its manicured aesthetic. Rinse periodically to avoid the smell of dog urine if you live in a drier climate, and treat it as you would grass….you can rake it or use a leaf blower.

 

Spring Cleaning – Don’t forget about Fido!

Wow, it’s finally Spring! The trees are sprouting leaves, flowers are popping up, and the coats are stuffed back into closets. Typically this time of year is also associated with sprucing up the house to recover from winter’s woes. This spring season, don’t just dedicate your attention to the house, show some of that spring cleaning love towards Fido.

We got a head start and took everyone’s favorite office corgi, Misty, to the groomers for a full cleaning treatment. Check out our roundup of our grooming/cleaning posts below – and look how adorable Misty looks getting a bath!

10 Expert Grooming Tips

Silver Liner Care Tips

How to Choose a Groomer

5 Ways to Combat Your Dog’s Bad Breath

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3 Reasons You Need Pet Insurance

pet-insuranceEvery pet owner knows that having pets means that your days are filled with little surprises. Sometimes these surprises aren’t as great…such as when your dog gets sick. Vet visits can be pricey and bills for an unhealthy pet will add up quickly. Knowing your options when it comes to pet insurance can ease the sting and be beneficial to your pet. Statistically, 1 in 3 pets will need unexpected veterinary visits this year…better safe than sorry perhaps.

Here are three reasons to have pet insurance:

Pets get sick.

Just like humans, pets catch illnesses such as infections and viruses. They can also develop chronic illnesses like diabetes, allergies, and arthritis – to name a few. These things are rarely planned for by pet owners. Pet insurance can help ease some or all of the cost of treating your pet.

Pets get injured.

It doesn’t matter if your pet is clumsy, mischievous, or just plain unlucky – accidents happen at any time. Emergencies like these are quite common and scary. 4 out of  pets will experience a medical emergency in their lifetime. Insurance comes in handy during these times and can literally be a life saver.

Why not?

We have insurance on almost every other thing in our lives. From house, car, life, and health insurance, we make sure that our financial needs will be met in these emergencies. Why exclude your pet?

Proper Puppy Feeding Rules

When it comes to figuring out what to feed your puppy, all of the options can quickly become overwhelming. This is especially true for first time puppy owners. Looking at dog food reveals nearly endless options which means higher quality ingredients with better sourcing and specialized diet formulas that lead to overall better health for your pup.

The American Kennel Club suggest dog owners know these things about nutritional needs:

6–12 weeks: Growing pups should be fed puppy food, a diet specially formulated to meet the nutritional needs for normal development. Feeding adult food will rob your puppy of important nutrients. Four feedings a day are usually adequate to meet nutritional demands. Large breeds should be fed unmoistened dry food by 9 or 10 weeks; small dogs by 12 or 13 weeks.
3–6 months: Sometime during this period, decrease feedings from four to three a day. A pup should be losing her potbelly and pudginess by 12 weeks. If she is still roly-poly at this age, continue to feed puppy-size portions until body type matures.
6–12 months: Begin feeding twice daily. Spaying or neutering lowers energy requirements slightly; after the procedure, switch from nutrient-rich puppy food to adult maintenance food. Small breeds can make the switch at 7 to 9 months; bigger breeds at 12, 13, even 14 months. Err on the side of caution: Better to be on puppy food a little too long than not long enough.
After age 1: Most owners feed adult dogs two half-portions a day.

They also suggest holding off on table scraps. One little French fry will invariably lead to another, and another. Before long, an obese dog will be crowding you off the love seat. Also, a steady diet of table scraps can create a nutritional imbalance, and certain ingredients and spices in your favorite dishes can cause upset stomach in dogs.

The pleading gaze of a begging dog can be irresistible. This is no accident. During his long partnership with man, the dog has perfected cunning methods of exploiting the human habit of associating food with affection. In prehistoric times semi-domesticated canines first cultivated human beings as a food provider. As the two species grew closer, dogs modified begging behaviors to maximize results: The more pathetic a dog seemed, the more scraps were tossed his way. Dogs have since refined this approach into a low-risk, high-reward hunting technique.

Other puppy information:

  • Feeding your pup the moment you get home may encourage separation anxiety. Play or grooming is a more positive way to say hello.
  • When medically necessary, you can purchase canned or dry prescription diets from veterinarians to feed dogs with kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious conditions. These foods should never be fed without a prescription.
  • Some vitamin or mineral supplements, when utilized incorrectly (such as extra calcium given to a large-breed dog on a good diet), will do more harm than good.
  • Before making a major change in your dog’s diet, consult with your veterinarian and, when possible, the breeder. Once the formula is chosen, stick with it. Sudden changes in food may cause digestion problems.
  • Small portions of carrot or apple chunks are healthful low-calorie snacks most dogs love.
  • Fresh water should be available at all times. During the summer months, consider setting up multiple indoor/outdoor water stations. To avoid a buildup of bacteria, wash the water bowl daily.

 

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