Playing in Leaves

I remember spending hours raking leaves as a kid. When I got older, and leaf blowers were invented, I spent less time but hated the job. Then the kids would play in the leaves, creating more work. But it was worth it to see how much fun they had. This dog takes the kids place having fun playing in leaves.

Preventing obesity starts with pet owners

Issues relating to what we eat are in many cases similar to concerns about what our pets eat.

“There definitely is a link,” says Dr. Karyl Hurley, director of Global Scientific Affairs for Mars Petcare, who helped organize the Waltham International Nutritional Sciences Symposium.

Similarly, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, just over half the dogs in America are overweight or obese, and about 60 percent of cats. The parallels to people include a long list of medical repercussions. Just one example is the sharp increase in diabetes among dogs and cats, according to the Banfield State of Pet Health 2011 Report. Read entire story…

There are several ways we can help our pets fight obesity. 50% of pets in the U.S. are overweight, and a lot of that comes from over-treating. One dog biscuit can have up to 50 calories, so the weight can really add up fast! Selecting the right treats is just as important as selecting the right pet food, especially for pets who need to lose weight.

To give your pet the healthiest snacks, look for treats that are:
- Low in calories- less than 10% of your pet’s diet
- Not table scraps, which are often high in fat and hard to digest
- Made with natural ingredients
- Made in the U.S.A. to ensure quality

A dog treadmill can give your dog a great workout regardless of weather or environment, allowing you to maintain a consistent exercise regimen. A treadmill provides increased muscle definition, toning, improved vitality, increased life span and can help curb destructive behavior or excess energy often associated with the lack of regular exercise. Dog treadmills provide a way for you to exercise your pet even when the weather is bad or it is inconvenient to take them out for a walk.

Animals May Play Bigger Role Than Toys in Aiding Autistic Children

Animals can have a greater impact than toys in improving the social behavior of children diagnosed with autism, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative reported Monday.

A study by Marguerite O’Haire, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Queensland in Australia, and three other researchers found that participants demonstrated more social behaviors such as talking, looking at faces and making tactile contact when in the presence of animals compared to toys.

“The presence of an animal appears to encourage socialization among children with autism and their peers,” O’Haire said. “When with an animal, children with autism smiled and laughed more often, were more talkative, and looked at people’s faces more than they did when with toys.”

The study involved 33 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and 66 typically developing peers. Groups of one ASD child and two peers were recorded playing with toys and then with two guinea pigs.

Researchers found that ASD children displayed more pro-social behaviors and positive effects when in the presence of animals compared to toys and less frowning, crying and whining.

An estimated one in every 50 U.S. children has ASD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was published in late February in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed online publication.