Blog Posts by Bridget Marquardt

  • Working Out with Your Dog



    Exercising can be tough, even for dogs -- but they need to get in shape, too!

    We got celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson to show us some dog-friendly workouts that will help get both us and our dogs in shape. Gunnar may be known for working with famous humans, but it turns out he's got some tips for getting our dogs involved in our workouts as well.

    He showed us three exercises that will help get us in shape while letting our dogs play: a squat toss, lateral hops, and a backpedal -- all of them with dog-specific variations.

    To see more of Gunnar, check out his new online fitness and weight-loss program, The Gunnar Challenge, where he offers personalized workout tips, meal plans and daily workouts.

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  • What to Do If Your Pet is Choking


    We recently sat down with pet first aid expert Denise Fleck for a quick lesson in how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a dog or cat.

    Everyone knows how easily dogs can choke on bones or toys, so this is an essential thing for any pet owner to know and Denise says she's seen this simple method save lives before.

    For more information on Denise's Pet First Aid classes, check out her website here.

  • Swimming with Whale Sharks


    Animal Nation recently visited the Georgia Aquarium, where Bridget got to dive with whale sharks. They may be the largest fish in the ocean, but these sharks are gentle giants: filter feeders who rely on plankton and fish eggs to survive.

    The Georgia Aquarium is the only place in the United States where you can see whale sharks in captivity. They're a part of the aquarium's Ocean Voyager exhibit, a football field-sized, 6.3 million gallon tank which features not only whale sharks, but manta rays, eagle rays, tiger sharks, sawfish, guitarfish, groupers and other tropical fish that are found in warm open ocean waters throughout the world.

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  • Horses Provide Therapy for Special Needs Kids



    We recently visited a clinic for children with developmental disabilities where therapists are using horses to provide occupational and physical therapy. It's called hippotherapy and at McKenna Farms in Dallas, Georgia, the patients range from autistic children to those with physical disabilities, such as cerebral palsy.

    We met one four year-old boy named Noah, whose cerebral palsy prevents him from sitting upright or fully using his hands or legs. For Noah, doing his therapy while riding on the horse helps him build strength in his trunk muscles that will help him work towards the goal of keeping his body upright and head up. His therapists also say that, since the stride length and pace of the horse so closely mimic the human stride, these hippotherapy sessions are helping his brain and muscles learn the patterns involved in walking. They are also of the the few times he gets to experience what it might feel like to walk.

    Noah's mom says the horses have made a huge difference in

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  • Dealing with a Problem Cat


    Cats can be challenging to understand, especially when they're misbehaving, so we sat down with veterinarian and animal behavior specialist Dr. Rachel Malamed to get to the bottom of some common cat behavior problems. Her top three? Going to the bathroom outside the litterbox, scratching furniture and fighting with other cats.

    1. Not Using the Litterbox
    For cats who won't use the litterbox, Dr. Rachel says to bear in mind that it may be a medical problem. If your cat is suddenly urinating outside the box, check with your vet to make sure he or she doesn't have a urinary tract infection or other condition.

    Aside from that, Dr. Rachel says it's important to go out of your way to make the litterbox more appealing and other locations less appealing. Remember that cats can be very picky: just like us, they like a clean bathroom, so keep the litterbox clean, but also keep in mind that they may prefer one brand of kitty litter over another. Dr. Rachel says you can do a kitty litter

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  • Pet CPR: How to Save Your Pet's Life



    Finding your dog unconscious and not breathing would be a terrifying situation. That's why we brought in pet first aid expert Denise Fleck to show us what we should do if we find ourselves in that situation.

    Denise demonstrated, step by step, how to perform CPR and rescue breathing -- the same kind we're taught on humans -- on a dog or cat. We learned how to perform mouth-to-snout rescue breaths, how find our pet's pulse at the femoral artery on the inner thigh, where exactly to locate our pet's heart to begin compressions, and how to perform those compressions on both large and small animals.

    Take a look as Denise explains the process, and be sure to check out her website (http://www.sunnydogink.com/) if you're interested in more information on pet first aid.

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  • The Playboy Mansion Zoo: A Behind-the-Scenes Tour



    Did you know the Playboy Mansion has a zoo? Neither did we, but Bridget did! She took us on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the only private zoo in Los Angeles. From squirrel monkeys to marmosets, and peacocks to toucans, we got up close with the 184 animals that call the zoo home.

    We even got a chance to sit down with the mansion's most famous resident, Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner, to find out about why he started a zoo. Turns out he's loved animals ever since he was a kid. Hef even told us he might have become a zookeeper, if he hadn't started Playboy!

  • The World's Ugliest Dogs? Turns Out They're Cute!


    Animal Nation recently visited the 2012 World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair, and while the contestants may have been vying for ugliest in show, all we saw were beautiful dogs. It turns out the world's ugliest dogs were actually really cute!

    We saw mohawks and mullets, snaggleteeth and curled tongues. Sure, they may have been a little different, but that just made them all that much more adorable.

  • Helping Injured Dogs Run Again


    Yukon and Darwin are two dogs who were unable to walk a short time ago. Yukon, a wolf hybrid, had his wrist crushed by an elk. After numerous surgeries, his vets were suggesting amputation as the only option. Darwin, a tiny little Yorkie, was attacked by a larger dog and had his front paw amputated.

    Today, both of these dogs are active and running on devices made by a company called OrthoPets that specializes in prosthetics and orthotic braces for animals: Yukon wears a removable brace that lets his injured wrist support his weight again, while Darwin sports an American flag-motif prosthetic leg.

    OrthoPets founder Martin Kaufmann came from the world of human prosthetics and orthotics and started the company after his cousin's dog was became unable to use a paw. When veterinarians suggested amputation, Kaufmann thought he could do better. He made the dog a brace and then decided to head into the animal world full-time. He's since teamed up with veterinarian Dr. Patsy Mich, who

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  • Teaching Dogs to Herd


    Think your dog is a natural shepherd? I recently met up with Ted Ondrak of SoCal Herding. He's a real-life shepherd, and when he's not busy competing or working at herding events, he teaches dogs to herd.

    As it turns out, not every breed of dog is up to the challenge. To make it work, breeds have to be in the herding group, and then the individual dog has to have the instinct to go towards the livestock. If a dog makes it that far, then he or she can be taught how to follow commands and herd.

    And why do it? Because the dogs love it. Ted says that for working dogs with a herding instinct, this is what they were bred for, and there's nothing they (or he) would rather do.

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