Archive for November, 2011

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Fido and Fluffy

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The holidays are a time to share wonderful meals with family and friends.  For pets, however, the risk of overfeeding and eating dangerous food items during the holiday season can pose significant health risks.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s and beyond, the food keeps coming and the guests revel, but the pets can suffer.  To help resolve this holiday dilemma, SEAACA (Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, www.seaaca.org) has created a list of tips to help pet owners enjoy their holiday meals while maintaining their pet’s health and welfare.

·      Don’t Supersize Them. Please do not feed your pet human food. But, if you do, avoid giving large amounts of cooked turkey or ham during the holidays. Humans are much larger and heavier than dogs and cats and can handle bigger food servings; our pets cannot. During the holidays, it’s very easy to forget this and overfeed pets, thus upsetting their digestive system and compromising their health.  Should you feed your pet human food, also avoid food that has been out of the refrigerator for a long period of time. Pets need to be protected against food that is undercooked or subject to spoilage because of lack of refrigeration.

·      Watch the Richness. Holiday food can be filled with spices and seasonings, which can cause health problems in pets. Try to keep you pets on their regular schedule with their regular food.  

·      Ain’t To Proud to Beg. As pets become accustomed to human food, they can learn irritating begging habits that can be rude to family members and guests during mealtimes. Try to keep pet meals in a separate room with designated pet food rather than human leftovers.

·      No Bones About It. Do not feed pets bones, particularly chicken, turkey and other poultry bones. Bones can break apart cause intestinal pain, and sometimes choking, in pets. 

·      Sweet Are Not Treats. Candy and highly sugary items can wreak havoc on a pet’s diet. Also, candy wrappers can be eaten by dogs and cats and can result in choking or digestive pain.

·      Beware of Non-Edibles. During the hustle and bustle of holiday meals, it’s easy to lose track of pets. Make sure you keep an eye on them so that they’re not eating non-edible items, such as food packaging or gift wrap, that might have fallen to the floor or left somewhere in the home.

·      Treat Dogs and Cats As Individuals. If you have both dogs and cats, remember that they might have different dietary preferences, and that they need different portion sizes. Use discretion and don’t hand out holiday leftovers blindly. 

“Holidays meals are special family moments, but they can be a problem for pets,” noted SEAACA Executive Director, Dan Morrison. “If we remember to prevent overfeeding and to use discretion when giving pets meals during this festive season, everyone will benefit,” he added.
 
For more information about SEAACA, please visit www.seaaca.org
 

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Tips for Successful Volunteering

Posted on November 3, 2011. Filed under: 1. Daily Life |

Rigatoni - up for adoption at RCHS

I’ve been volunteering at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) for more than two years. While I don’t get in as often as I’d like, I’m always given a burst of energy after sharing an afternoon with the animals. There is usually at least one I can hardly resist taking home.  I say a little prayer each of them will soon find their forever home.

Dog Trainer Lisa Sellman recently shared the below tips with Petopia.tv on things to consider as a volunteer. I highly recommend volunteering no matter how much or little time you have to give!

-Nina Jimenez

Tips for Successful Volunteering

“If you want to feel good, volunteer,” said Sellman, also author of the children’s book The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake, which contains the theme of the value of community service. “There are few ways to feel as good about yourself as volunteering. Now, I realize that many of us are wrapped up with work and family, trying to make ends meet, so the idea of volunteering can seem like it’s just another ‘have-to’ to write into the already crowded calendar. However, I know for a fact that if you do it right, it can be a great stress reliever and a source of true joy in your life.”

The key to discovering that feeling is to let your passion guide you when you decide to volunteer, she added. Her tips for beginning volunteers include:

  • Choose Wisely – Many people get “roped into” volunteering for an organization because their boss is involved with a charity or a family member is working on a community project. Those can be rewarding ways to enter volunteerism, but only if the project is a match for your personal interests. The most important aspect to volunteerism is to find what you love, and direct your energies into a charity or community organization that matches those passions. If you’re an animal lover, work with a wildlife rescue mission or animal shelter. If you are a nature buff, there are plenty of environmental foundations that can use an extra set of hands. If sports is your thing, there are plenty of community recreation centers that need coaches for needy kids enrolled in their programs. No matter your interest, you can match it to a cause that needs help. Just pick the right one, and your volunteer time won’t be a chore – it will be a joy.
  • Watch Your Schedule – As much as you want your passion to direct your choice of project, you don’t want those volunteer projects to rule your schedule. Make sure you balance your volunteer time carefully so that your professional life and your family time doesn’t take a critical hit. Most organizations will take as much time as you offer them, but if you only have an hour or two each week, they’ll take that time, too. Your volunteer life should not consume your work or home life.
  • Have Fun – Helping others is its own reward, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. Even the most mundane task can be fun if you manage it with a sense of humor and passion for helping others.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of time as a volunteer,” Sellman said. “If everyone gave even just an hour a week, every community organization in the country would be turning volunteers away, because they’d have more than enough. The key is to understand that volunteerism doesn’t have to take over your life, and that if you do it right, it will add far more to your spirit than it takes away from your calendar.”

About Lisa Sellman

Lisa Sellman is a professional dog trainer and owner of a pet care business who volunteers for half a dozen charitable organizations. She believes that community service is its own reward, a message that resonates throughout her children’s book The Legend of the Wolves of Gunflint Lake. The book encourages parents and children to discuss being of service in the community and how this can lead to lives of compassion and connectedness. More about Lisa

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