Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animals. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bats, the Good, the Great and Why You Want Them!

April 17, 2019 has been designated as "Bat Appreciation Day" by those wonderful folks at the Days of the Year!  So let's do a review on Bats and why you would encourage them to become part of your backyard and garden areas!

Bats have had a bad reputation for many years and much of it comes from not understanding this mammal and all of it's wonderful attributes.  Halloween, scary stories, murder mysteries and more have used scenarios with bats as a harbinger of bad things to come.  Stories of bats becoming entangled in people's hair and attacking at night have added to the fear many people have when it comes to this animal.  Vampires and other "horror" scenes have reinforced the idea that bats are "bad news". I'm here to set the record straight!


Let's start with what we know about bats!

Bats are found almost everywhere where people are.  If there is a food source around, there will be bats as well.  The only place where bats have not been found is in Antarctica!  

Bat are mammals that hibernate like bears in the winter months.  Once the weather starts to warm up and the bugs come out of the ground, you will if you are lucky, start to see bats as well.  

Bats feed on bugs, fruit, beetles, and insects and there are a few species that will drink blood too  (this is where their bad reputation comes from)!  None of these blood suckers make their home in North America, so don't worry.

Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  Yes, you should re-read that statement.  Bats eat up to 50% of their body weight in bugs every evening.  





Bats are the only flying mammal with great eyesight and the ability to echolocate their food!  No bats don't fly into your hair accidentally.  They have food to locate and eat.  Bat's are evening creatures that do most of their living while we are sleeping.  As morning comes Bats just want to go into a dark place to sleep.


Bat's with their voracious appetite help our farmers cut down on the need to use pesticides!  That is a GOOD thing.  

Unfortunately, Bats are in trouble!  They need our help.  Many bats have been dying because of a disease that is called  "White Mold Disease" and it attacks the bats as they are hibernating.  When they come out of hibernation they are sick and quickly die.  There are many efforts being made to help the bats through this debilitating disease and providing them with clean and safe places to hibernate, is one of these initiatives.

Of all the animals that you can have in the garden (and all of them have a job to do), I would be encouraging bats to find me.  Having a bat box ready for them is step #1.  These are easy to build and can be fastened to a nice cozy dry spot.  Just under the eaves is a great place. 


Here are some books that you can share with your children and get them on board to helping Mother Nature take care of her bats!  You can also build your own Bat Box and see if they will come!  Sitting on the patio in the cool evenings will be a lot nicer for you and your family when there are bats around to take care of all those nasty mosquitos.  It's a win-win situation.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ruff Relief Organic Pet Paw, Nose, and Skin Balm - Review


My adventure dog, Finn, is finding winter conditions to be hard on his sensitive paws.  When I rescued him, the pads on Finn's feet were as silky smooth as baby skin.  That is because Finn had never been outdoors.  Recently, during a walk at the park, Finn stopped moving and started whimpering a bit.  After quickly checking his feet, I realized he was communicating discomfort related to an ice ball that had formed between the toes on a front foot.  Not long after that incident, Finn let me know that he could not tolerate any small amount of the chemical de-icer that was present on city sidewalks and roads.  What to do?

As I considered possible solutions, such as dog booties and paw wax, or hibernating until June, I came across a highly rated organic paw balm called Ruff Relief.  The key factor that sold me on this particular pet product had a lot to do with the fact that it is rated at a human grade food level (the first time I have seen that).  Given that dogs frequently lick their feet, it was really important to me that anything Finn put in his mouth was natural, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic (along with made in the USA).  The fact that Ruff Relief has earned a USDA certification sealed the deal for me.

You may be wondering about the ingredients.  That was the first thing I wanted to know.  Here they are:
  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Organic Coconut Oil
  • Organic Beeswax
  • Organic Carnauba Wax
  • Jojoba Wax
  • Non-GMO Vitamin E
These natural ingredients are safe to use on paws, noses, and other skin hot spots.  Though I think of winter as the toughest time to keep my animals' skin protected, summer presents its own challenges (think burning hot pavement and concrete).  Ruff Relief provides year-round protection from ice, snow, and heated surfaces.  If your pet ever suffers from cracking, chapped, or dry skin, you may wish to give Ruff Relief a try.  There's really no risk given that the company provides a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  You have 30 days to test drive this product.  If you aren't happy with the results, simply request a full refund.

Since I have just started using this balm on Finn's paws, I'll have to keep you posted about our longer term results.  I am fully expecting good outcomes given all of the positive online reviews.  Stay tuned for updates.

Before closing, I thought I would share some fun facts I discovered while searching for information about dog feet.

Fritos Feet
What is that corn chip smell??  Why do dogs have feet that smell like Fritos, Cheetos, or popcorn?  Actually, that is totally normal.  The smell comes from natural bacteria that grow on canine paws (mixed with a dog's unique paw sweat gland odor).

Did You Know?
Some dog breeds, think Greyhounds, Dobermans, and Akitas, have "cat feet" (smaller feet with high arches).  These features, along with the lightness of their feet, enhance their endurance.

Pop Quiz
Does your dog have webbed feet?  If so, you should ace this quiz.  In the comment section, please name a breed of dog with webbing between the toes/pads.

Finally, have you had to treat your pet's feet at certain times of year?  If so, what worked well for your four-legged friend?








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Thursday, January 31, 2019

Pet Partners Therapy Dog Team Review

Finn Looks Deeply Into Each Heart He Encounters
When you have a dog with special gifts, like I do (and many of you do), it would be selfish not to let him fully develop and use those wondrous strengths to bring cheer into the lives of those aching for connection and comfort.  Having adopted a joy dog, it just seems wrong to keep all of that great goodness to myself.  In the case of Finn, a dog that was previously kept locked away from the outside world for all of his life (until rescued), the best possible antidote to having been shut away and hoarded is to bring all of his beauty into the light of day. To share Finn, is to share love in its purest form.

In our determination to lift the spirits of others, Finn and I are on a new year's mission.  Though we have engaged in animal welfare and educational outreach work on a daily basis over the past year and a half (since Finn became a part of my forever family), we want to take this work to the next level by going through a rigorous screening process to become a registered therapy dog team.  Anything worth doing, is worth doing to the highest level of professionalism and integrity.  To that end, we have chosen to pursue approval through Pet Partners.

The Pet Partners Organization and Website

There are a number of organizations through which volunteers can seek an official status for their therapy team service.  We chose Pet Partners for several reasons:
  • Theirs is a very reputable organization with a well-established history;
  • They put animals first;
  • Their process provides unlimited opportunities for demonstrating team growth;
  • They provide quality resources that enhance both animal and handler skills;
  • Their community is one that connects teams of beautiful individuals; 
  • They provide insurance coverage for registered teams; and
  • Membership can bring a greater credibility to volunteer therapy teams.
Quality of Life is the Soul of the Mission
Once the decision was made to align ourselves with Pet Partners, Finn and I jumped right into our training.  First, I enrolled in the required handler's course.  Taking the course online was a good fit for my learning style and was also the best option given the distance I would have had to drive to attend an in-person class.  I found the course to be very informative and helpful in preparing me to set Finn and myself up for therapy dog team success.  Most importantly of all, it was a reminder that we are in the business of generating quality of life experiences... that we are to exude a reverence for life in all that we do.

Having passed my course, our next step is to visit Finn's veterinarian to get him signed off as healthy and fit for therapy dog consideration.  Because he has a disability, Finn's vet will need to indicate appropriate accommodations (like the use of Finn's K9 cart and/or dog stroller during therapy visits and the assessment process). Once Finn has passed this medical exam, we will be eligible to sign up for our team evaluation session.

Finn and I must prove ourselves both in terms of aptitude and skills.  Our evaluation process seeks first to confirm that both of us have the heart for this service.  I know, without a doubt, that therapy team outreach is a calling for me.  And, having watched Finn display his "people whispering" essence over the many months since his adoption, I feel sure that he is also well-suited for this mission.  Finn leans into this work, rather than merely tolerating it.  That is the key qualifier when it comes to passing our aptitude testing.

Finn is a Willing Student, Teacher, and Therapist
When it comes to skills, Finn and I must demonstrate that our encounters with strangers will be predictably safe.  Finn must be responsive to my guidance at all times. In addition, Finn must show a tender restraint in his dealings with a wide range of individuals.  Before even considering therapy service, I spent over a year socializing Finn to ensure that he developed the confidence necessary to meet with new people in a wide variety of settings.

Finn came to me with no prior training.  He knew no commands when we began our pursuit of this quest.  We currently set aside time every single day to push the boundaries of our learning.  Finn must show a mastery of a number of commands: come, sit, down, stay, and leave it, for starters.  He will be tested in a number of role playing situations common to what he is likely to encounter during visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities.  Right now, as a part of his preparation, I am focused on immersing Finn into the most common types of experiences he is likely to have when he officially starts his therapy dog work.

You may be wondering what Finn gets out of all of this.  As a mix of two of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, I have found that Finn needs a great deal of stimulation.  He is a combination of working dog breeds.  In my rehabilitation work with rescue dogs, I have seen the importance of providing smart, energetic animals with a job and a purpose.  As a Border collie mix, Finn would normally be involved in herding, or agility, or some form of highly evolved activity engaging both body and mind.  He seems to really enjoy stretching his mental muscles during our training sessions.  Finn's emotional tank also appears to be filled up by all of the attention and affection that comes his way as a result of our interactions with others.

Finn is a whole new dog compared to what he was on the day of his emancipation from the life of a shut-in.  In many ways, I feel his people-whispering nature is what it is due to his having overcome such a barren existence during his early years.  Finn has a way of cracking people's hearts wide open and making them feel things deeply—things that are healthy, and lovely, and healing.  How do I know this?  Well, Dr. Finn began by practicing on me.  A dose of Finn every day has been the best prescription for living a life filled with what matters most.  My desire is to give as many people as possible a taste of this good medicine.

Author's Note: If you enjoy reading about the healing power of animals, you may be interested in my book review about Bella and Jean.  Joy Unleashed tells the story of how they have been transformed while touching lives in beautiful ways.  Another book, Moose! The Reading Dog, will appeal to the children in your life.






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Monday, October 8, 2018

The Robin Revue: Watching Our Baby Robins Hatch

Oh what a show I enjoyed this Spring! I enjoyed an up close and personal seat to a family of baby robins being born. As a nature and animal lover I was in awe of two industrious robins persevering in a city neighborhood to expand their family on my front porch. I usually write reviews on Review This!, but thought this was a revue all could enjoy.


Day 1 What Is On The Porch Light?


As I drove into the driveway I noticed something hanging on the front porch light. Hmmm. The something looked like straw. Upon further investigation I determined the something was dried lawn clippings and a few pieces of string. Hmmm. The light bulb had not quite shown brightly yet.

The light bulb began to glow a wee bit brighter when hours later I drove down the driveway and noticed quite a bit of activity on the porch light; I saw a bird flying to the porch light with a mouthful of string. When I returned hours later I discovered a nicely built nest on top of the porch light. (It took awhile for the light bulb to burn brightly, some days are like that!)


I wasn't sure this would be the best place for a nest - but what do I know. I love all animals, but admit I know little about birds. At this point I wasn't sure what type of birds had built the nest as I had not gotten a good look at the nest. Although the nest looks lopsided and perhaps flimsy the nest was actually anchored around the point of the top of the porch light.

 Mom And Dad Robin Continue Nest Building


The nest became a very popular hangout for Mom and Dad Robin. I had identified the birds as robins and they must have been doing a little internal nest housekeeping with the amount of activity to and from the nest from the trees nearby. I was still questioning if this was a great place for a nest. I tried to look at the location from the robins' point of view. Yes, the nest was high off the ground and well, that was about all I could come up with ...  I thought about not turning the light on at night or what would happen if the light was accidentally turned on? I thought about the UPS deliveries, the dog walkers, the dog who lives in the home of the nest! The porch light did not seem like a great location, but of course I was vested in keeping this nest safe.

As the robins did housekeeping in the nest I found both robins quite nonchalant about the location and the bustling activity in and out the door. I was warned robins could dive bomb you if you are too close to the nest, but these two robins were pretty laid back. Until.... the eggs were laid.

We've Got Robin Eggs


Disclaimer: The photos are not always are not always the best quality as the porch light is 8 feet high and I had to get on a step ladder and then blindly hold out the camera over the top of the nest while trying not to fall off the ladder! 

One egg and Two Newborn Robins


And then there were 3 baby robins. Okay, not exactly the cutest little fuzzballs!



But growing fast!


Starting to get feathers!


Dad Robin Is An Excellent Guard


As Mom robin tended to her duties on the nest it was clear Dad Robin was not going to allow anyone near the nests. He was either in a tree about 50 feet away chirping or on this bush 10 feet away standing guard. If you opened the front door or he saw you approach the front door from the interior through the storm glass he would start shrieking and start dive bombing the door. (Dive bombing bird = not good photos!) I was so curious to see the robins, but did not want to disturb their newborn family or stress the birds. 



Taking photos of the bird nest became a two person challenge. If both birds were gone I would very very quickly try to take a photo.

The Family Of Three Robins Grows


Since I could not see what image I was taking it was always a surprise when I checked the photos.


I can't believe how quick the baby robins grew. The average baby robin takes two weeks to reach the size of their parents. The nest was quickly becoming a tight fit for the three babies.


The babies would hold their heads up and cheep cheep waiting for mom to return.


By ten days old the feathers had grown and it was difficult to find the babies in the nest with all the feathers.



I don't know if there is a runt of the litter in the bird world, but one little robin always seemed to be buried in the nest while two of the babies were adept at sticking their heads up above the nest.


Day 12 brought a nest full of what appeared to be very mature robins. By this time the family had become very territorial of the robins and anxiously checked all day to make sure they were safe. However due to their size it was clear leaving the nest was in the imminent future.

Time To Say Goodbye!


Right on schedule Day 13 brought the departure of the baby robins. I did not want to disturb the robins as we anxiously awaited lift off so did not take any photos. My family kept their distance to nervously watch the departure. It was more of a kerplunk then lift off. Thankfully the exit was a safe kerplunk into the fluffy tree and then the babies and parents flew to the tree about 50 feet away.

Whew! I was definitely vested in this little ole family and was relieved it was a successful journey from egg to exit.
Collage of the birth of baby robins.


All that was left was the nest as a reminder of our time together! As if on cue after the babies exit the nest fell off the porch light on Day 14. 






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Friday, January 26, 2018

Reviewing What We Know About the Red Panda

Reviewing the Red Panda - Endangered Species
Photo © Cynthia Sylvestermouse

One Pretty Baby


I really do love all of the animals at the zoo, but there is just something so sweet about the Red Panda

For one thing, almost any time I see one at the zoo, it is alone.  His solitary existence just seems to tug at my heart.  He is so adorable that I always want to just reach in and grab that little cutie and give it a hug. 

It breaks my heart to know that the Red Panda is endangered.


Red Pandas


Reviewing What We Know About the Red Panda
Photo © Cynthia Sylvestermouse
The beautiful Red Panda lives, eats and sleeps up in a tree. When it is cold, it will wrap itself with its gorgeous furry, ringed tail to keep warm. The Red Panda sleeps mostly during the day and forages for food at night. They eat fruit, berries, acorns, eggs. mushrooms and bamboo.

Because of his lovely red hair, he has also been named a Firefox and because he resembles a domestic cat, he has been called a Bear Cat and even Red Cat. Ironically, the Red Panda is not a bear, it is not a cat and it is not a fox. It is in fact in a family of its own. It is a Ailuride, part of the Musteloidea superfamily which includes the skunk, weasel and raccoon.

This endangered animal is still illegally hunted for his fur and even for his tail, which is considered a good luck charm.


A Few Facts About the Red Panda

  • Weight: 12 - 20 lbs
  • Length: 20 - 26 in.
  • Tail Length: 12 - 20 inches
  • Average Lifespan: 8 years
  • Lives in China, India, Myanmar & Nepal
 

ENDANGERED

This is an especially adorable video of two Red Pandas playing in the snow. You will be able to see for yourself their tremendous ability to climb and hang in a tree and I know you will enjoy watching their antics in the snow as much as I do. 


Where You Can See a Red Panda


Because Red Pandas are endangered, plus they are awesome at camouflaging themselves within tree branches and leaves, it is rare to see one in the wild. However, many zoos care for Red Pandas.  I highly recommend visiting a zoo sometime soon to see a Red Panda in person. I know you will simply fall in love with them!

Be sure to take your camera too!  Once you spot a Red Panda, you will want to memorialize the moment with a snapshot, or perhaps a dozen or more. I always find it difficult to step away from these little sweeties. If he is sleeping, I always want to hang around until he wakes up. If he happens to be awake and moving around, I am simply mesmerized by his ability to slowly climb head first down a tree trunk. Makes me wish I had retractable claws!

Red Panda's on Binders, Mugs & More


I love photographing beautiful animals. Sometimes I offer those photos for sale on Zazzle products. The image of the Red Panda below is offered on several different products, including ornaments, mugs, posters and the featured binder.

 

Zoos That I Know Care for Red Pandas


How about you.  Do you know a zoo that cares for Red Pandas.  If so, please leave the name of the zoo in the guestbook below and I will add it to the list above.  Everyone prefers a zoo near them.  Plus, it is really cool to discover who helps these gorgeous creatures.

Visit AmazingWildAnimals.com 
to Read about More Beautiful and Endangered Animals!


Check Out More Animal Reviews
Here on Review This!



Reviewing What We Know About the Red Panda Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse

           This article was originally published by me in 2009 on a site that is no longer in existence.  




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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review of Facts and Photos of the Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is one of my favorite birds.  They frequently visit my backyard feeders and birdbath and I never get tired of photographing them.  I find both the male and female to be very photogenic.

Fun Facts About the Northern Cardinal

  • State bird of 7 US states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Kentucky
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
  • Diet consists of seeds, insects and berries
  • Also known as redbird
  • Featured as the name of numerous athletic teams including my favorite St. Louis Cardinal baseball team.
  • Beautiful songbirds who sing year round.  Loud whistling song that has many variations including: cheer,cheer,cheer and purty,purty,purty.
  • Male sings to defend nesting territory.
  • Cardinals do not migrate and live their entire lives within a few miles.
  • Cardinal lifespan can be up to 15 years.
Thanks goes to my granddaughter Kate for sharing some of her Cardinal facts with me.

Differences between Male and Female Cardinals


The male Cardinal is perhaps the mostly widely recognized bird in the USA.  Male is completely red except for small black mask and a black chin.  These birds have heavy bills to deal with their diets.

Although the female is duller in color, I think they are equally beautiful.  They are a tawny brown with a small amount of red on the crest, wings and tail.  I love their bright orange/red beak.


Photos of Cardinals in my Backyard

This little guy is all puffed up against the cold winter winds.


I like the look on this Cardinals face.  He seems to be saying "it's my turn here now...stay away!"

Products with Northern Cardinals

Because they are such a colorful and popular birds you can find numerous products that feature cardinals.  A search on Amazon will show you toys, household decorating items and much more.  Here are a couple that caught my eye.

I love this colorful Cardinal trivet.  What a great way to bring this colorful bird into your home.


                                                           
If you are looking for some decorations with Cardinals for your deck or patio this beautiful wind chime is just for you.  I love the sound of chimes in the wind and I'm sure you will love this colorful decoration.
                                       

Cardinal Magnet from my friend Vicki's Zazzle store




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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Look up, Look way Up Suddenly, Migratory Birds are Moving!

The Seasons are Changing and so is everything around us.  Leaves are starting to turn their blazing colors or orange and red, gold and crimson,  The air is thick with movement.  Birds are chattering away and filling themselves up with seeds, butterflies are filling up on nectar and inevitably we know that they will become visions of the past.  Let's Review what kind of Migratory Birds we will be seeing in the skies over the next few weeks, or at least until the snow starts to fly. While we are at it, we will also look at some Fall Fun that we can have with our families.
migratory birds, fall migration, bird flocks, birds getting ready to migrate

What are Migratory Birds?

In the northern hemisphere, we have changing seasons and with those changing seasons we are also treated to changing wildlife around us.  Birds that spend their winter months  in Mexico and Central America and further south are moving north in the spring.  Likewise when it starts to get cooler here, those same birds are now making plans to head back to their southern feeding grounds.  Now not all birds migrate, but many do! In the fall we are treated to some of the nicest color changes that our landscape can offer.  Trees are turning colors and seed production is at an all time high.  Sunflowers are a favorite feeding stop for many migratory birds. They feed on the oily seeds to give them the strength they will need to make the long trip south.  

food for migratory birds, sunflower seeds, oily seeds for bird food,
Oily Sunflower Seeds are a great food source for birds.

What kinds of Birds will you see Migrating?

The list of migratory birds for us is rather long, but you might not see all of these in your area.  Some of the most startling ones are the geese, which fly in their never changing "V" pattern.  If you listen you will hear them before you see them.  All the honking they do to let their own flock know where they are going. Hummingbirds will be visiting all the feeders and emptying them out, they have a long trek in their near future. It's a great time to make sure there is nectar in those feeders.  There are hundreds of different birds that will be migrating and depending on where you live you may or may not see them all.  If you are into Birdwatching, your chances at recognizing which birds are in the air will be a lot better!  A good pair of binoculars and a really good Bird Book will help you become more familiar with the movement in the air.  

If you are interested in a list of all the Migratory Birds of North America, click on that link and Wikipedia will list all the birds that are making their moves in the fall.  Check on both the Eastern and Western areas as some of them will not be seen on one side or the other.  

Family Fun During the Fall


I love watching the birds in the changing seasons.  There is a great opportunity to share with our children and grandchildren, the changes that nature goes through when one season moves into the next.  There is always something to learn.  Family camping trips always highlighted birdwatching and just learning about nature around us. Trees and flowers change too and many children are busy collecting leaves for school projects.  There are some wonderful ideas for Fall learning and things for children to do.  It's not just the birds that they can learn about, it's the changes in nature from the ground right up to the sky.

Now don't forget, when you see the leaves falling down, it's time to Look up, Look way up, you will probably be treated to some migratory birds in your area.  Have you ever seen something so beautiful?


All pictures are from Pixabay.com
If you would like to know more about bird watching you can click on these links and learn more about the wonderful world of Birds and Bird Watching.




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Friday, May 12, 2017

Indoor Dog Gates Reviewed

Indoor Dog Gates Reviewed
As the summer months are fast approaching, I am reminded of how much we need our indoor dog gates once the hot days arrive. 

When we have workmen or company, it is simply too hot to leave the pups outside for more than a few minutes.  Actually, the same is true during the winter months.  Extreme weather conditions of any kind make indoor dog gates essential. 

We have 2 different dog gates that we use regularly in our home.  One that requires hardware mounted on the door facing.  And, one that is held in place by tension.  Both are fabulous dog gates and I can highly recommend either one depending on your preferences. 


Dog Gate with Hardware Required


 Kidco Safeway Gate, Top of Stairs Gate, WhiteThis doggie gate is more secure.  Unless a dog jumps over the gate, they aren't going to get past it.  We have had one dog who was capable of jumping over the gate, but age has slowed that desire and ability.  I am quite certain he could still jump the gate if needed, but he is a really good dog who understands the reason for the gate and tries very hard to be obedient.  To be completely honest, I am reassured to know he could get over it if needed.  After all, the workmen are most often strangers and I am more comfortable having my guard dog only a shout away. 

Features:
  • Metal
  • Adjustable Width to Fit Doorway
  • Locks 
  • Hardware Required (but you only have to install it once, unless you move)
  • Gate Can Be Removed when Not in Use (hardware remains on door facing)
This gate is also fabulous when we have had bad weather and the dogs come in wet.  I can close the gate and they will stay on the tile just inside our back door until they are dry enough to enter the rest of the house. 



Tension Dog Gate 


 Evenflo Position and Lock Tall Pressure Mount Wood GateThe tension dog gate is the one we use when we want the dogs to stay in an area of the house without locking them behind a door.  I have used it many times in the doorway between the kitchen and the den.  It allows them the freedom to move around in a larger area of the house, but to still be limited.  This gate was especially useful when we had our bathroom re-tiled.  That process took several hours over several days.  The dogs were "penned" in the kitchen area where they had access to their food and water all day.  Plus, they had plenty of room to walk around or lay down without being literally on top of each other.

Features:
  • No Permanent Hardware
  • Wood (beware, some dogs will chew wood frame)
  • Location can be Moved to Different Doorways
  • Adjustable Width
Indoor Dog Gates ReviewedWe also use the tension gate at the foot of the stairs when we have overnight guests.  It keeps the pups for going upstairs to visit with our guests.  Trust me, that makes for happier guests and happier dogs!

The downside to this gate is obvious.  Since it is only held in place by tension, a heavier dog, or one who was really persistent, could knock it down.  The few times I have seen that happen, the noise of the gate crashing to the ground stunned the dog momentarily and alerted me instantly that the gate was down.  That allowed me enough time to get the dog and the gate back when they were supposed to be without incident.  Fortunately, our dogs understand the gate is a boundary and they are really good about not crossing the boundary regardless.  I have even been able to simply set the gate against the doorway without locking it into place and they understand to stay on their side.


Indoor Dog Gates 


I have no doubt that these gates have saved our dogs lives on several occasions and saved me a tremendous amount of stress over the years.  Because we have larger breed dogs, I've never felt a kennel was a good option.  I wouldn't want to be trapped in one, therefore, I know my dogs don't want to be locked in a cage where they can't even stand up either.  

The indoor dog gates allow our dogs to be happier, healthier and safer.  They allow us to have the freedom to have our dogs live indoors with us, but be securely contained in safe areas when we have guests.

For all of us in our home, these gates are considered essential and worth the cost.  

To new dog owners, I recommend having these gates as soon as you bring a new puppy home.  It really is best to train them properly from the very beginning.  Puppies are much easier to train than an older dog.  However, I can tell you from experience that an older dog can and will learn the boundaries set by a indoor dog gate if you will simply be patient and give them time.  Like any other form of training, start out with short periods of time and keep them company.  Then work up to longer stretches of time and walk into another room for a few minutes.  They will learn that they are safe and that you are coming back.  It just takes time and gentle effort! 



 
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Indoor Dog Gates Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Preparing for Winter's Backyard Birds

Backyard Bird World

It's time to review how to prepare your backyard for those charming birds that will spend the Winter months with us. It's not a difficult job, but it's a fun time to share the chores with children. Once the preparation is complete, you and the kids will enjoy a chance to see many different types of birds, even in the snow.
 
 
 
 

A Simple Preparation Process


Preparation for the Winter birds in your backyard involves a few easy chores.
  • Clean out birdbaths
  • Empty and clean all of your bird feeders
  • Repair or replace any damaged bird feeders
  • Fill feeders with a winter mix of seeds
Before you put away your outdoor hose, it's a good time to clean out your bird baths. Use a scrub brush on any concrete or porous surface baths in order to get any debris left. Then fill the bird bath with fresh water. And that chore is done.

Next tackle your bird feeders (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-watching/window-bird-feeders/). Make sure to empty any old feed and seed hulls. Clean them by either washing in mild soapy water, rinsing well, or wipe clean with a damp cloth.  This is the perfect time to check for any damage. Cracks in a bird feeder will only get worse with freezing temperatures. Repair the ones you can, but replace those you can't.

The last step is the most fun. Fill your bird feeders with good appropriate seed mixes. There are many options available on the market. Some are designed for all seasons, some are designed just for the winter months. So choose which is best for the birds that enjoy your backyard.

A Word About Birdhouses in Winter


Personally, I refrain from even touching my bird houses once they securely in place. Many of my backyard birds return to the same nest in the same house year after year. They handle repairing the nest as needed. I don't want to add my human scent to their protected baby-rearing home.

Choose a New Bird Feeder


www.Backyard Bird World
If I don't need to replace a bird feeder, then I choose a new one just to offer more feeding stations for my backyard birds. My favorite is a window feeder. I have several already, but adding another one just makes viewing the Winter birds easier.

Window feeders are mounted to the outside of your window with suction cups. Most are very easy to remove for cleaning and refilling. Once it's filled with food, the birds have no problem finding it.

So take a little time to prepare your backyard (www.backyardbirdworld.com/bird-houses-feeders/get-your-birdfeeders-ready-for-fall) for the birds that will share Winter with you. The chores are not difficult and it's a great time to show children the value of backyard birds. Make it an annual family event.


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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Are Rope Tug Toys Good For a Dog's Teeth?

Will your dogs have healthier teeth if they play with rope tug toys? Evidence in our family says the answer is "yes."
Jacey shows off her healthy teeth
and beautiful smile.
Reviewing Rope Tug Toys for Dogs


It's sad when a young family member has problems with their teeth, even when that family member happens to be a beloved family pet. Case in point, as our gorgeous grandpup Adrian has aged (she's nine now) she's developed major problems with her teeth. Despite consuming treats meant to clean teeth, she's had an abscessed tooth and even had to have a few teeth pulled. These days she's scheduled for frequent doggy-dental checkups and cleanings to monitor her dental health.

Enter Jacey. She's our youngest grandpup, a gentle giant at 11 months, 120-plus pounds and still growing. Jacey has perfect teeth, beautiful and white with a pretty smile that matches her easy-going, happy disposition. And while Jacey is much younger than Adrian, our grandpups' mommy (daughter-in-law Mandy) insists that what has kept Jacey's teeth so white and healthy, and what she expects to keep those teeth healthy throughout Jacey's life, is her knotted-rope tug toys. These toys have always been her favorite, toys that she carries around with her and chews on frequently. Mandy believes that it's the flossing action of the rope as it's chewed that has kept Jacey's teeth so white, clean, and healthy.

Adrian never played with rope tug toys. Jacey always has. Guess which dog has healthy teeth.
Adrian, with her summer haircut, and Jacey,
hanging out on the deck.

Growing up, Adrian never really played with a rope tug toy (or a "tug flosser," as Mandy calls it). If Adrian had played with a tug flosser, would she be having the dental problems that she has now? Mandy believes that she would not and wishes after every expensive vet visit (doggy dental care isn't cheap) that Adrian had been raised playing with a rope tug toy, too, like her sister Jacey.

I've read articles that back up the theory that rope tug toys are very effective for cleaning a dog's teeth. Many manufacturers of rope toys for dogs make that claim as well.



The makers of this Nylabone DuraToy Dental Knot rope tug toy recommend their toy specifically for your dog's dental health. While it's the design of the Nylabone that is made to clean a dog's teeth, the rope also serves as a flosser. It's even flavored with mint! Brush and floss daily. Good advice even for our pets.

Have a puppy or a tiny breed? This little Kong Goodie Bone with rope would be an excellent product to try with your little dog. It's a great introduction to tugging as a game and a very good way to get your dog started with its own tug flosser in order to keep its teeth nice and clean. (Note that many people prefer the Kong brand because their products are made in the United States.)


There are many other rope tug toys or chew toys to choose from. Check out ValuePet's selection of dog rope toys here. If you prefer just a rope tug toy that doesn't include a rubber or nylon chew toy with it, you might be able to find one for your dog at your local Walmart store. Or choose from Walmart's online selection of dog rope toys. Be sure to choose a toy in the size that best fits the dog. If she's a puppy, replace her small rope toy with a bigger one as she grows.


Are Rope Toys Safe for Dogs?


That's a good question, one that's important to address. The answer involves parental discretion and knowing your dog and its habits. While most of the time dogs do just fine with rope tug toys, I have read cases of dogs pulling out the thin strings that make up a rope, swallowing those strings, and facing serious issues within their digestive tracts as a result. Some have needed surgery; others have suffered even worse consequences. That's why, in our household, we don't use rope toys for our dog, Daisy. She loves to use her teeth to pull toys apart (especially if there's a squeaker involved) and is more likely than not to swallow the pieces. So we use extreme discretion when it comes to her toys. However, that's just Daisy and none of the dogs we've had in the past have had the issue of eating their toys.

I definitely plan on trying a rope tug toy for any dog that comes into our lives in the future, but I would only allow the dog, especially if it's a puppy, to chew on any new toy under strict supervision. That's advice I would recommend to any pet owner. Learn your dog's habits and choose toys accordingly.

Will your dogs have healthier teeth if they regularly play with rope tug toys? Probably. No one can guarantee it, but Mandy assures us that this method has worked for them and I believe it. It definitely could work for your dog, too.

~ Susan
Read more of my reviews here.

(Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.)

Personal photos ©A. Deppner, all rights reserved

Jacey says, "Give your dogs rope tug toys to help maintain their healthy smiles."
Jacey says, "Give your dogs rope tug toys to help maintain their healthy smiles!"




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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Reviewing Earthbath Totally Natural Pet Shampoo

What do I believe is the best shampoo for dogs with dry, itchy skin? Earthbath Totally Natural Pet Shampoo with oatmeal and aloe. Here's my review.
When our dog, Daisy, was just a young pup, she suffered terribly from itchy skin. While she scratched, we researched and consulted with friends, as well as the vet, searching for a solution. Eventually, we found help for that dryness, itching, and irritation from scratching in the form of a product that we still use today, eight years later. What do we believe is the best shampoo for dogs with dry, itchy skin? Earthbath Totally Natural Pet Shampoo with oatmeal and aloe. Oh, what a difference and what a relief!

Daisy likes to sit in the grass, observing nature all around her, and we think the combination of bugs and grass, along with summer heat, tend to trigger her occasional episodes of excessive licking and scratching. As I write this it's early July and, just recently, the symptoms occurred once again. So this past weekend we hooked up the hose, grabbed the trusty bottle of Earthbath Oatmeal and Aloe and put it to work.

Besides the fact that the shampoo does such a great job at relieving her itching, we love using it because it smells wonderful and, while it's softening her skin and coat, it makes our hands soft, too. Today, almost a week after her recent bath, her coat still feels soft and she still smells good, too.

When we bathe Daisy we're liberal with the shampoo, but a 16-ounce bottle of Earthbath Totally Natural Pet Shampoo goes a long way and lasts a long time. Earthbath makes a variety of shampoos, even a version for cats and one for puppies, and you can choose based on your favorite scent or ingredients. Oatmeal baths are known for relieving itchy skin and aloe, of course, helps skin heal, so this version is perfect for our dog's needs. The ingredients are all natural, as the name implies, including the almond and vanilla essences that give it such a wonderful fragrance.

While I can't promise that the same shampoo will heal your dog's skin issues, the makers claim that it is safe, gentle, and effective. Based on our experiences, I have to agree with them 100 percent. This is a top-rated product, awarded 4.6 stars overall by over 1500 users on Amazon.com.

I hope Earthbath products are around forever because I plan on being a customer for life. That's how much I love this pet shampoo.

Where To Buy Earthbath Products


If you're an Amazon Prime customer, you'll find the best price for Earthbath's products on Amazon. If you don't have Prime, then order your Earthbath shampoo on eBay to save money on shipping. Look for more Earthbath products here, including conditioners and grooming wipes for dogs and cats.

~ Susan
Read more of my reviews

Photo above property of the author.


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