Tag: health

Thanksgiving Scraps and Your Pet‏

As Thanksgiving fast approaches family visits and meal plans are being laid out all across America! Most family meals for Thanksgiving are composed of “traditional fair” and can be found in almost any home. During a time of celebration and goodwill it’s easy to want to share your good spirits and fortune with your pet too. Just what is a treat or a toxin for your pet amongst those leftovers though? Let us break it down for you!

What to share and what to spare this Thanksgiving!

Are These Thanksgiving Treats Pet Safe?

  • Turkey – Turkey is a great holiday treat for your pet! Just remember to be smart about it. If your pet is watching their waistline be sure to stick to light meat instead of dark. For safety be sure to remove any bones too. They can be a choking hazard or get lodged in a pet’s GI tract.
  • Stuffing – Skip the stuffing when it comes time for pet treats. Most all stuffing (even the boxed mix) will contain garlic and/or onions which aren’t good for pets. Most recipes also contain lots of butter and fats.
  • Green Bean Casserole – Absolutely not! For many of the same reasons with the stuffing – the onions and fats. If your pet is hanging around the kitchen while your cooking though, feel free to toss them a green bean or two though!
  • Pumpkin Pie – Not the best option for a pet treat. Sugar is never good for a pet. If you just can’t stand the idea of your pet going without a dessert, consider a very small amount of cool whip – or make your own pet treats!
  • Cranberry Sauce – Skip it, especially if it has other ingredients mixed in like raisins or nuts – both of which are harmful to pets.
  • Mashed Potatoes with Gravy– If it’s just plain mashed potatoes with a simple pan gravy then it’s just a matter of fats and your pet’s waistline. If your family likes to toss in chives, garlic, or onions though, keep it above the table top!
  • Dinner Roles – Feel free to toss unbuttered rolls to your pet! If your recipe contains sugar though, keep it to a minimum!
  • Sweet Potatoes – Plain sweet potatoes can be a great treat for your pet! Some people even like to dehydrate them as pet treats! If you’re making them candied or into a casserole with marshmallows, sugar, or nuts, avoid this entirely! Though fully expect them to give you “the eyes”.
  • Deviled Eggs – Eggs are generally fine for pets. In fact some pet owners like to mix egg into pet food one a week to increase coat shine. The many additions that can go into deviled eggs may cause belly upset though. Use your knowledge of your pet’s eating habits and your recipe to determine if one would be okay!

Before the hubbub of the feast try to let guests know (especially children) if they share with your pet. If keeping an eye on everything is too much for you consider confining your pet to a separate room during meal time. This will allow you to be the one to divvy out treats during clean up so you know exactly what your pets getting into!

photo credit: All for me via photopin (license)

Ear Problems In Pets: What You Need To Hear

Ear problems in pets are unpleasantly common. From infections to ear mites most pet owners will deal with at least one ear issue during their pet’s lifetime. Know the signs and how to deal with them beforehand to save your pet the itching and pain!

Lend your pets an ear to their struggles with mites and infections!

Ear Mites and Infections

These are the three biggest sources of ear problems in pets. Mistaking one for the other and mistreating it can cause prolonged suffering on your pets behalf! As with any pet ailment, seek professional medical advice from your vet if symptoms persist but use this information to give you and your pet a head start!

  • Ear Mites – These hard to see little buggers are highly contagious but usually not too serious if treated quickly and properly. An infestation in most pets like dogs, cats, or rabbits is characterized by a speckled and sometimes crusty appearance inside the ear. Pets will frequently shake their heads and scratch which can lead to bleeding, scabbing, and bald patches. Large infestations often require a specialised ear wash used regularly for around a week. Small infestations can sometimes be treated by regularly swabbing olive or mineral oil on your pet’s ear with a cotton ball until symptoms disappear. Be careful not to get oil down in  your pet’s ear canal though! A light coat is all that is needed. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean pet bedding and any other place in which mites or their eggs may be.
  • Ear Infections – These can be notably more serious than mites and cause pain. While allergies of some variety are the most common cause of ear infections in pets, be sure to get a proper diagnosis from your vet. Even infections caused by allergies usually need proper medical attention to determine what the source of the allergy is so it can be removed. Signs of an infection can include redness and swelling around the ear, scabs, discharge, and itching. Help prevent infections by drying ears out after baths and swimming and being mindful of allergies your pet may have!

photo credit: Daisy loves her soccer balls and finds them quite chewy. via photopin (license)

Cats and the Tips For Health and Happiness

Cats are pretty self-sufficient creatures. They keep to themselves aside from demanding your focus while you’re trying to do something else (reading anyone?). This doesn’t mean there aren’t important things that a cat owner need to know. Sometimes their ability toward self-reliance means their needs can be overlooked. Your best bet is understanding your cat’s needs and personality!

Cat naps in a sunny windowsill!

Tips For Your Cats Happiness

  • Grooming – Yup. It doesn’t matter that your cat takes baths all the time and is a fastidious groomer. Just like most other fur-covered animals they can benefit greatly from a regular brushing. A regular brushing, especially during shedding, can help cut down on fur balls. This ensures your cat’s got a happier belly and less clean up on  your end. Don’t forget to provide them with a good scratching post too to keep their nails trim!
  • Naps – We have the term “cat nap” for a reason! Cats will spend up to 16 hours a day sleeping – often times in short increments. It’s important that you respect their need for lots of sleep. Depending on your cat’s personality they may prefer to nap somewhere near you. Other cats may prefer to the most remote place your home has to offer. They will often like warm and/or sunny spots. Make sure your cat has easy access to their favorite nap spot!
  • Keep the Litter Box Clean – It’s no secret cats are clean animals! Keeping their litter box cleaned out makes for a happier cat and a cleaner home too! In addition to regular scooping be sure to wash your kitties box each time you change the litter with hot soapy water too! Don’t settle for the cheapest litter out there either. Opt for an eco-friendly variety that is free from harmful dust or chemicals that can cause health problems in cats over prolonged use.
  • Scheduled feedings – Keep your cat happy and healthy with a regular feeding schedule. Having a schedule can help keep you from overfeeding and prevent obesity. Many people find it works well to feed in the morning coinciding with family breakfast, and then again with the family dinner. A cat with constant access to food is at risk of obesity, a growing problem with cats in America that can lead to shorter, less happy life spans.

Bonus Tip: Cats LOVE empty boxes!

photo credit: My box! via photopin (license)
photo credit: The windowcat train has had a collision via photopin (license)

Kennel Or Your Home? How To Keep Smells Away!

When you walk into your home does it smell more like a kennel than a place for people? Or are you worried that maybe you’ve lost the ability to smell lingering pet odors but guests can? Scented candles and products like Fabreeze are a great way to freshen up a home quickly. When the product fades though, those kennel smells start to creep back in unless you’ve eliminated the source. No silly, we don’t mean your pet!  Stay on top of pet odors by following our tips below and make sure theirs no doubt about who the master is in your home!

Banish Kennel Scents!

Keep Kennel Scents Out of Your Home!

  • Source #1 – Your Pet – To state the obvious, your pet is the main source of all pet odors so keeping your pet clean is the first step toward eliminating the kennel odor. If you don’t have a self-grooming pet like a cat or bunny then regular baths are a must. What’s “regular” for your pet will vary though based on their lifestyle. An indoor/outdoor pet will likely need weekly baths while a house pet may only need them bi-monthly or less. Keep your pets fresh in between baths with daily grooming like brushing, or a quick toweling if they got damp on a walk. If you feed your pet a wet food, wipe their chins and mouth off after they dine. Staying in tune with your pet’s activities will allow you to “spot treat” them  and keep them fresher!
  • Source #2  – Their “Home” – Pets often have their own space within your home. A little kennel or pet bed are classic sources of pet odors. Clearly tossing pet bedding in the wash is a no-brainer method of keeping odors down, but don’t forget to clean where the bedding goes too! Since most odors are caused by bacteria using a pet-safe disinfectant on the bottom of a pet kennel or where your pets bed goes will reduce odors and keep them at bay longer. Does your pet have a favorite chair or spot on a rug? Make sure you have a little steam cleaner in your cleaning arsenal  to regularly deep clean these areas too! Handheld steam cleaners are great for pet accidents too!
  • Source #3 – Filters – There are many filters in your home that can often be overlooked and harbor kennel scents, redistributing them throughout your home every time air passes through them. Make sure that you clean and replace filters on a regular basis! These include those found in vacuum cleaners, central heating and air units, window air units, some space heaters, and air purifiers!

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Puppy Time! How To Set Your Pet Up For Success

With little rolly-polly bodies and a playful spirit, puppies are hard to resist. There is nothing sadder though than to see a puppy that was brought home be left untrained and set up for a lifetime of struggle. Sometimes when the responsibility sets in and a puppy becomes a misbehaving dog it’s easier to take them to a shelter or put them outside on a lunge line or in a pen. What can you do to make sure that you’re both ready for the responsibility and that your puppy turns into a pet you can manage? Let us guide you!

Puppy to Dog – Tips for Success

  • Know your commitment – True with ANY pet, don’t make an impulse decision. Bringing a pet home is a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Be sure you are ready and willing to put in the time and money to lovingly see the animal through to the end of its life.
  • Prepare your home – If you don’t want it chewed or damaged keep it out of a puppy’s reach. Make sure that you have the required equipment (puppy crates, puppy gates, etc.) to restrict their access and keep them safe. A well-prepared home will lead to less disciplinary measures required during the bonding process.

Puppy time!

  • Define toys – Make sure that your pet knows what it’s toys are. Don’t confuse them by letting them play with an old shoe or something similar. They aren’t going to discern between the toy shoe and your new pair when play time arrives. Make sure toys look different from regular household items you don’t want them messing with.
  • Take the time to train them – Training your puppy doesn’t have to be a big deal or a headache. The best training comes through play! For example, a game of hide and seek with treats as rewards can teach your pet to come when called. Get creative!
  • Keep bathroom breaks consistent – A great puppy potty break rule is to take their age in months and add 1. That is how frequently you should let them out. If your puppy is 4 months old, be sure to let them out at least every five hours. If you can’t be there all the time consider asking a friend or hiring a pet nanny!
  • Make them guest friendly – Nobody likes to be greeted by an over anxious or hostile pet when they visit. While your puppy is young consider keeping them leashed and by you while you have company. Being near you instead of all over a guest will become a habit for them as they grow. To prevent a second pet faux pas, discourage your pet from jumping on you and others by only ever rewarding them when all four paws are on the ground.

photo credit: Hudson, 9 weeks old. via photopin (license)

Innovation in Pet Care – Top Gadgets To Ease Your Worry

With new technologies booming in every possible industry out there, pet care innovations are keeping stride! Whether your “tech minded” or just pet-minded it’s impossible to deny these handy innovations we’ve seen hit the market over the last year!

Innovation in Pet Gadgets

Tagg GPS Plus  – Tracking systems for pets have been around for some time. The important clue to why this one is an innovation lies in the ‘Plus”. Tagg GPS Plus will track your wandering pet as well as alert you if your pet is suffering from extreme temperatures. If you have an outdoor, or indoor/outdoor pet and live in an area prone to extreme weather this innovation can take the guess work out of your pet’s living conditions.

Pet care innovation makes happy faces!

PetNet – PetNet allows you to use your cell phone to distribute food for your pet no matter where you are! With this innovation, you simply fill the reservoir with food, set the portions, and then use your cell phone to dole out the ideal amount at the ideal time! Keep your pet a creature of habit and never miss a meal time again.

PetCube  and PetChatz– In the spirit of making sure your pet is well cared for in your absence PetCube and PetChatz take it a step further. While no substitute for a pet nanny… Both allow you to talk to and interact with your pet while you’re away. PetCube lets you have a conversation, view them via a built-in camera or even use a laser pointer to play! PetChatz combines the social aspect of PetCube while incorporating the option to reward your pet with pre-filled treats too! Ease the separation anxiety with either of these two innovative gadgets!

FitBark – Make sure your pet is getting the proper amount of exercise! FitBark is an innovative little gadget that lets you know how your pet spent their day. How long they played, slept, or were lightly active. This is perfect if you’re trying to help your pet slim down a little or just want to make sure they are getting enough attention and enjoying life!

What’s your favorite new “must have” pet gadget?

photo credit: taro shiba… still smiling! via photopin (license)
 

Unattended Pets And The Destruction They Can Cause

“Pet Shaming” has become a popular social media trend with pet parents displaying the destruction their unattended pets have wrought. While the pictures accompanied with little signs explaining the unattended pets crime are far too adorable, they are also far too relatable for many pet owners!

Dogs frequently display destructive behavior when left alone. Mostly because they are suffering from separation anxiety. While you know you’ll be back in the evening, that span of time can seem endless for a dog. The longer you’re gone the more their anxiety can grow and result in some pretty unpleasant behaviors. Chewing and poor bathroom habits are the two biggest symptoms. It’s important to remember that punishing your dog when you get home in the evening doesn’t do any good. Too much time has likely passed for them to understand what they punishment is for and instead they will just feel unloved and not learn anything.

Damage caused by unattended pets

Cats can suffer from separation anxiety too! While unpleasant bathroom habits are often a symptom for them too, they are often prone to scratch instead of chewing. In some cases, that can be far more costly! A dog may ruin a nice pair of shoes, but a cat can ruin your furniture!

 

What can you do help your unattended pets not destroy your home?

  • Keep Them Well Fed With Lots of Toys – Unattended pets will also wreak havoc when they are hungry and bored. Make sure that your pets have (or have had) plenty of food before you leave. Enough to sustain them for the duration of your absence. Also, make sure your dog has chew toys or that your cat has a scratching post!
  • Pick Up After Yourself – Make it a point not to leave things you value within your pet’s reach. Keep your shoes in a closed closet, electronics out of reach, and make sure that your trash containers are inaccessible.
  • Restrict Their Range – Don’t let your pet have free reign of your home while you are away. Keep doors shut to rooms you don’t want them in. If your pet is known for sketchy bathroom habits while you’re away, restrict them to a room with easily cleanable floors.
  • Arrange For Visitors! – If you can’t make it home in the middle of the day to check on your pet or spend some time with them, consider asking a friend or hiring a pet nanny! Dog walkers and pet nannies are just a service for vacations. They can provide a much-needed bathroom break and playtime mid-day for unattended pets.

 

photo credit: Trash Dogs via photopin (license)

Pet Care As Your Companion Ages – Signs and What to Do

Pet care evolves throughout each furry critters life-span. Just like with humans, the way you care for a baby is different from that of an adult or elderly pet. Do you know how to properly care for your pet at the different stages in their life?

The unique pet care required for young animals seems to be well taught. Pet owners are quick to provide soft and easily digested foods for those that are recently weaned. Many also understand that growing pets need extra nutrients and plenty of play time to develop a strong body. Vaccinations and wormers are also all musts. As they approach adulthood, pet care often becomes more standardized unless you have a pet with special needs. In most cases, it consists simply of a nutritious feeding twice a day with plenty of fresh water and daily exercise.

Pet Care for Aging Companions

What about pet care for aging pets though? Unfortunately, this often gets overlooked for a multitude of reasons. It’s easy to forget that your pet ages a lot faster than you and will likely enter their golden years long before you. When your pet does begin to need specialized care it’s not always obvious. Maybe you’re too busy or distracted to notice the subtle struggles your pet is undergoing? Be sure to take note of some simple signs and know how to care for your pet accordingly.

Aging Pet Care Tips

Talk to your vet – It sounds obvious but if you’re less than prompt about those yearly check-ups and only hit the vets office when something is clearly amiss, you may not realize your pets true age. Talking to your vet about when you should start looking to change up your pets nutrition and habits is a great way to stave off those symptoms of age and ensure your pets continued comfort.

Notice your pet’s energy levels – Are they ready for a rest much sooner than usual? Do they act languid before their old play routine is over? Take note of your pet’s energy levels and adjust play time accordingly. Note that this doesn’t mean stop playing with your pet – just play with them differently. Shorten their walking circuit. Shrink their play space so their toys aren’t so spread out. Take them for shorter but more frequent frolics. Essentially know their limits and cater to them accordingly.

Watch their eating and bathroom habits – As pets age, they sometimes need softer food that is easy to digest just like young animals do. If you find they are eating less or seem to have trouble chewing try switching foods. Additionally, if your pet has always had good bathroom habits but lately they seem prone to accidents or going outside their box or “zone” you may need to make adjustments. If your cat uses a litter box try getting one with a lower entry point for easier access. If your dog waits to go outside try introducing puppy pads so there is a safe place for them to go in the house in case they can’t hold it.

Test for nutritional deficiencies – Some pets will experience hair loss and vision or hearing problems. In most cases, the level of pet care you provide will be limited to simply trying to make their life with the disability easier. Some of these problems can be lessened or slowed by correcting nutritional deficiencies associated with age. Consider having your pet checked regularly as they age.

 

 

Age in Pets – Beyond Dog Years‏

Find out your pet’s true age!

Everybody knows the unfortunate truth that pets age faster than their owners do. While many people have heard that one human year equals seven dog years that equation isn’t entirely true, nor is it accurate for all the other pet varieties out there! One human year does equal seven dog years, for the first two years of life. After that though the aging process slows down and one human year, on average, will equal four dog years instead of seven.

Cat’s have a similar age progression as dogs. One human year is equal to seven cat years with a gradual slowing after that. Check out this handy chart below to find out your pet’s age in human years. Understanding your pet’s age in relation to yours may help you to better understand why your seemingly young pet is showing signs of age.

 

What about other pets, though? How old is your pet guinea pig? Or pet rabbit? Potbelly Pig? Let’s find out!

What’s Your Pet’s True Age?

  • Rabbit – The first year for a rabbit is equal to about eight human years. By the time a rabbit has hit the age of five, they will be nearing 45 in human years.
  • Guinea Pig – The first year for a guinea pig is about ten human years progressing at that same rate so that by the time five human years has passed, your guinea pig will be fifty!
  • Hamster – Hamsters age very rapidly. One human year is equal to twenty hamster years with few hamsters ever reaching their fifth birthday. If they do that would make them 100!
  • Horse – As a much larger pet horses age two years for every one human year generally, ensuring rather long lifespans.
  • Parakeet – The average parakeet will be five within the first year of life. It will be about twenty-two after five human years.
  • Potbelly Pig – These little piggies age about three years to our one. Another potentially long-lived pet!

photo credit: Descansando via photopin (license)

Treats and Snacks Made at Home – Pet Recipes!‏

Whether you’re a picky pet parent or just like baking and trying out new recipes, homemade pet snacks are where it’s at! There are so many advantages to making your pets treats at home. You get to know exactly what your pet is eating and get to control the quality of what goes in. Does your pet need a boost on certain nutrients? You can make sure the snacks double as a multivitamin too! No need to worry about weird toxins from China or any of those other horror stories you see on the news.

No matter what kind of pet you have, there is a treat recipe out there just waiting to be baked! The Kitchn has an excellent list of nine top doggie treat recipes across the internet. Theirs is one of our favorites though because no dog will shun it and it’s super easy to make!

Homemade Doggie Treats

Makes 2 dozen treats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup melted bacon fat
1 large egg
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix by hand until dough forms. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Add more bacon fat or water if the dough is too stiff.

Roll out onto a floured surface, to a thickness of just under 1/2-inch. Cut into 1×4-inch bars and transfer to a cookie sheet. Poke divots into the bars (I use the end of a chopstick) and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn the oven off, flip the bars, and place back in the oven until cool (this will further crisp them).

Treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Joy the Baker has a great recipe for Salmon and Oat cat treats sure to get you a few purrs.

Got a pet bird or just want to enjoy watching the wild ones? Make one of the easiest treats around! So easy it’s a common kid activity. Roll a pine cone or even cardboard tube in peanut butter and then roll it through some bird seed! Hang it in your pet’s cage or outside a window and watch the enjoyment. Want to make it even more of a treat? Try adding a few pieces of dried fruit to the seed mix!

Bunny or Guinea Pig owner? Try Katie’s Smack Snacks! A delightful blend of carrots, oats, banana, and parsley no little critter can resist. We’ve made these with kale instead of parsley too and they go over just as well!

Bunnies do tricks for treats!

Do you have your own homemade treat blend? Share it with us!

photo credit: Will stand for treats via photopin (license)

photo credit: 24/365 Treat’s On Its Way via photopin (license)

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