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Great Ways to Celebrate National Pet Day

April 1, 2024

April 11th is National Pet Day! While many of the pet holidays we observe are dedicated to specific breeds or causes, this one is actually pretty comprehensive: it’s simply a time to honor our animal companions and all the love and happiness they bring into our lives. A neighborhood Plano, IL veterinarian suggests some ‘pawesome’ ways to commemorate this momentous occasion below.

Make Time To Play With Your Furry Bestie

Animals of all kinds like playing, which is also beneficial to their mental and physical health. Spend a few minutes each day holding a laser pointer for Fluffy or a wand toy for Fido. This will not only keep your pet entertained, but it will also help them stay fit, active, and, hopefully, out of mischief.

Spend Some Extra Quality Time with Your Pet

At the end of the day, pets simply want to spend time with their favorite people. (That’d be you.) Make time to spend some extra quality time with your pet! Purrs and tail wags are among life’s most beautiful gifts, as far as we are concerned.

Craft For Your Pet

This is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys creating, those with children, and/or both. There are plenty of amazing DIY project ideas you can make for Fido and Fluffy.

Sew some catnip mice for Fluffy. You can buy catnip or grow your own. Cut two pieces of cloth into the same shape. (It does not actually have to be a mouse.) Put them together, outsides facing in, and stitch them shut. Leave a small opening. When you’re finished, use the opening to pull the cloth through, so it’s not inside out. Then, fill it with catnip, using a little funnel. Sew the top shut, and voilà! A content (and hopefully purring) feline.

Consider making a rope toy for Fido. Simply cut an old shirt or pillowcase into small strips. Braid the strips together. Then, braid the braids together. Continue until you reach the desired thickness, and tie the ends into a knot. Done! Of course, that is the basic version. You can incorporate things like tennis balls or dried sweet potato jerky slices if you’re feeling particularly inventive.

Those are only a few examples. You’ll discover many more possibilities online! You can build beds, box castles, and puzzle toys. Just make sure you stick with safe stuff. Consult your veterinarian for detailed advice on this.

Go For A Stroll

This one primarily relates to our canine friends, but if your feline pal has been taught to walk on a leash and enjoys it, you can indulge her as well.

Many of our canine companions like going to new locations. Fido can pick up a lot of information with his impressive nose. Going to a new spot and sniffing new plants can provide your pooch with enrichment and mental stimulation, both of which are essential for his health and well-being. The exercise and the quality time spent with you will both be beneficial for him as well.

You might want to try utilizing an app to find a new place. Bring Fido is a good option, but there are many others.

Get Your Furry Friend New Digs

No matter what size your home is, there are ways to make it more enjoyable and welcoming for your four-legged friend. This doesn’t need to include large-scale projects; even modest adjustments can make a difference.

Construct a catio for your kitty. Simply place some pet-friendly plants and a cat tower on a closed-in porch or patio, spare bedroom, or even a bright nook. Put a bird feeder in a visible location for more purrs. Your feline companion will spend hours relaxing in the sun, spying on local wildlife, and fantasizing about being a hunter.

If you have a yard where Fido can chase squirrels, give it a pupgrade. A doghouse is an excellent choice. Our canine companions should always live indoors with the rest of the family, but they like and value having their own private ‘digs’. Another idea is to give your canine companion a sandbox. This is an excellent choice for dogs who enjoy digging, such as terriers. If your four-legged friend enjoys swimming, consider getting him a kiddie pool or a pet fountain.

Offer Your Pet A Yummy Treat

This is probably a no-brainer. If there’s one thing all our patients like, it’s treats! Store-bought snacks are fine, of course, but you may also make your own!

For Fido, you can try making these Peanut Butter/Banana Bites. Combine some ripe bananas with natural peanut butter. Check the label of the peanut butter first to be sure that it does not include xylitol (birch sugar), which is dangerous to dogs. Combine in a blender and divide into small servings. You can use a bone mold for this. Or, if you want to go all out, buy a dog treat maker.  These are similar to a panini press or waffle maker, however the form is fashioned like a little bone.

We can’t forget Fluffy, of course! Tuna Yums will get that motor going. Combine canned tuna or chicken with plain Greek nonfat yogurt and a little parsley. Divide into small portions and bake at 375 degrees until they reach the desired consistency. (Tip: A bottle cap works great for portioning these out.)

These are only a few alternatives. You can also experiment and make your own. Just stick to safe ingredients. Some good possibilities include shredded, canned, cooked, or minced meat, fish, or chicken; eggs; fat-free yogurt; and sodium broth. You can also include safe vegetables, such as spinach or peas.

No matter which option you choose, stick to safe, suitable foods. Do not feed your pet garlic, onions, scallions, or chives; grapes, currants, or raisins; alcohol; caffeine; chocolate; avocado; nuts; mushrooms; meat on the bone; or anything containing xylitol. Raw dough is also unsafe: it can expand inside your pet’s stomach, potentially causing serious obstructions. Ask your veterinarian for further information on safe and unsafe foods.

Pet Photography Session

We never tire of seeing adorable images of our patients. Getting those beautiful pictures has never been easier. The ordinary smartphone camera can produce stunning photographs!

Here are some tips:

  • Download a pet camera application. These frequently incorporate characteristics that attract pets’ attention, such as squeakers that make funny sounds so that Fluffy and Fido will glance at the camera.
  • Take a look at your phone’s settings. If you want to photograph Fido running after a stick, use a rapid shutter speed. (Tip: YouTube is a goldmine for this type of knowledge.) 
  • Choose a background that makes your pet’s fur stand out. Contrast is critical to capturing good images. Of course, you can go the opposite way and purposefully choose a camouflage photo. Black cats are ideal for this. We love seeing those cute and hilarious void kitty photographs!
  • Shoot around dusk or morning to take advantage of the greatest lighting.

Our Advice on Great Ways to Celebrate National Pet Day in 2024

What are some specific games or activities that are mentally stimulating for different types of pets?

For dogs, puzzle toys that dispense treats are excellent for mental stimulation, as they require problem-solving skills. Training sessions using positive reinforcement also engage their minds and strengthen the bond between dog and owner. For cats, laser pointers and interactive toys that mimic prey movements stimulate their hunting instincts. Feather wands or fishing-pole toys are particularly good for this. Small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs benefit from maze-like setups and foraging games, which mimic natural behaviors and provide mental challenges. Each pet’s individual preferences and abilities should guide the choice of activities.

What safety precautions should you take when exploring a new area with your dog on a walk?

When exploring a new area with your dog, ensure the location is safe and dog-friendly, checking for any restrictions or hazards. Always keep your dog on a leash to maintain control and prevent them from running off or encountering wildlife. Bring water and a portable bowl to keep your dog hydrated, especially in warm weather. Check the ground for harmful objects like sharp stones or toxic plants. Finally, ensure your dog’s identification tags are up-to-date, and consider a GPS tracker for extra security. Always monitor your dog’s behavior for signs of distress or fatigue.

Can cats be trained to walk on a leash, and if so, what’s the best way to introduce them to it?

Cats can indeed be trained to walk on a leash, and the key is gradual introduction and positive reinforcement. Start by letting your cat wear the harness indoors without the leash, allowing them to get comfortable with the feel. Gradually increase the time your cat spends in the harness. Once accustomed, attach the leash and let them walk around indoors. Use treats and praise to encourage them. Transition to a quiet outdoor area, continually using treats and positive reinforcement to build positive associations with leash walking. Patience is crucial, as some cats may take longer to adapt than others.

What are some signs that a treat recipe contains an ingredient that may not agree with your pet’s digestive system?

Signs that a treat recipe may not agree with your pet’s digestive system include gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive gas, or constipation shortly after consumption. Additionally, signs of discomfort or lethargy may indicate an adverse reaction. If your pet develops itchy skin, hives, or swelling, especially around the face, these could be signs of an allergic reaction to an ingredient. It’s crucial to monitor your pet closely when introducing new treats and consult your veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms.

Are there any specific photo editing apps that are especially good for pet photography?

For pet photography, apps like Snapseed and Adobe Lightroom Mobile are highly recommended due to their advanced editing tools and user-friendly interfaces. Snapseed offers features like selective adjust, which lets you enhance specific areas of a photo—useful for highlighting your pet’s best features. Adobe Lightroom Mobile provides extensive adjustments for exposure, color, and detail enhancement, making it easier to get professional-quality photos. For playful edits, PetCam app includes sounds to capture your pet’s attention and fun filters specifically designed for pet photos.

Schedule An Appointment With Your Plano, IL Pet Hospital

Proper veterinary care is really important. Make sure you stay up with your veterinary appointments. If your pet hasn’t visited our Plano, IL animal clinic in a while, this is a reminder to schedule an appointment now.

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