How an Emotional Support Dog Can Help You Get Through a Tough Day

Guest Post by: Brad Smith,

If you have a dog as an emotional support pet, you already know how much affection and fun they bring. However, did you know that dogs also offer powerful physical and mental health benefits? They can greatly minimize anxiety, stress, feelings of loneliness and depression, along with encouraging playfulness and exercise, and even strengthening your cardiovascular health. During the days when you are feeling down, an emotional support dog can help you in the following ways:

Acceptance and Unconditional Love

As much as we know, dogs don’t have prejudices, opinions and critiques. Even if you are reeking of alcohol after a bad day, they will be more than willing to cuddle with you. If your relationship with your friends or family is frayed and complicated, and you don’t really have no one to come home to and vent, your dog will be ever-present as the best antidote to your sadness and stress. They will not judge, nor complain and will certainly not give you advice you don’t want.

Distraction from Your Pain and Anguish

Dogs are just as good as books and movies. They take our minds off the worries and into another dimension, one where there’s only playfulness, clowning around, a wet nose and lots of kisses. This type of distraction is the best type since it makes you forget how awful your day went when you have a furry friend breathing in your face all the time.

More Physical Contact

Touching has undisputedly strong healing powers. Studies suggest that 45 minutes of massage can lower stress levels and enhance your immune system by promoting the growth of white blood cells. Hugging produces a hormone that lowers blood pressure, stress levels and heart rates. The touch of another human or animal can stop certain parts of the brain from reacting to threat clues. Thus, it is not surprising how handling a dog, i.e stroking and cuddling it, can regularize heart rates and lower blood pressure while boosting dopamine and serotonin levels.

Increased Levels of Activity

After a tough day, the last thing you probably want to do is be active. Slouching down and binge eating while crying over your miseries can worsen your physical and mental state. However, if you have a friendly support companion waiting for you at home, you are sure to get some physical activity. Dogs need to be walked, fed and followed which will mean extra physical activity on your part.

More Social Interaction

Dogs are natural icebreakers, which mean they subtly push you towards more social interaction. On a tough day, you may decide to walk your dog and find yourself chatting with other dog walkers and befriending them in the process.

Better Health

Research suggests that dog owners experience protection against heart disease, reduced stress hormones, and increased levels of feel-good chemical present in the brain both while and prior to performing stressful mental tasks. A study with Chinese female participants found that owning a dog can help with better sleep, better fitness due to increased exercise and improved overall health resulting in fewer sick days.

Create a Routine

Having a daily routine helps people fight depression by utilizing their time efficiently. An emotional support dog’s natural routine, i.e. walking in the morning, demanding for food and playtime, can help you direct your attention towards the activities instead of sulking about your day.

These are just some of the ways that your emotional support dog can help you get through a bad day without breaking down.

Things you need to know about your pet’s immunizations

Guest Writer: Ryean Bishop

How much do you really know about your pet’s shots? They are the most important factor in keeping your dog healthy, and can make the biggest difference in whether they get an infectious disease or not. About 95% of the dogs who are vaccinated, never get the diseases that they were vaccinated for. Those are great odds, and when it comes to the health of your dog, it’s not worth the risk of refraining from vaccinating.

When a puppy is first born, he or she receives natural immunity from nursing if the mother was vaccinated. After weaning, this natural immunity is gone, and in order to be protected, the puppy needs shots. A puppy at the age of eight weeks will start receiving shots. They will need a series of shots that are usually every three weeks with a total of three rounds.

After they are initially vaccinated, pets need to keep up their immunity by staying vaccinated. Most vaccinations expire after one to three years, and after that point, they need another shot. This keeps them protected from infectious diseases and gives them a better likelihood of a good quality of life. Also, if you want to get your dog groomed or boarded, these facilities usually require current vaccinations for each dog, so that no pets get infected while they are there.

The key things to vaccinate against are Rabies, Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Bordatella, and Heartworm. All of these cause different symptoms that make dogs incredibly sick. Getting your dog vaccinated means that the veterinarian gives the dog a shot of the actual virus itself, so that the dog’s body can naturally produce antibodies to fight it. The vet will tell you how long your dog will have immunity from this particular disease, and after that it is important to renew your dog’s shot.

Although that sounds like a lot of shots, there is a five in one shot that includes immunity against five diseases with only one shot. Sometimes veterinarians will give heartworm pills to dogs instead of a shot, and some vaccinations can be done by squirting a liquid into the dog’s already wet nose to breathe in. When an actual shot needs to be given, it is usually done around the shoulder blade area. There may be some tenderness in the area of the shot for the next day or so, but they will not be showing symptoms of the actual disease because they are injected with a very small amount of it.

It is extremely important to vaccinate your dog to keep them happy and healthy. Check your dog’s vaccinations today to make sure that they are 100% protected from infectious disease.

Author Bio – Ryean Bishop is a veterinarian’s assistant who loves working with animals and keeping them healthy so they can enjoy life. Click here to learn more about tips for keeping your dog healthy.

Can I Give My Dog Raisins? How About Grapes? Learn About Lesser-Known Dog Health Hazards In Your Home!

Guest Writer: Alicia
Follow her at is here to share their insight and expertise on lesser-known household products and foods that can harm your canine best friend. Bisket Baskets was the first company to design and sell Pet Gift Baskets, ensuring their baskets have only pet-approved treats in them! Their Gourmet Gift Baskets are quite delightful for the humans, too!

We’ve all heard that we should keep our pups away from chocolate and poinsettia plants, but did you know that ferns, garlic, and even raisins can be harmful for your pooch? There’s a whole slew of common home products that can harm your pet, and some of them you wouldn’t even think of! All of us here at have grown up with dogs and of course have dogs in our adult lives, so we know firsthand how important it is to keep your dog healthy and happy. After all, they’re a part of our family, and such loyal companions!

Common household items like mothballs and cleaners are pretty obvious hazards, but you may not realize giving your dog acetaminophen and ibuprofen products can also hurt your pet. They do make dog-friendly versions, so stick with those! It’s important to also keep your dog away from reed diffuser oil (the smell can be tempting!), fly fishing bait, and your vitamins.

Most plants are also a “no”, so keep them on shelving your dog can’t reach, or be sure you have a watchful eye over him or her if you have plants lower to the ground. If you notice your dog has been chomping on plants, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for help, at 1-888-426-4435.

We were quite surprised to see that dogs should avoid garlic and raisins – as well as grapes, onions, avocados, and even macadamia nuts! Of course, it’s always best to feed your dog healthy dog foods and treats specifically designed for our canine friends, helping to keep your dog healthy and in shape. All chocolate should be definitely avoided, as well.

Be careful with objects left lying around the house, such as spare coins, hair pins, and paper clips. Your dog may want to play with these “toys”, and end up with getting one stuck in her or her throat! Do your best to use common sense and judgment in determining what can be left around the house, and what should be tucked safely away.

Does that seem like quite a big “don’t” list? Just like humans, dogs have special dietary needs – you wouldn’t feel too swell after eating a ton of fatty foods, would you? Table food might seem like a tasty treat for your pooch, but stick to dog food and healthy dog teats – after all, it’s made for dogs!

Do you know of any other common household items that are an absolute “no” for dogs? Share your insight with us!

Consumer Updates No Bones About It: Bones are Unsafe for Your Dog

Consumer Updates No Bones About It: Bones are Unsafe for Your Dog.

US FDA Consumer Update: Animal and Veterinary posted April 20, 2010 gives 10 reasons why it’s a bad idea to give your dog a bone:

  1. Broken teeth. This may call for expensive veterinary dentistry.
  2. Mouth or tongue injuries. These can be very bloody and messy and may require a trip to see your veterinarian.
  3. Bone gets looped around your dog’s lower jaw. This can be frightening or painful for your dog and potentially costly to you, as it usually means a trip to see your veterinarian.
  4. Bone gets stuck in esophagus, the tube that food travels through to reach the stomach. Your dog may gag, trying to bring the bone back up, and will need to see your veterinarian.
  5. Bone gets stuck in windpipe. This may happen if your dog accidentally inhales a small enough piece of bone. This is an emergency because your dog will have trouble breathing. Get your pet to your veterinarian immediately!
  6. Bone gets stuck in stomach. It went down just fine, but the bone may be too big to pass out of the stomach and into the intestines. Depending on the bone’s size, your dog may need surgery or upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, a procedure in which your veterinarian uses a long tube with a built-in camera and grabbing tools to try to remove the stuck bone from the stomach.
  7. Bone gets stuck in intestines and causes a blockage. It may be time for surgery.
  8. Constipation due to bone fragments. Your dog may have a hard time passing the bone fragments because they’re very sharp and they scrape the inside of the large intestine or rectum as they move along. This causes severe pain and may require a visit to your veterinarian.
  9. Severe bleeding from the rectum. This is very messy and can be dangerous. It’s time for a trip to see your veterinarian.
  10. Peritonitis. This nasty, difficult-to-treat bacterial infection of the abdomen is caused when bone fragments poke holes in your dog’s stomach or intestines. Your dog needs an emergency visit to your veterinarian because peritonitis can kill your dog.

Keep Dogs Healthy and Happy This Summer

Maggie at Red Fish Lake, Stanley Idaho (the dog wallk section).(ARA) – When the warm summer months roll around, our dogs are just as eager as we are to get outside and enjoy the season. Whether he tells you by nudging his leash or staring at the door knob, one way or another, your pup knows it’s time for some fun in the sun.

Before you head out, keep in mind that warm weather and sunny days are fun, but they can also mean you might need to take some extra precautions with your pet. The whole family can rest assured knowing their four-legged best friend is healthy, hydrated and happy by keeping the following tips in mind:

1. Schedule a checkup.    Before you go anywhere that requires your dog to interact with other dogs, be sure to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. Get updates on shots for dangerous communicable diseases like bordetella.

While you’re there, ask your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s overall health. Your veterinarian’s office is also a great place to pick up two essential medications for the season – heartworm preventers and flea and tick control.

2. Run free.    It’s easy for humans and canines alike to slide out of shape during the winter months, and now is the perfect time to work off what you’ve packed on. Taking your dog on regular walks will help, but even more fun for him is a trip to the dog park. Off-leash areas are a treasure for pets and their owners because dogs can run free and play to their heart’s content. They also get natural lessons in socialization. In fact, 44 percent of dog owners who take their dog to the dog park say their dog is more social with other people and dogs. Plus, it’s fun for you, too!

Because pet owners value off-leash areas so much, dog parks across the country are expanding and improving now more than ever.

Here in Boise we are hoping to have more access to off leash dog parks. Boise City encourages volunteers, as well as funding. Find Dog Off Leash Areas on the City of Boise Website.

3. Be prepared.    Dogs aren’t much for strolling around the mall. They love to be out running around and often don’t want to stop no matter how warm it is or tired they feel. Brush up on the signs and symptoms of health problems like dehydration and heat stroke, as well as basic first aid techniques.

Keep a canine first aid kit in your car. At a minimum, it should include antiseptic spray, water-based antibiotic ointment, bandaging (including sterile gauze and a binder like Vetrap or other elastic bandages), a thermometer, tweezers and single-use cold packs. You should also keep the number and address to your veterinarian and an emergency vet stored in your phone or on a slip of paper in your wallet.

4. Good on the inside.    To keep your pet’s energy and health at optimal levels for increased summer activity, be sure you feed a high-quality dog food. It’s easier than ever to make sure your dog is getting complete, healthy nutrition without fillers. High quality foods can be found at your pet store and come in a variety of options that cater to your pet’s size or life stage.

Whether you’re going on a weekend camping trip with your four-legged friend or just heading out for a romp at the dog park, a safe summer is the happiest kind of summer there is.

Majority of content courtesy of ARAcontent
Photo: Julie K. Walton, Internet Success