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I know we are all happy to see 2020 coming into our sight in the rearview mirror.

Allow us to go into 2021 with positivity that some form of normalcy will enter our lives yet again. Let us take time to assess the good moments we may have experienced in 2020, there surely had to be a few. Perhaps the changes we made in our life because we had to, now seem like good changes that we wish to continue as part of our lives; perhaps the increased closeness developed with family and pets; perhaps understanding ourselves better and what makes us genuinely happy. I am sure you will have many more to add to this list when taking the time to consider them.

Harmony, peace, joy, respect for and understanding of those around me, love of self, sharing the best of me with others…this is the beginning of my list to start off the year, 2021!!


5 Reasons Your Dog Won't Stop Licking You

There isn't much in this world that tops a kiss from your best friend. Most people attribute licking as a way to show affection; dogs love licking. They lick themselves, lick you, lick other dogs, so is that all about affection, or could there be other reasons for licking? Here are some reasons your dog enjoys licking you.

Taste. You taste good! A big motivation for dogs is taste, and guess what - humans taste good to dogs! We are saltier than canines, which most dogs enjoy. If you've just come home from the gym or working in the yard, your dog may do some extended licking because you're even saltier. Enjoy it!

Shared Grooming. Canine packs often practice shared grooming among pack members at the end of a day (or hunt). Shared grooming is not only a way to clean each other up and clean wounds, but it also helps the pack members bond and feel safe.

Asking for attention. Your dog may have learned from your past responses that licking is a great way to get your attention. Maybe he is lonely, wants a walk, or a treat, but many dogs have learned that they get your love and affection if they kiss you.

Showing respect. In canine packs, when one animal licks the face of another, it's a sign of respect and whoever is being licked is higher in the pecking order. Maybe Fido is showing you how much he respects you.

Cleaning ouchies. Dogs' saliva contains enzymes that help heal their wounds (and possibly yours). If you have a cut or scrape, your dog may repeatedly try to get it cleaned up for you. Your pup just wants to take care of you.

It's a comforting behavior. When your pooch was a pup, his mama gave him a lot of licking affection and kept her puppies clean this way. This loving behavior makes the puppies feel safe, comforted, and loved, which is how your dog wants you to feel.

Licking isn't always positive. Sometimes licking can be a way to express anxiety or their need for a bit of space. If your dog licks you and then turns away, it may mean he is feeling uneasy about something.

If your dog seems to be frequently licking and for long periods of time, the behavior may have gotten a bit obsessive. If this happens, try and direct his behavior to something else - a quick training period with treats or a short game of tug of war.

Dogs lick their humans for various reasons; next time your buddy is licking you, look and listen so you can hear what your dog is trying to tell you.

Ewww, My Cat Keeps Using My Bed As a Potty!

Our bedroom is supposed to be a relaxing sanctuary, but when your kitty has repeated "accidents" on the bed, it doesn't seem like much of a haven.

Sadly, inappropriate bathroom behavior is NOT unheard of among cat owners. As always, the first order of business is to try and figure out why this is happening.

Here are some possibilities:

We've talked before about litter box issues, and that is often the problem. Your cat does not like to feel cramped in her box, so make sure it's large enough for her. Some cats hate covered boxes; try a few different styles. Your feline friend wants a spotless box, scoop it frequently. She may not like the box location; most cats prefer a low traffic area. You can also try a new type of litter and consider adding a second box in a different location.

Cats often stop using their boxes when they are stressed or anxious. Have you added a new pet or person to your family? Did you rearrange the furniture? Try and determine what has changed, and if that change took place around the time your cat started having accidents.

A simple fix may be closing the bedroom door. Or put a piece of plastic or a shower curtain on the bed (most cats don't like them). Lastly, you could try some of the calming products that are on the market. You can find a few of them here.

If your kitty isn't neutered, talk to your vet about it. This is often helpful for male cats that tend to mark their territory.

Be patient; it may take a month or so for your cat to break this habit. If the above tips don't help, then it is probably time for a trip to the vet to see if your cat has a health issue.

Try the above tips, be patient, and you should be able to take your sanctuary back.

Time for New Year's Resolutions

Who isn't ready for a brand new start on things in 2021? Even though our lives are not yet back to "normal," there are still many things we can do with our pets to start the new year with a bang.

Why not bake more? If you make your own pet treats, you'll know exactly what is in them and won't have to worry about unnecessary or unhealthy ingredients.

Let's make this the year you start brushing your buddy's teeth. Use only toothpaste formulated for your pet (most of them are flavored, so your pet will be more receptive to brushing) and start slowly.

Many of us could use more hydration; we often get busy and forget to drink water throughout the day. Make a point to fill up a glass or a travel mug, take it with you, and do the same for your furry friend. Do you change your pet's water every day? Many dogs and cats don't like to drink out of a water dish that is anything less than fresh, so give them fresh water daily.

Think about supplements for you and your pet. If you both eat a well-rounded and varied diet, you may not need a multivitamin; there is no need to add vitamins haphazardly. Some of us may need calcium or vitamin D in the winter months. Your pet may need a supplement too, like a probiotic for digestion, glucosamine to help with sore joints, or omega-3 for healthy skin and coat. Ask your doctor and your vet what they recommend.

Plan now for a disaster. Put a kit together for people and pets! Your kit might include first-aid supplies for everyone, a supply of medications, a list of important phone numbers, medical records, extra leashes, food, and treats.

Of course, we have to recommend exercise. A lot of us have spent more time on the couch than we used to, so let's get moving! Start today and go for a leisurely walk with Fido. It's great for you both to get out in the fresh air and enjoy! Try to include a walk or a hike every day. Call us for extra exercise time; we are happy to walk your dog or spend time with your cat.

If you or your pet has avoided seeing the doctor because of COVID, make an appointment and be sure you're up to date on everything.

Let's spend more time with our best friends this year. Snuggle with them, play with them, teach them a new trick, or walk a new route. All of these ideas will help to keep you happy and healthy, both mentally and physically.

Great Pet Links!

In January stay warm by the fire and squirrel away some ideas with these good reads!

January is:
Walk Your Pet Month
National Train Your Dog Month

January 5 - National Bird Day
January 21 - Squirrel Appreciation Day
January 24 - Change a Pet's Life Day

January 2021 Newsletter