Make Mealtime Meaningful for Families and Furry Friends

(Family Features) Coming together for a shared meal is a simple yet important way for families to bond and create memories with one another. There’s no better time than right now to bring everyone together around the dinner table – including your four-legged friends – for a delicious, healthy meal.

These tips can help make mealtime even more meaningful for everyone:

  • Have the family help with the meal prep. Pick a recipe everyone can help prepare, such as build-your-own pizzas, to make the dinner both a bonding activity and a rewarding experience when you get to eat your own creation.
  • Schedule mealtime for the whole family, including your pup. Your furry friend can enjoy sharing in the family experience, and with his own food bowl, he’ll be gobbling that up, making it less tempting to ask for human food.
  • Establish a no-devices-at-the-dinner-table policy to encourage kids and adults alike to talk, engage and bond with each other. This quality time spent in the company of family can build cherished memories for years to come.
  • Opt for healthy options to keep everyone’s energy levels up. This means working in plenty of fruits, veggies and quality proteins like chicken or salmon, sweet potatoes, lentils and more. These ingredients are also great for your pup and are included in many high-quality dog foods. In fact, the NUTRO™ brand has launched its NUTRO FEED CLEAN™ philosophy, which provides pets with dry recipes that are made with real, recognizable, non-GMO* ingredients and allows families to share their healthy eating lifestyle with their pets.

Whether it’s once a week or every night, coming together for a shared meal is a simple gesture that can help bring families – and even furry family members – together. So grab a plate (or bowl) and enjoy your shared mealtime with the entire family.

For more information on sharing the NUTRO FEED CLEAN™ philosophy with your dog, visit or

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*Trace amounts of genetically modified material may be present due to potential cross contact during manufacturing.


Ideas for Training Your Pet

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(Family Features) From puppies who’ve just been welcomed into the family, to loyal companions who’ve been providing happiness for years, Americans take serious pride in canine family members.

While everyone loves their four-legged friend within the home, they may not receive such a warm welcome from the neighborhood. Poor social etiquette may be a source of disruption in the community. As a pet parent, it’s important to take the time to correct such behavioral issues such as barking or not staying when instructed. There are tools and steps to follow that will help take your dog from bothersome to beloved.

Oftentimes, the most disruptive action by a dog is also the hardest to control: barking. To get barking under control, consider the following training tips:

First, identify the factors surrounding your dog’s barking. Is it more common during the day or at night? Are there triggers nearby such as people, animals or machines? According to the ASPCA, some barking issues can be resolved by removing problematic objects or noises. If the problem can’t be fixed by removing objects, have your dog checked to make sure that he or she isn’t suffering from a health issue.

Using tools and proper training together is often the best way to bring barking under control. Products that feature audible deterrents are oftentimes a good way to stop incessant yapping from a dog. Tools like the First Alert™ Bark Genie Automatic Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent use safe, pet-friendly ultrasonic technology that detects barking and emits sound to help control it.

If your dog doesn’t have a barking problem, he might have a problem with running free. If your dog commonly attempts to break free during a walk or run, or tries to get loose from the yard or house, try the following steps to control the behavior:

According to the ASPCA, the hardest to achieve but most effective training tip to control your dog when it attempts to run or chase is establishing a call that works. To train your dog, simply practice the specific call repeatedly for as long as it takes until the dog begins to adapt. Each time you make the call toward your dog, reward him or her with a treat to set firm expectations that coming when called is a positive thing. Try practicing this training exercise while on a walk. If your dog begins to wander, simply pat your legs and call it for a treat to set expectations that your dog should stick close to you when outside. Keeping a training tool with you can also be handy in case your dog decides to ignore a command or call. Using a tool like the First Alert™ Bark Genie Handheld Ultrasonic Bark Deterrent utilizes the same pet-friendly technology and allows for more precise training control over your dog.

First Alert for Pets Bark Genie™ products are available at Walmart stores nationwide. For more information, visit  

Photo courtesy of Getty Images