12 Surprising Ways to Use Common Household Products for Dogs

While there’s a specially made product for just about anything dog owner’s will deal with, from smells and stains, to fleas and other pests, to dealing with a dog that digs, and everything in between, it turns out many of the household products you’re already using serve dual purpose for pet parents!

12 Surprising Ways to Use Common Household Products for Dogs

In this article, we’ll discuss 12 new ways to use the same products already in your pantry to make life a little easier for those with a dog in the house.

1. Has bathing the dog left the bathtub less than inviting? Clean stubborn stains and deodorize the entire bathroom using ! Just fill the tub with warm water, add 2 tablespoons of fabric softener, and let it soak overnight. Surfactants in the fabric softener loosen dirt and grime so it easily rinses away and the fragrance will leave the entire room smelling fresh.

2. Is your dog a messy eater? Instead of risking ruined walls around the dinner bowls, adhere a sheet of to the wall behind your pet’s bowls. The laminated surface makes clean-up a breeze. Just wipe away messes with a damp sponge.

3. Are you finding stubborn stains in your dog’s ceramic food bowls? Simply fill the bowl with a brown cola, like Coke or Pepsi, let sit for an hour, and rinse stubborn stains away. The phosphoric acid in the cola dissolves the food, dirt, and drool stains.

4. Speaking of your pet’s bowls, do you have a problem with ants making their way into your dog’s dinner? Just smear a dab of around the bottom rim of the bowl to stop the pesky insects from stepping foot in your dog’s bowl.

5. Does your dog use a doggy door? Put that door on double-duty with some ! Just adhere a strip of velcro along both sides of the bottom edge of the flap. When your dog comes and goes, he’ll rub against the Velcro which will grab and hold onto any loose hairs, preventing them from ending up all over the house.

6. Does your dog scratch or paw at a door or cabinet either to go outside or to get to the treats? Instead of repairing damaged doors, adhere a sheet of sandpaper to the area being scratched. This way, instead of destroying your doors, he’ll file his own nails.

7. Do you trim your dog’s nails yourself? If you accidentally trim a nail a little too close to the quick and don’t have any styptic powder in the first aid kit, safely stop the bleeding by pressing the bleeding nail into a dab of lip balm. Wax in the lip balm will put an end to bleeding.

8. Are you finding fleas in your dog’s bedding? Instead of spraying the bedding with harsh, dangerous chemicals or pesticides, use a mortar and pestle to crush into a fine powder. Sprinkle the powder into your pet’s bedding to naturally keep fleas away.

9. Some dogs, for a variety of reasons, are known to snack on either their own stool or the stools of other dogs in the home. To put an end to poo-eating, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of 100% pure canned pumpkin to your dogs’ bowls at each meal. Not only will the pumpkin add beneficial fiber to your dog’s diet, the papain in the pumpkin will change the taste of the poo to something a little less appealing (if you can imagine that!).

10. To quickly and safely kill fleas without the use of poisons, chemicals, or pesticides, reach, instead, for a bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid. With your dog in a tub, starting from the neck and working your way down, lather up a small amount of the dishsoap with clean water and work down your dog’s body. Allow the soapy suds to soak on your dog’s skin and fur for at least 5 minutes. This method actually works better than many flea shampoos at killing and ridding a dog of fleas.

11. Quickly and easily rid carpet and upholstery of shed dog hair using a pair of rubber gloves. Just run a gloved hand under water, then wipe away shed hair. The wet rubber glove will attract loose hairs. Just rinse the glove and repeat as necessary.

12. To keep dogs from digging or playing in flowerbeds or vegetable gardens, sprinkle the garden beds with ground black pepper. Because of their incredible sense of smell, most dogs will catch a whiff of the pepper and steer clear of your garden.

Got any other unique tips or tricks for pet parents? Please, share them in a comment below!

Police file report after dog shoplifts from store

Police file report after dog shoplifts from store

ByDogTime

It looks like a from , , has a serious case of sticky paws.

Police file report after dog shoplifts from store

In a bit of fun, the Clinton Police Department filed a police report about the shoplifting incident. (Photo credit: Clinton Public Safety Department)

Most of the time, is a housedog — spending his lazy days hanging out on the couch and napping. But early Wednesday morning, Cato managed to wriggle free from his leash, says his owner, Holly Darden, something the Husky has done several times before.

“When he runs, I just have to let him go until somebody catches him,” Darden tells .

Though Darden knew Cato would eventually be captured, she never could have guessed her dog would not only be caught, but also arrested for initiating a crime spree.

This time around, rather than just wandering about town, Cato was caught red-pawed stealing tasty items from a store near his home. The handsome Husky was recorded on closed-circuit television nabbing dog food, treats, beef bones, and pig ears from store shelves.

Crafty Cato is shown in the surveillance footage walking through the automatic doors of the dollar store around 9:38 a.m., then bounding through those same doors with his spoils. Staff was initially none the wiser, and the bow-wow bandit was left to bury his loot nearby.

“We didn’t know it happened because he just snuck in with the customers,” Dollar General store manager Anastasia Polson explains.

But when Cato returned to the store twice more that morning to continue his crime spree, employees definitely took notice.

“We had to lock the door to keep him from coming back in,” Polson says of Cato.

Cato’s canine kleptomania landed the clever pooch in hot water with the law. Police even before taking the four-legged thief into custody. Law enforcement brought Cato to the local pound, where he was soon reunited with a very surprised Darden.

“My dog was shoplifting,” Darden says, giggling in disbelief.

Apparently Cato’s shoplifting is motivated by something other than hunger.

“Look at him, he’s fat,” Darden says of her wily pooch. “Yes! I feed him. There’s food in there. There’s treats in there.”

She is not sure if Cato is a repeat offender, but Dollar General is not the first business Cato has visited while roaming through Clinton, Darden says.

“He’s gotten into Ingles,” a , Darden explains. “He’s gotten into BI-LO. He goes to Pizza Hut. And he goes up to Yo Cup which is downtown too.”

Needless to say, it looks like Cato will be under house arrest for some time.

Source:

Natural & Safe Cleaning Hacks for Pet Parents

Most people know that the chemicals in household cleaners can be toxic to humans, but many people forget that they can be even more poisonous to our pets.

Natural & Safe Cleaning Hacks for Pet Parents

The that tens of thousands of pets are poisoned by household cleaners each year, and it’s one of the top pet toxins reported. Loving dog owners should want to keep their fur babies safe, and therefore avoid using products that can be harmful to their health.

For example, ammonia, which is found in glass cleaners, spot removers and carpet cleaners can cause respiratory damage, throat burns, and can even be fatal! Chlorine is commonly used in disinfectants and toilet bowl cleaners and can damage dogs’ skin, eyes or other membranes. Glycol ethers, found in glass and carpet cleaners, can cause lung and kidney damage, and quaternary ammonium compounds can cause a whole host of problems.

put together an infographic that lists these common household cleaners and concoctions you can make yourself, at home, to replace them. It also features a ton of other for any hairy (or sticky) situation your dog may cause.

Natural & Safe Cleaning Hacks for Pet Parents

Pull these out next time your dog makes a mess, has an accident or just replace all cleaning products that may come into contact with your pup!

Kids at the dog park

Kids at the dog park

ByGretchen Pfeffer
Kids at the dog park

Dogs have a grand time at an off-leash park, but is it a suitable place for a child or toddler?

I’ve experienced some pretty uncomfortable, potentially dangerous situations at the . I’ve had more than my fair share of awkward moments that have caused me to exit the park quickly whilst rolling my eyes and shaking my head. I’m not speaking of roughhousing or improper dog handling; these undesirable encounters, more often than not, involve .

This is a touchy subject. Read nearly any blog or online article regarding the presence of children at dog parks, then skip directly to the comments. You’ll find extraordinarily passionate, highly conflicting views. It seems the inflammatory remarks generally stem from two groups — parents of dogs only, and parents of children. I’m not going to propose either is right or wrong.

I frequent a beautiful, vast dog park that’s primarily off-leash. My dog, , can leap through the tall grass, smell things that create a near-euphoric response (some of which I don’t find the least bit pleasant), and most importantly, greet and play with new dog friends without harboring the responsibility of protecting me. He’s free, not only from the confines of a leash (and the responsibility he feels this entails), but I believe mentally. The dog park is neutral ground, and one of the only places he can receive the exercise he requires.

For various reasons, this park also includes areas that require dogs to be on lead, pertaining to wildlife conservation, protection of indigenous plant life, and dog safety near the parking area. I follow the rules. It’s my job to not only keep my dog safe, happy, and , but to respect the safety of other living beings and the sanctity of my environment. This is the unwritten waiver I mentally signed the day we Rocket at the shelter.

I have mixed feelings when I see kids at the dog park — especially toddlers. On one hand, if the parent is accompanying the child and a dog, I think it’s lovely their family can enjoy the amazing park together. I secretly hope because the child is being introduced to their kind family dog early in his/her life, the child will grow up, potentially, with the same love and respect I hold for canines. The whole scene gives me warm fuzzies. But not every dog at the dog park currently resides in a household alongside a child. And not every dog is comfortable with a toddler who, by nature, moves erratically and awkwardly, utters high-pitched sounds, and, in my experience, frequently carries an object in their hands — more often than not, a stick. To many dogs, this is confusing: Who is this shrieking creature? Why is it running toward me flailing its arms? I’ve been abused before with an object that looks like that long thing that creature is holding, and this is bringing back really bad memories. This is super creepy. Not every dog is the , who patiently endures horsey rides or is awakened by a building block tossed at his head. And even though a child “loves dogs,” my pooch, unfortunately, is really freaked out by most kids.

I’ve also been in close proximity with parents who have brought their children to the dog park, and are enjoying a leisurely stroll in the off leash dog area — with no dog in tow. I can count on more than all of my fingers, the number of times a parent has been conversing on a cell phone, while their child is aimlessly running through the area. I witnessed a situation that involved one of these unattended, stick-grasping children, running full-blast at a dog. Luckily, as the child approached the dog, the owner reacted quickly enough to physically restrain her dog, who, with teeth exposed, lunged toward the child. She wrapped her forearm around his neck, and flipped her own dog onto his back in the grass. Simultaneously, the child’s mother, who had been having an in-depth conversation on the phone, finally realized her youngster was outside of range. She began frantically screaming at the dog’s owner, accusing her of having a “vicious dog.” Needless to say, this situation could have ended much worse. God forbid if this child was bit. But due to the fast-acting response of the dog’s owner, who had expected to simply enjoy a fun day at her local off-leash dog park, both the child and the dog are safe. The child could have been hurt, which would be nothing short of tragic. Yet had that woman’s dog snapped at the unattended child, the dog may have then been required to be put down. A dog bite is generally considered to be the fault of the dog and his owner.

I take my responsibility as a dog owner seriously. I don’t allow my dog to run willy-nilly through the streets. I don’t dismissively proclaim, while trotting down the sidewalk with my unrestrained dog, “Oh, it’s okay, my dog is friendly,” as Rocket proceeds to jump up on strangers or the backs of other dogs. No. For one, maybe the other human isn’t comfortable with my overly friendly dog. And even though my dog is friendly, perhaps another dog might not be at ease with being approached, or perhaps the other dog isn’t quite so friendly. In addition, it would never even cross my mind to take my dog to run free at a children’s playground.

I want my dog to be happy and carefree, but certainly not at the expense of others, or while risking my own dog’s safety. It would just be really nice if everyone could manage to responsibly coexist, while treating each other (and our dogs) with the care and respect we all deserve.

How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

By
How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

In some ways, professional dog training is like family therapy — it’s better to get help before you need it. Whether you’ve known your dog longer than you’ve known your spouse, or even if you’ve adopted a pup as a couple, training your dog as a team can help strengthen your relationship with your human partner as well as with your pooch, and prevent any “it’s me or the dog” arguments.

“If it’s a couple, both the people should come to a training session,” says trainer Shar Mulligan of Waggles Academy for Dogs.

“It allows them to then speak the same language, and it allows them to understand the dog a little bit more, and that just takes a lot of pressure off of everybody,” she explains.

According to Mulligan, training a dog as a family builds unity, strengthens responsibility and encourages patience and commitment. She says working through the rough spots in training together reinforces the bonds between everyone involved.

How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

(Picture Credit: ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)

An experienced trainer, Mulligan has even felt the power of training teamwork in her own family. Five years ago her husband, Trevor, fell in love with a fearful and highly reactive 18-month-old pup named Huxley.

For the first time in their marriage, the dog trainer’s spouse entered her professional world.

“Trevor really paid attention to his dog’s needs. They exercised together and attended my training classes,” Mulligan recalls.

As Huxley’s training progressed, the couple found they were often complimenting each other on his successes, and the positivity spread beyond their training sessions.

How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

“When you’re in the groove of reinforcing your dog’s good behavior and great choices, it seems this mindset spills over into other chapters of your life and day-to-day activities,” says Mulligan, adding that both Huxley and Trevor are less stressed since finding each other, and the whole family is feeling more confident.

Mulligan is not the first to notice the positive impact a dog can have on his or her humans. couples with dogs enjoy greater well-being than those without canine companions, and the closer the humans are to their dog, the better off they are.

The same research suggests people who have strong attachments to their dog and who confide in their dog — in addition to their spouse — report more satisfaction with marriage, life and their health, and experience stress relief. suggests humans who don’t engage in activities with their dog (like agility, dog shows, hunting, herding, or training) have lower rates of emotional closeness.

Training as a triad allows both humans to reap the health and emotional benefits of bonding with the dog, while helping prevent destructive or disruptive canine behavior from negatively impacting the dog–human relationship, or the human-to-human relationship. Working together helps prevent either half of a couple from growing resentful of  the dog, or their human partner, by creating a shared experience.

“Let’s say you’re trying to stop excessive barking — you’ll make a plan on how you’re going to do this, step by step, and it’s just really fun to share each other’s progress,” Mulligan explains.

How Dog Training Can Help Your Marriage

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

She says sometimes a dog will have a more favorable response to one partner’s style of instruction over the other, and that’s okay — the dog is just telling you what ‘language’ he or she prefers. There’s no need to place blame, but one partner may need to adopt the other person’s style.

“It allows you to be consistent with your pet, so that you get the same responses and you meet the same training goals.”

Depending on your dog and factors like their personality and previous life experience, training may be challenging. At times, one or both humans may be tempted to quit, but the best outcomes happen when families stick with training, growing closer to each other, and their dog.

In the case of Huxley, Mulligan and her husband were dealing with the challenge of training a highly reactive pooch, but as the bond between the three of them deepened, Huxley became calm and confident — enough to join in on dog-friendly road trips and other fun, family outings. It’s an experience Mulligan is glad she shared with her spouse.

“This commitment and positive attitude that came along with raising a dog with fearful behaviors gave Trevor and I the strength, courage and coping skills we needed,” she says.

Forever Remembered: 42 Incredible Dog Memorial Tattoos

From simple line drawings and intricate photo-realism, to stylized portraits that perfectly capture your dog’s personality, a talented tattoo artist can create incredible dog memorial tattoos that will last a lifetime.

Forever Remembered: 42 Incredible Dog Memorial Tattoos

Just take a look at these 42 gorgeous dog tattoos for a bit of awe and inspiration.

A post shared by Mosquito Bob (@bobmosquitotattoo) on

A post shared by Susana Chavero (@susana_chavero_tattoo) on

A post shared by Verónica Fernández (@veritotattoo) on

A post shared by Miki Sekulic (@mikisekulictattoo) on

on

A post shared by Alexandra Wilkey (@wilkey4) on

A post shared by Elizabeth Helena Xedes (@xedesarte) on

A post shared by Katie Cain (@katiecaintattoos) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@jovi_tattoos) on

A post shared by J E S S I C A & B E A N (@pawsbuzzgo) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@brookkingdom) on

A post shared by Tachyon Tattoo (@tattootachyon) on

A post shared by Noe Martinez (@noedeer.tattoo) on

A post shared by Bryan Neal (@bryan.americantattoo) on

A post shared by Don-Design Tattoo (@dondesigntattoo) on

A post shared by hangwu7273 (@hangwu7273) on

A post shared by George Orwell (@lukeskydrawer) on

A post shared by Lucky Pug – Pug Tattoo Gallery (@luckypugtattoos) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@jimmytattoo) on

A post shared by Alexandyr Valentine (@alexandyrvalentine) on

A post shared by Bob Kerr (@bobthekerr) on

A post shared by Diego Fernandez (@diegofernandez.ink) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@marcelomarzari) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@rta_ireland) on

A post shared by Cormos Cristian (@cormosc) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@gabileilek) on

A post shared by Matt Vazquez (@invertedpixel) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@foxesnshit) on

A post shared by @der_mops_edgar on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@exepiraino) on

A post shared by Aggie Vnek (@aggie_vnek) on

A post shared by Stephanie Melbourne (@stephanie_melbourne) on

A post shared by Lara Acevedo Cal (@laralaritss) on

A post shared by Johan Steven Junca Rojas (@gotten_tattoo) on

A post shared by (@taylorhealdtattoo) on

A post shared by Xia (시아) (@xia_tattoo) on

A post shared by Linn Aasne Grønnerøe (@linnaasne) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@saveriodamianiart) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by (@newcastletattoo) on

A post shared by Lucky Pug – Pug Tattoo Gallery (@luckypugtattoos) on

A post shared by Matt Webb (@mattwebbtattoo) on

A post shared by Stefano Del Popolo (@stefanodelpopolo) on

A post shared by Robson Santos (@robsonsantostattoos) on

Do you have (or would you get) a tattoo in remembrance of a beloved best friend or a favorite breed?

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

It’s an issue pet parents face every winter – it’s freezing outside, but the dogs still need their daily exercise. At what point is it too cold to walk the dog?

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

How cold is too cold to walk the dog?

Dr. Kim Smyth, a staff veterinarian with pet insurance company , is asked this very question every winter, so she created a  based on the  developed at Tufts University.

This handy chart is pretty straightforward: Just find the outdoor temperature, factor in the wind chill and how cold it actually feels, then look consider your dog’s size. Green (1-2) means it’s safe to go outside – have fun!; Yellow (3) means you should take caution as there is a slight potential for dangerous conditions; Orange (4) is likely dangerous and will require extra precautions; And red (5) is potentially life-threatening cold and any prolonged outdoor activity should be avoided.

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

Of course, you’ll also want to consider your dogs’ own health, lifestyle, and preference for the cold. But, as a general rule, Smyth says, “Under 30 degrees, factoring in the wind chill, it’s not going to be safe for any dog to be outside for an extended period of time.”

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

Of course, every dog is different. But, even if your dog loves being outside in winter weather – and temperatures aren’t too dangerously low to allow for a quick walk – dog owners should still follow a few simple precautions to stay safe:

1. Bundle Up!

Whether it’s 60-degrees or -6, make sure you’re appropriately dressed for your own safety and that of your dog, too. Wear comfortable shoes that won’t slip and slide on ice and snow (especially if your dog tends to pull!). Keep hands warm with mittens or gloves so that you don’t lose your grip on the leash. Remember, to best protect your dog during harsh winter weather, you’ll need to keep yourself protected, too.

2. Bundle Your Dog Up!

Although some dog breeds (like Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, and Saint Bernards) are perfectly suited to venture out into the cold au naturale, many dogs will be safer and more comfortable with a coat or sweater to protect them from the elements. Aside from small dogs and dogs with short hair, those that are very young, very old, or with any illness or physical disability that would limit their ability to keep themselves warm should bundle up before heading outside in the cold of winter. If the air is cold, but dry, you might opt for a cozy sweater. Or, if it’s rainy or snowy out, a rain-slicker or water-resistant coat would be a better choice.

3. Protect the Paws!

Yes, your dog’s paws are pretty amazing, but they aren’t immune to the blistering cold and they must be protected from potential dangers like ice, snow, salts, ice-melting chemicals, and sharp objects hidden beneath the snow. If your dog will tolerate them (and it may take some training) the very best winter walking defense is a pair of water-resistant dog booties. But, some dogs simply flat-out refuse to wear their shoes. For those pups that won’t wear booties, always use a paw protectant, like  to protect those precious paws. And, when you return from your walk, give those paws a good washing to remove any ice or snow that may have built up between toes and to rinse away any salts or toxic chemicals that may have been stepped in.

4. Always Use a Leash!

Even if your dog is 100% trustworthy and has never run off, never attempt to walk him in winter weather without a leash. Ice and snow on the ground can make it difficult for a lost dog to find his way back home and, limited visibility can make it difficult for others to see you.

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

5. Avoid Potential Dangers!

Stay away from ponds, even when they appear completely frozen solid. Follow paths and sidewalks that you’re familiar with, as snow cover may hide uneven walkways, tree limbs, or sharp objects that could injure you or your dog. Avoid driveways where antifreeze may have dripped. Stay clear of freshly salted or de-iced roads, especially if your dog isn’t wearing protective booties, as salts and chemicals can be irritating to the skin at the very least, or life-threatening at most. Remember to use pet-safe ice melter on your own driveway and sidewalks and encourage surrounding neighbors to do the same.

6. Listen to Your Dog!

While some dogs make it very obvious when they’re not interested in being out in the cold or snow, others may give more subtle signs that they’re uncomfortable. If your dog appears to be shivering or shaking, gives any indication that she’s afraid or hesitant, or tries to pull you back toward home, don’t force her to take the walk. Instead, take her back home to warm up and try exercising her indoors!

And, if winter walks are out of the question, it’s easy to !

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

Of course, every dog is different. But, even if your dog loves being outside in winter weather – and temperatures aren’t too dangerously low to allow for a quick walk – dog owners should still follow a few simple precautions to stay safe:

1. Bundle Up!

Whether it’s 60-degrees or -6, make sure you’re appropriately dressed for your own safety and that of your dog, too. Wear comfortable shoes that won’t slip and slide on ice and snow (especially if your dog tends to pull!). Keep hands warm with mittens or gloves so that you don’t lose your grip on the leash. Remember, to best protect your dog during harsh winter weather, you’ll need to keep yourself protected, too.

2. Bundle Your Dog Up!

Although some dog breeds (like Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies, and Saint Bernards) are perfectly suited to venture out into the cold au naturale, many dogs will be safer and more comfortable with a coat or sweater to protect them from the elements. Aside from small dogs and dogs with short hair, those that are very young, very old, or with any illness or physical disability that would limit their ability to keep themselves warm should bundle up before heading outside in the cold of winter. If the air is cold, but dry, you might opt for a cozy sweater. Or, if it’s rainy or snowy out, a rain-slicker or water-resistant coat would be a better choice.

3. Protect the Paws!

Yes, your dog’s paws are pretty amazing, but they aren’t immune to the blistering cold and they must be protected from potential dangers like ice, snow, salts, ice-melting chemicals, and sharp objects hidden beneath the snow. If your dog will tolerate them (and it may take some training) the very best winter walking defense is a pair of water-resistant dog booties. But, some dogs simply flat-out refuse to wear their shoes. For those pups that won’t wear booties, always use a paw protectant, like  to protect those precious paws. And, when you return from your walk, give those paws a good washing to remove any ice or snow that may have built up between toes and to rinse away any salts or toxic chemicals that may have been stepped in.

4. Always Use a Leash!

Even if your dog is 100% trustworthy and has never run off, never attempt to walk him in winter weather without a leash. Ice and snow on the ground can make it difficult for a lost dog to find his way back home and, limited visibility can make it difficult for others to see you.

When Is It Too Cold to Walk the Dog? Use This Handy Guide for Reference

5. Avoid Potential Dangers!

Stay away from ponds, even when they appear completely frozen solid. Follow paths and sidewalks that you’re familiar with, as snow cover may hide uneven walkways, tree limbs, or sharp objects that could injure you or your dog. Avoid driveways where antifreeze may have dripped. Stay clear of freshly salted or de-iced roads, especially if your dog isn’t wearing protective booties, as salts and chemicals can be irritating to the skin at the very least, or life-threatening at most. Remember to use pet-safe ice melter on your own driveway and sidewalks and encourage surrounding neighbors to do the same.

6. Listen to Your Dog!

While some dogs make it very obvious when they’re not interested in being out in the cold or snow, others may give more subtle signs that they’re uncomfortable. If your dog appears to be shivering or shaking, gives any indication that she’s afraid or hesitant, or tries to pull you back toward home, don’t force her to take the walk. Instead, take her back home to warm up and try exercising her indoors!

And, if winter walks are out of the question, it’s easy to !

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

ByChristine McLaughlin
Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Taking a nap is a great way to recharge during the holidays, and taking a snooze with your dog or cat (or both) is excellent bonding opportunity.

Holiday time is here. The decorating, the shopping, the entertaining, the cooking, the cleaning, the party-going, the wrapping… But where do our pets fit in the scheme of things?

In the midst of the season’s craziness, our furry family members tend to get ignored or over-stimulated. As a result, pets can experience restlessness and anxiety. But they don’t have to: Be sure to pay attention and give them a breather from the activity when they need it and add them to the fun when they don’t.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Rest time: If your pet seems stressed from the hustling and bustling — and many do — have a safe place for him away from activity. Cats should have a quiet, comfy spot to sleep with food, water, and their litter box. Dogs might also need a retreat depending on how anxious they get or if they don’t have very good hosting manners. Be sure to have a soft area for sleep, a toy or two, water, and food at their disposal. But you might need a catnap, too, to recharge for holiday festivities. So use this time to take one together. Aside of rest time for those hairy moments, many pets would love to be included in some of the activities.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Dogs love a parade: If your leashed dog can handle loud noises and lots of people, attending a Christmas parade is always a howl. Fun-loving doggies enjoy the parade sidelines and soak in all the sights and sounds that go with it…almost as much as their families.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Visit Santa: Has your pet been extra good this year? Then let Santa Paws know about it with a visit and photo together. Many pet stores and even some malls have specific pet-friendly photo times with Old St. Nick.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Pick out the family Christmas tree: Many Christmas tree farms (as well as outdoor gardens and tree vendors) welcome pets on a leash. Your pet will just love being with you outdoors in the crisp air while you share one of the season’s most honored traditions — picking out the perfect tree. Just be sure to call the establishment first to confirm that pets are welcome…and you have a new annual tradition.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Go have a catch: Dogs love playing , so give your pup a good run and wear him out ahead of when company visits. This way, he’ll be happy (and less yappy) and relaxed when greeting guests. are optimal as pups can run, chase tennis balls, and with others. But even your local park, elementary school grounds, or tennis courts can be great places to play fetch and let him run safely, as long as the grounds don’t strictly prohibit dogs. Always remember to walk to and from the park with your pup on a leash and poop bags in hand.

Top ways to spend the holiday season with pets

Shop ‘til you flop together: Maybe it’s only for dog food or a run to the drive-through bank teller, but think about what stores you can take your so you can run errands together. Most big pet stores allow dogs on a leash but smaller boutique pet shops will, too. Just think: You can shop for your hairy best friend’s gift…together; remember — a trip with you anywhere is always a treat for your four-legged family member.

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

By

*WARNING: Children should be taught to never hug a dog they are not familiar with. Dogs who don’t know you, may see a hug as a threat. It is the cause of many dog bites every year. So with that said, let’s talk about how to train your dog to give hugs.

You’ve probably seen adorable YouTube videos of dogs who happily give cuddly hugs on cue and thought that you’d like to teach your dog to do it so you could impress your friends with this cute trick. Here are a few pups that already have the hang of it and love giving cuddly hugs!

There are a few things to consider before you start teaching your dog to hug on command, including whether or not your pup will be capable of performing the task. If this trick is right for your pooch, it will take some time and effort like any other command. Here’s how you can teach your dog to give hugs and what you should consider before you begin.

Hugs Aren’t For Every Dog

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

There are a several factors to take into account before training, including your dog’s breed, physical health, and comfort level. Certain breeds won’t be capable of giving a full, arms-on-shoulders hug because their backs aren’t suited to be in that position. , , and certain giant breeds safely and comfortably. If you are concerned, ask your vet if this command is right for your dog.

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

You should also make sure your dog is in good enough physical health. Dogs with hip dysplasia, arthritis, or other medical conditions that affect the back, hips, bones, muscles, or joints should not give hugs. Doing so could cause pain or injury, and it’s not worth risking your dog’s health.

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Some dogs . They may see it as a threat, or it could make them feel confined or restricted from moving. Teaching a dog that a hug is a trained action that results in a reward can reduce the anxiety they feel when being hugged, but consider your dog’s comfort level and don’t force it. Working at this trick gradually can help, but some dogs simply do not want to be hugged and shouldn’t have to if they don’t want to.

Make Sure Your Dog Knows The Basics

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

This is a moderate skill level command, and your dog should know at least how to sit, stay, and give a paw, as well as be able to keep focus on you while learning a new trick. Hugging is not a natural thing for a dog to do, so it requires a bit more skill on your part as the trainer. If you are confident in your dog’s abilities and the strength of your bond, try this more advanced command. If not, get back to the basics until you have them down.

Pick Which Kind Of Hug You Want

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

There are a few different types of hugs you can train your dog to give you on command. You can teach your dog all of them with a different verbal cue or hand signal for each, or you can pick your favorite. The head-on-shoulder hug just requires your dog to tuck their head onto your shoulder and wrap around your neck a bit. You can even have your dog put a paw up on the opposite shoulder for a one-arm embrace.

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The arms-on-shoulders hug requires your dog to put a paw on each of your shoulders before drawing you in for a hug. This requires your dog to be comfortable with sitting back on their hind paws for balance while embracing you, so it’s a more advanced command. Keep in mind that both of these tricks require you to get down to your dog’s eye level, so it can be tougher for small dogs, though allowing your dog to sit up higher on a piece of furniture while you take a knee on the floor can work for tiny pups.

Head-On-Shoulder Hugs

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

The is the more simple of the two types of hugs covered here. It involves your dog placing his head on your shoulder and neck, and that’s about it. You can also add placing a paw on your other shoulder if you wish. Here are the steps you should take.

  • (Optional) If you want your dog to put a paw on your other shoulder while doing this, start by training your dog to place their front paw on your shoulder. Place the paw on your shoulder yourself, then reward your dog by giving them a treat from behind your head over the opposite shoulder. Once your dog understands that this is the expected behavior, continue with the next steps.
  • Place a treat in one hand and hold it behind your head over your shoulder. Have your dog approach the treat from in front of you and reach for it. Your dog should be leaning over your shoulder. If they go around your back for the treat, start over and be patient.
  • Try this a few times without a command giving plenty of rewarding praise for a job well done. If your dog gets distracted, take a break for a while.
  • Start incorporating a command like “hug” or “love” with the action. Repeat the process.
  • Once your dog understands what is expected, slowly increase the amount of time your pup spends with their head over your shoulder before giving the reward.
  • When your dog can perform the behavior consistently, try giving the verbal command without holding your hand behind your head. If your dog is still having trouble, continue to hold your hand behind your head, but start reducing the amount of time you’re doing it until your dog can just respond on the verbal command.

Arms-On-Shoulders Hugs

How To Teach Your Dog To Give Hugs PLUS 30 Dogs Who Love Cuddly Hugs [GALLERY]

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

For some dogs, jumping up with both paws to greet people is a behavior that comes naturally. Though it is not encouraged for you to allow your dog to learn that jumping up is acceptable, .

  • If your dog jumps up with both paws naturally, start incorporating a verbal command like “hug” or “love” each time they do it and reward the behavior. When your dog starts to associate the command with their behavior, you should only reward if your pup performs the action after the command. If your dog is still jumping up before the command, ignore their actions and do not reward. If they are doing it on command, give treats and lots of praise.
  • If your dog doesn’t naturally jump up, you’ll need to put their front paws on you and follow up with a reward. Gradually increase the amount of time that they have their paws on you before rewarding. Start incorporating the verbal command until your dog can put their paws up on you without your assistance. Make sure your dog can obey the command consistently.
  • Once your dog can jump up and put their paws on you on command and only on command, get down on your dog’s level by kneeling in front of them. Make sure they are in the sitting position so they can balance on their hind legs. Use your hug command in this position. Make sure your dog’s paws go up on your shoulders. If your pup is having trouble, you may need to place their paws on your shoulders yourself. Give rewards.
  • When your dog understands the desired behavior, only reward when your pup gets it right. Gradually increase the amount of time between your dog putting paws on your shoulders and giving a reward. Your dog should stay in the hug position until you release them and give them praise and treats.

Have you trained your dog to give hugs? What are some tips you can share to dog owners teaching their pups for the first time? Let us know in the comments below!