Category: Health and Safety

Teach Your Kids To Respect Animals – Top Tips!

Animals all have their own unique “languages”. Just like learning to talk it’s important to teach children how to communicate with all the critters they may meet. Why is this important? Because animals are awesome and being good to them makes you pretty awesome too; among many other good reasons far too numerous to mention! So, how do you go about teaching your kid about the language of animals? Here are some top tips!

How to Teach Your Kids to Respect Animals

  • Teach them to be humble. Kids have a way of seeing something they want and just grabbing it for their own purpose and amusement. When around another living creature, encourage them to control that urge. Some animals are crazy and will bounce all around a kid scaring them, but sometimes it’s the kid doing the bouncing and grabbing. Teach your kid to be patient and let the animal approach them on their own terms.
  • Teach them to be gentle. Soft touching and no grabbing is key to animal respect. Sure, there will always be amazing pets out there that don’t mind your toddler dragging them around by their tail, but do they really enjoy it? Best to advise your child how to stroke them gently and carry them comfortably.
  • Teach them to be calm. Pets can be just as rambunctious as kids sometimes. It’s important that your kid learns not to lash if they get annoyed with them. No hitting, kicking, or biting!
  • Learn more! Find a full list of awesome ways to teach your child to respect animals here.  From visiting animals shelters to reading books about them there are a million (or at least 21) ways that you can increase your child’s empathy and ensure they have lots of happy relationships with pets in their future!

Chocolate, Candies, and Flowers – Keep Your Pet Safe!

Whether this Valentines Day finds you committed or single, your pet loves you unconditionally! The way they are always happy to see you, always up for snuggles, and the affectionate ways they bring you gifts or help you out with your grooming make up for not sending you chocolate once a year.  All the more reason to ensure your celebrations aren’t putting them at risk.

The Chocolate Factor and Others

  • If there is a holiday more associated with chocolate, we don’t know what it could be! You may know that chocolate can kill your dog, did you also know it’s bad for cats too? Chocolate causes abnormally high heart rates in animals. It’s super important to make sure your pet never has access to it! Since chocolate can cause cardiac arrest, make sure you know how to perform CPR!

 

  • How about those flowers delivered to your door? They look beautiful and smell great but could also be toxic to your pet! Lilies are especially toxic to cats and many other flower varieties can cause upset stomachs and vomiting. Even if the flower itself is not toxic to your pet, many floral arrangments are sprayed with chemicals to enhance their look and extend their life.
  • Sugar-free doesn’t mean pet-friendly. Xylitol is often found in sugar-free chocolate and candies (Gum too!). This ingredient is especially toxic to pets. It’s in you and your pets best interest to keep all sweets out of reach!
  • Ribbons, bows, and candles. You’ve done great making sure those chocolates are out of reach (or gone already…) but what about the box? Delicious smelling candy wrappers, bows, and ribbons can pose choking hazards for many pets, and potentially cause intestinal blockage if consumed. And how about those candles that set the mood for a romantic evening? Make sure their not where a pet can know them over!

photo credit: DaPuglet Valentine Pug via photopin (license)

Paws for Thought – Caring For Your Pet’s Feet

Pet paws, with their fuzzy and sometimes thick and leathery pads seem pretty tough to us. Our pets go tromping across terrain that we need a pair of hiking boots to even consider approaching! They might be tougher than our bare feet but they still need cared for properly. Do you know what threats, remedies, and precautions you need to take to protect your pet’s paws?

Caring For Your Pet’s Paws

  • Claws – Some people don’t realize how important keeping a pet’s claws trimmed is. It’s not just for your comfort or aesthetic reasons. In the wild, many animals claws will be worn down naturally by digging and making their way across rocks. In the domesticated world this natural “trimming” often doesn’t occur as often, or even at all. When trimming you have to be careful about trimming too short and cutting the “quick” in the nail. This can hurt your pet and cause bleeding. If you’re not comfortable regularly trimming your pet’s nails be sure to ask your vet at your next appointment!
  • Frostbite – Pets exposed to freezing temperatures for prolonged periods of time can experience frostbite, which is a damaging of the tissue, often leading to the tissues “death”. It can be very painful, and also very dangerous if left unrecognized and treated. Paws are a common place to see frostbite on pets since they are less insulated and in direct contact with ice, snow, or water. Check out the common symptoms and treatments here.  If you’re taking your pet out in very cold weather, keep it brief and keep their paws dry – or consider a pair of booties!
  • Burns – Summertime can make your pet at risk for burns on the bottom of their paws. Asphalt that has baked in the summer sun all day and even rocks or sand can cause damage. When taking your pet for a walk ensure they have grass, dirt, or some other alternative to hot surfaces to walk. You can also plan your walks for early morning or late evening.
  • Thorns & Cuts – Never ignore your pet if they seem to be favoring a paw either by limping, or paying extra attention to it with their tongue. Outdoor adventures, even within an urban environment can lead to cuts, splinters, or even thorns. Left unattended these can fester and become a much bigger problem for your pet.
  • In Rabbits – Rabbits, especially those who have cages with wire bottoms or hop around on smooth surfaces frequently are prone to a special paw ailment – sore hocks. Sore hocks occur on the back feet of rabbits and can be very dangerous if left untreated. They begin as bald spots on the bottom of the foot that wear away to open sores and infections. Keep a sharp eye on your bunnies hind feet to spot the symptoms!

Neosporin is a great treatment for many mild foot ailments. It is safe for use on most pets (including rabbits). Remember to regularly pay attention to your pet’s paws and see your vet regularly!

photo credit: Mic the otter spotter, going slow Pixie paws via photopin (license)

Winter Weather Care For Your Pet – Act Now!

Each new season means taking new precautions with your pet. Now that winter has officially arrived it’s time for pet owners across the country to be on guard against cold weather! While some have been battling arctic blasts for a while, most of the country will experience some brutal weather in January and February. Check out these winter precautions you need to be taking!

Winter Weather Care

  • Baths – While many people will equate pet bath time with summer more than winter, they can be just as important! Extra thick fur coats can capture more debris and become more easily matted. Baths are also important to remove salt or other deicing chemicals your animal may come into contact with in cold weather. But what about dry skin?
  • Moisturize – In the past baths haven’t been recommended in winter because they can strip your pets already winter-dry skin even more. Be sure that when you wash your pet you are using a moisturizing wash. Consider using a lotion too if needed! Yes, dog lotions exist! You can also add a tablespoon of olive oil to their food to help with dry skin!
  • Foot care – The pads of dogs feet can be super sensitive to the cold, and again, the salt and chemicals. Consider using booties to cover their feet, or massaging them with petroleum jelly (or other protectant) as a barrier to environmental hazards. Don’t forget to dry your pet’s feet thoroughly once your back inside too!
  • Fatten them – Don’t go overboard, but now is no time for diets. A little extra food can help replace all those extra calories they are burning to keep their body temperature up.
  • Consider a coat – If your pet has a thin or short fur coat, consider getting them an extra one if you take them out regularly. You don’t wear just the same thing outside as you do inside in the winter, so don’t expect your pet too!

photo credit: Jori Samonen My Stick via photopin (license

Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! and Your Pet!

In homes all across the country, Christmas trees are going up! Whether your family opts for the natural cedar variety, or a more colorful, long living synthetic Christmas tree, to a cat a tree is a tree. Dangling ornaments, climbability, lights – how could a cat resist! So what can you do this year to deter Mr. Whiskers from challenging his acrobat abilities at your expense?

Keeping Your Cat Off The Christmas Tree

  • Citrus – Did you know cats hate the smell of citrus? Try keeping orange peels under your tree, or even hanging those festive oranges studded with cloves from the tree!
  • Placement – Try to position your tree away from furniture, shelves, or windowsills. Anything a curious kitty could use as a springboard to launch onto a tree.
  • Place Ornaments Higher – Don’t tempt your kitty with low hanging ornaments. Keep the dangly decor for the upper part of the tree, not accessible from the ground level.
  • Tabasco – Even if your cats not into climbing, they love to try and chew those lower branches! Spritz the lower half of the tree with Tabasco water. One nibble and they’ll learn it’s nothing they’re interested in! You can also try purchasing a product called Bitter Apple.

Other Pet Precautions To Take

  • Choose your decorations wisely – Tinsel, artificial snow, ribbons, and other such long stringy items can be hazardous to your pet. Avoid these all together. Also, avoid items with food like popcorn, cranberries, or chocolate!
  • Secure the Base – If a defiant pet does get on the tree, you don’t want it to fall over! Ensure that you follow the proper precautions for your specific tree style and size. It shouldn’t be wobbly!
  • Mind the cords – Make sure that Christmas tree light cords are run behind furniture, kept up, or run through PVC pipe to prevent your pet from chewing on these new wires.
  • Keep them away from the base – If you have a live tree, it will be important for it to have water. Make sure your pet does not have access to this water, it may be toxic to them!

photo credit: Daniel Dudek Elsa loves Christmas via photopin (license)

Thanksgiving Cooking Dangers and Your Pets

Two days until Thanksgiving and in some households the cooking has already begun! As the pressures of the holidays mount be sure you’re not overlooking your pets safety! We’ve done some of the work for you and put together a handy list of new risks you should be aware of as you gear your kitchen up!

Thanksgiving Cooking Dangers

  • Exposing poisons – Be careful while you hunt for that turkey platter or electric knife you only use once a year. In your rummagings, things like mouse poison, household cleaners or toxins, or other things you try to keep out of your pets space may become exposed or spill. Be aware of your environment, making sure once you’ve succeeded in your quest that the floor or counter is free of new debris.
  • New cords – With the unusually high volume of cooking it’s pretty common to break out new appliances or set things up in places you normally don’t. Make sure these are pet-free zones!
  • Food exposure – All those yummy smells are going to attract more than just your human guests! It’s best during the flurry of meal preparation to keep your pets put up. They’ll have a keen eye for dropped morsels and will likely be faster than you at the clean-up! While many things are harmless, a splatter of chocolate from your pie or errant bone can be lethal.
  • Hot things – Yes, you have hot things in your kitchen every time you cook, but this time of year it’s the volume of hot things that pose the risk. As you try to multi-task the danger to your pet (and yourself!) goes up! Try to not have more than one burner going at a time so you’re not handling boiling water, hot grease, and pans from the oven all at once!

 

photo credit: Petteri Sulonen Stir Fry via photopin (license)

Ear Mites 101 – Keeping Your Pet Mite Free!

Has your furry friend by doing a lot of unexplained ear scratching lately? It might be a good idea to check them out for the dreaded ear mites.

Ear mites are a highly contagious eight-legged parasite that infects the ear canal of pets. The icky creatures feed on the oils and waxes in your pet’s ear. While pets of any age can get them, they are most often seen in young animals, and more frequently in cats. If you suspect your pet has contracted an infestation, look for these tell-tale symptoms:

Symptoms of Ear Mites In Pets

  • Excessive scratching of the ears and head shaking
  • Scabs, raw patches, and scratches in or around your pets ear
  • A “coffee ground” looking debris in your pet’s ear

While a case of ear mites isn’t a huge deal, it does need to be treated promptly. If you catch it early, many times you can treat your pet at home using over-the-counter products that you swab your pet’s ears with. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to go to your vet to get a proper diagnosis though. Other more serious conditions can mimic ear mites and it’s important to rule these out first.

While ear mites themselves can be easily treated with the proper medicine, the scratching your pet does can result in serious infections that require further treatment. Severe scratching can also lead to blood vessels rupturing, something that may require surgery. Be sure not to take this condition lightly.

If your pet has contracted a case be sure to check any other pets you have who may have come into contact with them. Since ear mites are so contagious it’s likely that if one pet has them, they all do. Don’t forget to thoroughly wash all your pets bedding and clean the areas the frequent most!

photo credit: hannemiriam via photopin (license)

Diabetes and Your Pet – Know the Dangers!

Did you know that diabetes isn’t just a threat to humans? Thousands of pet are diagnosed every year. November is Diabetes Pet Awareness month so read on to find out about your pet’s risk factors and what to do!

Diabetes Risk Factors

Weight is likely the largest factor for both pets and humans. An overweight pet is far more likely to develop diabetes as they age than a fit pet is. A great incentive to measure your pets daily food and limit treats. Animals that eat a high carbohydrate diet are also at greater risk. Did you know that dogs don’t actually need carbohydrates? Yet most pet foods are primarily composed of corn or wheat. When buying pet food choose the option with the highest protein & fat content, and lowest carb content.

Two other genetic risk factors show that female dogs and male cats both have higher rates of diabetes than their opposites.

Symptoms of diabetes in pets

    • Weightloss
    • Vomiting and Dehydration
  • Excessive drinking & urination
  • Loss of Appetite

Pretty generic symptoms that are applicable to lots of different issues. If these are combined with any of the risk factors we already listed, be sure to ask your vet.

Living with a diabetic pet

Unfortunately once diabetes has been diagnosed, daily insulin injections become part of the routine. Your vet should be able to direct you on how to give the daily shot and store the insulin. It may be necessary for you to track your pet’s glucose levels throughout the day to help better understand when they rise and fall so you can adjust their insulin dosage accordingly. Sometimes you only need to do so until you’ve established a routine, while some pets may always need this service. Dietary changes will need to be made too. Since each animal is different your vet will need to direct you on these. Frequently you will need to feed your pet more often, but in smaller quantities.

Be sure to share your pets specialty needs with your pet nanny, pet sitter, or any other person who may care for them in your absence.

 

Struggling? See if you can find a diabetic pet support group nearby or online to help support you and your pet!

Spay or Neuter Your Pet – The In’s and Out’s!

Spaying or neutering your pet is a very important aspect of pet ownership. Doing so helps to keep your pet healthy and keeps the population down at animal shelters. Here are a few bits of spay or neuter information you need!

Age

While there is some variation on what the best age to spay or neuter a pet is, the average seems to be about four months. Some vets advocate two months as being old enough and encourage this since younger animals can heal faster, while others think one should wait until six months. Both cats and dogs can become capable of reproduction around five months. It’s important to be aware of this if you plan on waiting till the six-month mark.

Can I spay if my pet just had babies?

You should not spay or neuter you pet while they are nursing. They can become pregnant again during this time though. It is important for you to keep your pet away from unneutered males until their babies are weaned. This can be 5-6 weeks for kittens 4-5 for puppies.

Spay or Neuter Cost

Spaying and neutering isn’t’ free so it’s important that you factor this into pet costs before you commit to bringing one home. Prices will vary from place to place. Because this procedure is so important many areas offer low-cost clinics. Check out the ASPCA website here to find a low-cost clinic near you!

Other reasons for spaying and neutering

This procedure can help with several territorial issues pet owners may deal with. Territorial behaviours can be as unpleasant as spraying to mark turf, or as dangerous as aggression toward both you and other animals. Spaying or neutering can also help to keep your pet from wandering. The term “catting around” is based on the likeliness of male cats roaming far from home while looking for mates.

What is the recovery time?

Fourteen weeks seems to be about average. This may vary based on your pet’s age and other variables specific to them. It’s important to follow all your vet’s instructions post surgery!

 

 

Bee Sting? The Common Threat to Your Pet!

All that playful pet curiosity can come at a painful price! Exploring the world often puts your pet in close contact with creepy crawlies and flying insects. Do you know how to help your pet watch for the dangers? Do you know what to do if your pet gets a bee sting?

How to tell if your pet has a bee sting

Is your pet acting agitated or whining for no apparent reason? Pawing at or licking a certain spot excessively? These are both good signs that your pet has a fresh bee sting. Since pets explore the world with their nose, mouth and paws these are the places they are most likely to be stung. Check these areas on your pet for swelling, or even a left-behind stinger. If you find a stinger, very gently (preferably with a pair of tweezers) remove it. Be careful not to squeeze it, passing more venom into your pet.

Beware of ground hornets

Not all things with stingers have nests high up! Ground hornets, also known as Yellow Jackets, usually have nests underground. These nests are a big threat to both you and your pet! Dogs and cats will often be attracted to the buzzing or movement these nests can generate and will investigate. A disturbed hornet nest usually results in more than one sting! Hornets often swarm out and attack anything they perceive to be a threat!

Can you give your pet Benadryl?

Yes! But because each animal is different, make it a point to ask your vet at your next visit. Let them help you determine the best emergency dosage should your pet be in need. The average dosage for cats or dogs is .5-2mg per pound. Since your pet may have

 

Want more info about bee stings? Check out SheildMyPet.com

phot ? via photopin (license)o credit: postman.pete …need a leg -up

 

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