4 Ways Kids can Benefit from Growing Up With Pets

No matter what may be going on in a child’s life, a pet can be there through highs and lows as a constant friend…..

(Family Features) Pets can make an impression on every member of the family, but the bond between a child and a pet can become a special one with lifelong effects. From increased physical activity to a positive impact on confidence and social skills, there are many ways younger family members can benefit from growing up alongside a furry friend.

These are a few ways kids can learn from growing up with a pet, courtesy of the CESAR® brand, and you can find more at Cesar.com/firstdayfriends.

  1. Increased Physical Activity – Whether taking a walk or playing fetch, pets provide unique opportunities for children to engage in physical activities, both indoors and out. As a bonus, encouraging children to expel energy alongside their pets can tire out both rambunctious parties, which can benefit the whole family.

  1. Empathy and Companionship – No matter what may be going on in a child’s life, a pet can be there through highs and lows as a constant friend. Research shows a pet can help reduce stress and moderate its impact. Having a companion animal like a cat or dog may provide the secure attachment and emotional support a child needs. This impact can also be seen through the CESAR brand’s First Day Friends program, which celebrates the benefits of the human-animal bond in the classroom.
Photos courtesy of Fotolia
  1. Improved Social Skills and Self-Esteem – Kids with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills, according to a study from the WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition. Moreover, simply owning a pet can help facilitate conversation between children who may find social settings difficult, ultimately learning to form bonds and friendships with their peers.

  1. Responsibility – Pet ownership can help teach kids about responsibility and caring for another living being. Feeding, cleaning, walking and grooming are all activities that appropriately aged children can do with the help of an adult. With single-serving dog food options, it can be easy to teach children about their pets’ mealtime routines, including how much and how often to feed them. To make it even more special, the CESAR Home Delights™ line offers recipes modeled after a meal you might serve at your own table, so children can enjoy “sharing” their meals with their dogs.

Mars Petcare


Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20 & 21 and 9 a.m. to noon on May 22

Donations of clothing, household items, electronics, furniture, toys, collectibles and other good and useful items for the Wood County Humane Society Garage Sale will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 20 & 21 and 9 a.m. to noon on May 22  under the grandstands at the Wood County Fairgrounds.  Early bird donations will also be received at the same location from 5pm – 9pm on Sunday, May 19. All donations to the sale are tax deductible. All donated items are subject to acceptance.


The Garage Sale will be held at the same location May 23 & 24 from 9am – 6pm and May 25 from 9am – 2pm. The sale features a wide variety of merchandise under the 13,000 grandstand building at the Wood County Fairgrounds on West Poe Road in Bowling Green. Additionally, the sale will feature 10 cent clothing on May 24 and a $2 “Fill-a-Bag” sale on May 25.


The garage sale, now in its 26th year,  is one of the Wood County Humane Society’s larger fundraisers, raising a record $17,310 in 2018 for the care of animals housed in the Minnebelle Conley Shelter, a no-kill humane shelter owned and operated by the Humane Society on Van Camp Road in Bowling Green. For more information about the sale or to volunteer to help, please call (419) 669-0701 or visit www.facebook.com/wchsgs.


5 Springtime Adventure Ideas for You and Your Pet

With the return of sunshine, spring is a prime opportunity for you and your four-legged friend to get active in the great outdoors.

(Family Features) As temperatures rise and days get longer, pets, just like humans, get excited about spring. It’s time to get into new routines, and warmer weather provides the perfect opportunity to spend more time with your pet, creating memories both indoors and out.

Here are a few ideas for enjoying springtime with your pet from the experts at the NUTRO™ and GREENIES™ brands.
1. Get Active Outside – With the return of sunshine, spring is a prime opportunity for you and your four-legged friend to get active in the great outdoors. Take out your tennis shoes, grab a leash and hit the road. Whether you’re taking a walk, visiting a dog park or going on a hike, regular physical activity outdoors can help keep you and your pet healthy and active.
2. Spring Cleaning – This isn’t just about dusting off bookshelves or decluttering closets. It’s also an opportunity to reassess other aspects of your life that could use a cleaning, such as yours and your pet’s diets. As part of the NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, dog and cat food recipes are made with real, recognizable ingredients, such as chicken, salmon and sweet potatoes, allowing you to share your healthy eating lifestyle with your pet.
3. Yappy Hour on the Patio – It’s that time of year when sidewalks are buzzing with the weekend brunch crowd. As you enjoy fresh, seasonal foods, your fur baby can have quality time on patios with you, too. To help make pets welcome in more places, Mars Petcare established the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which works with local businesses and governments to encourage pet-friendliness.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

4. Make New Friends – Give your pet the freedom to run around a dog park and socialize with other dogs and pet owners alike. If your canine is also a social butterfly, playing with other pooches can be both physically and mentally stimulating. Visiting the dog park is also an opportunity for you to meet other like-minded, dog-friendly people in the neighborhood.

5. Go on a Mini Road Trip – Whether you’re heading out on a weekend camping trip or an adventure in a field of flowers, don’t forget to include your pet in your plans. It’s important to consider how your furry friend will ride along with you on your road trip. Try bringing a blanket or toy from your house, so your dog can be comforted by the smells of home. Also, when the family is in the close quarters of a car for an extended amount of time, make sure you pack an option like GREENIES™ Dental Treats to help freshen your dog’s breath.

Mars Petcare

Shoe Drive Fundraiser

The Wood County Humane Society Launches Shoe Drive Fundraiser to Raise Money for Shelter Upgrades

(Bowling Green, Ohio) – The Wood County Humane Society (WCHS) is conducting a shoe drive fundraiser from Wednesday, May 1st through Sunday, June 30th to raise funds for upgrades to the shelter. WCHS will earn funds based on the total weight of the pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes collected, as Funds2Orgs will issue a check for the collected shoes. Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used and new shoes. Shoes can be donated at the shelter or local businesses throughout Wood County that have donation boxes.

All donated shoes will then be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of micro-enterprise partners. Funds2Orgs works with micro-entrepreneurs in helping them create, maintain and grow small businesses in developing countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited. Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers are used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send to her son to law school.

“We are excited about our shoe drive,” said Melissa Hall, Co-chair of the Fundraising Committee. “We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us. By doing so, we raise money for WCHS, and we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

By donating gently worn, used and new shoes to the WCHS, the shoes will be given a second chance and make a difference in people’s lives around the world. The Wood County Humane Society was able to gather a total of 115 bags for last year’s shoe drive. This year the goal is to reach 150 bags.

The WCHS, located in Bowling Green, Ohio, is a full-service, no-kill shelter providing care for homeless and abused pets and investigating cruelty complaints in Wood County. In addition, the organization assists Wood County residents with its Safe Haven and food assistance programs, spay/neuter transport, and educational presentations. The WCHS provides care for hundreds of animals each year—from dogs and cats, to horses, goats, and pocket pets. The non-profit organization is funded predominantly through donations from local individuals and businesses, Community Shares of Northwest Ohio (a workplace giving campaign), and fundraisers. The Wood County Commissioners help fund a Humane Agent, but the organization receives no additional funding from national humane organizations or the government. For more information on adopting and/or volunteering, see: http://www.wchumane.org. 

5 Tips for New Pet Parents

Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a first-time puppy parent, these tips can help your newest family member feel right at home….

(Family Features) Introducing a new dog to the family can bring plenty of excitement, sweet snuggles and puppy kisses. However, there are also plenty of practical steps to consider to successfully transition a pup into its new environment.

Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a first-time puppy parent, these tips can help your newest family member feel right at home:

Purchase the necessities ahead of time. Similar to newborns, new pets require products that fit their size, age and life stage to ensure their safety and good health. This includes chew-proof food and water bowls, an ID tag with name and contact information and a sturdy leash for both walks and training. Many experts discourage retractable leashes because they offer little control. For puppies specifically, some veterinarians recommend harnesses to attach a leash to because their necks are too fragile to attach a leash to a collar. Remember, puppies are going to grow, and items like beds, crates and collars will need to grow as they do, so you may want to hold off on investing in pricier options until they’ve matured.

Offer high-quality food that provides balanced nutrition. Feed new pets the best quality food possible because an investment in your pet’s food is an investment in its health and longevity.

“Quality is a top priority when new pet parents are selecting food, so reading ingredient labels and understanding what nutrients are important for your pet at his or her life stage is key,” said Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, Ph.D., R.D., nutrition manager at Petcurean. “Better quality food will usually equate to fewer vet visits overall. The same goes for treats.”

An option like Petcurean’s Now Fresh wet food features novel textures like shredded, stews and pates and is made with 100 percent fresh meats and bone broth gravy, which adds a meaty flavor. All recipes are 100 percent grain- and gluten-free and non-GMO, making for a perfect treat, topper or complete and balanced meal.

Have enough playthings around the house. Keep dogs from destroying furniture, shoes and household items by providing them with fun, safe and entertaining toys. Chew toys and puzzles that combine play and treats are interactive, which can give dogs mental stimulation and help keep them out of mischief.

Pet-proof the house. Dogs are naturally curious and spend time exploring their homes, especially pets eager to get to know their new environment. Items on counters and shelves that could be dangerous to a small child are also dangerous for dogs, including wires, sharp or small objects and fragile items. Store them up and away from your dog or in locked cabinets for safekeeping.

Provide a safe spot to retreat. Moving in to a new home can cause a pet to feel a little disoriented and overwhelmed. Providing a safe place for the dog to retreat from enthusiastic kids, other pets and general household commotion can help the pup feel calmer. A crate or kennel lined with a soft pad or blanket in a quiet area of your home is typically a good choice – it’s a confined space and can also serve a dual-purpose with housetraining, if needed.

Find more tips for proper pet care at petcurean.com.


4 Ways Pets Make Humans Better

Pets love unconditionally. No matter what, dogs are always excited to see their owners…..

(Family Features) While pet owners are responsible for taking care of their four-legged friends, they don’t always stop to think about how their pets take care of them in return. From their unconditional love to their ability to combat loneliness and teach empathy, pets provide physical, mental and emotional benefits that can help their owners be better people.

“We know that pets make our lives better,” said Mark Johnson, President of Mars Petcare North America. “They provide joy and companionship for people of all ages, help keep their owners active and can even contribute to a more dynamic social life. We created the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, which advocates for fewer pets in shelters and more public places where pets are welcome, so more pets and their owners can live happier, healthier lives together.”

Consider these ways pets can make their owners’ lives better, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more about the benefits of pets and how pet owners can return the favor to their four-legged friends.

  1. Providing Companionship – Pets love unconditionally. No matter what, dogs are excited to see their owners and never try to hide their happy, wagging tails. The companionship of a pet can be especially beneficial as pet owners age. Pets can motivate their aging owners to stay mobile, help them feel needed and provide structure to their daily lives.

  1. Teaching Responsibility – Pets depend on their owners to provide food, shelter and care. Adding a dog or cat to the family can bring a sense of responsibility to its owners, especially children in the house. Every pet is special in his or her own way, so children can learn about how to be gentle with animals, respect boundaries and understand empathy and responsibility. Adopting a pet can also teach children about helping those in need and giving back.

  1. Increasing Socialization – Whether it’s on a walk or at the dog park, furry friends are almost always up for meeting new four- and two-legged friends, which can help their owners be more social as well. Pets have the ability to bring people together, and their openness and instinctive curiosity can teach pet owners to open their hearts to make lasting friendships with others. In fact, a study from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that kids that grow up with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, enhanced social skills and are less lonely.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Enjoying the Moment – When pets chase their favorite toys, they’re usually stress-free and living in the moment. People, however, can sometimes move too quickly and forget to celebrate small joyful moments. Pets are known to help reduce stress and can serve as a reminder to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally).

Mars Petcare

5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier

People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t.

(Family Features) More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.

To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.

“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”

Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.

  1. Ease Kids’ Minds – Pets are beneficial to people of all ages, but especially young children. Kids with pets tend to have less anxiety and loneliness, as well as greater self-esteem and social skills. Kids have also reported feeling more positive when completing a task if their dog is with them.

  1. Provide Stress Relief – As people get older, pets continue to be there for them. Even in the face of significant stressors – such as the loss of a loved one – pets are by their owners’ sides to help them through times of grief.

  1. Offer Therapy in Times of Need – Disasters can take many forms, and people need ways to cope and make sense of it all. That’s where the healing power of pets comes in. After tragedies, communities have brought in therapy pets to be a source of healing for people coping with hardships.

  1. Encourage Socialization for Pets and Owners – Pets help people connect. In fact, dog owners are five times more likely to know their neighbors than non-dog owners. While dogs socialize with people and other furry friends at the dog park, their owners have a chance to build relationships with other local dog owners. People also tend to feel safer in their neighborhood when walking their dog.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Encourage Owners to Be Active – People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t. Pet ownership can even make a difference in the survival rate for heart attacks. In a Waltham study, 94 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks for at least a year, compared to 72 percent without pets.

Mars Petcare

Help Pets Ward Off Winter Risks

Limit walks in extreme cold weather and monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of stress or discomfort…..

(Family Features) When temperatures drop, humans know to bundle up and avoid excess time outdoors. The same approach should be taken when it comes to pets. They may be covered by cozy fur coats, but not all of those coats are created equally.

“Hypothermia is a real danger for pets in the wintertime, and despite pets’ natural fur coats, it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in and cause serious problems,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert.

Freeman recommends keeping an eye out for the initial signs of hypothermia, such as skin that’s cold to the touch, pale skin and gums, intense shivering and lethargy. In addition, she offers these tips to help protect your pet from a blustery winter:

Outdoor access: Limit walks in extreme cold weather and monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of stress or discomfort. Never leave a pet outside during a winter storm. Do not let your dog off its leash after snowfall. Snow masks familiar scents and your pet may become lost and disoriented.

Chemical hazards: Snow-melting products like deicers, antifreeze and salt can cause skin irritations and, if ingested, can be fatal. If you live in an area where these products are used, it’s important to thoroughly rinse your pet’s paws and belly after a walk.

Adding extra layers: If your pet is small and short-haired, he or she is likely sensitive to the cold. The same goes for older pets and those that may be frail or ill. You can’t take your pet’s temperature by touching its nose, but a shivering body means he or she needs a sweater. Larger and long-haired pets can usually tolerate cold weather for longer periods of time, and even though you might bundle up, your pet has a long, thick coat prepared for long winter walks. Just remember paws get cold and sharp objects may be hiding under the powder – consider putting booties on your pet’s paws for added comfort.

Skin-saving solutions: Many pets get dry skin during the winter season. When they do need a bath, try using a pet-friendly moisturizing shampoo to help keep their skin healthy and pH-balanced.

In addition, a pet emergency preparedness kit should be packed and contain the supplies needed to help keep your pet fed, warm and secure in the event of emergency conditions such as blizzards and extreme cold weather. Items like a sweater, insulated vest, paw booties or wax, pet-safe ice melt and a heated bed or pad can all help head off risks associated with cold weather.

Emergencies can also create circumstances for pets to become separated from their families. In addition to ensuring your pet is wearing a tag with your cell phone number along with microchipping and registering him or her with current contact information, also tuck a copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records, veterinary contact information and a current photo of your pet in your emergency kit.

Keeping your pet well-fed through an emergency also requires advanced planning. Store a one-week supply of food in a waterproof container, along with bottled water, portable bowls, a manual can opener (if your pet eats canned food) and a list of feeding routines and behavioral considerations in case someone else must take over care.

Also be sure to gather any other care items your pet may require, such as puppy pads, waste bags, litter box supplies and calming spray.

Find more advice for keeping your pet safe this winter at PetSmart.com.


4 Ways to Show Your Pets You’re Thankful for Them

If you have a high-energy dog or a curious cat, it’s important to make playtime a priority.

(Family Features) Pets can be morning jog partners and movie night snuggle buddies, but they often do much more than that: they can help make their owners healthier both physically and mentally. Research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that having a pet reduces the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, as well as stress, depression and fear. While you should show your pets you’re thankful for them all year round, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reassess and make sure your pets are feeling the love, in return for everything they do for you.

To help create a world where there are more healthy, happy pets and more places where pets are welcome, the experts at Mars Petcare created the Better Cities for Pets™ program, an initiative that offers tools to help cities become more pet-friendly, such as developing enough green spaces for pets to explore. This, in turn, creates more opportunities and places for people to spend time with their pets and shower them with love.

This holiday season, consider these four ways to show how thankful you are for your pet. Learn more about how to make the lives of pets happier and healthier at bettercitiesforpets.com.

  1. Spend an entire day together. Giving your undivided attention to your four-legged friend is one way to show how much you care, and exploring the neighborhood is an easy place to start. Round out your day with lunch on a patio and fetch in the park, and your pup will be wagging its tail all day long.

  1. Stay engaged with new toys. If you have a high-energy dog or a curious cat, it’s important to make playtime a priority. Furry felines are always on the prowl, so thank them for their constant companionship with stuffed mice or a climbing post. For your pups, show them your love with squeaky balls and rope toys. Playing with your pets shows you’re an engaged pet parent, and it’s also a way for them to get some exercise, both physically and mentally.

  1. Treat with a treat. Reward your pets for their endless cuddles with an extra treat every now and then, such as GREENIES™ Dental Treats. They help clean teeth and gums, and freshen breath, making it easier to give your furry friends loving snuggles without bad breath getting in the way.

  1. Keep health top of mind. It’s typically necessary for pet owners to be proactive when it comes to their four-legged best friends. Catching diseases early can help increase the number of treatment options available, which is especially true for kidney and heart disease. Other forms of preventative care, such as staying up-to-date on shots and routinely seeing the veterinarian, shows your pet you want them to be around for years to come.

Mars Petcare

Bring a Pet Home for the Holidays

The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys…..

(Family Features) The holiday season – and the lead-up to it – is a popular time to bring home a new puppy or kitten.

Consider these tips from the pet experts at PetSmart Charities to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home merry and bright.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Know that pet parenting is a lifetime commitment. That oh-so-sweet puppy or kitten stage only lasts so long, so be sure that you’re prepared to give a lifetime of loving care. Nurturing the bond, you create during the early months can create a foundation for lifelong companionship.

Consider adoption first. There are literally thousands of animals of all breeds and ages looking for loving homes. Consider adopting a pet that needs a home from a local shelter or adoption event.

“When you consider an option like adoption, you can make sure one less dog or cat is spending the holiday season in a shelter while also providing the gift of unconditional love to a furry friend in need,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities, which helps find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. “As a way to make adoption more accessible, we work with local adoption partners to host regular adoption events at the Every Day Adoption Centers in nearly every PetSmart store nationwide.”

Select an appropriate pet. Integrating a pet into your household, especially for a first-time pet owner, can take some work. It’s important to consider factors like how often you travel, whether your work schedule will allow a visit home during the day for a potty-training puppy and if you’re willing to provide necessary care, such as daily brushing for a long-haired animal. Also consider whether you truly want a puppy or a kitten; an adult pet offers numerous benefits, such as potentially being house-trained already and more resilient for play with small kids.

Be realistic about the big reveal. Picturesque as it may be, the classic image of a puppy or kitten making a surprise leap from a box under the tree isn’t always as simple as it may appear, especially if kids are involved. Start by setting expectations with children so they don’t startle their new pet with a burst of excitement that can be scary for a small animal. Rather than putting the pet in a box, for an easier solution consider bringing the pet home before the excitement of the big day, and instead wrapping up supplies like a leash and feeding bowl to place under the tree and putting a festive collar on the new pet.

Prepare for pet parenting. The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys. Look into training classes and find a veterinarian you trust for regular checkups. Also take time to pet-proof your home, removing items that may pose a health threat or create temptations for undesirable behaviors.

Find more advice on introducing a new pet to your home this holiday season and locate an Every Day Adoption Center near you at petsmartcharities.org .

PetSmart Charities

4 Tips to Prepare Your Pup for Winter

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season……….

(Family Features) When winter approaches, it brings a number of distractions and factors that tend to keep people from getting outside and staying active. From holiday parties and vacations to bad weather, it’s important to keep health and exercise top of mind throughout the busy season. This is especially important for your furry friends since they depend on their owners to keep them healthy and active.

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season with these tips, and for more information on healthy habits for your dog, visit IAMS.com.

  1. Keep Table Food on the Table – With colder weather comes heavier, heartier food. While you may be tempted to share some of your delicious dinner or toss your pup some party snacks, these rich foods can lead to digestive issues for your dog. If you want to treat your dog, try mixing a bit of wet food into his dry kibble for a savory surprise.

  1. Feed the Right Food – An important step in keeping a pet healthy is to establish and maintain proper nutrition habits, starting with selecting the right type of food. You’ll want to look for a pet food that includes high-quality ingredients, such as IAMS™ dog food, which also offers quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help dogs stay healthy and active during the colder months. The brand also offers breed specific dry dog food recipes, customized to meet the unique needs of six of the most popular dog breeds.

  1. Bundle Up – It may be too cold to enjoy an entire afternoon outside, but don’t forget, your dog has a fur coat and needs to stay active and expel energy all year round. Make sure you have the proper winter gear for you and your pup. Depending on your dog’s needs, consider protective gear for winter, such as a coat to keep him warm or booties for his feet to prevent salt on the ground from irritating his paws.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Stock Up on Toys – Some days, heading outside into winter weather just doesn’t happen. Whether it’s snowing, sleeting or just too cold, safety should come first. However, your dog will still have energy to release, so keep a variety of toys on-hand to keep him busy and active. Toss around a ball for a short-range game of fetch or play some tug-of-war with one of his favorite toys.