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By Warrnambool City Council (Maremmas Tula and Eudy) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Dogs protect penguins on Middle Island, Victoria, Australia

By Marilyn Miller

Who doesn’t love penguins? The flippered, flightless seabirds are just so cute with their goofy little waddling walk and their love of being tickled by humans. Climate changes may be threatening the population, but on Middle Island, Victoria, Australia, the threat was different: foxes (introduced to the island by guess who — humans.) and humans. Foxes find penguins to be a fine dinner, and humans heedlessly crush the eggs and breeding grounds under their big booted feet.

In the early 2000s, foxes and tourism on Middle Island were eroding the numbers of Little Penguins, so named because they are the smallest penguin, running about two pounds. Local authorities worried about extinction, justifiably so, because by 2005, there were only ten Little Penguins left on the island. However, a local chicken farmer reported successfully using guard dogs of a specific breed, the Maremma, to keep the foxes from killing his chickens.

Authorities adopted a two-pronged action plan. They closed the island to tourism (you can now schedule a supervised tour) and they brought in the Maremmas.

Result: success. As of 2015, there were more than 500 Little Penguins on the island.

Maremma dogs, also known as Italian sheepdogs, are big (about 100 pounds) with a lot of dense, long, harsh hair covering a thick undercoat. They are intelligent, loyal, and moderately affectionate, but they are determined (that is to say, stubborn) and are not for the amateur dog lover. Exceptionally skillful training is required. They need a lot of exercise and a lot of space, and don’t do well in hot weather. This is a working dog.

The dogs on Middle Island work five days a week during the penguin’s breeding season, and the rest of the time are on-shore, cared for, exercised, trained, and loved. They provide educational opportunities for tourists as well.

Let’s hear it for the dogs, and for the human authorities who took a chance on an unusual idea and in so doing, saved a little bit of the world.

For more information look here!

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Running with your dog in winter.

Jogging with the dog in the parkBy Marilyn Miller

Happy New Year! So you’ve resolved to get back into shape, get back into those jeans, rediscover that six-pack that’s hidden under the natural consequences of eating pecan pie and mashed potatoes with gravy. Good for you!

It’s only natural that you want your best friend to come along with you. For companionship. For the exercise. For safety. For the fun of watching your dog flash you that grin.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind, however, before you head out onto the cold, icy trail.

  • First, not all dogs are meant to run. Dogs with short legs, or dogs with those cute little smushed in noses are not going to be able to tolerate running. Senior dogs. They’ll try. They’ll run their sweet little bodies into exhaustion for loyalty and love of you. Check with your vet first to see if your dog is safe for running.
  • Second, start slowly. If the most exercise you’ve accomplished in the past couple of months is lifting the TV remote, for the sake of your own health as well as your dog’s, start slowly. Look into a “Couch to 5K” program; there are several online.
  • It’s best if your dog takes care of its bladder and bowel needs before running. Hey, you make a pit stop before going out, and your dog is no different.
  • Salt is everywhere this time of year and can damage your dog’s feet, causing nasty ulcers. It can also cause stomach irritation if the dog licks it off. If your dog will wear booties, great. If not, there are waxes (Musher’s Secret is a favorite) and other products you can use to protect those precious little jelly bean toes. If all else fails, you can have the dog walk through clean snow to remove some of the residue, and then clean their paws with a damp cloth when you get home. It helps, too, to clip extra fur away from between their toes so that ice doesn’t collect there.
  • With all that extra exercise, your dog may need more food. Ask your vet about extra ration or treats, especially if your dog is a little overweight. If you’re willing to chow down a nutrition bar that tastes like autumn leaves held together with a little soap, then you know your dog is hungry, too.
  • Carry water for the dog. While you’re at it, carry water for yourself. Cold air is often dry air, and you’ll get dehydrated more easily than you might think.
  • Plan rest days. You need them and your dog needs them, too. Running every day, unless the dog is used to it and in top form, can cause injuries, including inflamed ligaments and tendons and even fractures.

Follow a few safety tips, have fun, and enjoy that feeling of accomplishment while spending time with the one who loves you unconditionally.

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Gift Ideas for Pets

By Lyndsay Marvin

The holidays are almost here! If you’re anything like us, you love to spoil your pets. It’s always fun watching them sniff their little gift boxes while trying to rip them open. To make holiday shopping easier, we put together a list of great gifts for dogs and cats. Of course don't forget BOGO Bowl foods - they're the gift that gives year round!

FOR THE DOGS

PupJoy Subscription Box1: PupJoy Subscription
PupJoy is pawsome because boxes are customized by and for you so your furry family gets exactly what they want! We're big fans.

 

 

 

Kong Cozies2: KONG Cozies, Marvin the Moose, stuffed toy
KONG is a pet and pet-parent favorite. Marvin the Moose comes in multiple sizes, and he is stuffed with a squeaker and fluff.

 

 

Sculpey3: Sculpey Keepsake Deluxe Pawprint Kit
This keepsake pawprint kit is perfect for both dogs and cats. There’s no better way to remember your pet by taking a clay mold of their paw prints. Plus, you can hang it on the tree as an ornament!

 

 

Winter Paws Boots4: Winter Paw Protector Dog Boots Waterproof Soft Sole and Nonslip Set of 4 Color Black
These booties are perfect for winter. They protect your dog’s paws from snow, rain, and the cold. They have a reflective stripe, which is great for making sure people see your pup. They are great year-round, too, when the cement is really hot in the summer!

 

Einstein Organic Pet Treats5: Einstein Pets Organic Pet Treats
Most dogs love treats, that much is known. These gourmet cookies are great for the holidays because they are Christmas-themed! They come in a cute gift box, as well.

 

 

Crunchkins Edible Card6: Crunchkins Edible Holiday Card
For dogs who love to chew what could be more fun than their very own card?

 

 

 

Puppy Scoops7: Puppy Scoops Ice Cream Mix for Dogs: Maple Bacon - Add Water and Freeze at Home
The idea of doggy ice cream is really cute. Humans love ice cream; why can’t dogs have their own, too?! Plus, it’s incredibly easy to make.

 

 

sweatshirt8: Tzou Adidog Hoodie Pet Clothes Dog Sweatshirt
It’s a fact that the weather is getting colder. It’s important to make sure your pooch is warm! We love this Adidog hoodie; it’s cute and efficient!

 

 

FOR THE CATS

meowbox1: MeowBox Subscription
Cats need subscription love too! This is a monthly subscription box for cats filled with fun unique cat toys and healthy goodies for your kitty.

 

 

catisgood2: Cat Is Good 12 Piece "Pounce on It" Gift Pack
This gift pack is perfect for cats. It contains 12 toys; all of which your kitty will love!

 

 

 

catit3: Catit Relaxation
This cool contraption offers 360° of relaxation for your cat! It massages your kitty, and there’s a hidden compartment for catnip. They’ll love it!

 

 

 

paws-cat4: PAWZ Road Pet Cat Happy Christmas Gift Set
This stocking is perfect for Christmas: you can hang it on the mantle just like your human stockings! Your cat won’t feel left out. It’s full of toys so your kitty will be happy!

 

 

 

catamazing5: Cat Amazing - Best Cat Toy Ever! Interactive Treat Maze & Puzzle Game for Cats
This interactive treat maze and puzzle game is great for entertaining your kitty. They will love it! It will keep them engaged for hours. Okay maybe not that long, but long enough to keep them from jumping in your Christmas tree!

 

 

zenden6: Kitty Zen Den
If this came in human size we'd probably get ourselves one, too! Warm. Snuggly. Mmmm....

 

 

 

pectue7: Pecute Cat Hammock Kitten Hanging Hammock Bed Pad Pet Cat Cage Comforter
Does your cat like to lounge around? Who are we kidding, of course they do! This hanging hammock bed fits perfectly in the cat’s cage. Now they can lounge in style!

 

 

cat-tunnel8: Cat Tunnel Toy - 3 Way Fun Run to Keep Kitty Entertained, Exercising and Playing Games
Want a great way to keep your cat entertained? This cat tunnel toy is perfect! It folds up easily, so it won’t take up too much space.

 

 

Any of these would be a great gift for your fur baby. We hope you have a great holiday season!

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