Doggy Bliss and How Your Fido Can Help Fight Depression

30879_1325800257536_2330035_n
We are going through the loss of my father-in-law right now and one thing that seems to always cheer us up is Oreo.

Dogs can lower your blood pressure and help depression. Just stroking your pet can lower your anxiety and stress levels.

Everyone has had a hard time in their life and if you’ve had a dog you know that they can sense it. They can see the slump in your shoulders or the fall in your face and read your body language to know your upset. Has your dog ever cheered you up? Licked your face while you cried? Snuggled next to you when you felt alone? Well, if so you have experience how wonderful dogs are for stress, anxiety, and depression.

-Research shows that many people smile more around dogs and feel more at ease.

-If you have a life where people are telling you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it-a dog can help you! Many people overwhelmed by complicated relationships find the companionship of a dog that loves you unconditionally very beneficial.

-Isolated people who are shutting the world out have a friend, their friendly fido.

-For someone who doesn’t have many friends, a dog can bring them many social contacts. Taking walks, dog classes and going to the park offer social opportunities.

-When you are depressed you may feel like doing nothing. However, if you have a pup you are forced to take some responsibility and have a schedule. You have to feed the dog, walk the dog, etc.

-This brings me to my next point-exercise. Exercise can help depression-people with dogs are more active as a whole.

-Dogs do many funny things, in turn this promotes laughter.

Dogs aren’t for everyone, especially people with severe depression. However, if you have a pup I bet you smile, laugh, and love more!

Oreo has been there for us through many rough times. She has laid next to my husband and I when we were sad. She’s licked our faces when we cried. After a rough day she has greeted us with wonderful wags and a happy face. When we were away visiting hospice my husband commented on how he wished Oreo could come with us (she is too scared to go to stranger’s houses). I asked him why and he responded, “She makes me happy.”

Do you have a personal story when your dog helped you feel better? Feel free to share!

Prescription Savings

p-50136-45557-amitriptyline
I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of money on medications. We save by using generic medications, but I didn’t know our dogs could save too! I recently recieved “The Whole Dog Journal” (one of my favorite canine journals) and read an article on “Budget Medications”. Little did I know I’ve been spending WAYYY too much on medications.

I have takens steps lately to save on the herbal and chinese medicines I use with Oreo to help build her immune system by getting them from amazon with reputable pharmacies. However, her prescription medications are a different story. I pay around $25-50 for each month-2 month supply for each of her medicines.

After reading the article I found this site: http://www.target.com/pharmacy/petrx-dog-medications-generic
Target-with $4 generic dog medications-with no insurance! They have PETRX a section just for dog medications on their site-sweet!!!

I also did more searching and DrForsterSmith.com has great savings on medications too. In the article many places are mentioned including Costco, walgreens, cvs, and online pharmacies. Also AAA memberships covers pet medications (meaning they give discounts at many locations on prescriptions).

You do need to consult and make sure the prescription and dosage are the same as the ones your dogs are taking now. Next time I get Oreo’s medications I will definitely be getting them elsewhere and will post the prices I have found!

Your Dog Should Defer to You

oreo.jpg
No, I don’t mean your dog should be submissive or any of that humbo-jumbo about being dominant. Please…you know me better than that! I mean fearful dogs needs to look to you when they are unsure. This will give them something to focus on every time they are scared. It will make them more confident and successful.

I will be writing a series of articles on how to train your dog to defer to you (meaning check in with you if they are scared). The first is very basic-having your dog look up at you (not your treats) when you say their name.

First things first. When you call your dog’s name-they should look at you. If they don’t you need some name training. Have some yummy treats ready and a clicker. Have your dog stand or sit in front of you. Call your dog’s name and when they look up at your eyes (not your treats), click then treat. *Now when I say look at your eyes I don’t mean you are staring at them, I just mean they look up at your face area. If your dog is having problems making eye contact, wait a few seconds and see if the dog finds your eyes. If they do, click and treat. If your dog is REALLY having trouble you can try holding the treat near your face to start, but fade it out-you don’t want your dog to focus on the treat-you want them to focus on you. After 80% accuracy with this (8 out of 10 times the dog looks at your eyes), move on to extending your arm straight out to the side with a treat in hand. Your dog will most likely look at the treat, call their name and when they look at you (your face) click and treat. It may be slower in the beginning, but eventually your dog will know once your arm goes out they need to look at your face before you even say anything! When you get to 80% try with the opposite arm, then treats in both hands. There are many possibilities-but this activity allows you and your dog to bong-and teaches them to look and focus on you, which will come in handy in frightful situations.

**News update: A neighbor’s dog was 2 doors down (condos) and I was giving Oreo a haircut. The other dog was small but was putting on a show growling and kicking up dirt behind it. Oreo looked, licked her lips, then focused on me and was fine-yay! Also-WE SOLD OUR CONDO!! Yay! We are out on the road today looking for homes, can’t wait for a yard for Oreo (and for growing vegetables!).

Dogs Have Never Had It So Good!

imagesCAQVUMGT
Dogs have never had it so good! Before the 18th century you wouldn’t see any lap dogs, especially not dogs sleeping in the bedroom. Dogs were kept as hunting partners and guards, not friends or family. In fact, in the 16th and 17th century they were thought as dirty animals that carried disease.

“Hair of the dog that bit you” was a common phrase in the 16th century to say to someone who had rabies-the “hair” was the cure.

“If you lie with the dogs, you get fleas”…pretty self explanatory.

Phrases that were common for people who caught stray dogs were called, “dog skinners, dog drivers, dog whippers, and dog floggers.”

“Not fit for a dog” and “As sick as a dog” were phrases that showed dogs were thought to be horrible animals.

In the late 18th and 19th century, dog baskets and treats emerged. Small dogs were kept as house pets.
In the 19th century the phrase “A dog is man’s best friend” was coined. Dog hospitals opened and dogs were seen as having feelings.

It’s sad to see that some people still believe dogs don’t have feelings. Now a days dogs are family members (and rightfully so). They share our homes and many times our beds also. They are loving companions, daughters, sons, and sister and brothers to our children. They kiss us when we’re sad and stay by our sides. They jump, lick, and wag their tails to share our joys. They are so much more than just dogs. They are us. In fact better than us for they don’t judge or hold grudges. They give unconditional love. We should all look through the eyes of a dog…to see such a large world around us, yet appreciate the little things.