Heartfelt mission by high school student & her rescue dog

Hi Humans,

This week’s special guest on the blog is a high school student from Connecticut named Annie. She wrote to us such a beautiful email, in which she explains in detail her work for sheltered dogs, and ones with heart-worm disease. Thanks for sending this, Annie!

Dear Dog TV,

My name is Annie Blumenfeld and I am 15 years old from Connecticut. I came
across your wonderful pet blog & Facebook page and I would love to share
with you my story and hopefully you can help me bring more attention to

About two years ago my family rescued our dog Teddy from Houston, Texas. It
was discovered he had a serious case of heartworm disease.
He was left inactive in a crate for 2 months, with many vaccinations, and
X-Rays. It broke my heart to see that he could not simply understand why he
was in his situation and that he could not play with any of his other
friends. It was such a painful, expensive, and long process that could have
been easily avoided with a monthly preventive.
After seeing my dog’s suffering I was curious to see if heartworm disease is
common. I discovered more than one million dogs in the United States
currently have heartworm disease and 45% are unprotected. In fact, it is
present in Canada, Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom. So, in an
effort to spread heartworm disease awareness and at the same time help
support shelter animals’ medical needs I founded a non-profit 501 (c) 3
organization called Wags 4 Hope. It is where where I combine my love of
painting together with my passion for helping animals.

I sell my artwork and give all of the proceeds to animal shelters to help
pay for their medical expenses till they find their forever homes. To learn
more about my mission and ways that I have been spreading awareness please
visit www.wags4hope.org.

I would be so honored for any help you can provide in sharing my story as
April is National Heartworm Disease Awareness month. It would would awesome
if people can click “like” on my wags4hope FB page & share with others
together we can help fight heartwom disease in our furry friends.

Thank you so much for your time!


Annie Blumenfeld



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1000 Portraits, Dogs in Rescue

Hi Humans,

Today’s guest blogger is a very talented painter. Her name is Kathryn Sjogren, and she’s currently painting 1000 portraits of dogs in or from the rescue system.  The goal is to raise awareness of dog rescue and the variety of breeds available in rescue.

This is her story. 

For the past year or so, I’ve been painting small portraits of dogs in and from rescueI’ve been doing this with the eventual goal of having completed 1,000. Once done, the portraits will combine into a mural 40 inches tall and 25 feet long. I hope to raise awareness of rescue.

The idea is fairly simple. There is absolutely no shortage of personality and diversity in the world of the canine. I try to capture a portion of that variety, celebrate their world, and tie the whole thing into the value of dog rescue. In particular, people should know that every personality and breed can be found within the rescue system.


Dog rescue has always been dear to my heart. It started when I was a child and my family rescued a dachshund mix which some family friends couldn’t keep. The husband had surprised his wife with the puppy while she was recovering from surgery, but she wasn’t happy about it. Teary-eyed, he gave Sugar to my family. She was my companion from age 8 through early adulthood.

Now I live with Dana, my rescued greyhound. I adopted her after returning from a year in England volunteering with a home for individuals with developmental disabilities. Suddenly, I was living alone, all three of my sons had moved far away, and the silence in my place was palatable. I tended to stay inside. Another artist friend had a greyhound which I had always found really sweet in her gentle aloofness.


Dana was on her second round in the rescue system after having been returned. Her second round lasted around 2 years. We were matched up in 2007 and now I can hardly imagine life without her. In that time, I have advocated for greyhound adoption and supported dog rescue. It was only in the last couple years that I really decided to put my talents and experience to the effort.

Dog rescue is a truly wonderful thing.


Your rescue will love you like no one else could. There is hardly a dog in the rescue system who’s life would not be improved by adoption. There is hardly a person out there who’s life would not be improved by the love a dog gives their family.

This is what my project is about.  At the moment the effort is a private endeavor which has not achieved much funding or support (I’m hoping to change that soon).  I’m always looking for individuals willing to help the project along.  The easiest way to do so is by purchasing a commission.  At the moment, though, I’m not even sure where the final mural might one day go.  But I have a lot of portraits to complete before that is a concern.  The project is happening.  Support just helps it happen a little quicker.


As a teaching artist, I would love to eventually create an arts-inclusion awareness program based on this project.  A mural created out of portraits by 1000 individuals, all taking a moment to appreciate our canine friends, would be an unimaginable accomplishment.  For now, though, item one on my to-do list is finishing 1000 portraits of rescue dogs myself.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to hear my story and DogTV for allowing me to share it.  May all your travels be accompanied by a friend, canine or otherwise.

You can learn more about my project and see a lot more of the work at  Katsjogren.com/1000Dogs.

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My journey, my dream

Hi Humans,

As always – a new week, a new post. Boy I love Mondays! (well, not really…).

Today I have a very special guest blogger. His name is Cari, he’s from China, and he’s about to start his dream journey in a couple of days: cycle around the world with his dog Harry. He emailed me his story, and I was deeply moved by it, I knew I had to share it with you.

This is his story.


My name is Cari. I’m a dream-seeker, I like nature,animals, cycling and Photography.

I am planning a round-the-world cycling trip with my dog Harry. It will be a cross-intercontinental journey that covers Asia, Europe and North America. The whole cycling trip covers about 15500 miles. Starting at 312 national road in Shanghai, on the east coast of China, we will cross the mainland of China. We will then travel the Ancient Silk Road and arrive in the Middle East. Next we will pass the Balkans and enter Europe. Next is the Aegean Sea, through the Mediterranean to the Apennine peninsula, On to Central Europe, around Scandinavia, into the North Atlantic, along the west coast of the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Alps. Now across the Atlantic Ocean we go and arrive on the East Coast of the United States. We then travel across the US to the West coast and finally we return to the starting point in Shanghai. I will travel through 23 countries, including China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece, Italy, the Vatican, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Switzerland and the United States.

June 2012, Harry and me went on our longest journey, 70 days. It started from SuZhou City, covering 8,000 miles; we went to ChengDu City, cycled on the SiChuan-Tibet Highway. We ran into mudslides, hail, heavy rain, lack of oxygen but finally arrived at Everest then Nepal. After a ride through the Qaidam Basin, Hoh Xil, Qinghai-Tibet line to go back to Suzhou, we completed the most important journey in our lives.

On the way, we will stop by the animal rescue centers to see the homeless dogs. I appealed to people observe and help the school and food deprived children from poverty area Western China. It to ride a bike in the form of more people concerned about the low carbon travel, actively promote the choice of a healthy low-carbon way to travel. Not only to share our travel stories with you but also spread the meaning of the journey. I hope can more and more people who need help. Hope more and more attention and help them. We don’t have much savings  but we have brave hearts to climb mountains, and to breathe thin air. We always have faith and nothing can stop our hearts from realizing our dreams.

I invite you to visit my blog here or write to me at harry8cari@gmail.com.

I hope people can help this charity cycling.


Cari & Harry

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Pet Travel Tips For Spring

Hi Humans!

As always we begin our week with a new post with everything you need to know about dogs and DOGTV.

Today’s special guest blogger is Andy Smit, Co Founder and CEO of Furlocity. Andy writes about pawesome travel tips for you and your dog.



The winter gear is gone and we’re getting ready for the outdoors of spring. Here are some pet travel tips for spring to make a rewarding and fun experience for the entire family without all the stress and hiccups. Whether you decide to take a car, recreational vehicle (RV), train or plane its important to know these transportation modes weren’t designed with our dog in mind. By planning your travel ahead of time, you can be sure you know what to expect when reaching your final destination. Have a more enjoyable trip this spring knowing that your pet will be safe if you follow these pet travel tips.


By Car


The first thing that comes to mind when traveling with your pets is to ensure that your furry family member has plenty of exercise prior to taking to the road. This is very important if you decide to crate your pet for the trip and can mean the difference between your pet getting very stressed or being comfortable. If you’re not using the crate or carrier, make sure your pet is properly secured by harness and never attach a restraining device to a pet’s collar.


Be sure to make frequent stops to walk your pet and give them a potty break. When making human stops, be sure to not leave your pet in the car alone even if the window is lowered. If this your pet’s first time traveling by car, short trips are recommended to let your pet adjust to this new mode of travel.


Do not allow your pet to stick his head outside the window because close objects can strike your pet and cause serious harm or even death. Also, flying dirt, rocks and other objects can get into your pet’s ears, nose, eyes and throat so keep your pet inside and safe.


Cars can get hot very quickly and your pet can easily get dehydrated. Give your pets plenty to drink but avoid feeding your pets too much during the trip as they can be prone to motion sickness.





Before heading to your destination, make sure you call ahead and see if your pet is allowed on the premises. Just because a place is “pet-friendly”, not all places will accept your pet’s breed, type, or size. Lizards, birds, and exotic pets may not be accepted in certain places.


Bring a carrier in case your pet is not use to the size of the RV. Plus, there’s furniture that may be in your RV that Fido can run into and cause harm to himself. It’s necessary to have your dog restrained to avoid harm during a sudden stop or accident.


Do not lock your pet inside without proper air flow. Temperatures inside an RV can rise fast during spring and summer and can cause a heat stroke. If you have to leave your pet inside the RV by itself, make sure your pet has proper air ventilation with water.

Traveling By Train


Traveling by train is often an option that will save you dollars in your purse or wallet, especially if you are traveling with pets. Train travel is also typically less stressful on pets than flying since they can usually sit with or near you, rather than in the cargo hold. However, don’t be surprised if the train operator in which you plan to travel does not allow pets on its trains. If you are, in fact, permitted to take pets on the train, you will not only need to prepare yourself for the trip, but also your pets. Research or contact your local train operator and find out if your pet is permitted on board. Some operators only allow service pets so be well informed on which operator you choose.


When you do find the right train operator for you and your pet, you will most likely need a carrier, a leash, a muzzle, and present up-to-date rabies and vaccination certificates when boarding the train. If your pet is fairly large and takes up an extra seat, you may need to pay another fee or a ticket to have your pet on board with you. Also, bring treats and anything that can keep your pet happy and safe during travel.


Taking Your Dogs On An Airplane


The first thing to do when taking your pup on an airline with you is to ensure that your know the policies ahead of time. Since all airlines differ based on Domestic or International travel, it’s important to contact the airline directly to help better understand what is expected. It’s important to book your dog’s ticket as soon as possible because most airlines only allow one or two dogs on each flight. Make sure there is a “seat” available for your dog on the flight and then purchase your own ticket. When booking, try to purchase a non-stop flight. This will cause less stress on you and your pet especially if your pet is in a cargo hold during the spring season. Also, some airlines also require a health certificate and when traveling internationally, a pet passport may be required to ensure vaccination are up to date. Before going on your trip with your pet, feed your pet a few hours before flight and play with your pet before boarding.


Regardless of how you arrive, go for a long walk with your pet before you check-in your final destination. Get ready for a lot of sunshine because your pet is ready for the travels and the adventures of spring!


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5 Fun Things To Do With Your Dog

Hi Humans, 

We have a very special guest on our blog this week. Her name is Kate McQuillan, and she is the owner at Pet Sitters Ireland, Providing Superior Pet Care Since 2010. Click here for more information about them.

Owning a dog is a big responsibility. If you own a dog you will know that they rely on you for everything. Having a dog is much more than just providing a nice meal and a comfy bed, they need both mental and physical stimulation to prevent them from becoming board.

So much like we enjoy doing fun activities it’s important that we make sure our dogs get to do plenty of fun things that they enjoy.

So what things can you do with your dog to keep them entertained?

#1. Go for a walk or hike. All dogs love to go for a walk. It’s not just about the physical exercise that they need daily, but they also need the chance to spend one-on-one time with you and also interact with other dogs. They love all the different sounds and smells, and will enjoy stopping and sniffing at every tree!

If you can find a park or hiking area that allows your dog off the lead then this is a great form of social interaction for them. You can play games with them, throw a Frisbee and maybe do some obedience training while you are there.

Why not make it a fun day trip. Lots of dogs love to go on a trip in the car – once you make sure they are buckled up safely then it can be a fun day out for the whole family. Don’t forget to take treats, water and poop bags!

#2. Play fetch. Sometimes the weather can be bad or you just want to do something in between walks to keep your dog entertained. So fetch is a great game to play in the backyard with your dog. Dogs can spend hours chasing and fetching a ball. It’s also an activity you can play in the house on a rainy day – just make sure you move those breakables!

You don’t just have to play fetch with a ball; there are lots of different toys on the market that make great items to play fetch with. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on toys then a rolled up pair of socks make a great game of fetch!

#3. Agility. This is a great activity for dogs that have plenty of energy to burn. As their handler you navigate the agility course with them and allow your dog to develop their natural instincts by running through a series of obstacles.

You can create your own agility course with tunnels and jumps, or you may find a class you can attend in your area. It will create a great bond with your dog and it’s a great way for you and your dog to shift a few pounds!

If you want to get serious about it then you can also enter competitions. The most important thing though is that your dog enjoys it.

#4. Dog Training. This can be so rewarding and is a great way to spend time with your dog. Teaching them to sit, stay, fetch creates a fantastic bond between you and your dog. If you spend time with your dog when they are young training them the basics then you will have a much more fulfilling relationship with them. It gets a little harder as they get older to train them – so best to start early.

It’s a great feeling the first time they sit for you, or they give their paw – totally worth the effort and your dog will enjoy it too!

#5. Take A Vacation. You can always take your dog with you on a vacation. More and

more places are becoming dog friendly, as hotels, restaurants and bars realise that pet owners want to spend time away with their pets.

Make sure you check out the facilities that the hotel offers – do they have a garden area, do they provide beds, what kind of meals do they offer for dogs? Remember to take some of your dog’s favourite things to make them feel comfortable in their new surroundings – things like their favourite blanket or toy.

If you plan to do activities while you are away, check that they are dog friendly. If not, you may want to consider hiring the services of a dog walker while you are out during the day. Lots of companies also offer pet sitting in hotels, so you could have a professional come and play with your dog if the activity you doing is not suitable for them.

These are just a few of the ways that you can enjoy time with your dog. What do you like to do with your four legged friend. Let us know in the comments below!


Thanks, Kate!!

I invite you all to free download a great E-BOOK about pet sitting and dog walking, by Pet Sitters Ireland.


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Dogs at the movies

Hi Humans,

So, did you watch the Oscars? Are you happy with the results and with Cate Blanchett’s dress?

Unlike some of the past ceremonies, no dogs were found on the red carpet this year.

However, this is a great opportunity to remember some of the best dog movies in Hollywood history. See which ones of the following you’ve watched!

One of my personal favorites is Hachiko, with Richard Gere. You know this one: The story of the Akita dog remembered for his remarkable loyalty to his owner, even many years after his owner’s death.

During my recent visit in Tokyo, I, like many others, took a picture with the statue of Hachiko, placed near the Shibuya train station, where he was waiting for his parent to return.







I wish you a great week with lots of pup-corn!!


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A few words about dogs – and your TV screen…

An interesting article from the Australian press…

Hi Humans,
When discussing DOGTV, and other television networks, many people tend to ask about the way dogs actually see what’s on the screen. “Can they see it clearly?”, “We heard the screen is flickering” etc. These are great question we receive often, so here’s a short explanation.

When we look at a picture on tv or a film in the cinema, it seems that we’re seeing a complete flowing image, but actually what we’re looking at is lots of individual frames. They seem to flow together because our eyes don’t notice the change between one image to the next. The speed of changing one frame to another is determined by the rate of CFF (Critical Flicker Frequency). For humans, the CFF is around 50-60hz, which means that we are able to see the picture smoothly.

Dogs see the world much faster: their flicker fusion rate may be as high as 70 to 80hz, which means that when they watch an old CRT television, that refreshes at the rate of 50 to 60 hz, they see flickering images instead of continuous motion pictures.

But technology now enables dogs to view and watch television.

With LED, LCD and plasma televisions, the refresh rate is much higher (100 hz and more), which means that digital television enables dogs to see programs the same as you and me. And, after 4+ years of observing dogs watching DOGTV programming, we’re certain they not only see what’s on TV – but they enjoy it, too!

(Weird, but In the UK, apparently dogs enjoy watching “Eastenders”!. go figure..)




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Aromatherapy to calm your dog


Hi Humans, 

Today’s guest blogger is Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and the creator of the Earth Heart natural aromatherapy remedies for pets.

Aromatherapy to calm your dog.

Dogs love to smell things. They get a clear picture of their world through smell, and their odor acuity is 10,000 to 100,000 times that of humans!  Scent is also connected to the limbic brain, the seat of memory, emotion and learning, and so aromatherapy has the potential to calm your dog as well as facilitate bonding and behavior change.

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using aromatic plants to restore or enhance health and well-being. Pure essential oils are the heart of aromatherapy, and their complex compounds are extracted from all parts of plants: flower, seed, leaf, bark, root or resin. Scientific studies in Germany and France regarding the medical effects of essential oils on animals and humans were quite advanced by the mid-1800s, and because of positive clinical results, the practice of veterinary aromatherapy was not uncommon in these countries by the mid-1900s.

Many essential oils, including lavender, rose geranium and bergamot, are known to have relaxing effects, and can be safely used to calm your dog, too.  Pure essential oils are highly concentrated (200 pounds of lavender tops are distilled to make one pound of lavender essential oil) and so it is accepted practice to dilute essential oils to avoid sensitization, skin irritation or overwhelming the dog’s sense of smell. It’s important to read labels and be sure products use pure essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance oils that can cause problems such as headaches, agitation or allergic reactions.


In 1999, I was approached by a kennel owner who wanted help with calming her canine visitors. The blend now known as Canine Calm is diluted by using fan-driven diffusers throughout the facility and is also applied to individual dogs in a water-based mist. Diffusing Canine Calm has an overall calming effect, starting in the waiting room – staff stays calm, dogs (and their humans) start to calm down, and other animals in the facility area are less prone to aggressive behavior when a new dog enters the facility.


Pure essential oils have a therapeutic physiological effect and enter the bloodstream when inhaled or applied to the skin. There are many blood vessels on the dog’s outer ears, and so gently massaging the aromatherapy mist into the outer ears gets things moving quickly, although depending on the dog’s health or level of distress, multiple applications may be necessary.


Thinking back to the limbic connection, it can be important for the first exposure to take place at a non-stressful time. For example, when introducing an aromatherapy mist, lightly mist your shirt or pant legs and hang out with your dog to see how the dog responds, and to associate the scent with a person of comfort at a safe time. Use it during training for quick calm focus and then to set the stage at home for practice; for making an easier transition from shelter to forever home; for scenting a familiar object such as a blanket or pillow to leave with the home-alone dog, a scent that reminds the dog of a person of comfort; for bonding with a new puppy (of note, the mists are safe for puppies as young as 8 weeks old).

I love receiving feedback from our customers. My current favorite Canine Calm success story is about a Jack Russell, who is afraid of vacuum cleaners and always runs away when the groomer needs to clean up. The groomer recently tried Canine Calm and left her dog for about 15 minutes; when she returned, the dog was chatting with the vacuum cleaner, holding the hose in her mouth! There are rumors of a video, which we are anxiously awaiting!



Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, is the creator of the Earth Heart natural aromatherapy remedies for pets. Vicki founded Earth Heart over 20 years ago to teach families and professionals how to safely and effectively use herbs and essential oils in daily life. Earth Heart Inc. has a long-standing reputation for providing high quality wellness products using pure essential oils and other plant-based ingredients to help dogs live happier, healthier lives. Giving back is part of the Earth Heart brand, offering a Nonprofit Partner Program designed to help dog-related organizations raise much needed funds to help dogs in need. Earth Heart products have been given special recognition by top consumer and trade magazines, noted dog blog sites, radio programs, and are recommended by dog lovers, trainers, veterinarians, groomers, and kennel owners. The full line of Earth Heart products, including Canine Calm, Travel Calm, Guard Well and Buzz Guard, are also available for purchase through online and retail stores throughout the US and Canada, via the Earth Heart website  and by calling 847-551-1806.






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Winter Dogs Need To Move

Winter Dogs Need To Move

By Jill Adler


We humans are not the only ones to get a layer of insulation during the colder months. The problem is, it’s cold outside! Who wants to have to bundle up like the Michelin Man just to go out for an hour? There’s a reason why more babies are born nine months from now. Most of us get lazy in the winter and as much as we love our dogs and want them to be healthy and happy, snuggling on the couch sounds a heck of a lot more inviting. Exercise, however, is essential to a dog’s physical and mental wellness. It’s also relationship builder between you and your friend. Not to mention, keeping your pup active in winter avoids a summer of dieting. Here are some tips to make playtime part of your New Year’s resolutions.


1.     Use your stairs. Toss a ball or his favorite toy down and watch them chase and fetch- over and over; or run with him and let him chase you! You’ll both get a great workout.

2.     Save those holiday boxes and set up an obstacle course in your house.  Cut “tunnels” for them to scoot through; use the small ones for them to jump over.

3.     Laser pointers are annoying to everyone but dogs and cats. For some reason you can entertain a pet (and yourself) for hours by making them chase the pinpoint of red. Be mindful that you don’t create an obsession. It’s a fine line between playful and crazy. Also be careful not to shine the light in his eyes as it could cause damage.

4.     Hide and have him seek. Set treats or toys around the house for your dog to find. She’ll get both mental and physical stimulation. Plus, it’s the beginning steps for scent work.

5.      Take your dog on the road. It’s not hot or illegal to have your pet in the car now. If you’re worried about them getting cold while you’re away put them in a sweater or stash something like the Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bed in the back. You don’t need to plug anything in. The cushy bed has a special lining that uses the same technology in Mylar “space blankets” to reflect a pet’s body heat. The slight crunching sound may make your dog nervous at first but the faux lamb’s wool fleece really works to create a warm, soft nest your dog will love. The non-skid bottom will keep him from sliding around as you drive. It’s completely machine washable if they get it muddy getting in and out of the car.


6.      Socialize indoors. Stores like Petco and Home Depot allow you to bring your pets inside. Meeting new people and animals ups the energy level.

7.     Teach them tricks. They can learn to shut doors, pick up toys, find your remote control. Go to YouTube and search “dog tricks” for inspiration.


8.     Uh oh, here it comes- go snowshoeing or skiing with your dog. You’ll want to slap some booties on his paws like the Ultra Paws Snow and Go boots if you plan to be out long. Ice and snow can cause frost bite and cut pads. If you see your pooch picking up her paws like she’s doing a dance that’s a sign to head in.


9.     Start obedience or specialty training. Weekly classes give you an excuse to get your dog out of the house and mingling. It also keeps them stimulated and out of your trash.

10.  Speaking of which, it’s probably a good idea to crate your pet if you’re going to be gone all day skiing. Bored dogs can do a lot of damage. Or simply tune into DogTV online or through DirecTV Satellite to keep them entertained.


Jill Adler,

Journalist/DOGTV guest blogger

Please visit her wonderful blog http://pcskigal.com/


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Exercise: The Best Drug In the World, And Its Free


Today’s guest blogger is Krista Wickens – an athlete, lifestyle fitness advocate, author, speaker, inventor, and co-founder and CEO of PetZen Products, a manufacturing and design company dedicated to designing canine fitness products. She has super interesting things to say about dogs and exercise. 

Exercise: The Best Drug In the World, And Its Free

by Krista Wickens, DogTread Canine Fitness

Yes, I know exercise does not come in the form of a pill. But, if it did, wow… think of how many people would buy it?

Fortunately, for all of us the best drug in the world is FREE! Anyone, or any dog, can have it at any time – you just need to commit to the time to move. So I wonder what would happen if we started thinking of exercise as a pill? One that we take everyday like our life depends on it.

Most dog owners know that exercise is the best way to prevent unwanted obesity, and it promotes stronger bones, body and physical appearance. And…we also know that exercise helps us feel better – both humans and dogs. We are learning that it increases levels of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine – the same neurotransmitters that control thoughts and emotions.

Unfortunately, despite the awareness of exercise benefits, as a culture we seem to have a hard time swallowing the exercise pill.

Over 50% of dogs and 60% of humans do not get the exercise they need – they are classified as obese or overweight. Worse yet, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) more than 54% of dogs are left home indoors every day. That is over 40 million dogs that spend an average of 8-10 hours sitting, resting…not exercising.

But it doesn’t stop there. Humans also assume the “sit” position for up to 6-8+ hours a day. For two species that were designed to move, the results are devastating and often life-threatening.

Wouldn’t a life-saving pill be worth it?

A pill with side effects that include: better productivity, weight loss, euphoria, better bonding skills, focus, decreased risk of life threatening diseases and worst of all – WARNING – your chance of living longer can be increased by several years or more!

Inactivity Creates Toxic Stress Sludge

What else do we risk when we avoid the exercise pill?………What many don’t know, and only recently discovered is that inactivity is like opening the flood gates for toxic levels of stress to devour your brain. According to new research by Harvard Medical Professor John Ratey, lack of exercise leads to “eroded connections between the billions of nerve cells in the brain”. So sitting hours in your chair, pounding away at the computer, only causes your brain to lose strength. When your brain loses strength, chronic levels of depression settle in that tell you to stay put. You don’t think clearly, it is harder to get projects done, goals become impossible. Basically, your desire to move is slayed.

Furthermore, (I am paraphrasing) according to Dr. Ratey, “Most people don’t know that exercise unleashes a cascade of neurochemicals and growth factors that actually REVERSE the brain eroding process”. Halleluiah, there is hope for improvement! Yes, that means you can get smarter with exercise.  Dr. Ratey’s research points to several case studies that prove exercise leads to better test scores at school, better work performance; and for me personally I have seen training and focus improve over and over again with dogs that are exercised vs. those that are not.

So what does this all mean? Well, exercise – the kind that elevates the heart rate (not your grandma’s rose garden walk) that is performed with intensity, regularity , and increases oxygen consumption actually bolsters the brain’s infrastructure. In fact, the brain responds just like your skeletal muscles. It grows with activity and dies without it.  Makes Sense…

The Best Drug in the World – And It’s FREE

In October of 2000 researchers from Duke University were published in the New York Times with a study showing that exercise is better than Zoloft at treating depression. Wow – do you remember reading that? I don’t.

Although the research for this study is directed towards the human species, I think it is safe to say that we can deduce that a dog’s brain too will grow with exercise…and it can shrink without it.

Personally, I think that inactivity is the most common thread binding dogs found in shelters. The ASPCA reports that some of the more common behavior problems seen in dogs are:

  • Investigative behaviors, like garbage raiding
  • Destructive chewing, digging or scratching
  • Hyperactivity, excitability and night-time activity
  • Unruliness, knocking over furniture and jumping up on people
  • Excessive predatory and social play
  • Play biting and rough play
  • Attention-getting behaviors like barking and whining.

It is hard not to assume that many of these behavior challenges, at least in part, may be the result of eroded brain cells and neuro-connections caused by the lack of exercise. The good news – dogs can have a fresh start – exercise can help create better AND healthier dogs. Admittedly not all challenges can be simply solved with exercise, but exercise has the endorsement from many in the research community as being a very decent start.

The reality is that we really haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to all the great things that exercise provides, but Dr. Ratey’s studies are a start. To delve further into the mind body connection, check out SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey, M.D.  It is a great read, and who knows, it may SPARK some new thoughts and research of your own.

About the Author: Krista Wickens is an athlete, lifestyle fitness advocate, author, speaker, inventor, and co-founder and CEO of PetZen Products, a manufacturing and design company dedicated to designing canine fitness products and programs under the DogTread brand. She is also the co-author and producer of the first Treading for Dogs DVD and 30-day Dog Treadmill Training Program. As a former fitness product manager, Krista created best-selling products and programs used by some of the biggest names in Human Fitness, including iconic brands like Reebok, Gold’s Gym and NordicTrack. Krista’s love and understanding of animals, particularly dogs, started on a Montana Cattle Ranch where she was raised. She trained her first dog, Bear, at the age of 7. Her unique understanding of the mechanics of fitness and canine experiences have led her on a mission dedicated to helping develop healthy and beneficial relationships for dogs and their humans.


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