Updated October 5, 2016 . AmFam Team
For many pups, the dog park is a place for friendship, adventure and some off-the-leash freedom. And we want to keep it that way! Use these tips to make sure you and your furry friend can enjoy the dog park together both safely and happily.
Scope it out. Before you bring your pup to the park, take a solo trip and see what the atmosphere is like. If you notice aggressive dogs, inattentive owners or a combination of the two, it’s probably best to look for a different park.
Check the borders. Next, check the fencing. Make sure it’s high enough that your dog can’t jump over it, and that there’s no way for your dog to climb under it. At the same time, be on the lookout for loose boards or wires.
Train your pooch. Dog parks are fun for many dogs, but for some that are less social, they can be stressful. If your dog isn’t fond of interacting with other dogs or humans, the dog park may not be the best place for them.
Drink smart. Picking up waste isn’t the only way to keep your dog healthy in the park. Using the communal water dish can be a source for diseases and parasites — so travel with an extra water bowl.
Stay out of fights. It’s common sense — if your dog does happen to get into a tussle with another dog, do not get in the middle of it. Instead, try throwing water on the dogs or using a stick to separate them.
Thwart illness. Be sure to keep your pup up to date on any vaccines or medication they might need before you take them to the dog park. Also, apply flea and tick control, should your location call for it.
Locate a vet. Lastly, find the park’s nearest veterinarian office, and make sure you know the quickest route to get there. That way, you’ve got peace of mind in case of an emergency.
Now that you’ve got the safety smarts, you and your pup can get out, explore and make new friends at the dog park. We hope it’s a barking good time!
Let’s face it, life can get hectic, and it’s safe to say we could all use a vacation now and then. But there are times we just can’t get away, or it may not be the best financial decision for you right now.
Good news! You can enjoy the same feelings of joy and relaxation all within the comfort of your home. Whether it’s a quick refresher, a couple hours or a full-day of “you time,” we have ideas to make home your relaxation destination.
Looking for a quick refresher and something to get you feeling more like yourself? Here are some easy and satisfying ways to reboot in less than an hour.
Treat yourself to a bubble bath or face scrub. Stress and fatigue have a way of surfacing onto your skin. One way to combat this is soaking in a soothing bath. Baths are great for underneath your skin as well. Research shows bubble baths are good for strengthening muscle joints, balancing hormones, improving your lung capacity and oxygen intake and more.
Stress or anxiety can be especially harsh on your face. A face scrub can strip away clogged pores, leaving you soft and exfoliated skin. If you don’t have a facial scrub, don’t worry about it! You can make DIY facial scrubs out of organic and safe products in your home. We think the banana oatmeal scrub sounds the most soothing — and delicious.
Try aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses essential oils for therapeutic remedies. Some studies show essential oils can reduce stress, boost your mood and relieve headaches or migraines. Scents like lavender and frankincense are especially great for bringing your mind and body at ease.
Treat yourself to delivery or carry out. If you’re having a hectic day, the last thing you want to think about is making a meal that’ll please everyone in your household. Ordering in food can take one thing off your plate for the day. Plus, you’ll be helping out local businesses — talk about a win-win!
Take a virtual workout class. Online exercise classes can be a great way to try something you’ve never done before, and you can try it in confidence within your home. Never done Zumba before but always wanted to try? This is the perfect chance to diversify your workout routine and try something new!
If you have a couple of hours, like a Saturday afternoon, these are perfect for making the most of your time and treating yourself.
Add some greenery to your space. Tending to plants or your garden can be therapeutic. Not only does the activity of gardening calm you, but the plants themselves have benefits too. Plants help purify the air you breathe, which can help make you feel refreshed and give you the boost you need. Live in an apartment? No problem. Try out these tips for growing a garden in your apartment.
Pull out the oven mittens. Baking is a great way to spend time away from your emails or the T.V. Focusing your energy on detailed recipes is a meditative, calming task. Bonus: it’ll make your home smell delicious and instantly improve your mood. It’s safe to assume everyone in your household will support your relaxation method — as long as you’re okay with sharing your final product!
Reconnect with a friend. Sometimes, connecting with an old friend is what you need to get you in a better headspace. Plan a call with someone you miss. You could even do a virtual activity together like playing online trivia or board games!
Plan a themed movie night. A movie night is a perfect distraction from the stressors of the outside world. Escape into different worlds or places all from the comfort of your living room. The theme could be your favorite director, actor, movie genre — there are countless options. Whatever theme you choose, just don’t forget to stock up on your favorite theater snacks!
A day of decompressing can do wonders for your mind and body. Give yourself a staycation and focus recharging! Whether it’s on the weekend or you decide to take the day off from work — it is a vacation after all — here are some ideas for a day of relaxation and fun.
Recreate a full spa day at home. Transform your home into the best spa in the neighborhood for a day of serenity. With soothing sounds of rushing water, crisp white robes, and water infused with citrus and herbs, it’ll start to feel like the real deal. Make sure to save some cucumbers to put over your eyes for face masks and a healthy midday snack.
Camping in the backyard. Enjoy some fresh air and connect with nature for the day — all in the comfort of your yard. Pitching a tent on the lawn and sleeping under the stars is an excellent mini-escape from the world. Whether it’s a romantic evening of stargazing with your partner, or a fun family affair roasting s'mores and telling stories, it’ll be a staycation your family won’t forget.
Create an at-home scavenger hunt. When the kiddos go to bed, place little trinkets around the house and yard for them to find. They’ll wake up the next morning to an adventure with maps and clues to find each hidden item. Once all the pieces are found, you can celebrate with a feast of pizza and cake or whatever your kiddos love. After all, all that exploring can make your little adventurers hungry!
Now that you’ve got your relaxation time planned, use these tips to avoid distractions, enjoy the time off and make the most of your well-deserved break from the real world:
Disconnect from social media. Even if you don’t completely power it down, at least put your phone on silent or turn off notifications. Even if you miss scrolling through your feed for a moment, in the long run, it will feel good to disconnect. You can snap photos of your relaxing day to share and inspire your network afterward, but try to live in the moment while you unwind.
Mix it up. We all have our go-to things that make us feel better — a walk in the park, your favorite snack, your happy playlist — but try to incorporate new relaxing tricks you’ve never tried before. You might find something that surprises you and becomes your new favorite feel-good hack.
Do what makes you happy. Seriously, do only what makes you happy! Of course, your clothes can’t stay in your laundry bin forever, but when you dedicate time to self-care, leave the rest for later. Stay dedicated to taking care of your well-being and choose happiness.
We all deserve to step away from our busy lives and treat ourselves to a refreshing day every now and then. It’s vital to our health and well-being! Remember to listen to your body, and when it comes time to relax, give yourself the break you need.
While there is still much debate over which is the most important meal of the day, there’s no question which meal provides the greatest opportunity for connecting with your family — dinner time.
Why is eating dinner together as a family important? There are many benefits. Studies show families that eat together at least three times a week experience reduced stress, see improved academic performance and form healthier eating habits. Families that eat together also feel closer and better connected to one another.
Dinner is the meal where you can come together at the end of a hectic day for quality face-to-face family time. And while it may feel like there are not enough hours in the day to dedicate to bonding with your loved ones, you can make every minute of dinner time count with these helpful tips.
Dogs hold a special place in our hearts — they’re faithful companions and are there when you need them most. And adopting a pet is just as good for you as it is for the furry friend you’ll be bringing into your life! But before committing to adding another member to your family, there’s a lot to consider first.
Take a look at these go-to tips about adopting a pet to make sure you’re prepared to bring the dog home.
It’s going to take time to be ready for the day your pet comes home. Here’s some great tips to keep in mind:
First and foremost: you’ve got to be all in. If you’re thinking about a dog, are you willing to get out and walk it in any weather? If your answer is anything short of yes, you should take more time to consider adopting.
Will you and your family be a good match for the animal? Understanding how the breed typically behaves will prepare you for knowing what to expect at home. Get online and do some research. Consider allergies and dander of the breed. Then go spend some time with this kind of dog and make sure you’re on board with the energy level and needs before you commit.
Now that you know what kind of dog you’ll be getting, it’s a good idea to call your homeowners insurance agent and let them know the type and breed you’re considering. Because certain kinds of dogs are not insurable, you’ll have to know if the canine will be covered before you buy. At American Family Insurance, homeowners policies provide financial protection against liability claims, including lawsuits for accidental bodily injury or damage to someone’s property. Your agent will help you understand the full details of your policy and how pets are covered. Still have questions? Check out more helpful information on homeowners insurance and dogs.
Parents of new pets have a lot in common with expectant moms and dads. They’re busy finding ways to make their place safer and you should be, too! Take a look at these tips to be sure you’re ready for the arrival of that furry friend.
Get down to floor level and think about how a curious animal might explore your place — consider this babyproofing for your pet. Chemicals and plants that are dangerous to animals should be moved out of reach. Have a plan on storing shoes, backpacks, food and garbage cans away from your new family member.
Make an appointment with a veterinarian and learn about the breed you’ve chosen. Are there specific health issues or emotional concerns that you should be aware of before you take the leap? The clinic will also be able to quote you on the costs of shots and spaying or neutering.
If you’ve got a back yard for your dog, verify that fencing or other barriers are secure and consistent across the area.
Look for online reviews and request references from trainers that make your shortlist. They’ll help you anticipate your dog’s behavior and provide helpful training.
Your pet may need to be trained to do its business outside, and there will likely be mistakes along the way. Be prepared for carpet stains and have a thorough clean-up plan in place.
Be sure to get a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip for your dog. If it’s ever lost, the RFID can be scanned to return your fur baby.
Having a pet is like adding another family member! And that costs money. Get your numbers down on paper to estimate how much you’ll be paying. Purchasing costs and licensing fees are a good start. Collar, leashes, pet toys and ID tags will be another up-front cost. Age and breed-specific food will be a monthly expense. Estimated vet bills, training expenses and grooming fees should go in there too. If you travel or if you need a sitter while you’re away at work, jot down those costs. Add up those figures and now you’ve got a good idea what this pet will cost you.
Getting pet insurance is an easy way to be prepared in case your pet has a health emergency, and can cost as little as $1 a day.
Also, if you have homeowners insurance with American Family Insurance, we offer a special add-on pet coverage that provides up to $1,000 for veterinarian or final expenses for your dog, cat, fish or bird as a result of a covered loss. Although this coverage is not the same as pet insurance; and will not assist you with normal vet bills if your dog should get sick, this optional add-on pet coverage can offer some financial protection.
Congrats! You’re well on your way to welcoming that new friend into your life. Your new pet will be better cared for because you made an informed decision. As you make preparations for your pet, you may want to take a look at our additional personal umbrella coverage for more complete financial protection from the unexpected. Your home will be better covered and you’ll love knowing that your investments are safe.
This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.
If you’ve got a pet, you probably know that the fastest way to their heart is through their stomach. Yes, our furry friends love treats, but it’s important to remember that some foods can be harmful to them.
Keep your best friend happy and healthy for years to come by making sure they never snack on these toxic foods:
It may be a delicious treat to us, but chocolate isn’t a good snack for your pets. When large enough portions are ingested by cats or dogs, the symptoms can be life-threatening.
Though we may need this to kick-start our day, your furry friends are much better off without it. In fact, coffee and caffeine will have a similar effect on your pet as chocolate.
Remember never to give your pet any alcoholic beverages – it can cause them to experience serious depression or sickness.
Although it may seem like grapes and raisins should be healthy snacks, they’re actually highly toxic to dogs and cats. In fact, they have been known to cause kidney failure.
The stems, leaves, peels, fruit and seeds of citrus plants contain a large amount of citric acid, which can trigger irritation and depression in your furry friend.
Another surprisingly unhealthy treat for your pets, nuts have high amounts of oils and fats, which can lead to vomiting and potentially even pancreatitis in pets.
Though coconut products are useful in many ways, your pet won’t appreciate this treat. Coconut can cause extreme stomach upset and leave your pet feeling under the weather for days.
Contrary to popular belief, giving your cat – or dog for that matter – a bowl of milk isn’t a great idea. Pets don’t have the proper enzymes to break down the lactose in milk and ingesting dairy can cause serious digestive problems.
Although these are more dangerous for cats, dogs are also at risk for the negative side-effects associated with eating them. These veggies and herbs can cause gastrointestinal issues and lead to red blood cell damage.
You may have seen the cartoons of a dog dreaming of a nice raw steak, but it’s actually not a great idea to give into your dog’s fantasy with these items. Dogs and cats can get sick just like humans from eating undercooked meat and raw eggs.
Certain bones aren’t strong enough to withstand your dog’s jaw and could break apart causing your pet to choke on or swallow the sharp pieces. Check with your vet on which kinds of bones are safe for your best friend.
Just like humans, too much salt is bad for pets. Avoid feeding your fuzzy family members salt-heavy snacks like potato chips, pretzels and salted popcorn.
To make bread, you’ll need yeast based dough. Though this may seem harmless, remember never to throw your dog a taste of your work in progress as the yeast can rise in their stomach and cause painful and potentially life-threatening stomach issues.
Though you may not think of flowers as harmful, there are some plants that are toxic to your pets. Check out this list of plants to avoid if you’re a pet-owner.
If your pet has consumed any of these foods, be sure to call your local vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 right away to get their health back on track.
And be sure to get in touch with your agent today and ask how we can better cover your family and your pets with our pet insurance options.
This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.