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Family Matters: Keep Your Small Pet Cool


Keep Your Small Pet CoolSmall pets, especially those in cages or glass tanks, need special care in the summertime when the weather heats up.

First of all, move their habitat out of direct sunlight. Most small pets aren’t big fans of bright lights anyway.

Secondly, if their habitat has a cover, make sure it’s well-ventilated and air circulates well through their living space. You might want to add a small fan nearby to help circulate air (just don’t point it directly at your pet) to help keep them cool.

Provide plenty of fresh water for drinking and play, if appropriate for your pet. Make sure the water is clean and doesn’t attract insects.

If your small pet has an outside habitat, you might want to consider an inside space on the hottest days.



Family Matters: Grilling Out with Your Dog


Grilling Out with Your DogWhenever we cook out, my dog sits faithfully right next to the grill, waiting, hoping and praying for us to drop something, preferably a ribeye.

Sadly for him, it has yet to happen.

That’s also a good thing, as cooking out around your pup can mean some hidden dangers for him.

Make sure your grill is sturdy. You don’t want your dog to be able to knock it over and get burned, start a fire or injure someone else. If he’s prone to jumping up on things or putting his paws up on countertops or tabletops, make sure the grill is in a protected area where he can’t access it at all.

Keep charcoal, matches and lighter fluid away from your dog. Any of these can be fatal if ingested.

Don’t let him eat the scraps, especially if you’re serving something with bones. Most people food that has bones isn’t good for dogs. The bones are too soft, and they can splinter and fragment in a dog’s jaws too easily.

During a cookout, don’t leave alcohol unattended around your dog.

Make sure citronella candles and sprays aren’t in your pups reach, either.



Family Matters: Traveling with Your Cat


Traveling with Your CatSummer is here, and it’s time for a vacation road trip!

Cats are pretty portable, so you might want to take your feline friend on vacation with you. Before you do, have your cat checked out by your vet to make sure he’s healthy enough to travel. Have him weighed, and get your vet’s recommendation on what to do if he gets carsick. Many recommend human Dramamine®, and knowing his weight will also tell you the correct dose to give him.

Make sure he’s wearing tags with updated contact information. Better yet, get him a microchip as well, in the horrible event he gets lost during the trip.

If your cat isn’t accustomed to riding in the car, take him on short jaunts to prepare him for the longer journey. If he’s not accustomed to being in a crate or carrier, practice keeping him in one of those as well. Put familiar toys or blankets in the carrier to help him feel comfortable.

Bring a leash and teach your cat how to use it for pit stops. You might want to pack a portable litter box for bathroom breaks if he’s not accustomed to using the potty outside.

Of course, bring food and water with you, and never leave your cat alone in the hot car.



Family Matters: Keep Your Bird Cool in Summer


Keep Your Bird Cool in SummerTemperatures are heating up, and it’s time to pay closer attention to keeping your bird cool in the summer heat.

Birds don’t have sweat glands like humans do, and they don’t regulate their body temperatures the same way we do. Unlike mammals, a bird’s body temperature runs a little higher on average.

To cool down, birds will pant rapidly, breathing through their mouths. They will also vibrate their throats. They also lose water through evaporation on their feet and skin surface.

During the summertime, it’s important to keep your bird out of direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day. Keep his cage in a place that provides light but also provides shade and adequate ventilation. This might mean providing a fan nearby to keep air circulating, extra water in his cage or water bottle, or shading nearby windows during peak hours.

Misters and birdbaths are also options, and they provide a playful option for your bird to stay cool.

Birds don’t need as much fuel during summer months, so don’t be surprised if your bird doesn’t eat as much.



Family Matters: National Pet Month – Small Animal


National Pet Month - Small Animal

May is National Pet Month and a great reason to celebrate all the people out there who take care of small pets like hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The goal of National Pet Month is to promote the benefits of owning a small pet, support the adoption of small pets, raise awareness of the benefits of owning a small pet for both owners and furry friends, increase awareness of services available from professionals who work with pets, and draw attention to the valuable contribution of working companion animals to society.

So, let’s talk about owning a small animal.

The first benefit is space! You don’t have to have a lot of it, or a yard, or an outdoor space to keep a small pet happy and healthy! They don’t tend to break furniture, chew up your shoes or need to go on walks.

Small pets tend to be fairly clean and keep themselves clean with little effort on your part. They don’t eat a lot and don’t tend to be very expensive, either for initial cost or upkeep. Small animals are also independent, and they’re a great choice if you want the companionship of a pet without having to keep one constantly entertained.



Family Matters: National Pet Month – Dog


National Pet Month - Dog

May is National Pet Month and a great reason to celebrate man’s best friend.

The goal of National Pet Month is to promote the benefits of owning a dog, support the adoption of dogs, raise awareness of the benefits of owning a dog for both owners and furry friends, increase awareness of services available from professionals who work with pets, and draw attention to the valuable contribution of working companion animals to society.

There is a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend.”

If you get a dog, the chances are that the dog is going to love you for life. Dogs are loyal, committed, protective, territorial and playful. They can have a variety of talents and skills. Some dogs will hunt with you. Others are great for herding. Some varieties are great for farms, and others are perfect for your lap.

Dogs, like humans, come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. It shouldn’t be hard to find one that suits you and your lifestyle. Dogs are great with families and with children. They can help protect your house. They will ride in the car with you. They love to be petted, walked and played with.

My dog, Astro, is a 100-lb lap dog. He thinks he’s a lap dog, anyway. He is thrilled when I walk through the door at night. He stands beside me if the doorbell rings. He alerts me any time someone walks into the front yard. He cleans up any food that I drop on the floor. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. He brings so much joy to every day. I can’t imagine not having him around.



Family Matters: National Pet Month – Cat


National Pet Month - Cat

May is National Pet Month and a great reason to celebrate all the people out there whose furry friends are of the feline variety.

The goal of National Pet Month is to promote the benefits of owning a cat, support the adoption of cats, raise awareness of the benefits of owning a cat for both owners and furry friends, increase awareness of services available from professionals who work with pets, and draw attention to the valuable contribution of working companion animals to society.

I ended up owning a cat by accident. My neighbor in an apartment building had a litter of kittens, and it’s a proven fact that you can’t hold a kitten and then walk away without it. Pretty much everything I’d thought about having a cat proved to be untrue. My cat was very loving and very social. She wanted to be held and petted, and she didn’t mind being picked up. She loved water. She would sit on the edge of the bathtub and draw her tail back and forth through the bath water as I bathed. She was very vocal and would greet me when I walked through the door with a series of small meows.

Cats are great pets because they are pretty independent. You don’t have to take them on walks, and they don’t necessarily need to go outside. They are loving and can be good companions. Cats tend to have longer lifespans, don’t need a lot of space, and can groom themselves.



Family Matters: National Pet Month – Bird


National Pet Month - Bird

May is National Pet Month and a great reason to celebrate all the bird owners out there!

The goal of National Pet Month is to promote the benefits of owning a bird, support bird adoption, raise awareness of the benefits of bird ownership for both owners and feathered friends, increase awareness of services available from professionals who work with pets, and draw attention to the valuable contribution of working companion animals to society.

Let’s talk about the benefits of owning a bird. I do not have one myself, so I texted a friend who has a parakeet named Nellie, asking her what benefits she gets from being a bird mom.

“I have constant company, and I really believe Nellie talks to me and carries on conversations,” she wrote back. “Nellie is highly intelligent and communicates effectively without ever saying a word.”

Another benefit of owning a bird is that they have a long lifespan and can be a constant companion over many years.

Birds also encourage humans to be more social, as many of the talking varieties will actually converse with you in a give-and-take exchange.

Having a bird lowers your stress levels as you play with and talk to your pet. It also keeps your mind sharp as you train and work with your pet.



Product Talk: Sunday Brunch


Sunday Brunch Dog FoodIt’s National Pet Month, and there’s no better time to celebrate your playful pup than with a wonderful meal you can get for him right off the shelf at Brookshire’s.

Sunday Brunch canned dog food is prepared with savory lamb, rich rice, hearty potatoes and fresh apples. Your pup will enjoy the feeling of Sunday brunch with the family, and it’s full of whole-grains, potatoes, proteins and apples.

Sunday Brunch is made with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat for your pup. Cans are good for two meals, mixed with dry food, for a succulent feast for your four-legged furry friend.

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Family Matters: Small Animal Exercises


Small Animal Exercises Your small pet, like a hamster, gerbil or rabbit, might seem to always be active (especially in the nighttime hours), but that doesn’t mean they don’t need some encouragement to exercise.

You can take your rabbit, ferret or other larger small breed animal for a walk on a leash, or provide time for him to move about outside his cage in a safe environment. Rabbits like to hop around in soft grass, so provide an enclosure for them to do so. A harness made for rabbits or other small animals can allow you to take them on a walk as well. (They don’t need to go far.) Just be mindful of keeping your small pet on a softer surface and out of harm’s way.

For your small pet that lives in a cage, like a hamster, gerbil or mouse, provide lots of tunnels that extend beyond the confines of the cage. Your pet will like to climb, explore and run. A running wheel in the main cage is also great exercise, and it will provide hours of movement and entertainment for your small pet.



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