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Choosing to Have Healthier Pets with #HillsTransformingLives

This post is sponsored by Hill’s Science Diet and the BlogPaws Pet Influencer Network. I’m being compensated for helping spread the word about the Healthier Pets. Happier Lives. campaign, but I only share information that’s relevant to my readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

I have always been a firm believer in regular checkups and preventive care for all my fur babies. By catching medical problems early, it’s far more likely that problems can be treated. Healthy pets should have an annual check-up—with senior screenings starting at age 7—while those experiencing health issues may need to be seen more frequently, as your vet advises.

For the most part, my little angels have good health when they’re young, but start to decline with age. Charlie has experienced a lot of joint-related pain and dental issues. These problems definitely would affect his quality of life if they went untreated, so I’m very careful to take him in as needed if I notice him not eating as often, whimpering, or being lethargic. Visiting the vet is not his favorite activity, I must admit, so I try to bring a treat along. The only thing he fusses over more than a vet visit is a shower!

Along with medical care, good nutrition is paramount. Avoiding low quality pet foods that are filled with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives is very important. That’s why I love Hill’s® Science Diet®. They offer a full line of high quality food for both dogs and cats that addresses common health needs:

    • Science Diet Youthful Vitality: Fight the effects of aging in senior dogs or cats. (This is Charlie’s favorite food!)
    • Science Diet Grain Free: Suitable for dogs with grain sensitivities.
    • Science Diet Perfect Weight: Over 70% of pets lost weight within 10 weeks of use.
    • Science Diet Oral Care: Reduces plaque and tartar buildup for dogs and cats.
    • Science Diet Sensitive Stomach & Skin: Gentle digestion. Healthy skin and glossy coat for dogs and cats.
    • Science Diet Healthy Mobility: Nutrition to improve dog’s mobility in 30 days.
    • Science Diet Hairball Control: Natural fiber comfortably reduces hairballs.
    • Science Diet Urinary and Hairball Control: Supports whole urinary system health.
    • Science Diet Multiple Benefit: Keeps cats healthy with just one solution for hairballs, skin, and coat.

Hills Science Diet is sponsoring a sweepstakes to focus on the Healthier Pets, Happier Lives™ campaign. This is a national sweepstakes where pet parents can earn $100.00 toward their next vet checkup. The sweepstakes runs for 100 days and their will be a new winner each day (Yes, 100 winners!).  

In addition to the sweepstakes, Hills is also offering a $10.00 rebate on select bags of Hills Science Diet which is recommended by vets everywhere. Enter the sweepstakes and download the rebate here.

Learn more about Hill’s Science Diet by visiting their website and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hill’s. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to Help Those Hurt by Hurricane Harvey

Watching the devastation created by Hurricane Harvey on TV is almost surreal. It is not only scary, it’s beyond heartbreaking, seeing and hearing folks talk about losing their homes, their pets, their possessions, even family members! These good people have done nothing to deserve this and it’s so unfair. I am particularly worried about the elderly, the babies, the handicapped, and the disadvantaged who had very little to begin with.

This picture, in particular, really hits home. Try to imagine your car being under water, you’re unable to walk, and you have a little one in your arms.

As the flood waters start to recede, getting help to them will be easier. Most of us outside the hurricane zone who weren’t effected feel a strong desire to help. Texas Monthly has put together a huge list of resources that makes it easy to assist the recovery effort. Think about all of the simple things we take for granted: human food, pet food, diapers, hygiene items, medications, laundry facilities, hot showers, a warm bed…all of those are very much in need!

We can contribute goods, our time, and/or make financial donations, however we’re able. And, most of all, let’s not forget about the power of prayer. Some people claim natural disasters are a punishment from the Lord. That is NOT true! God truly does love and care about each and every one of us and we need to be more caring towards each other, in thought and in deed. Prayer, coupled with action, is the best way to help the hurricane victims.

10 Back-to-School Tips for Divorced Parents

Advice about Back-to-School shopping, organizing, scheduling, and lunch-making is abundant, but one area that’s frequently overlooked is the plight of divorced and separated parents. Not only is this situation painful, it’s often hectic as well. Here are 10 tips to make it easier:

1. Accept the Situation

Divorce is never easy; in some cases, it’s a literal nightmare, with non-stop fighting, lying, and using the kids as weapons. If your ex—or you!—is doing this, know that it’s hurting the kids most of all. Try to be amicable, if at all possible. If it’s truly impossible, use an intermediary like a counselor or the Court to minimize contact and spell out clearly what’s allowed and expected.

2. Let Go

You don’t have to forgive or forget, but you do have to let things go. Yes, most spouses have a lot of unresolved issues. Guess what: it may never be resolved! Do what you can to move forward and acknowledge that some things may never be quite right, nor will you get that apology you crave.

3. Update the School

Take time before school starts to reach out to the faculty and explain the family situation. (Yes, it’s embarrassing and complicated, so just keep it brief.) Make them aware of the custody arrangement and any behavioral issues your kids may be dealing with. Also, let the child know you’ve talked to the school, in case someone brings it up.

4. Arrange for Duplicate Notifications

Ideally, information would be shared between the parents, but that’s not always happening. It may help to arrange for separate notifications about  school activities, performance, and report cards. This way one parent, usually mom, is not responsible for copying and sending information to the other.

5. Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences Together

A lot of married couples don’t even do this, so if you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. If, by some miracle you can, that’s awesome. Attending parent-teacher conferences as a team shows that both people are concerned about the child’s education and want to be involved.

6. Drop the Kids Off Together

The first day of school can be a scary, overwhelming experience for most kids. If both parents can free up their schedules to be there together, it can be remarkable reassuring. If you can’t be there together, take a photo and send it to your ex. (Yes, it’s tempting to cut them off, but it’s also self-serving and mean in the long run.)

7. Shared Calendar

There are many activities that occur within the school year and it’s hard for everyone to keep up and stay organized. A shared calendar can be a perfect solution, so both parents (and children, if age appropriate) know the schedule and can plan accordingly. Doing it online is the easiest way for all involved.

8. Review and Split Costs

There’s no need for both parents to run out and start buying clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. Make a detailed list and agree to split it up. To keep it fair, decide on a dollar amount or item amount, meaning each person buys 10 things or each person spends $10.00.

9. Be Consistent

When the children are splitting their time between two homes, it’s important for the rules to be consistent at both places, especially during the school year—bed time, dinner time, shower time, homework. If the kids know you’re both on the same page, they won’t try to pretend otherwise.

10. Minimize interference

New boyfriends/girlfriends, step parents, in-laws, etc. have a way of NOT minding their own business. Decisions about the children should be made by the natural mother and father, period. Other family members may weigh in, but the parents aren’t obligated to follow their advice. Current love interests, including step parents, really need to stay in the background and not cause trouble.

In most cases, a divorced couple can come to an agreement, on their own, that’s fair to everyone involved. If, however, your ex is addicted, abusive, or otherwise dangerous to you and the children, don’t be afraid to seek help.

Weruva Food Helps Top 3 Cat Concerns

Did you know September is “Happy Healthy Cat” month? Keeping our cats happy and healthy depends a lot on diet. I’ll be the first to admit my own cat’s diet is not “purr”fect (ok, that was corny, but I couldn’t resist!). Pumpkin is a very big eater. No matter what food I tried or how much I gave him, he never seemed to feel satisfied and he keeps getting bigger and less active every year. Finally, after a lot of searching, I realized he was experiencing one of the three most common cat concerns: picky eating, weight gain, and urinary tract issues.

I learned about the Big 3 by partnering with Weruva. They are a natural pet company dubbed “people food for cats.” They’ve just launched a new line of gluten free, grain free, and carrageenan-free foods. It’s called B.F.F. OMG! (that stands for Best Feline Friend, Oh My Gravy). If your cat has any of these, you might want to consider changing their diet:

Picky: Usually, this problem is due to texture. Cats are carnivores whose tongues and teeth are perfectly evolved for meat-eating. It’s easy to see why a cat might dislike something without real shreds of meat that doesn’t feel right in their mouth.

Overweight: Many lower quality cat foods are filled with unnecessary carbs, which are almost impossible for cats to process (they don’t produce amylase, an enzyme which helps humans digest their food). This was definitely effecting Pumpkin in a negative way!

Urinary Issues: Dehydration is the main cause. Think your cat drinks enough water? You may be surprised. Just having it available 24/7 is no guarantee! In the wild, cats stay hydrated through the food they eat instead of what they drink. Cats are used to “eating” their water—but most wet foods don’t have nearly enough hydration to keep them satisfied.

B.F.F. OMG! cans and pouches feature land proteins like boneless and skinless white chicken breast, salmon, beef, duck, and lamb. And if you are a BPA-free home, check out the pouches because they are BPA-free. Best of all, fur babies will love it. We have to remember that health isn’t just for humans, and it may take some trial and error to learn how to feed our favorite felines. By trying Weruva, I found a high quality product that Pumpkin loves, especially the Chicken & Tuna Dinner in Gravy.

Explore the whole B.F.F. OMG! lineup and find a flavor your cat will adore.

 

Has your cat experienced any of the Big 3 concerns?