Pet Names Taken to the Extreme!

Nacho Cheese, Oreo Pudding and Peanut Von Strudel….I know what you must be thinking: why are we talking about snacks? Well, actually we aren’t. These are just some examples of the top wackiest dog names provided by VPI Pet Insurance.  You can even create your own wacky pet name with their “wacky name-o-matic” machine! But I am getting ahead of myself here….what’s in a name,  more specifically a good pet name? I think we must admit that we choose the names of our beloved friends more for our pleasure and enjoyment rather than theirs (I have yet to hear a dog complain).  Number 1 on the VPI wacky list is the name Chew Barka. “Due to her husband’s allergies, it had been years since Michele Manzelli of Chelmsford, Mass., had owned a dog. But as her youngest child was turning five years old, she desperately wanted to add a furry, four-legged family member. The Manzellis opted for a poodle since they are one of the most hypoallergenic breeds, and since 2010, Chew Barka has been a great addition to the Manzelli family.”

“The Manzellis came up with a name for their new poodle after observing his behavior on the first night. The first night we had him all he seemed to do is chew and bark, and being the Star Wars fans that we are, Chew Barka just seemed to fit perfectly, explained Michele. We call him Chewy for short and Mr. Chew Barka when we address him formally.”

While wacky names can sure to lead to conversation starters, some families like to stick to traditional names for their furry friends. The top 10 most popular dog names predicted by My Dog Magazine.com  for 2012 are:

10. Sophie (personally, I know about 5 dogs named Sophie so I can vouch for this one!)

9. Chloe (yup, I know a Chloe too)

8. Daisy (I don’t know a Daisy—do you??)

7. Maggie (the next 4 end with a Y, see a familiar pattern?)

6. Buddy

5. Molly

4. Lucy

3. Bailey

2. Max

And the number 1 most popular name for a dog in the year 2012 ISSSSS……

Bella! (hmmm …Twightlight fans?)

Were you able to guess some of them? Maybe not, but I’m sure you weren’t too surprised by this list. Just like with humans, pet names seem to follow a social pop trend. Movies, TV shows, celebrities; you name it, they usually influence our choice.

In a recent post by PetExtreme.com they discussed the pet naming process and how it can really bring families together “So what do these names say about us? Well, I guess they say that we have a sense of humor! Beyond that, I think they speak to our togetherness. Each name has special meaning to us as a family.  We bonded with the new family members, but even more importantly, we bonded as a family; our pets brought us closer together as a unit.  Those moments, on the living room floor, all together, deciding on a name were priceless.” Just another way that pet bond us together, finding them the right name to fit into our families!

It seems that when asked, most people tend to agree: coming together as a family to name your new best friend is not only fun but a special experience for all of you. Still need help finding Fido the perfect moniker? Check out http://www.wikihow.com/Name-a-Pet for tips!

So what about YOU?

TELL US…How did YOUR dog get their name?

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Outdoor Pet Safety

We all want to think that our homes and our neighborhoods are safe havens yet for our pets a standard suburban neighborhood can have some hidden dangers that as responsible pet parents we should all be aware of. Let’s face it dogs should be on a leash, we all know it but occasionally we do not follow this cardinal rule as well as we should. There are many parks and recreation areas that allow us to let our dogs off leash for some much needed exercise and playtime and while these areas are generally safe and our pets are supervised it is still best for every pet parent to understand the dangers out there if their dog is allowed to get loose in the neighborhood or even in a friends fenced in backyard without supervision. Some fences have weak areas; dogs can dig under, jump over and some clever dogs even know how to work a latch! Dogs can find the craziest ways to escape when they are set on a goal! When they do your supposedly safe neighborhood can become a very dangerous place. There are the obvious threats such as being hit by a car which is more common than you might think. It is estimated that over one million dogs each year are hit by a car in the US alone. No matter how smart we may think our dog is, if a squirrel runs across the road or something yummy lies just over those yellow lines he will go for it! There are some not so obvious dangers to think about as well.

Here are a few things you may not have considered:

  • Common outdoor plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats. Just to name a few… Lilly of the Valley, Iris, Autumn Crocus, Rhubarb, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Oak Trees, Cherry Trees and even those harmless looking Buttercups are just not safe for pets to ingest!
  • Pesticides. Getting into rodent poison, an open bag of lawn fertilizer in the garage, your lawn may be safe but pesticides that neighbors use may not be! Also plant foods, antifreeze, de icers and some types of mulch can be harmful if ingested.
  • Predators. Not only can your dog be attacked by a wild animal or a not so friendly neighborhood dog; your dog can potentially also prey on other animals. The neighbor’s cat or a harmless groundhog could easily become a victim. Wild and domestic animals can carry disease and so pose other health threats for your pet as well.
  • Lost Or Stolen. Sadly many dogs wander far away from home and then they truly become lost. It is estimated that over 2 million pets are stolen per year. There are many reasons this happens, for profit, dog fighting and for laboratory use to name a few. Don’t let this happen to your pet!

 

So now that you understand some of the many dangers for pets on the prowl how do you prevent these things from happening to YOUR pet?

 

  • Never intentionally let your dog loose on his/her own.
  • If you have a fenced in yard check it over periodically for weak areas or places you dog has dug out. Repair as needed. Make sure your fence is high enough and strong enough to secure your pet.
  • Check your yard for plants that may be unsafe. Check neighbors yards and as well!
  • Always walk your dog on a leash and use that handle. Be prepared if your dog gives you a good pull unexpectedly!
  • Make sure that your dog gets enough regular exercise so that he/she is not so determined to escape.
  • Spay or neuter your pet! This is proven to prevent pets from wandering off to find a mate!
  • If you place your dog on a tie out make sure it is a suitable strength for your pet’s size.
  • Make sure chemicals and other harmful materials are not at ground level in your yard or garage. Secure them and place them out of your pets reach.
  • Overall- Just be aware. You can never be 100% safe but by being an educated, vigilant pet parent you can provide your beloved companion with a secure outdoor environment and feel good knowing that he/or she is as safe as can be!

 

 

Fall for Fido

With the weather getting cooler and the leaves starting to change, it is safe to say that summer is officially over. Fall  has set in and our focus has begun to shift. The kids have gone back to school; we are pulling out the Halloween decorations and packing away the bathing suits and other summer gear for yet another year. It is easy to get caught up in all the many tasks; so this time of year it is especially important not to forget about our furry loved ones!

 Fall is a big shedding season for dogs. If you have a dog that got a cool, short haircut for summer, chances are their hair is probably growing back in now. While a definite transition period to your dogs clean cut look this is beneficial for the cooler weather to come. Their new thicker coat will keep them warm during the cold, winter months. But it is important as an owner that you help your dog stay prepared. JW GripSoft Grooming Tools are great to keep on hand for all seasons and all weather conditions. There are grooming tools for long haired dogs, short haired dogs, wiry haired dogs and even non-shedding dogs. Whether it’s a slicker brush, pin brush, nail clipper or undercoat rake that you need, JW has the perfect tool for you. Grooming is also a great way for you & your pet to bond, so set aside some time each day for a brushing session. It will keep your pet looking sharp, your house less full of fur and allow for that much needed “me” time every dog craves from their person.

Another dramatic part of fall is that the children return to school and for some of you, a longer work schedule begins. In the midst of all the work, errands and general hustle and bustle of life our pets tend to get a little neglected. While they loved the vacations, walks and adventures you took them on in the summer they are now feeling the effects of too much down time. It is important to remember that just because your family is busier and the weather is cooler, your dog still needs regular exercise and their favorite thing; some loving attention from you and your family! Try to help your dog fight boredom and feel extra loved this fall season with a new JW Pet Treat Toy! 

Still unsure about how your dog will transition into the fall months ahead? Follow these tips for a smoother transition and your pet is sure to do great (and so will you!)

–          Be sure to walk your dog as soon as you get home from work. If they have been alone for most of the day, this is crucial.

–          If you will be gone for more than 8 hours a day it may be necessary to get your dog a doggie door or hire a dog walker so your pet can have a bathroom break while you are at work.

–          If you are able, exercise your dog as much as possible during your weekends and free time. This will lead to your pet being more relaxed while you are away.

–          Try to make your exit low key: say goodbye to your furry friend calmly and leave quietly so as to not make a big deal out of your departure.

–          Are you going back-to-school shopping for the kids? Stop by the pet store too! They need supplies and treats for good behavior as well! J

–          Depending on your dogs breed and coat, make sure to keep up with regular grooming-the changing of the seasons can affect them significantly. Check out Gripsoft grooming for tools that are just right for your pet.

–          Always leave your dog with a great JW Pet toy so they have something to keep their interest….and safely chew while you are out of the house.

Follow these tips and you and your pet should be able to make a healthy, happy transition into autumn. Do you have any tips or suggestions on helping your dog transition?

Leave us a comment & let us know what they are!

Dog Toy Safety-How do you choose the right dog toy for your dog?

We all love our dogs, let’s face it they are truly a part of the family; our children with fur! When it comes time to select a toy for our pet we want to feel comfortable knowing that we are selecting a toy that not only engages, stimulates and challenges our beloved canine companion but also that is safe. Safety has become a prominent issue in the pet industry over the last few years as consumers have become more educated about the products they are bringing home to their dogs. Not only have there been a number of news worthy incidents of unsafe pet products there have also been multiple pet food recalls. This unfortunate trend has brought pet safety to the fore front of our minds.  Although it may seem like there have been a lot of unsafe products in the marketplace the reality is that overall, most pet product manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that their products are safe for pets to interact with. At JW Pet we take safety very seriously. Not only do we test for a wide variety of heavy metals, including lead, we also do extensive testing on our toys before they are ever released to the public to determine that they are safe. Our designers study each and every toy concept right from the beginning and work from every angle to make sure that we are producing a toy that is as safe as it can be.

So how do you select a safe toy for your pet? There are many different types of dog toys available and each dog will have his or her favorite type of toy. Some dogs love plush squeaky toys while others will favor a tough natural rubber toy they can really sink their teeth into. Dogs also have very different chewing styles so an important part of choosing a safe toy for your pet is to understand how your dog plays with his or her toys. If your dog is determined to “kill” the squeaker in every toy you bring home and toys quickly get shredded into multiple pieces you must be very careful that you are purchasing durable toys designed for tough chewers. Always remember to supervise you dog while he or she is playing. If a dog toy has separated parts or pieces it should be removed immediately. On the other hand if your dog still has the very first soft squeaker teddy bear that you gave him when he first came home you can be slightly less selective with the type of toys that you offer. Each and every dog will treat each type of toy differently, knowing your dog’s preferences will help you to provide toys that will be truly safe for your pet.

At JW we strive to create products that offer all the fun a dog craves while still providing a safe toy. Our top selling Cuz line of toys helped us to create a patented process that we now use in all of our squeaky toys.  First, we surrounded each squeaker with a cone-shaped, hard plastic housing. Then, we created a unique and patented way to “lock” the squeaker into the toy and protect it. JW squeaky toys are the perfect holiday surprise for dogs that LOVE squeakers, you can feel confident knowing you can gift these durable products to pets of friends and family!  Another important safety feature is the packaging of the toys, read your labels! Most companies have some type of toxicity statement on their labels that will tell you exactly what they have tested for. There should also always be a material statement so that you know what the toy is made from. Many consumers think if they buy a product made in the US it guarantees a quality toy and this is simply not the case. A responsible company can produce in China, in the US or in any other country and have a quality product that is safe. It is all about the testing, the design, the follow through and the integrity on the part of the company to make sure their products are truly top –notch!

Look for JW pet products at a pet retailer near you or visit us at www.jwpet.com!

Dog Friendly Cities

Image by Mike Baird

Whether you live in the heat of Texas or the cool shores of Maine, the USA is overall a dog friendly place to live, lucky dogs! While it is nice to take your dog on an evening walk around the block, many cities now offer even more exciting places to bring your dog along! Don’t let Fido feel left out-bring him along for the ride!

In 2011, Dogfriendly.com released a listing of the top 10 dog friendly cities in America. Topping the list was Portland, Oregon! “Home to the famous and dog-friendly Rose Gardens and the Lucky Lab (brewing company) you and your dog would have a great time in Portland.” says Dogfriendly .com. Don’t reside in Portland? Well maybe your city is on this list, which features cities in California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Texas and many more. You can see the full listing at Dog Friendly.

But what makes a city “dog friendly?” Hotels, beaches, trails, restaurants and even events that allow you to bring your beloved pooch along all help to meet the criteria to determine the top dog friendliest cities. “It takes a lot to create a city that truly embraces its canine population,” says Susan Chaney, editor of Dog Fancy Magazine. “We look at over 20 criteria. Naturally, it has to be a fun place for dogs and their owners. For example, we check into dog-centered activities, such as doggie festivals, parades and other events, as well as how many hotels are dog-friendly and how many restaurants allow dogs to eat on their patios. However, excellent veterinary care and an active humane society are also key elements of a pet-friendly city, and are as essential for travelers passing through as for the pets and their people who reside there. Further, it’s clear that in the cities on our annual list, both the local government and general population embrace having that ‘doggie element’ in their communities.” You can visit MSNBC.com for another great listing of the top 10 dog friendly cities as well.

Are you and your dog beach-going fans? Well Life with Dogs has made it easy to find beaches that allow dogs near you! These beaches span across the US from the Atlantic to the Pacific and everywhere in between, so you can choose the beach that fits you and your dogs needs. Rounding out the list at number 1 is Fort Desoto Beach in Florida. This beach features showers and drinking water for your pet and combines human and canine beach-lovers alike. Wow, sure sounds like fun for Fido! Chicago is the destination of the very first off-leash beach for dogs, Montrose Dog Beach!

JW corporate offices are located close to New York City, this famous concrete jungle is actually right in our backyard! While that may not seem like an optimal place for a dog, NYC is featured as one of the most dog friendly cities in America. With its off-leash dog parks, walking trails, dog friendly beaches, restaurants and hotels, New York has all little Fido could want and more! Planning to visit New York City in the future? Check out the Soho Grand Hotel, a pet friendly place accepting reservations for both you and your pet. They also give away complimentary goldfish at the end of your stay-talk about animal friendly! There is also a dog walking tour that visits neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, Soho, the Lower East Side and Little Italy.

Planning a road trip and want to know your best bets with pet friendly destinations? Check out Go Pet Friendly. There, you can find hotels, campgrounds, restaurants and activities that are pet friendly!  This website is perfect for traveling families who don’t want to live their furry friend at home.

Do you live in one of the featured cities? TELL US… what you & your dog do in your city for fun!

International Homeless Animals Day

The International Homeless Animals Day was started by the International Society for Animal Rights in 1992. ISAR has brought together organizations from all over the world on this day each year to focus on global pet overpopulation. While the US may be educated about the benefits and importance of spaying and neutering our pets, in many parts of the world this is simply not the case. Let’s face it, in a country as well educated on this topic as ours is we still have a long way to go in tackling this issue. According to the Humane Society of the United States approximately 3-4 million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year, that is about 8,200-11,000 dog/cats every day! On average 25% of all owned pets in the US have NOT been spayed or neutered.

Education is key; understanding why it is important to spay & neuter comes with knowing the facts. Here are some helpful figures and statistics put together by the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society:

• Average number of litters a fertile cat can produce in one year: 3

• Average number of kittens in a feline litter: 4–6

• One female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats in 7 years

• Average number of litters a fertile dog can produce in one year: 2

• Average number of puppies in a canine litter: 6–10

• One female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs in 6 years

• Average cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens

• On average it costs U.S. taxpayers approximately $100 to capture, house, feed, and eventually euthanize every homeless animal

• Prevention is cheaper and more humane – the average cost to spay or neuter is only $40 per animal

Many countries do not have the benefit or the lifestyle to access or ponder information such as this. Betsy Saul, co-founder of the pet adoption Website Petfinder.com says “It’s really a socioeconomic issue, I think. A lot has to do with where people’s hearts and minds are. It’s a luxury to have the time and money to stop and think of animals.”

Homeless animals are one of the major problems in the US today; however it is so easy to avoid this problem! Remember to please get your pets spayed or neutered and try to adopt your new pet whenever possible. Cutting down on the amount of homeless animals is a goal we should all strive to achieve.

To participate in a candle light vigil in your area check out http://www.isaronline.org/ihad_2012.html this helpful page on ISAR’s website lists various events celebrating this special day.

Your pet can IMPROVE your health!

We all know that dogs can shower us with affection, unconditional love and are truly mans best friends. But did you know that owning a pet can actually improve your health? Studies today are showing that more and more people are healthier due to the fact that they have an animal (or two) in their household. This shouldn’t be too much of a shock for all of you animal lovers out there! Pets always seem to brighten our day and make us smile! An article in USA Today by Janet Lloyd discusses how having a dog can improve your health. “New research on childhood obesity by Jo Salmon, a professor in the school of exercise and nutrition sciences at Australia’s Deakin University, shows dog ownership can decrease a child’s chances of being obese by as much as 50%.” Dogs can get you motivated to get outside, exercise and walk or run.  People realize that if they have to walk their dog, they will get something out of it too. “One day when we were walking, I figured maybe I could try to get some exercise since I’m already out there,” says Kim Goedeker, 26. “So I started running little by little with her, then made a goal to run a 5K. I actually ran my first marathon that year.” According to the USA Today article, Child psychologist Robert Bierer of Albuquerque conducted a study of 128 children and concluded that pre-adolescent kids who get the chance to help care for dogs tend to have higher self-esteem and empathy than those who do not. This shows that dogs can not only help your physical health, but also your mental well being. There are so many amazing benefits to owning a dog; they don’t just stop with everyday walks or runs. More recently, there have been reports that children with autism can develop better social skills when they have a pet. “When a human is in a stressful situation, a pet seems to distract him/her from the [anxiety-producing] stimulus,” author Marine Grandgeorge, clinical research associate at the Autism Resource Center of Academic Hospital in Brest, France said. “Another possibility is that the pet may help the child learn how to interpret communication signals and cues, enabling them to adjust their behavior,” she added. For more on this study and how pets can affect children with autism, visit http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2012/08/01/pets-may-help-kids-with-autism-develop-social-skills .

So now that we know how pets can help can you on track to a healthy lifestyle and even improve children with autism, it may not be surprising that pets can increase your chances of living longer lives! Animal Planet took a closer look…. According to a study by the Minnesota Stroke Institute that followed more than 4,000 cat owners over 10 years, owning a cat can dramatically reduce a person’s chance of dying from heart disease. It also showed that people who owned cats were 30 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack. Not really a cat person? Well owning a dog has shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, so no matter your animal of choice pets improve your health!

Overall, pets can help us live healthier lives and even reduce the stress in our everyday lives. So what are you waiting for? Looks like it’s time to go to your nearest shelter and adopt your next pet. Who knows… It may add years to your life!