How Should a Hamster Cage Be Set Up?

Are you looking to set up the hamster cage in the best way? Well, it can be difficult for you to set up a hamster cage professionally unless you become familiar with some important steps used to set up a hamster cage. Everyone knows how important this cage is to provide a house to the hamsters. Being a pet owner, it is your interest and need that can determine the overall setup process. Sometimes, you can give preference to the plastic made hamsters, and sometimes you choose the wire hamsters. There are some pet owners who prefer aquarium tanks to house their hamsters.

In the starting, you need to know that the hamsters are always loved by adults and teenagers who have a habit of keeping pets. In addition, you already know how quick and energetic creatures are when they start digging and burrowing. Hamsters are very clean and hygienic animals, and when you want to keep them, you should have the best hamster cage for them.

In easy words, your hamsters need a very peaceful and enjoyable environment, so that they can save free from stress and boredom. This is why purchasing a hamster cage is very important. It somehow, you can purchase a hamster case easily, but the real problems start when it comes to setting up the hamster cage.

Factors to consider while buying hamster cages

How Should a Hamster Cage Be Set Up?

Now, you have successfully determined how you should set a hamster cage. Consequently, you need to talk about some important factors that should be there in your mind while purchasing the hamster cages. You need to ensure that the size of the selected hamster cage should not be too small. The cage should have a sufficient amount of space and floor space so that your Hamsters can feel comfortable.

Secondly, you need to determine the type of Hamster cage you are ready to buy. In the similar situation, you need to consider the efforts you have to put for cleaning the home of your hamsters. By comparing the reviews and buying prices of Hamster cages, you can easily pick the best hamster cage.

How hamster cages should be set up?

Purchase a nice and large hamster cage

First and foremost, you need to buy a nice and large hamster cage according to your needs and budget you have made. It should have minimum 450Sq-inches of floorspace. As you want your hamsters to feel comfortable and restful, this is the first decisive thing you have to do without any doubt. When you choose a small cage, these creatures will not get the desired amount of comfort they always want to get.

On the other hand, you also have an alternative of purchasing used hamster cage. By purchasing a second hand cage, you will save some money and you can easily prepare this cage to home your hamsters.

Choose the bedding for cage

How Should a Hamster Cage Be Set Up?

While choosing the best bedding for your hamster cage, you should always avoid the cedar, pine, or scented bedding. It means you have to choose ideal bedding for the best hamster cage you have chosen for your hamsters.

According to the experts, you should place two inches of bedding in the new house of your hamsters. You can give directions to the premium quality paper wedding. In addition, you have the alternative of using hardwood shavings as well as the crumpled paper bedding.

Where you will place the hamster cage?

After purchasing the desirable cage and bedding for it now, you have to determine the area where you want to place this cage. It is suggested that you should choose a place that is free from extreme heat. It you should also not put this cage near to any draughty place. As you already know, these steps are extremely sensitive to the light, you cannot afford to put this cage into a room where light comes more.

Add toys that hamsters can chew

How Should a Hamster Cage Be Set Up?

Now, this is the perfect situation for you to add some toys into the hamster cage that your hamsters can easily chew them up. First of all, you can talk about the wooden blocks that the Hamsters would love to play with and chew. In the similar way, you can consider the chew sticks that your Hamsters might like more. These are some of the items that will keep the little creatures busy inside the cage. In the best hamster cage, these chew toys should always be there.

Utilize exercise wheels

When you are setting up a new home or cage for your hamsters, this is another important suggestion you have to utilize at the moment. In easy words, you want to keep your hamsters away from any kind of stress and boredom that they can get into the cage. This is why the experts suggest you to use exercise wheels that will prevent the boredom. In addition, you can talk about utilizing a hamster ball, which can be another efficient option to keep the hamsters happy and pleased.

Put up the water sources

In the same situation, you need to consider the setting of the water source that will let the Hamsters drink water whenever they need. Moreover, you should be worried about the availability of water in the water bowl you will attached to the Hamster cage.

Add the food bowls

Now, this is the perfect time for you to add the food bowls to the Hamster cage you have selected. This is another important process you have to follow.

Provide some hide places

How Should a Hamster Cage Be Set Up?

Last but not least, you should not forget to provide more hiding places to your Hamsters. You can choose a cardboard tunnel or any other alternative you have in this situation. To set up the best hamster cage, this will be the last process.

Hopefully, you will review the mentioned above suggestions and tips when it comes to setting up a hamster cage like the professionals. If you will follow the mentioned steps one by one carefully, you will not take enough or more time to set up a hamster cage.

WHY FOSTER A DOG?

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“Fostering a dog is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to saving a life.”

This is the watchword of rescue groups everywhere.

To foster a dog is, quite simply, to save that dog’s life. A foster home provides that same dog with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home.

Most rescues rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And rescues NEVER have enough foster homes.

Why? Because there are more dogs in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need.

There are many benefits to fostering, many pleasant surprises and many unexpected rewards. Foster parents, past and present, describe it as one of the most memorable and gratifying experiences of their lives.

Fostering is both a way of enriching the lives of the dogs and people involved, and a constructive way for people to give back to their communities. Fostered dogs can provide hours of entertainment and love for their humans, and provide valuable life lessons for adults and children alike.

By taking a deserving dog into their homes, fosters increase that dog’s chances of being adopted. Foster families have the time and the ability to transform their foster dog, through one-on-one contact, exercise and training, into a pet any person or family would be proud to call their own.

Fostering provides a needy dog with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. While the foster family provides the food, the rescue usually provides everything else, including payment of all medical costs to ensure the dog’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescue. By spending every day with their foster dog, fosters will learn all they can about his particular personality. They will be able to identify any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, then work on addressing them.

If fosters already have a dog – either their own or another foster — in residence, all the better. The more animals their foster dog meets, the more socialized he will become, the more easily he will handle stress, and the more relaxed he will be around strangers. And it’s a simple matter to add another warm, furry body to their own dog’s daily walks, meal and potty schedules.

For those who have never owned a dog, fostering provides them with the unique

opportunity of seeing if they themselves are suited for permanent pet parenthood. But fostering a dog is NOT a form of trial adoption for that particular dog. There is even a term for it: foster failure. The most successful fosters are those who, despite being emotionally invested, know that they are a stepping stone towards their foster dog’s future. And that as one successfully fostered dog leaves their home, another needy and deserving dog is waiting to enter it.

Ultimately, then, fostering a dog saves not just one life, but two.

Written by Nomi Berger

Forever Home: Now What?

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Be an informed adopter and make your new dog’s entry into your world as pleasurable as possible.

If this is your first dog, establish yourself with a vet or register your new dog with your established vet. Then apply for the appropriate licenses, etc., required in your area.

Remember that a dog’s true personality may not reveal itself for several weeks. Therefore, these first few weeks require an atmosphere of calm and patience, not anger or punishment.

Knowing your new dog’s established schedules for meals, pottying, walking and exercise beforehand are essential to maintaining his/her sense of continuity.

Once you arrive home, bring your new dog to his/her designated pottying place.

Spend time letting your new dog get accustomed to the place, and if he/she potties, reward him/her with praise and a treat.

Repeat this (whether your dog potties or not) to reinforce it, but be prepared for accidents. Even a housebroken dog will be nervous in, and curious about, new surroundings.

Your new dog may also pant or pace excessively, suffer from stomach upsets or have no appetite at all due to the sudden changes in his/her life.

Give your new dog the same food that he/she ate before.

After 30 minutes, remove the food whether it’s been eaten or not. Do not allow your new dog to “graze.”

(If you want to switch brands, wait a week. Begin by adding one part new food to three parts of the old for several days. Then add half new to half old for several more days, followed by one part old to three parts new until it’s all new food and the transition is complete).

Learn the commands your new dog already knows and don’t attempt to teach him/her any new ones for awhile.

Walk your new dog slowly through your home allowing him/her plenty of time to sniff around and become familiar with all of its sights and smells.

If needed, teach your new dog proper house manners from the start — calmly and patiently. Reward good behavior with praise and treats for positive reinforcement.

Introduce your new dog to the other members of your household one by one. Unless you know that the dog enjoys approaching new people, instruct everyone to sit, silent and still, on a couch or chair and ignore him/her.

Allow your new dog to approach them, sniffing, whether it takes several seconds or several minutes. Only when he/she is relaxed should they begin to pet him/her lightly and gently.

Children in particular should be closely supervised to ensure that they follow these same guidelines.

Show your new dog his/her place to sleep and place a few treats around the area as added incentives.

Give your new dog some quiet, alone time to get used to his/her space while you remain in the room for reassurance.

For the first few days, remain calm and quiet around your new dog, allowing him/her to settle in comfortably while you become familiar with his/her likes and dislikes, quirks and habits.

Begin the routine you want to establish (according to your own lifestyle) for your new dog’s pottying, eating, walking, playing and alone times, and maintain it — calmly but firmly.

Initial resistance is to be expected, but remain firm – without impatience or anger – while your new dog gradually becomes accustomed to his/her new schedule.

To make the process as pleasant and reassuring as possible, spend quality time with your new dog, stroking him/her or brushing his/her coat, while talking gently and soothingly to strengthen the bond and trust between you.

If you want to change your new dog’s name, begin by saying his/her new name and giving him/her an especially good treat (chicken works well) or a belly rub. This will teach your new dog to love the sound and respond to it. Repeating this numerous times a day will speed up the process.

Limit your new dog’s activities to your home, potty and exercise areas, keeping away from neighbors and other dogs, public places and dog parks.

Invite a relative or friend over to meet your new dog. Hand them treats and tell them to be calm and gentle in their approach unless your new dog calmly approaches them first.

Gradually accustom your new dog to being alone by leaving your home briefly then returning, repeating this several times over a period of a day or two and gradually increasing the alone time from a few minutes to a half hour to an hour. This way he/she won’t feel abandoned. When you return, walk in calmly and don’t fuss over your dog until he/she has settled down.

If your new dog whines or cries, don’t cuddle or console him/her. It only reinforces this behavior. Instead give him/her attention and praise for good behavior, such as resting quietly or chewing on a toy instead. And treats always work wonders.

Slowly begin introducing your new dog to your neighbors and other dogs, closely monitoring his/her reactions, especially towards the dogs.

Bring your new dog to the vet to introduce them to each other, address any health or behavioral concerns, and get a new rabies certificate. For any behavioral issues you can’t resolve on your own, ask your vet for the name of a professional.

Remember that making your new dog the newest member of your family is a process, and that consistency is the key.

Your reward? A loving and happy companion, and the satisfaction of knowing that you have saved his/her life.

Written by Nomi Berger

MICROCHIPPING  IS  A  MUST

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Millions of dogs go missing each year. Unfortunately, very few of them are ever reunited with their owners. Many of them become and remain strays. Others are taken to pounds or shelters, where they are either adopted out to new homes or, all too often, euthanized. Now protective pet parents, no longer content with relying on collars and tags alone, have begun microchipping their dogs.

It’s a simple and safe procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip designed especially for animals — the size of a grain of rice — beneath the surface of a dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine shot, it takes only a few seconds and most dogs don’t even seem to feel the implantation. Unlike other forms of identification, a microchip is permanent and, with no internal energy source, will last the life of the dog. Once it’s implanted, the dog must immediately be registered with the microchip company (usually for a one-time fee), thus storing his unique, alpha-numeric code in the company’s database.

Whenever a lost dog appears at a shelter, humane society or veterinary clinic, he/she will automatically be scanned for a microchip. If there is one, the screen of the handheld scanner will display that dog’s specific code. A simple call to the recovery database using a toll free 800 number enables the code to be traced back to the dog’s owner. But in order for the system to work efficiently, all owners are cautioned to keep their contact information up-to-date.

The most complete microchips comply with International Standards Organization (ISO) Standards. These standards define the structure of the microchip’s information content and determine the protocol for scanner-microchip communication. They also include the assignment of a 15-digit numeric identification code to each microchip; 3 digits either for the code of the country in which the dog was implanted or for the manufacturer’s code; one digit for the dog’s category (optional), and the remaining 8 or 9 digits for that dog’s unique ID number.

As with anything else, however, problems can and do arise. Not all shelters, humane societies, and veterinary offices have scanners. Although rare, microchips can fail, and even universal scanners may not be able to detect every microchip. Accurate detection can also be hampered if dogs struggle too much while being scanned or if either long, matted hair or excess fat deposits cover the implantation site. And because there are an ever-increasing number of pet recovery services, there is, as yet, no single database that links one to the other.

Since no method of identification is perfect, the best way owners can protect their dogs is by being responsible owners. By always keeping current identification tags on their dogs, never allowing them to roam free and microchipping them for added protection.

Written by Nomi Berger

WHY SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR DOG?   

     
The problem of dog overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every dog owner in every town and every city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.

Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog) and neutering (removing the testicles of a male dog) are simple procedures, rarely requiring so much as an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic. Because half of all litters are unplanned, and because puppies can conceive puppies of their own, spaying and neutering them before the age of 6 months can help break this cycle.

According to SPAY USA, an unspayed female dog, her unneutered mate and their offspring (if none are spayed or neutered) result in the births of a staggering 12,288 puppies in just 5 years.

The inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, result of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many dog owners unwilling to spay and neuter their pets.

The positive effects of spaying and neutering far outweigh the negatives. Females spayed before their first heat are much less likely to develop mammary cancer than those left intact. Early spaying is also their best protection against conditions like pyometritis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Early neutering of males protects them against testicular cancer, and helps curb both aggression and other undesirable behaviors. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents are caused by intact males.

For years, reputable rescue groups have been spaying and neutering the animals in their care before even putting them up for adoption. More recently, in an effort to address at least part of this ongoing problem, various organizations — large and small, urban and rural, public and private — have been springing up across the country. From the ASPCA to local humane societies, spay/neuter clinics are opening and operating. Mobile spay/neuter clinics are reaching out to those unable to reach them. Many rescue groups now offer their own Spay Neuter Incentive Programs (SNIP), which provide assistance to low income households.

Imagine if there were more regional, local and mobile spay/neuter clinics. More Spay Neuter Incentive Programs. Imagine entire communities across the country, where every pet owner took personal responsibility for spaying and neutering their pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.

Written by Nomi Berger

PUPPY PROOFING IS NOT JUST FOR PUPPIES

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A puppy-proofed home is a pet-safe home whatever the age of your new dog. Before that first front paw crosses your threshold for the first time, your home must be a health zone, not a hazard zone. Be especially attentive to the sensibilities of former puppy mill dogs or “outside” dogs. They may never have walked on wooden floors, carpets or tiles, or been exposed to so many new and unfamiliar sights before.

Begin the process of pet-proofing by walking through your home, room by room, searching methodically for things a dog might climb, knock over or pull down, and either secure, remove or store them. Keep all trashcans behind closed and latched doors and wastebaskets (covered if possible) out of sight. Ensure that all heating/air vents have covers. Snap specially designed plastic caps over electrical outlets. Tie electrical cords together and tuck them out of reach.

Install childproof latches to keep inquisitive paws from prying open cabinet doors in kitchens and bathrooms, and always keep the toilet lids closed. In bedrooms, keep all medications, lotions and cosmetics off accessible surfaces such as bedside tables. Store collections – from buttons, bottle caps and coins to matchboxes, marbles and potpourri – on high shelves, while keeping breakables on low surfaces to an absolute minimum.

Most chemicals are hazardous to dogs and should be replaced, wherever possible, with natural, non-toxic products. A partial list of toxic chemicals includes: antifreeze, bleach, drain cleaner, household cleaners and detergents, glue, nail polish and polish remover, paint, varnish and sealants, pesticides and rat poison.

Many indoor plants, however pretty, can prove poisonous to a dog. Since dogs are, by nature, explorers – not to mention lickers and chewers – protecting them from harm is essential. A partial list of such indoor plants includes: aloe, amaryllis, asparagus fern, azalea and rhododendron, chrysanthemum, corn plant, cyclamen, Dieffenbachia, elephant ear, jade plant, kalanchoe, lilies, peace lily, philodendron, pothos, Sago palm, schefflera and yew.

Seemingly harmless “people” food can potentially be lethal to dogs. A partial list of these includes: alcohol, avocado, chocolate, caffeinated items, fruit pits and seeds, grapes and raisins, macadamia nuts and onions.

Although prevention is the key to your new dog’s well being, accidents can and do happen. The truly protective pet parents are prepared pet parents and know to keep a list of vital numbers handy:

  • Veterinarian
  • 24-hour veterinary emergency clinic
  • ASPCA Poison Control: 1-888-426-4435
  • Pet Poison Helpline: 1-800-213-6680

Hopefully, these are numbers you’ll never use. And as long as you remain vigilant, both you and your new best friend can rest, assured.

Written by Nomi Berger

WHEN CHOOSING A DOG, CHOOSE WISELY!

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Truer words were never spoken, because being an informed owner truly means being that dog’s true, best friend.

An alarming number of dogs are abandoned, surrendered, and euthanized each year in this country. The reasons are many, but one of the greatest contributing factors is the failure of too many potential owners to educate themselves fully BEFORE acquiring a dog.

The educated ones would know to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the breed they’re considering, including the breed’s physical description and personality, trainability and exercise requirements, health issues, and general care and grooming.

They would know there’s no such thing as TOO much information. The more informed they are, the more informed their decision.

They would know to choose a breed that fits in with their particular lifestyle, needs and expectations. Examples. No high shedding dogs in a home of allergy sufferers. No hyperactive or high energy dogs in a small apartment. No dogs who can’t get along with cats or any other family pets. No dogs in need of constant companionship if there is no one at home during the day.

They would know that, whatever the breed, raising a dog from puppy hood is, like raising a child, not a hobby or a sometime thing but a full time, fully committed responsibility.

They would know that puppies must be housetrained promptly and socialized early in order for them to develop into well-behaved and friendly dogs with good bite inhibition.

They would know to always be consistent, that discipline does NOT mean punishment, and that love, in and of itself, does NOT conquer all.

They would also know that certified trainers and supervised puppy classes can be of crucial help to them in raising calm and balanced dogs if they’re unable to manage on their own.

On the flip side are the uninformed and uneducated owners. The ones who, ruled by their hearts and not their heads, choose poorly from the start. The ones who, sadly and all too frequently, raise untrained, ill-mannered and often dangerous dogs.

These are the dogs who, over time, will prove too much for their ill-equipped and increasingly frustrated owners. These are the dogs who will eventually be abandoned in empty lots or left by the side of the road. These are the dogs who will be deposited outside a local pound or shelter or, if they’re lucky, surrendered to a rescue organization.

These are the dogs who will be adopted – and probably returned – by unsuspecting people intent on doing the right thing by not buying from a pet store or an unscrupulous breeder. These are the dogs who, more than likely, will be euthanized due to overcrowded facilities or because of their own people-biting or dog-aggressive behaviors.

These are the unfortunate innocents who will pay with their lives for their owners’ unfortunate ignorance. Thereby perpetuating an all-too-familiar and vicious cycle. And the only way to break this cycle is to turn every potential dog owner into an informed and educated dog owner.

Remember that the dog YOU ultimately choose is counting on you.

Written by Nomi Berger

THE MANY WHYS OF RESCUE

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Why adopt a rescue pup or dog? Why not buy one from an ad on the Internet or from a pet store? Why not buy one from a breeder? There are many reasons — all of them humane.

The growth of the Internet has spurred the growth of ads selling pets. But it also provides anonymity to a more insidious growth: that of puppy mills and so-called “backyard” breeders. It helps them avoid accountability when they sell unhealthy or mistreated pets to unsuspecting, over-eager buyers. And it only serves to confirm the axiom: “buyer beware.”

Each time a dog is bought from an ad on the Internet, a homeless dog is left without a home.

Many pet stores rely on both puppy mills and “backyard” breeders. Like the Internet, they rely on impulse buying. A child ogles a playful puppy through a pane of glass, and that old song, “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” begins. Few parents can refuse the insistent “Please! Please! Please!” of their children.

Each time a puppy is bought from a pet store, a surrendered dog languishes in a shelter.

There may be thousands of legitimate breeders throughout the country but there are just as many unscrupulous ones. There are no laws regulating who can and cannot breed. There are no inspections of their facilities. Even a certificate from a recognized kennel club means only that the breeder has “agreed” to its code of ethics. A piece of paper is simply that: a piece of paper.

Each time a dog is bought from an unscrupulous breeder, an abandoned dog moves closer to death in a pound.

Why, then, adopt a rescue dog?

There are tens of thousands of healthy, happy and balanced dogs available from thousands of rescue organizations across the country. Contrary to popular belief, they include purebreds as well as crossbreeds and mixed breeds. And for people intent on a specific breed, there are rescue groups devoted exclusively to a single breed of dog.

Adopting a rescue dog is saving that dog’s life. Rescue organizations are usually the last refuge for abandoned and abused dogs, surrendered and senior dogs. They are often a dog’s only escape from a puppy mill, shelter or pound. These rescued dogs are placed in loving and experienced, volunteer foster homes, where they are socialized with people and other animals.

They are spayed or neutered, de-wormed, updated on all of their vaccinations and microchipped. They receive whatever veterinary care they need, and are either trained or re-trained before being put up for adoption. And everything is included in the rescue’s modest adoption fees.

It is said that saving a dog makes that dog doubly grateful. By extension, then, anyone who saves a dog will be doubly blessed.

What better reasons could there be to adopt?

Written by Nomi Berger

DOGS AND SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (SAD)

As the days grow darker and shorter, and the thermometer plummets, so does the mood of millions of people living in the Northern Hemisphere. But humans are not the only ones affected by what scientists refer to as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Our dogs – even the happiest, most active and energetic ones — can suffer the same dramatic downturn in mood.

In some veterinary studies, one third of the dog owners surveyed reported a steep plunge in their dogs’ otherwise happy and balanced personalities during the winter. According to them, nearly half of their dogs were less active, while half of them slept longer and were more difficult to rouse in the morning.

The British veterinary organization PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) recently listed some of the symptoms displayed by dogs suffering from SAD. They include aggressive behavior or soiling inappropriately, clawing at the furniture, either demanding more attention or appearing withdrawn, frequent barking, lethargy, less interest in going for walks or playing either with people, other dogs or toys, and reduced appetite accompanied by weight loss.

According to scientists, the reason for these behavioral changes in both humans and dogs appears to stem from the effect that light has on two significant hormones. The first is melatonin, produced in the pineal gland. The second is serotonin, produced in the brain.

Melatonin, often referred to as the “hormone of darkness”, plays a vital role in regulating the sleep cycle. The pineal gland is light sensitive, and because melatonin is usually secreted at night, the less light there is – as in the shorter, darker days of winter — the greater the production of melatonin. Key among its many, negative effects: lethargy, loss of appetite and sleepiness.

Serotonin, often referred to as the “feel good” substance in the brain also affects mood, appetite and sleep – but in an entirely different way. In this case, it’s sunlight that’s needed for the production of serotonin.

There are ways, however, to combat the effects of daylight’s diminishing hours on your dog’s mood before the full onset of winter. Begin by ensuring that his regular exercise regime is maintained and that his diet is well balanced. If your dog is already exhibiting signs of lethargy or withdrawal, talk constantly and comfortingly to him, and play games — such as hiding his favorite toys or tug-o-war — to keep him active and engaged. Studies show that dogs left alone most of the day are those who suffer the most. To rectify this, spend more time with your dog if possible. Otherwise, hire a dog walker or place him in doggy daycare.

Since the absence of bright light seems to be the major cause of SAD, the other solutions involve raising your dog’s direct exposure to as much light as possible. Place his bed close to a window or glass door. Change the schedule of his walks so that he is outside during the brightest portion of the day, and keep the lights on inside, particularly on the dullest days.

Ultimately, though, it’s the composition of the light that matters most. The more closely it resembles natural daylight, the more therapeutic it is. Just as there are specially designed “light boxes” for people with SAD, there are now similar light boxes for dogs. Owners opting for less expensive solutions need simply replace old, tungsten light bulbs with new, compact white fluorescent ones, labeled either “full spectrum” or “daylight.” Turn these lights on for at least an hour each day, then play with your dog to ensure his eyes are fully open and both retinas clearly exposed to the incoming light.

Hopefully, following all or some of these suggestions will spare both you and your beloved dog an unnecessary case of the winter blues.

Written by Nomi Berger

A YEAR OF DOG RESCUE RESOLUTIONS FOR YOU

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Have you thought of adding some new and different resolutions to your traditional New Year’s list?

Have you ever thought of getting involved in the world of dog rescue, but didn’t quite know how?

Here then, are twelve different ways – one for each month of the year – for you to resolve to make a difference in the lives of rescue dogs this year. Even if you choose only one, that choice will make all the difference in the world.

1. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter and volunteer your services to them: from office work, to cleaning cages and kennels, to being a dog walker once a week.

2. Donate a basket of dog items such as food, treats, bowls, toys and pee pads, together with either new or gently used collars and leashes, clothes and blankets to that same humane society or shelter.

3. Contact a local rescue organization and ask to volunteer for them. Volunteers form the backbone of every non-profit group, and no group can function without them. Areas always in need of extra hands include reference checks, web site assistance, updating email lists, attending adoption events, planning and attending fundraisers, distributing flyers, pamphlets and brochures, and transport.

4. Select one particular rescue online that “speaks to you” and make a monetary contribution to them – either as a onetime payment or as recurring monthly payments.

5. Read about the other ways you can donate to them – from wish lists to links to various online stores’ web sites – and purchase items both for yourself and them that way.

6. Follow that particular rescue’s Face Book page, and “like” them, “share” and comment on their postings regularly.

7. Instead of accepting birthday gifts this year, ask your friends and family to make contributions to that rescue in your name.

8. Host a small fundraiser (bake sales, garage sales and yard sales are among the most popular) and donate the proceeds to that rescue. You will receive not only their gratitude, but a tax receipt as well.

9. At your place of work, keep a container on your desk with the name of that rescue on it, and encourage your co-workers to deposit their spare change in it. Once the container is full, bring the change to the bank (already rolled, please), mail a check to the rescue, and begin again.

10. Sign petitions, both online and in person: one calling for legislation to ban puppy mills, and one calling on pet stores to stop selling dogs and cats.

11. Foster a dog. Learn precisely what’s required of you, then welcome one very needy and deserving animal into your home temporarily, until he or she can be placed in a permanent home.

12. Adopt a rescue dog and save two lives – the life of the one you are adopting, and the life of the one who will immediately take his or her place.

As for next year? Either continue working your way down this list, or resolve to draw up one of you own.

Article written by Nomi Berger. Nomi is the best selling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, two volumes of poetry and hundreds of articles. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her adopted Maltese, Mini, and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA