Show your love for pets with themed notebooks, pens, pencils, backpacks and more
By Kim Campbell Thornton
Andrews McMeel Syndication
It’s back-to-school time! Whether you or your kids are in elementary school, high school or college, or you’re a teacher, there’s nothing wrong with putting a little fun in the day or expressing a love of animals with the tools for learning. We’ve found an assortment of items to make going back to school less of a slog and more putting on the dog (or cat!).
All right, class, pick up your pencils and begin! Filling in the circles on test forms might be more fun with colorful paw print-themed pencils. A pack of 24 ensures that another one is always available if some get lost or loaned. (amzn.to/43Zup5I)
Every good pencil should be accompanied by a cute eraser. This pink eraser adorned with a whiskered black cat is purr-fect for whisking away mistakes. (zazzle.com/pink_cat_eraser-256795980347933055)
Ask any student, teacher, writer or editor: Work, including homework, is more fun and goes better when you have a great pen that writes smoothly. Bonus points if it’s decorated with dogs or cats. A pack of 10 sparkly pens in five colors feature a curious black cat. The retractable black ink ballpoint pens write with a smooth motion. Use one for homework, grading or to write stories about your cat. (amzn.to/442nmJx)
Dog-loving students and teachers will appreciate this zippered pen and pencil case featuring an assortment of dogs, including Dalmatians, poodles, corgis and beagles. Interior pockets can also hold other school supplies. (amzn.to/3OO6oKv)
Whether you’re reading “The Egypt Game” or studying for a Ph.D. in Egyptology, you’ll love this Egyptian cat-themed spiral-bound notebook featuring Carrie Hawks fantasy art of Egyptian cat goddess Bastet and a bejeweled cat wearing a scarab collar. Interior page options include graph, lined, sketch, checklist and more. (zazzle.com/pd/spp/pt-gotchacovered_notebook?tdid=4929753a-f16c-4eed-9213-a84b0c3ff502)
Enjoy looking at your dog in every class. Dog lovers can personalize an 80-page spiral-bound notebook with their dog’s photo (encircled by pawprints) and their dog’s name. Pawprints and text can be in black or a color. (zazzle.com/your_custom_pet_photo_with_paws_text_notebook-130756301237384260)
Look forward to eating lunch from this insulated waterproof bag personalized with your dog’s photo and your name. It’s also fun for picnics or hikes with your dog, easily holding treats for both of you. Two outer pockets hold utensils, keys or other small items. Keeps food warm or cool. (etsy.me/44ZuLdO)
Everybody knows smarty cats wear glasses. And they carry cute insulated lunch bags like this one with an accompanying cat-shaped ice pack and an insulated food container. If blue is your favorite color, get the version with a cheetah print design. A snap strap attaches it to a backpack. (amzn.to/3DK52do)
To go with your lunch bag and reduce the use of plastic bottles, get a colorful paws collapsible reusable water bottle. It’s flat and lightweight when empty but holds up to a liter of water. A carabiner clip makes it easy to attach to a backpack. Money from sales supports animal rescue efforts. (bit.ly/3KBNy6H)
Zoom into the school year with this magically cute space cat backpack for carrying books and other school supplies. It comes with plenty of pockets and a stretchy side pocket for holding a water bottle. (amzn.to/3Yprylk)
For more down-to-earth dog lovers, check out this navy backpack patterned with pawprints and a tricolor dog. It has several interior and exterior pockets and pouches for stashing pens, pencils, a phone, water bottle and other school necessities. (amazon.com/Backpack-Pattern-Lightweight-Daypack-School/dp/B09B32K356?th=1)
It’s easier to find your place when you use these cute dog sticky notes to mark the pages you need to study, and the accompanying lined pad is perfect for making to-do lists. (amzn.to/441MHmA) Cat lovers will prefer colorful cat-shaped sticky notes and paper clips to mark what to read next. (amzn.to/45kzvKJ)
Pet brain freeze:
the cold truth
Q: I was having ice cream recently, and my dog was getting some doggie ice cream. It made me wonder: Do dogs and cats get brain freeze?
A: Ice cream, popsicles and other frozen goodies are perfect for this time of year, but you probably know from experience that biting down on them can sometimes cause brief but intense pain that’s usually called brain freeze or ice cream headache.
The fancy scientific name for this experience is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. Broken down, the Latin words are “spheno,” for the wedge-shaped sphenoid bone, part of the cranium; “palatine,” referring to the palate, or roof of the mouth; “gangli,” referencing the neural ganglion, part of the peripheral nervous system; “neur,” meaning nerves; and “algia,” meaning pain.
Basically, it’s nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion, caused by constriction of tiny blood vessels in the palate called capillaries. Nearby pain receptors in the face transmit the pain, which may be felt in the mouth or sinuses or sometimes as if it’s actually occurring in the brain -- even though it’s not. This phenomenon is called referred pain.
That’s one theory, anyway.
Another is that brain freeze results when the cold deliciousness causes rapid cooling of the blood in the pharynx, leading to a drop in temperature of the internal carotid artery. The resulting chill causes pain in the meninges at the base of the cranium.
But you want to know if pets can get brain freeze. While dogs and cats can’t tell us that they’re experiencing brain freeze, it’s possible that, depending on their individual facial anatomy, they have the potential for it since they share the same or similar nerve pathways related to the uncomfortable sensation in humans. If your pet is eating a frosty treat and squinches their face, brain freeze might be why. -- Dr. Marty Becker
Do you have a pet question? Send it to email@example.com or visit Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker.
Don’t use DEET
on dogs, cats
-- Mosquito bites are no good for humans or dogs, but the DEET-containing products that humans use to repel them aren’t safe for dogs. Spraying a dog with a repellent that contains DEET can cause such signs of toxicity as a wobbly gait, tremors, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting. Instead, use a dog-safe mosquito repellent recommended by your veterinarian to prevent not only uncomfortable itchy welts on skin, but also reduce the risk of bites that can spread deadly heartworm disease. Using an appropriate mosquito repellent in combination with regular heartworm preventive is a double defense against an invasion of heartworms. Don’t use any mosquito repellent on pets -- even one that’s DEET-free -- unless it is specifically formulated for dogs. If you’re using a DEET repellent on yourself, apply it away from your pets.
-- Radiated tortoises (Astrochelys radiata) are admired for their high-domed shells, brilliantly marked with yellow lines that resemble stars. But the critically endangered tortoises are declining due to habitat loss and illegal collection for the wildlife trade, according to the Turtle Survival Alliance, which is seeking to preserve the species by combating both threats. To do so, they’re providing veterinary care and long-term care for tortoises seized from illegal collections; reintroducing large numbers of confiscated tortoises to the wild in their native Madagascar; monitoring the released reptiles; providing community outreach and awareness; and promoting sustainable livelihoods to reduce poaching.
-- Does your dog need a job? A company that produces peanut butter for dogs is seeking canine ambassadors to promote its product at dog parks, canine events and pet supply stores -- to the tune of $100 an hour. Doggie applicants (and their human handlers) should be friendly and well-behaved with good reporting and social media skills. The deadline for applications is Sept. 1: honestpaws.com/blogs/news/honest-paws-ambassador-program. -- Dr. Marty Becker, Kim Campbell Thornton and Mikkel Becker
ABOUT PET CONNECTION
Pet Connection is produced by a team of pet care experts. Veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker is founder of the Fear Free organization, co-founder of VetScoop.com and author of many best-selling pet care books. Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning journalist and author who has been writing about animals since 1985. Mikkel Becker is a behavior consultant and lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets. Dr. Becker can be found at Facebook.com/DrMartyBecker or on Twitter at DrMartyBecker. Kim Campbell Thornton is at Facebook.com/Kim.CampbellThornton and on Twitter at kkcthornton. Mikkel Becker is at Facebook.com/MikkelBecker and on Twitter at MikkelBecker.