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TV Has Gone to the Dogs!

dog watching TVI’ve never had a dog that seemed interested in the TV until Marley. I noticed it one day when a commercial came on with a Harlequin Great Dane and a Chihuahua. As soon as Marley saw them he perked up. Neither dog had made a sound, so I knew he was totally stimulated purely by sight. He kept watching the entire commercial until it was over.

All my other dogs would only perk up if they heard a dog parking or whining on TV (and only for a second), but I had never seen this kind of real interest before. The only reason I used to turn on a TV for a dog was to drown out the sound of thunder or fireworks. But Marley continues to watch TV and look for things that he is interested in – and like a child, he doesn’t like most of what we watch, but he sure love watching all kinds of animals and a lot of funny commercials. So, when I saw a commercial for Direct TV’s new DogTV channel, I could totally see how that might be stimulating for a dog like Marley, which could be very healthy.

dog watching TVDogTV did a lot of research on what dogs like. Every frame and every sound on DOGTV is designed 100% for dogs. They created content to meet the specific attributes of a dog’s unique sense of vision and hearing. That’s also why it may look a little funny to us when we watch their shows. The brightness, contrast, sounds and even camera angels are designed for a dog, not a human. Even their programming has a very specific purpose, focusing on relaxation, stimulation and exposure. Bottom line, this channel is no joke. They did their homework.

This video is an example of their stimulating programming. Notice the low camera angles and all the doggie action. Also, think about all the things we watch people do. We watch them play sports, we watch them talk, walk, dance, sing, play with each other, give each other affection – so why wouldn’t they enjoy watching their fellow dogs do the same? If we sit on the couch and people watch, no wonder they like dog watching!

Just for PFun

There are over 5,000 videos of dogs watching TV. You can see clearly how happy this puppy is watching Air Buddies. Just look at his tail wagging like crazy! He is LOVING it!

Here are just a few cute pics I found online of dogs watching TV

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Dogs watching TV at the exclusive health farm for dogs run by pa

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Cool Tips for Hot Doggie Days

dog tips for hot daysWe took Marley to the beach this weekend and we noticed his not-so-little nose got bright pink from the sun. The poor guy was sunburned. My last Great Dane had a dark mussel and dark skin, so I never even thought about Marley getting burned. Knowing he needed sun protection, I knew I needed to do some research.

On top of it, I forgot his water bowl. I brought a gallon of water for him, but forgot to bring something to put it in. This got me thinking. I need to have a beach bag check list for beach days with Marley so we are more prepared – and I can keep him safe and cool.

After a little research, here is what I found…

Doggie Sun Screen 

Dog SunscreenYes, there is sun screen made just for dogs. However, when I went to our local pet store, they didn’t have any in stock.  One veterinarian site I found recommended the only FDA approved sunscreen for pets Epi-Pet Sun Protector. However, I would need to order that – and I needed a pan B.

safe sunscreen for dogsPlan B

My first thought was to use baby sun screen. I mean, if it’s gentle enough for babies, surely it would be gentle enough for our furry babies. However, some ingredients can be toxic if ingested, like zinc oxide. In a Fox News report, Dr. Mark Macina, Animal Medical Center’s dermatologist, said he found Bullfrog sunscreen SPF 15 or greater worked well for animals.

Hot Spots Check List

Be sure to check these spots for areas you may want to keep covered.

  • Tips of ears
  • Around the Nose and Mouth
  • Belly, groin and inner thigh areas (especially if your dog likes to lounge on his back)
  • Any area with thinning hair or hair loss

Heat Protection & Prevention

  • BulldogLarge breed dogs are twice as likely to suffer from heat stroke
  • Black coated dogs soak up the heat much faster than a light coated dog
  • Flat faced dogs (like bull dogs, pugs & boxers) have less of a nose and narrower windpipe, and are more susceptible of overheating

Signs up Heat Stroke

To be safe, you should know the signs of heat stroke, and how to treat it. Wikihow has great information every dog owner should know.  Click Here to learn more

dog heat stroke

Hydration

dog in convertibleAll dog owners should also know signs of dehydration to be able recognize the signs as early as possible. Since I was the dumb-dumb that forgot a water bowl, I was super worried Marley wasn’t getting enough water (although he was drinking pretty OK out of the jug). Now I will know a few things to look out for like:

  • Gums should be moist and wet, not dry or tacky
  • Skin should bounce back if being pulled away from the body, showing healthy elasticity
  • Saliva should be thin, not thick and gooey

If you believe your dog is dehydrated, of course the first course of action is to give them water. In more extreme cases, you can give them Pedialyte, or even Gatorade. (NOTE: this is great to always have on hand on hot days in case of emergencies.) WebMD suggests you administer the solution at a rate of 2 to 4 ml per pound (1 to 2 ml per kilo) of body weight per hour. In very extreme cases, you must immediately take your dog to the vet for  intravenous fluids.

Beach Bag Check List

The following list are items I should always have to keep Marley safe, cool, comfortable and prepared – and the happier HE is, the more fun (and relaxing) the trip will be more ME too! To make it easy, I’ll pack a special doggie beach bag that’s always stocked and ready to go when we are!

Fido's beach bag checklist

 

Does Your Dog Eat McDonald’s or Subway?

Blue BuffaloMany Americans are eating a TON of food, but none of it’s really quality. They choose hamburgers over whole foods and healthier options. Another words, they can eat loads of calories, but be malnourished and unhealthy because they are missing higher quality foods, like good fats and proteins.

Often times, these choices are based on what’s in the wallet. $5.00 goes a long way at Taco Bell compared to the Outback. So they eat crappy, and they typically feel (and look) crappy too.

The same goes for fido. What they eat greatly determines how they look and feel. The problem is, many dog owners are not comparing apples to apples. They look at high-price food and have a difficult time switching over – especially when their dog is eating 8-10 cups of food a day.

Just the same way I can eat a smaller higher quality meal and be satisfied, dog’s don’t need to eat as much of the higher quality food as they do cheaper brands. This means, when you are price comparing, you need to realize you can’t compare them pound to pound.

For instance, Pedigree recommends 150lb dog get 8 cups of food a day, according to this feeding chart on their website. My Marley was wanting a whopping 10 CUPS a day! pedigree dog feeding chart

Blue Buffalo recommends a 150lb dog only eats 5 cups a day. Big difference! Now that he’s getting higher quality food, he’s not near as hungry either.

Blue Buffalo

The moral of the story is when your dog gets higher quality, he doesn’t need quantity. Most of the time, just like humans, they can eat much less – and be a LOT healthier too! 🙂

15 Ways Fido Keeps You Fit

Marley Mantel Great DaneSome of you may have noticed I have a new addition to the family. (I almost feel sorry for my Facebook and Instagram friends who have to endure the million pics I’ve been posting! Sorry guys!) However, if you were one of the lucky ones who’s newsfeed hasn’t been filled up with all my pictures, and you are in the dark, I am now the proud mother to a 10 month old baby boy.

He’s just a baby, but he is already about 30″ tall and weighs 130lbs. He may not be human, but he thinks he is. My big new baby is a Great Dane Puppy, named Marley Beaux (Bo). (We are experimenting with names…he came to us as Marley, but we kinda think he looks like a “Bo”. Anyway, I’m completely in love!

Steve Pfiester & TankLast fall I lost my Great Dane, Tank, after 12 fantastic years. Although I’ve had dogs all my life, I took Tank’s death harder than I ever could have imagined. He was my best bud when Steve was away doing both reality TV shows, which was 3 months at a time. We had a special bond. I’m not sure if it’s the breed or what, but we were much more closely connected than any other dog I’ve had. Steve and I were both devastated. Our house was eerily quiet.

Well, we finally decided it was time to get another dog – and there was no question it would be another Dane. The short story is we ended up adopting Marley from a loving family (with 2 toddlers and 2 other Danes) who felt Marley needed more attention and love (which we were HAPPY to give!). It was love at first lick!

Pet Perks

Honestly, I forgot just how great being a pet owner is. I also never dreamed I could love another dog like I did Tank. I also started to notice he added a new healthy component to my life. Over the last 2 weeks, I noticed I made more time to just enjoy life. As a workaholic, I have a hard time stepping away from work, but Marley forces me to take more breaks, get outside, relax and even play more. I’ve even noticed that my activity on my Jawbone UP band (activity tracker) had even increased.

Great Dane

Bonnie Pfiester

This past Saturday I took him to dog training at Pawprints, where Marley went through what I call Doggie Boot Camp – complete with obstacle course, running, swimming (pictured left with my sister’s dog & Marley) and all kinds of cool stuff. At the end of the day, I looked at my activity on my Jawbone UP and I had walked 13,153 steps which is roughly 6.5 miles (compared to a normal pre-pet Saturday day of leisure taking only 6,000-7,000 steps). Then I got to thinking, Marley is so GOOD for me!

So, I did some research to learn more about all the health benefits of owning a dog. Study after study has consistently proven that pet owners are healthier than the average person. Take a look!

15 Health Benefits for Pet Owners

  1. Great Dane MantelThey increase activity. One study showed that people who have pets were 54% more likely to get the recommended amount of daily activity than a non-pet owner. Their desire to walk and play reminds us to get out and get moving too – and I’d have to agree!
  2. They help ease people out of isolation. Dogs are great conversation pieces and make people feel more comfortable facing the world “alone” – because, while they are not with another person, they have a loving companion.
  3. They help people handle stress better. One study showed people with a high-stress job and high blood pressure who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than did people without pets.
  4. They help children’s development. Studies showed children who suffered from wither severe ADHD or Autism showed lengthened attention spans. Pets also teach children responsibility and how to communicate with others better.
  5. They help boost children’s immune systems. WebMD says “If a dog lived in the home, infants were less likely to show evidence of pet allergies— 19% vs. 33%. They also were less likely to have eczema, a common allergy skin condition that causes red patches and itching. In addition, they had higher levels of some immune system chemicals — a sign of stronger immune system activation.
  6. Great DaneThey are match-makers. Approaching another person out of the blue can be nerve-racking, but approaching someone with a dog is easy and almost always welcomed. The dog gives people something to talk about that is natural and comfortable, making the initial conversation much easier. Whether you are looking for a date or enjoy meeting people, pets make it easier to make more friends.
  7. They are calming. In a world full of hustle and bustle, people are in great need of “calming down”. Pets help us slow down, stop and smell the roses – or in this case, pet the dog. Playing with a dog actually elevates levels of serotonin and dopamine, nerve transmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming properties.
  8. They are good for your heart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted heart-related studies on people who have pets, which showed owners exhibit decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  9. great daneThey speed recovery. When someone is stuck in bed recovering from surgery, or who has limited mobility, a pet can lift their spirits and boost recovery time. One study showed when a dog was part of the medical team, the patients’ anxiety scores dropped by 24 percent. When a human volunteer visited the patient, it just dropped 10 percent. Without visits, the patients’ conditions didn’t change, he says. (read more about therapy dogs)
  10. They give us a sense of empowerment. Once you have trained a pet to obey your command, it is very satisfying for a pet owner to have a certain level of control, even when life can be completely out of control around you. This sense of empowerment can boost confidence and encourage people to take better care of themselves.
  11. great dane in tubThey make you laugh. Laughing is so good for you, but many of us don’t do it nearly enough. Laughing relaxes your muscles, releases endorphins, boosts your immune system and relieves stress. The more you laugh, the better – and pets tend to do some pretty funny stuff (like getting into the bathtub for no reason and making adorable faces like this, pictured right).
  12. They fight depression. Pets provide companionship, unconditional love and make people feel important and loved. They keep people in a healthy routine, and help keep them active and social. One doctor said he personally witnessed people eliminate antidepressants by the simple act of obtaining a dog.
  13. They can detect cancer. Next time your dog sniffs you out, you may want to pay closer attention. There have been multiple reports of dogs sniffing out cancer. One woman reported her dog keep sniffing at a mole and even tried to bite it off. The mole ended up being a malignant melanoma. Another dog correctly detected cancer in 33 out of 37 samples of people’s breath and stool that scientists had collected.
  14. They help prevent diabetic crashes and seizures. Many untrained dogs have shown behavioral changes when their owner’s blood sugar crashes or is about to have to have a seizure. Therapy dogs are trained to detect a drop in blood sugar or oncoming seizure before the owner begins to feel the symptoms, warning their owners in time to prevent an attack. (learn more about Diabetes Alert Dogs and Seizure Alert Dogs)
  15. They have healing powers for the elderly. Pets help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase social interaction and physical activity in elderly people who often live alone. They also reduce depression and loneliness, associated with aging or illness, as well as take their mind of physical problems, loss and aging. Even Alzheimer’s patients benefited, with fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, or you’ve been trying to convince a loved one you need a pooch, now you have 15 really good reasons to back you up! 🙂

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