National Pet Obesity day is coming up and it’s a HUGE deal!

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Believe it or not, an estimated 52.7% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. October 7th’s National Pet ObesityDay is approaching and now is the “paw-fect” time to address this unfortunate epidemic. Obesity shortens lives and will negatively impact your dog’s overall health, wellness and happiness. Although in North America obesity is the most common disease in pets, the good news is that it is preventable. Here are 5 ways to help prevent pet obesity in our canine companions.

And also don’t forget to join the Fit Pet Challenge!

1) Feed Less

Each dog has a different body and activity levels, all of which need to be considered when setting the pace on diet. Although there are guidelines on the pet food bags, it’s important for you to experiment with your dog to find out what is best for him or her. Some dogs regulate their intake well, while others eat everything in sight! It’s best to feed scheduled meals rather than free feeding. It’s important you have full control over the amount of food your dog eats. If your pup still seems hungry after mealtime, share a few steamed green beans, carrots or fresh blueberries with him. Avoid sharing unhealthy table scraps. The extra calories and decreased nutritional value of treats and table scraps are often the biggest offenders when it comes to weight control.

2) Walk More

Grab the leash and get moving! Walking is the easiest, cheapest, most convenient and most popular way to keep Fido happy, healthy and fit. Pet owners must make it a daily routine to walk. It is absolutely essential for both their physical and mental health. As they say, a tired dog truly is a well-behaved dog. Neglecting those daily walks can led to destructive mischief in the home. Imagine how bored you would be stuck in the house all day long. Whether you take a circle around the block or trek through the woods, focus on maintaining a good, steady pace. In the end, both dogs and their owner benefit from the physical activity! 

3) Playtime

Few things in this world get a dog more excited than playtime! Make sure to set time aside each day to have your pet play. Not only is playtime with your pooch important for establishing a close bond; but once again, it is vital for a dog’s development, mental and physical stimulation. While your pet is moving around he or she is burning off calories and working out muscles and joints. For dogs who are social, scheduling weekly play dates at the  local dog park is a great way to get your pup moving and grooving with other fur-friends. Whether you’re fetching, tossing a toy, tug-of-war, or romping around on the floor, playtime is much more than just plain fun!

4) Monitor With Hachiko

Monitoring your pet is a crucial step in maintaining health and proper weight. Unfortunately, with our busy lives and work schedules this is not always possible. Thankfully, with the new Hachiko Canine Fitness Monitor, pet owners have the unique opportunity to connect with their pets like never before! In today’s society, most pet families hire pet sitters to care for their beloved furry friend. This sensor and app will allow owner to always know their pooch is taken care of. With Hachiko, you can set exercise goals, and view where and how far your dog walked.  Users can receive expert advice and information on their pet’s activity, which will motivate pet parents to continue giving Fido a healthy lifestyle. Monitor how much food, water and treats your dog gets daily, as well as monitor their health and medication. Hachiko is simple and fun way to stay on top of Fido’s weight and activity each and everyday!

5) Workout

Taking your dog to the corner to do their business is not considered a workout. Jogging, hiking, swimming or simply playing in the backyard are the best ways to workout with your pup. Running is a great activity to do together for cardio, but always be sure your dog has enough energy to withstand a long run. Do not push your pooch to do something he or she is not capable of. With the fall season in full swing and the winter months approaching, it’s important to continue engaging your dog indoors. Climb the stairs or play hide and seek! Do your best to provide at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise every day to facilitate weight loss.

Remember pet parents: eat less, exercise more, and monitor with Hachiko! Pet obesity is preventable. Follow these steps and the outcome will be a win-win for both you and Fido. It’s that simple!

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Join the #fitpetchallenge

9 Things to do this National Mutt Day July 31

Happy National Mutt Day!!

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What is a Mutt?

A mixed-breed dog is a testament to nature. Without any input from humans, the mixed breed defies description. Available in all sizes, shapes, colors, and patterns, he might have a long snout or a short nose. He may display prick ears or floppy ones. He could have a stubby tail, spindly legs, a giant spot over his left eye or all three. Drawing from a broader, more diverse gene pool, his intensity is softer than his pedigreed cousins, his drives and compulsions mercifully muted.

Or in simpler terms just the cutest dogs ever! Proof:

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How can you celebrate national Mutt day?

1. Adopt a Mutt from your local shelter or rescue organization. Volunteer at your local shelter and offer to walk a Mutt or play with a  Mutt, clean cages or anything else they need help with.

2. Are you prepared for a new Mutt? Make sure you have all the items necessary when bringing a new mutt home.

3. Donate blankets, food and toys to animal welfare organizations.

4. Offer to walk the Mutt of an elderly neighbor.

5. Write your Congressman and ask that he/she support the ban of Puppy Mills and Gas Chambers in your state.

6. Buy some all natural, organic dog shampoo and give that Mutt a bath!

7. Have a National Mutt Day party and invite all your friends and their dogs!

8. Join the Facebook page and post pics of your  Mutt for the world to ooh and ahh over!

9. Order your collectible National Mutt Day tee here!

For more celebration ideas check out nationalmuttday.com

What did you do for National Mutt Day?

Share your beautiful dogs with us on Instagram @hachiko.me #hachikome

Comment below!

Spring is here! 8 things to do to prepare your dog for the changing season

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Spring is in the air!

The spring breeze, the longer days, the joys of being outside in the warm sunshine. We love spring, and we are oh so glad it’s back!

But before you throw reckless abandon into the wind, use our easy spring checklist to make sure your god is just as ready for the changing season as you.

  1. Grooming– ‘Tis the season for shedding. Get a leg up on hairballs but taking your pooch to the groomers for a weather appropriate cut.
  2. Flea control- Warm weather brings back an assortment of fleas, ticks and the likes. Check out our recommendations on various methods to keep them away.
  3. Heartworm prevention– mosquito’s are back ad can bring with them one of the largest dangers to household pets. Now’s the time to get back on the heartworm prevention medication if you took a break during winter.
  4. Seasonal allergies– While we may be sneezing with watery eyes and a leaky nose, dog allergies tend to show up on their skin. Keep an eye out for excessive itching. If you think your dog has allergies visit your vet, and look at our guide to homemade remedies that can help ease their itching.
  5. Exercise and get into shape– This is the perfect time to start working off those winter pounds. If you have been extra lazy this winter start slow with long walks and work your way up a jog in the park.
  6. Shade and water– While this is important year round it’s even more important now! If you are for long periods made sure that your dog is getting some rest in the shade, and enough to drink. We love this portable water bowl which is a snap to carry around.
  7. Microchip– if your dog is going to be spending more time outside it’s best to get them a microchip. Just in case..
  8. Keep e’m clean– Running around in the spring to us = running around in the mud. We absolutely love Dog Tails to clean up after a long days play!

Get your lazy dog a little more active

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Some dogs are just content to sleep all day, hang out and chill. But even the laziest of dogs needs a little action in their lives. And sometimes you just have to be the tough love parent and get them moving!

Try these 5 simple tips to get them going:

  1. Be social and fun, try taking your lazy pooch to a dog run, or a dog park. Being around other dogs may wake them up and at the least get some playful time in
  2. Dust off those old cobwebs and get some mental stimulation by teaching your dog a new trick
  3. Get fit! Try and incorporate more exercise on walks such as sprints or running up and down some stairs
  4. If the only thing they will get up for is food, make them work for it. Hide treats around the house and turn it into a game of “hide and seek”
  5. Try and understand the reasons they may be lazy. Could it be health or diet related? Worth having a conversation with your vet about this!

What do you do to motivate your lazy pets?

Waiting for spring: Ultimate Winter Doggy Survival Kit

Winter

For us March should be spring. It just makes sense.

But the snow outside clearly states that is it not. So we are planning a sit it and staying at home until the weather warms up. This means we need to stock up on supplies. Flannel PJs, a super soft blanket, and Netflix is all we need.

Our dogs however are spoiled and have put together  their “If we have to put up with winter we want these goodies survival kit”:

  1. Keeping warm in style with a Max-Bone cable knit jumper. These adorable sweaters are designed and crafted in LA, and no we checked they don’t come in human sizes.
  2. This Jax & Bones bed is colorful enough to bring some spring feeling into the house, while at the same time being perfect for lazy snoozing. Jax & Bones also designs and manufactures in sunny California (maybe we’ll get some sunshine from them too?)
  3. We will be getting our exercise in the form of tug-o-war. These rope toys from Neroko are made in Finland using traditional sailor knots.
  4. Now this one we are very excited about, since we can now easily play fetch from the couch with this sleek bamboo ball launcher from Bambeco. Extra points for using mainly reclaimed materials.
  5. Winter also calls for comfort food. We will rely on seamless, our pooches will get delicious soup which we have (semi) made ourselves by adding some ingredients to this organic natural base of Mutt Soup.
  6. And for those extra snugly moments, we will snuggle in the our soon to be new favorite blanket (which also should keep our pooches hair from going everywhere). But we can’t decide between the Big Sky Blanket in Blue or Red?

What is in your winter survival kit?

Hachiko Debate: Dogs in apartments- what’s the big deal?

A friend called me the other day with a common concern- she wants to adopt a dog but has a smallish apartment with no outdoor space.  And it seems she’s having a problem with dog shelters (which apparently is not a new problem).

So let’s look into this- is it really such a terrible thing to have a dog in a small apartment (hint, no it’s not).

Putting aside the fact that there are far too many dogs looking for loving homes, let’s turn to the experts.

The main consensus seems to be that it’s not the dog itself, or the size, but rather the breed that matters. Some breeds are just more adapt to smaller spaces. This is linked to energy levels and what we’re going to call barking potential.

Dogtime has a listing of breeds that adapt well to apartment living (from big to small):

  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Maltese
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • English Bulldog
  • Basset Hound
  • American Staffordshire terrier
  • Greyhounds
  • Great Danes

This isn’t to say that other breeds won’t suffice. And each dog has their own personality and quirks. You can have the most energetic pooch in small place- just make the time to make sure they get plenty of energy.

If you are making the leap, or already have here are some top tips for cohabitation with your dog:

  • Establish a routine to minimize ‘accidents’
  • If you have behavioral issues (such as barking or chewing on furniture) get a good trainer to help
  • Hire a dog walker to give you some peace of mind
  • Place a chair or bench by a window to allow your pup to jump up and look outside
  • Create a space that’s theirs, with a comfy bed and their toys
  • And of course, if you are renting don’t forget to double check with your landlord!

Further reading:

More tips

More about breeds here and here

Baby it’s cold outside… the perfect time to try these great indoor exercises!

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Yes it may be freezing outside, but pooches still need their exercise! While some dogs enjoy a good romp in the snow we have put together a list of the fun exercises you can do from the toasty indoors.

  • Dog Aerobics- work out with Leroy’s Fit Pit
  • Musical canine freestyle- what started as a new method of do training has turned into a professional sport- check out examples here (we also found this crazy example crazy poodle woman workout)!
  • Create your own indoor dogstacle course- use chairs, tables, boxes, mops, hula hoops and whatever else you can find. Run through the course with your pup to get your daily exercise as well!
  • Doga- sign up for some Dog Yoga classes, or check out online instructional videos
  • Have stairs? Use ‘em- run up and down the stairs a few times. Guaranteed to wipe you both out.
  • A cheap laser pointer = hours of entertainment- shine it around and watch your dog chase after it (don’t shine it in your pooches eyes!)
  • Indoor versions of outdoor games- play fetch, keep away, tug of war and more. Just maybe don’t play around breakables…
  • Use a treadmill- there are ones designed especially for dogs (such as DogTread), but you can use a human one, just take the proper precautions.
  • Play shaping games– for a little mental stimulation
  • All about the nose- hide treats around the house and watch your pup sniff them out

We also love making our pooches work for their treats- these toys are great: Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal Dispensing Dog Toy, Nina Ottosson DogCasino Interactive game

Check out more exercise suggestions:

Indoor exercises for you and your pet 

Ways to exercise your dog indoors

6 Winter Exercise Tips for Your Dog

Rain or Shine: 10 Ways to Engage Your Dog Indoors

How to exercise your dog indoors