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The Pet Blog represents the contributions of all of the on-staff pet experts at That Fish Place - That Pet Place. Contact us with the links here or leave a comment.

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Dog Friendly Summer Activities in Lancaster, PA

I don’t know about you, but my canine children are part of as many of my summer festivities as possible! Picnics, pool parties and cookouts are some of the big ones that come to mind, but in today’s “pandemic life” those are a thing of the past. Even though we cannot gather, it doesn’t mean we can’t find fun and enriching things to do with our canine companions! Check out 5 canine friendly destinations!

1. “The Dog Park”

From LNP, Beau’s Dream Park

We only say “the” dog park because there’s a few. Before we mention them, we have to say, dog parks aren’t for everyone and they aren’t for every dog. It’s important that your dog is up to date on vaccinations, spayed or neutered and socially experienced before you consider venturing into one.

Lancaster County is home to two popular dog parks, Beau’s Dream Park at Buchanan Park and Overlook Dog Park. Both places allow for dogs to run and play off leash while also allowing owners to properly socially distance.

2. Outdoor Dining

Enjoying Dalton’s Dog Deck at Springhouse.

Many restaurants are offering outdoor seating now. Weather permitting, you may even be able to bring your well-behaved pooch along! Springhouse Brewpub has its very own dog patio! Sit outside, enjoy a snack and drink while meeting other like-minded dog owners. Be sure to check ahead of time before bringing your dog. Due to some city ordinances, dogs are not welcome at every outdoor dining space.

3. Parks

Lancaster is home to MANY parks! Lancaster County Park is the biggest, playing host to hundreds of pet friendly trails in addition to an off-leash section! (be sure to check that you’re in the designated area before setting your pup free).  Buchanan Park, Musser Park, Reservoir Park and Long’s Park are just a few options that are open for picnicking and allow for dog friendly walking areas.

4. Walking Trails

In addition to a variety of dog friendly parks, our county is home to several walking trails that are welcoming to our canine companions! The Conestoga Greenway Trail allows you to have a shady and easy going walk along the river. Noel Dorwart Park is a green area allowing you and your dog to visit wetland areas. Finally, Landis Woods Park is a neighborhood park with plenty of green area for a leisurely walk with your dog.

5. Dog Friendly Retailers

Some days it is just too hot to walk your dog. So, what do you do?

Visit a dog-friendly retailer! Always check first to verify that the store is welcoming to your leashed and well-behaved dog. That Fish Place- That Pet Place (shameless plug) is always air conditioned and provides plenty of square footage for your dog to walk around and explore, while doing a little shopping! There are also non-pet store options that allow your pet! Lowes, Home Depot, AC Moore, Michaels and Tractor Supply are just a few.

Overall, finding opportunities to get your pup outside of the house and exploring the county are ways to keep those cabin fever behaviors at bay! While we’re all staying home and staying safe, we can find safe ways to get outside with our dogs!

What’s Going on at That Fish Place – That Pet Place – June 2020

Please enjoy the next blog in our series to talk about our point of view on various items from the top. If you have any questions, you’d like us to answer in this column, please feel free to submit them in the comments section.

I noticed that you’re not shipping fish from your website right now. Why is this and when are they coming back?

Yes, for much of the last few months, we have not been shipping livestock from our website. For those who are not aware, thatpetplace.com ships aquarium livestock to most of the lower 48 states from our store in Lancaster, PA. Unfortunately, when COVID-19 hit, we could no longer rely on our shipping partners to meet their arrival stipulations, so we decided to suspend shipments. Rather than risk fish, coral, or other livestock reaching your doorstep days after it was supposed to, we opted to pause delivery. This then became coupled with the shortages we, and most businesses, are seeing on livestock and other goods during this time, and we decided to keep shipping closed through the month of June. HOWEVER, at this point, we are hoping to re-open shipping on July 8th, 2020, stay tuned! When we are up and rolling, you can see the details HERE, and check out our selection HERE.

Our Store Has a New Cart Corral – and Boy are We Excited About it!

So, it seems like a minor thing, but we’ve redone the front of the store to contain a new cart corral. Though a minor move, and not as cool as a new display tank or something, this move opens more for us to do. BECAUSE we moved the carts to the corral, we’ve freed up space to:

 1. Expand the Small Pet Corner.

2. Redo the register area to create more space both for safety and convenience

3. Make the entire store more visible – no big wooden wall – as soon as you enter the front doors. We always thought it was tough to see the fish room WAAYY over there, so we’re hoping this helps! Check back for updates on future posts.

Building YouTube Stars – One Video At a Time!

Over the last month, we’ve worked to develop a few basic, regular video series with a few of our in-store pet experts. One features Gabe from the Fish Room discussing things like his favorite fish, our procedures for acclimating and doing water changes. Another features one of our pet experts, Stacy, going over some of our store pets, housing Pacman frogs, ferret baths, and other interesting topics. We’re hoping to continue these series moving forward and to cover things our visitors would be interested in. If you have any topics, you’d like to see us cover, please don’t hesitate to mention them in the comments! You can check out our YouTube channel HERE.

Thank you all for reading and talk to you at the end of next month!

The Team at That Fish Place – That Pet Place

Tips for Taking Your Cat to the Vet- Crafting a Calm Cat

Going to the doctor is stressful. Putting your ten-pound ball of angry fur with razor-blades for fingernails into a box just a smidge larger than said ball of angry fur sounds, impossible? This is the reality for many cat owners trying to take their cat to their veterinarian for an annual visit, or if you’re not so lucky, a “sick” visit.

Cats, by nature, are creatures of habit. If you think about it, the only time your cat ever sees the outside of the house is for these visits and there’s not regularity to them. This is one of the many reasons going to the vet can be so stressful for them. So, we ask ourselves, what can we do about it?

Carrier DesensitizationGetting your cat used to the carrier

Step one of going to the vet is usually getting the carrier out. How many of you have cats that are gone and in hiding just from the sight of the carrier?

Carrier desensitizing begins by making the carrier a regular part of their lives. Hard plastic carriers are the best option because they come apart easily. You can take the top off your carrier and place a blanket or a cat bed inside of it, ideally use something your cat is accustomed to laying on. Make this “carrier bed” a regular fixture for them.

Once your cat regularly starts napping there, you can add the top. Make sure the door is either absent or tethered so that it cannot accidentally close your cat in.

If you’re lucky, your cat will start using his carrier as a safe sleeping space and then when that dreaded day comes, you can gently close the door and go on your way.

Seems too simple.

PheromonesUsing your cats “language” to help calm them

Simply desensitizing your cat to the carrier may not be enough. Many cats will vocalize and even have accidents during the actual ride in the car. The decrease on their anxiety you can use pheromone sprays. Cats communicate with a variety of pheromones. Specifically, mother cats use “harmony messages” that are appeasing and calming to cats of all ages. There are products such as Feliway and Comfort Zone that mimic these pheromones and can be sprayed into your cat’s carrier or bedding to make the trip easier for them.

Pheromone sprays should be used BEFORE the cat is in the carrier to allow it time to dry, about 10 minutes. The spray should last about 4-5 hours and then should be reapplied if necessary.

The Ride and the Arrival

Working on desensitizing your cat to every aspect of the trip is the key to a stress-free vet visit! Once your cat is accustomed to the carrier you can start taking short car trips. Just a few minutes around the block and home is enough! Doing this regularly can teach your cat that not every carrier ride and trip in the car means poking and prodding. In additional to working on the car ride. Think about your arrival at the vet.

When you arrive at the vet, if you’re able, keep you carrier up high so that your cat is not eye level with any dogs in the waiting room. If you’re lucky, and your veterinarians waiting room allows for it, try to wait separate from any dogs waiting. Having dogs walk up to their carrier and sniff or barking and undo any of the calming steps you’ve taken!

Overall, it’s slow going and patience is key but having a cat that will easily go into a carrier and travel for you will not only make their health visits easier on them, they’ll be easier on your too! Happy cat, happy owner!

A Guide to Interpreting Canine Body Language

“…and then, out of nowhere, he bit me!”

Much to our disappointment, dogs do not speak our language and because of this fact our dogs are often misunderstood, leading to behavioral issues, distrust and accidents. The only way to truly comprehend and communicate with our dogs is by understanding and appreciating what their body language is trying to tell us. By learning how to read our dogs, and those we encounter, we are setting ourselves up to be better dog parents, better friends and, let’s be honest, potentially saving a dog from rehoming.

Dogs speak with their bodies and have a complex assortment of conscious and subconscious behaviors to relay how they are feeling and as mechanisms for dealing with stressors. I am not saying you must be a behavior specialist to “understand” dogs but by understanding the basics of canine body language you are taking the rights steps toward a more rewarding relationship with your dog and those your meet!


“Smiling” dog

When dogs are seeking attention from us or from other dogs, they use a variety of behaviors; muzzle/ear licking, jumping up, body curving (aka the wiggles), blinking, exposing teeth “smiling”, lowering their ears and play bowing. As dog owners, many of you probably nodded while reading through these because you’ve seen them a time or two when returning home or if you have a particularly fun toy. These types of behaviors are also used when one dog is trying to appease another dog. Socially experienced, or well socialized dogs, will also use these behaviors to avoid confrontation. Very often we see dogs that do not understand these cues that will take the opportunity to be aggressive.

One of the biggest misconceptions in the dog world is that a wagging tail means a happy dog. Tail wagging signals arousal. With our favorite breed having a shortened tail it can be difficult to determine exactly what your dog may be doing. The position of the tail can also be an indicator; above the spine or erect is associated with assertiveness, confident and even aggression, tail down can mean fear or stress and last a tucked tail shows a high level of anxiety. Lastly, studies have shown that the speed and direction of the wag can also tell us something! A tail wag, mostly to the right is seen when a dog is happy, like when it sees its owner and a tail wag mostly toward the left is seen with negative stimulus. This, of course, is difficult for the untrained eye to see.

When dogs are stressed or nervous there are many different behaviors that dogs use to show that they feel threatened or to calm themselves. These are the signs that are often overlooked that can lead to escalated or unwanted actions from our canine companions. To the inexperienced owner these actions seem normal, but they may not be.

Dog exhibiting “whale-eye”
  • Yawning. While dogs, like us, yawn when they are tired, they are much more likely to yawn when they are upset or stressed.
  • Lick lipping. Lick lipping does not always mean your pup is hungry, it is also an indicator of nervousness.
  • Brief of complete body freezing. A freeze is a dog’s way of avoiding until they can decide if they should flee or fight.
  • Panting, drooling or curved tongue indicate stress. The curve of the tongue is caused from tension.
  • “Whale eye” is seen when a dog turns his head away and you see the white of their eyes. They do this to turn away from what they’re afraid of, or what is causing discomfort.

Dogs are amazingly tolerant and often will do all these behaviors without moving on to a more negative reaction but in our rescue lives we often see dogs that simply are not as tolerant. This is one of the many reason giving your dog ample time to settle into their new home for several weeks or months is encouraged. The time allows you to learn about your pups’ special quirks are and how these behaviors translate into your dog’s language. I hope that by educating and teaching as many people as we can how to “read” their dog we can avoid scary situations that change how we look at our beloved pets!

What’s going on at That Fish Place – That Pet Place – May 2020

Welcome to That Pet Blog! As we work to help relaunch this blog – we wanted to start injecting more posts directly related to some of the things going on in our Lancaster, Pa retail store – both behind the scenes and in our day to day. We hope these posts help people who are interested in our business glean more insight into why we operate the way we do. Please feel free to ask any questions and we’ll try to be as transparent as possible. We may also answer your questions in a future installment of this column.

This Blog Hasn’t Been Updated in Years – Why Now?

We have found, particularly in the current health crisis, that it has become more and more necessary to communicate, in a longer form, to our customers. In addition, we have more team members now capable of providing interesting content. With those two items combined, That Pet Blog came back to life.

Your Store is Out of A lot of Stuff Now – What’s Going On?

Yes, you’re 100% right, we’re experiencing a lot of shortages right now. First of all, let us assure you, we are attempting to order as much as we can to fill the missing items. This being said, lots of things happening right now are impacting our (as well as other stores you frequent) inventory levels:

  • COVID-19-related production and delivery delays. Namely, factories are impacted on the production side when individuals get sick. The same is true for delivery companies
  • Still COVID-19 related, but shortages on goods from other countries due to their exposure to the pandemic
  • Demand is really high. More people are home, and many are turning to their (or new) pets for support.
  • A more recent phenomenon we’re seeing are businesses impacted by protests nationwide impacting their production and delivery capabilities

If you have any questions on this or are looking for alternatives to products you normally purchase, please, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team on social or via email at custservice@thatpetplace.com.

We Noticed the Touch Tank is Closed, and there are Restrictions on How Many People can Be in The Small Animal Room, Reptile Room, and Fish Rooms at this time. Do you have a Goal in Mind to Open these Back up Unrestricted?

The short answer is that – no, unfortunately, we do not. As an essential business through this pandemic, we have worked extremely hard from day one to make our store as safe as possible for our employees and our customers. Given the uncertainty about the COVID-19 virus, we will only adjust back when we feel the health of everyone is reasonably and sustainably, safe when visiting our store. As a destination for folks, in addition to being a retail store, we feel a very high responsibility to be cautious and careful to not encourage a large amount of visitors until the coast is clear.

Thanks for reading! Please check back for future Q&A posts as well as other excellent pet articles from our wonderful team here!

5 Ideas for Canine Enrichment

You know the adage, “a tired dog, is a happy dog”, but did you know that mental stimulation can be as important to your dog’s overall wellness as a long hike?

As our dogs become ingrained in our lives, routines and structures it is important to focus on their mental health as much as their physical. Keeping them engaged and interested mentally is a powerful tool to decrease the likelihood of nuisance behaviors and bad habits!

Below we’ll discuss 5 of our favorite options for “brain games” with your pup! These options can benefit all breeds and all ages of dog.

The Licki Mat

The Licki Mat is an awesome boredom buster that combines a tasty snack with a fun game. The behavior of licking is a mechanism that dogs use to release calming endorphins. Licking also enhances taste and can even aid in digestion from increased saliva production.

Coming in a variety of surfaces, it’s likely to appeal to the most forward or passive treat seeker! You can use a variety of tempting items on these mats. Peanut butter, cream cheese, yogurt, canned food, mashed sweet potatoes and more can be used! Simply spread and offer. If you want to make it a bit more challenging, you can prepare your mat ahead of time and freeze them. Licki mats are also a great tool to use when introducing your dog to crate training or confinement.

Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys require a little bit more hands-on activity from you but these can make for a fun scent based activity for your genus pup! Most puzzle toys have draws, flip hatches or spin. Your dog gets to use their nose to figure out these various steps to find the treats hidden inside! It’s important for these activities to use something that is smelly and high value. Soft, small training treats work well for this! As your dog learns how to do these, he or she can up their game to the harder level varieties!

Treat Dispensing Toys

There is a wide variety of treat dispensing toys out there! We’re partial to Kong and Petmate’s “Busy Buddy” line because the of the variety of shapes, sizes and methods of dispensing they allow. Treat dispensing toys are often self-entertaining for your dog! Simply fill them up with your dog’s favorite treat or even a little extra kibble and hand it off. Treat dispensing toys are the best of both worlds. They provide the same mental stimulation that a puzzle toy does, and it can continue to be played with as a normal toy!

Filled Marrow Bones

Marrow bones come with a variety of fillers direct from the pet store! The bones take your dog time and focus to lick all of the goodies out! Once they’re done, they still have a tasty bone to chew on! Empty marrow bones can also be refilled with peanut butter, canned dog food or other items and frozen! They function as at treat that keeps on giving!

Snuffle Mats

Our final favorite enrichment toy is a snuffle mat! These bring out your dog’s natural instinct to sniff and root with their nose. They can also be a fun arts and crafts project for you at home. Snuffle mats are often made of soft fleece fabric. Simply toss a small amount of kibble or training treats onto the mat, move the fabric around a little and let your dog start sniffing!

“Help! My Human Went Back to Work” – Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Many of us have been forced from the work office into makeshift home-work spaces. Dining room tables are now makeshift desks, couches are now for conference meetings and our only co-workers are our pets.

Many of our pets are enjoying the luxuries of having their humans home all the time. They’re enjoying more exercise and attention than ever before. Long hours lounging with Mom and/or Dad while they work is the new normal for them. But wait, what happens when mom and dad head back to the office?

Hey Mom!

While we may seamlessly head back in to work for the nine to five shifts, our pets don’t understand that their new “normal” isn’t actually, normal. Many of our pets, even those who have never had an issue before, may begin to exhibit separation anxiety behaviors.

The Facts

Separation anxiety in dogs is a severe panic attack that is brought on by being left alone. According to the American Veterinary Association between 20% to 40% of all dog owners report issues with separation anxiety. The symptoms can range from barking when left alone to urine or feces accidents, destructive behaviors to as severe as jumping through windows. Most of the time your dog will begin to show symptoms before you even leave the house, becoming anxious as you put on your shoes or pick up your coat. The process of “getting ready to leave” can begin the stress process that causes an attack. Separation anxiety is treatable and surmountable, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication to help.

So, how can we avoid throwing our dogs into fits of anxiety as we return to work?

Dog in Crate

THE PLAN

Your first order of business is to establish a routine. Ideally a routine that can seamlessly take you back into your work schedule. If your dog has never had an issue being left alone in the past you’re already on your way.

Start by determining where your pet is going to stay when you’re gone. If your dog is not experienced having free roam of the house, it is not advisable to allow it until they’ve been properly trained. You can confine your dog several ways: crating, in a spare bedroom, behind a baby gate or using an exercise pen. Start the training process by asking your dog to enter this space, offer them a treat and then let them out. Your goal is to show them that great things happen there and by remaining nearby there is no reason for them to begin stressing. Repeat this until they easily enter the space for you.

Once you’ve set up your area of confinement, it’s time to start leaving. At the start, only leave for short periods of time, leave for 10-15 minutes and return. As your dog becomes comfortable with these time periods you can begin increasing your time away. Leaving a minimum of three times a week for at least an hour is ideal. Always make entering the space a pleasant experience for your dog and never as a punishment.

Make it Count

One of the keys to success with integrating your dog to their confinement space is, high value enrichment items. Enrichment items are things that take your dog time and brainpower to consume. Filled Kong’s (see below), filled marrow bones, puzzle toys, puzzle bowls, Licki mats and long-lasting chews are a few options that are a tasty snack while also taking time and focus for your dog to complete. You can prepare these items ahead of time so that when you get them out it’s the beginning of your routine of putting your dog away!

Toys like KONGS, especially when stuffed with treats or paste, can help with separation anxiety.

We never hope to have issues with our dogs when we leave but it’s an unfortunate reality that many dog owners will face and as our time home expands, the likelihood of our dogs experiencing some form of stress is more and more assured. Setting up a plan and seeking out resources for help ahead of schedule is also advisable. Whether it’s starting to work with a dog trainer or joining a network of other dog owners it is a wonderful tool to have someone to experience this with. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to enjoy those extra dog snuggles and get all the “walkies” in while you can!

Puppy’s First Grooming – Groomer’s Corner

Please welcome guest writer and in store Groomer, Nicole Lutz from That Groom Room, to the Petblog!

 

Here in That Groom Room, we often get a lot of questions regarding when is a good age to start grooming a puppy? Now that Christmas is over and many puppies were given as gifts I thought that it would be a good place to start.

 

At What Age Can I Start Getting My Puppy Groomed?

Officially it is best to wait until your new puppy is 8 weeks old, and can leave their mother before you consider getting them groomed. Once the puppy has been introduced to its new home and has established relations with the new owner they can think about getting the puppy groomed. That Groom Room recommends starting at 12 weeks of age. The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy with be introduced to a bath, blow drying, nail clipping, and slight trimming. We do not recommend having a puppy be given a full hair cut the first time being groomed. The reason behind this is you are forcing the puppy to stand still and be handled for 1.5 hours. This is a lot to ask of a puppy. It would be like asking a one year old child to sit without moving, going to the bathroom, or play with any toys for 45 minutes. That is why we only do the basics for puppies first groom. We bathe them, slowly dry them, trim the nails, trim the fur from around their eyes, pads, and around the sanitary area. This is about all they can handle. The puppy will be introduced to having scissors around the face, having to hold still while the pads on their feet are trimmed. Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming we may recommend doing this type of trimming one more time before the full haircut. The more comfortable the puppy becomes with being handled by the groomer and being on a table, and in the tub the better the puppy will become as they grow up.

 

What Can You Do to Help?

It becomes more difficult to groom a puppy that is 6 months old for the first time than a 12-week-old puppy. The 6-month-old has already established fears and aggression. For example, it would be like taking a 5-year-old child and putting them in kindergarten without any discipline and experience of a pre-school and making them sit still and raise their hand when called on by the teacher. At this point in a puppy’s life if the owner has not prepped the puppy with any type of grooming; brushing, combing, or nail trimming. It makes the groomers job nearly impossible to have the puppy trust them and enjoy grooming.

 

All About the Training

At home grooming is also extremely essential to having a puppy become used to grooming, and to enjoy their experience at the groomers. Different types of fur require different tools. Our groomers are very willing to answer questions and show you tools that are appropriate for your puppy. One of the biggest misconceptions about puppies and grooming is when they will change from puppy coat to adult coat. This time in a puppy’s life is essential to maintain so the coat does not mat. Usually puppies get their adult coat around six months of age. The puppy coat on some breeds will not shed and becomes tangled in the adult coat if not brushed on a regular basis. Please ask one of our groomers if your puppy has started this stage in life or when this may occur in order to make the transition more comfortable.

 

Thank you for reading, and if you are ready for us to help you and your new puppy contact us today!  You can reach us at (717) 484-9758 or by emailing us at grooming@thatpetplace.com.

Cookouts, Food and Pet Safety

Summer is finally here! And for a lot of us that means getting outdoors and enjoying cookouts with family, friends — and pets!

It’s a great time to sit back and relax, drink a beer or two and maybe set the family record for the number of hot dogs you can eat. But don’t rest too easy, there is some responsibility you shouldn’t ignore — especially if you have pets!

cook-on-bbqWhile we are enjoying our favorite summer foods, it’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of these tasty treats are not so good for our furry friends.  Even simple things that you might not think of, like onions and guacamole, can be dangerous.  These kinds of foods are typically left out on a table well within reach of any curious dog or cat, so let’s look at some of the more harmful culprits we should keep an eye on.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Avoid

Hot Dogs

While tasty, hot dogs are not the healthiest food for us humans, and they are even worse for pets. Hot dogs are packed with tons of salt and preservatives, both in levels that dogs are just not used to. Excessive amounts can lead to diarrhea and indigestion. It’s our recommendation to avoid them altogether, but if you must must must give in to temptation and treat your dog, please exercise moderation. Also, it’s helpful to cut them into bite-size pieces to avoid choking hazards.

Snack Foods

Chips are pretzels are also full of salt that can cause excessive thirst and urination.  And who wants a dog peeing everywhere!?  In all seriousness, snack foods are just as unhealthy for dogs as they can be for us and we should exercise caution.  If your dog gets too many snacks it can lead to sodium ion poisoning, the effects of which can include vomiting, diarrhea, fevers and even death.

Bones

The leftover remains from ribs, steaks or chicken wings can be dangerous in the mouth of your dog.  Bones can splinter easily  and if they are digested they can cause puncture wounds in your dogs mouth, stomach or digestive tract.  They can also lead to obstructions and other health hazards.  For your dog’s safety, make sure everyone knows where they can safely dispose of their food.

Fruits and Desserts

Fruits in general are high in sugar and can lead to blood glucose issues, but the main culprits to watch out for are grapes and raisins.  They have been shown to cause serious kidney issues and even death when consumed by dogs.  Desserts that include chocolate or Xylitol are no-nos for dogs, as they can prove fatal quickly.

Choking Hazards

Many cookout foods are also choking hazards.  Hot dogs, bones, and corn cobs can get lodged in your dog’s airway.  Keep an eye out for anything that is larger than bite size.

Alcohol

An ice cold beer or mixed drink might be the perfect refreshment on a hot summer day, but it is not going to have the same effect on your pet.  Even a small amount, just a few licks or laps, can be dangerous or even fatal.  In a festive environment, once drinks start pouring it’s not uncommon for a few glasses to get abandoned here and there, so make sure you clean up after your forgetful friends.

 

Foods Your Pet Should Enjoy

Okay, cookouts are all about fun and food.  If we enjoy these things, why shouldn’t our pets?  They can have fun too, as long as we are responsible and make it safe for them!

thThe good folks at the DogVacay blog have come up with some tasty, pet safe recipes that you can prepare for your pet and bring to your next cookout.  The recipes include a tasty Bacon Swiss Burger, a delectable Turkey Burger and Peanut Butter Treats!

As mentioned earlier, you can give in and treat your pet to normal cookout fare but it is important that you remember what is poisonous, what can be a choking hazard and what you should feed in moderation.  If your pet is just too far determined to get into the entire spread, it might be a good idea to take them indoors or to another part of the yard where they can stay out of harm’s way.

Have fun this summer, but be safe — even if your pet whines just a bit because they can enjoy the buffet, they will appreciate your mindful discretion in the long run!

 

Zoos & Aquariums: More than Meets the Eye

Red Panda

Red Panda loving his free reign of the tree branches at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk.

June is National Zoo & Aquarium month! This month is not only intended to encourage more people to visit zoos & aquariums, but also to raise awareness about the role they play in our society. The work of Zoos & Aquariums happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year- the conservation, education and research happening at these facilities around the world never rests. The need for the work they do is becoming more & more important every day. The future of endangered species as well as educating individuals about conservation depends upon their continuing efforts and it just so happens that Zoos & Aquariums are one of the best ways to present this information to the curious public.

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Prairie Dog out for a climb at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

I am lucky to be a part of an amazing group of volunteers at a local zoo. As a zoo volunteer, I quickly learned zoos (& aquariums) are so much more than just a place that’s fun for guests to visit. Yes, they are marketed as family friendly, tourism destinations but they have so much more to offer guests & wildlife of the world!

Zoos & Aquariums are working hard to establish memorable visitor experiences AND excellent animal care procedures. For visitors, this includes incorporating interactive and even hands-on programs in order to help build an appreciation & a stronger connection between guests and the wildlife all while in a fun and informal setting. For the animals, this means introducing more naturalistic enclosures & implementing animal enrichment exercises so they can demonstrate behavior that is common for their particular species, not to mention top of the line veterinary care when needed.

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

Orangutan at the Virginia Zoo in Norfolk

In my role as an education volunteer at the zoo, we work hard to ‘interpret’ the animal collection to our guests of all ages and engage them in conversation about wildlife adaptations, environmental & conservation efforts that are being made with the particular species to better enhance their visitor experience allow them to walk away with an enjoyable learning experience.

“We believe in a better future for all living things. We envision a world where all people respect, value and conserve wildlife and wild places.” –The Association of Aquarium & Zoos

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Dog Face Puffer at the Denver Zoo in Colorado

Association of Zoos & Aquariums assures that the highest standards of animal care are met for accredited facilities. More than 200 AZA accredited institutions meet the always evolving top-of-the-line standards & guidelines for animal care & management. These standards are set to facilitate and promote education, care & conservation of animals.

Looking for something to do this summer? Consider a trip to the zoo or aquarium! You’re sure to have a fun time & learn some new things along the way. After your visit, challenge yourself or your children to come up with some ways you help the wildlife in & around your neighborhood.

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the Summer,
Sam W.

Sources:
https://www.aza.org/
https://ngcproject.org/blog/june-national-zoos-and-aquariums-month
Zoos Are Not Prisons. They Improve the Lives of Animals.

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