Prisma – A Fun App for Dog Owners

Like most dog owners, I absolutely love taking pictures of my dogs and my dogs’ friends (my friends’ dogs, lol). Most of us are carrying around our mobile phones and snapping pictures of our dogs every time we are somewhere particularly beautiful, aren’t we? Or any time they are being particularly cute?

I publish some of these on WDJ’s Instagram page, @DogsOfWholeDogJournal. It takes an effort to not publish all the heavily filtered versions of some of my favorite photos that I create with a super fun app called Prisma. If you, like me, are addicted to taking your dog’s picture and you don’t already have this app, download it now! It’s free, and has about a dozen or so filters that you can play with to create artworks of your dog. If you get really excited about it, you can pay for an upgraded version that has many more filters that you can apply.

Once the app is loaded, you can take any photo on your phone and apply any filter that you like. Some apply wild colors or textures to the photo. Some turn the photo into a pencil sketch, or a heavily pixilated, almost abstract artwork. I love the ones that make the most vibrant colors in the photo even more dramatic. But you can also apply a very soft effect, just barely altering photos in a way that makes it harder to determine whether a piece of art is a photo or has been painted. (I actually used the app to create the image of Otto that has appeared in WDJ’s masthead for the past few years!)

Once the filter is applied, you can edit it, toning down the effects or magnifying them as you see fit. There are sliders for adjusting the overall exposure, contrast, brightness, saturation, vibrance, color “temperature,” and more. And you can save as many versions of the photo that you create as you like! I have no affiliation or link or interest in the company that makes this app, I’m just an appreciative user. If you are, too, go to WDJ’s FB page and look for a post about Prisma, and share an edited photo of your dog there!

The filter called “Frangipani” makes the photo into a soft watercolor.
I love the softness of this one, called “Golden Hour”
The original image, for comparison.

The post Prisma – A Fun App for Dog Owners appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

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Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

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Meet Buddy

Buddy loves going for car rides, to the dog park, walks, eating pup cups, and going to grandma’s house.

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Pets Add Exercise, Cut Stress for Older Adults

Pets of all kinds help older adults cope with health issues, stay physically active, and connect with others, a poll shows.
dogs help seniors

In the poll, 55 percent of adults ages 50 to 80 said they have a pet—and more than half of those have more than one. More than three-quarters of pet owners said their animals reduce stress, and nearly as many said pets give them a sense of purpose. But 18 percent also said having a pet or pets puts a strain on their budget.

Two-thirds of all pet owners, and 78 percent of dog owners, said their pet helps them stay physically active, according to the new findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, which the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation conducted.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

The post Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

The post Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog first appeared on Victoria Stilwell Positively.

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Death Count Soars in Sportmix Pet Food Aflatoxin Investigation

The FDA is alerting dog owners that Sportmix dog food may contain potentially fatal levels of aflatoxins.
recall Sportmix pet food

Breaking News: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received reports of more than 70 pet deaths and more than 80 pet illnesses associated with feeding Sportmix pet food containing potentially fatal levels of aflatoxin.

This count is approximate, according to the FDA, and may not reflect the total number of pets affected. Reports submitted only to the pet food manufacturer are not shared with FDA and are not a part of this count.

Not all of these cases have been officially confirmed as aflatoxin poisoning through laboratory testing or veterinary record review.

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Forget About Stress & Anxiety

POSITIONING THEMSELVES FOR REINFORCEMENT First off, sorry. The title was designed to get your attention. We cannot forget about stress and anxiety but rather than focus on those conditions we assume a dog is experiencing, let’s get down to the business of behavior. It has been important that people have been encouraged to […]

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A Holistic Approach to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

One syndrome with many causes.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease in dogs

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is not a true diagnosis. Rather, it encompasses a conglomeration of inflammatory digestive issues associated with a variety of causes. Patients often present with vomiting, diarrhea fluctuating with constipation, regurgitation, discolored lips or gums, gas, abdominal pain, and/or loss of appetite.

In holistic medicine, many potential imbalances may contribute to IBD, including:

•Food allergies. Protein sensitivities can change over time. Egg, chicken, grains, beef and fish are common culprits.

•Microbiome disruption. This can be the result of poor genetics, poor early nutrition, and/or overmedication with antibiotics or other microbe-affecting medications.

•Excess emotions. Worry, anger or fear can upset digestion.

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