Tag: pet health

3 Common Household Toxins That Can Poison Your Pet

According to the EPA, 50% of all illnesses in both pets and humans can be traced to indoor pollution and toxins. Additionally, indoor pollution is directly related to the use of home cleaners. Cleaning products are filled with tons of ingredients that include ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers, bleach and formaldehyde that can put pets and humans at risk of anemia, cancer, kidney damage, and liver disease.

No matter how clean and organized you make your home, it’s likely to always hold some sort of danger for your pets. Just like many common food items, household products can make a pet ill or even kill them. Due to their natural curiosity, animals like dogs will sniff around unfamiliar smells without being aware of the toxic chemicals around them. Since pets are smaller than humans are, they become more at risk due to the close vicinity of carpets, garage floors, and restricted spaces that may carry chemical residue. That is why it is important to keep pet owners on their toes and ensure that they make their homes safe for their pets.

Here are the top 3 common household cleaning toxins that can poison your pet.

Antifreeze

Ethylene glycol is an ingredient that can be found in liquid rust inhibitors like antifreeze. It is found in a variety of products, especially the car antifreeze. Due to the sweet smell, animals become drawn into the chemical and even end up consuming the harmful ingredient. Consumption will lead to deadly side effects, as just half a teaspoon will be enough to kill a cat. In fact, the Humane Society of the United States estimates a total of 10,000 cats and dogs die every year due to the exposure of ethylene glycol. The best pet-friendly alternative to antifreeze is to use the “low toxic” version that is made of propylene glycol. The chemical is just as effective as ethylene; however, it contains a fraction of antifreeze.

Formaldehyde

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, animal inhalation of formaldehyde was reported to increase the risk of nasal squamous cell cancer. However, despite its probable cause as a human carcinogen, it is still used in agriculture, home furnishings, construction materials, cosmetics and household cleaners. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin it is considered as highly toxic. To avoid, you can purchase doghouses that are made of solid wood and allow them to “off-gas” before introducing your pet.

Mothballs

When used properly, mothballs can be an effective method to killing moths. However, they will also pose a dangerous threat to pets when used carelessly. Inhalation of mothball vapors can lead to headaches, nausea, respiratory distress, eye irritation, and more. When ingested, mothballs can cause toxic poisoning that will lead to liver damage, seizures, respiratory failure, heart arrhythmia, and especially death.

 

Domestic pets may have a strong sense of smell and curiosity, but they do not have the proper defense against the dangers of toxins in your home. As a pet owner, why not consider placing them in animal day care or hire a pet nanny if your away to ensure your pet’s safety and health?

Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that there are plenty of environmentally friendly cleaning products available on the market that are safe to use around pets and children. You can substitute toxic cleaning products with natural soaps, liquids, and powders that use biodegradable ingredients. If you are unable to locate all-natural cleaning brands, consider choosing natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar as just a little mixture will go a long way to cleaning your home without harming your pets.

Guest Post by Sally Writes

Photo by Jacob Curtis on Unsplash

Indoor Cats vs. Outdoor Cats – Which is Right For You?

Do you have a cat or are considering getting one? Cats are unique creatures. They love human time, but mostly they like to spend time alone. They can go both indoors and outdoors, and there are benefits to both. Would you get an indoor cat or a cat that could go both in and outdoors?

Indoor Cats

Indoor cats are easy to care. Cats love lying in the sunlit window sills or curling up on your lap for a spell. Keeping your cat inside has many benefits. It protects them from getting lost or hurt and from inclement weather and fleas and ticks. Many people prefer to have their animal indoors so they don’t have to worry about them or attend to and cuts or mishaps that might happen in the great outdoors. Cats can play inside just as well as they can outside. Do you exercise? Many cats love to watch or “help” their owners during yoga sessions or other physical activity. They may interfere or get in the way, but that is because they are curious by nature and want to see what their human is up to.

Outdoor Cats

Cats can spend hours staring out windows to watch the birds and other wildlife. Many people allow their cats outside. Cats are great hunters; so if your cat is outside, don’t be surprised if they bring you a “trophy” consisting of a bird or mouse. Cats love exploring, and most will return home for food, water, and care. There are potential hazards outdoors such as traffic, other cats and dogs and getting lost. If you have a fenced or walled area, you can let your cat out on a supervised playtime. They can be safe and still enjoy romping around the yard.

Common Cats

Both indoor and outdoor cats require a certain level of care. While they are both independent, they need food, water, shelter, and love from their owner. Care is the best thing you can do for your pet. Both indoor and outdoor cats will enjoy playing with toys and things they may find outside. Both will need regular checkups at the vet and annual vaccinations to keep them healthy and safe. Try purchasing or building an outdoor cat house where they are safely confined to a fence or house but can feel the grass or watch the birds closer.

Both types have many commonalities and benefits, so which cat would you prefer?

photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker twilight zone via photopin (license)

Bio: Sarah is the author of Crazy Pet Guy. She enjoys spending time with her pets and writing about how to take care of them and raise them well.

5 Great Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Senior Dog

By guest blogger Alexandra Seagal

When many families decide to bring a new dog into their home, they often think of a puppy first. But there is an equally good option found in rescues and shelters all over the country and who is deserving of a loving, forever home.

Senior dogs (dogs over the age of 7) offer so many benefits to potential adopters, yet many people wrongly conclude that older dogs in shelters are there because they are problem dogs. On the contrary, many adult dogs in shelters are there through no fault of their own, but due to a change in the previous owner’s attitude, allergies, or lifestyle changes.

So if you’re thinking of adopting a dog, consider our…

5 Great Reasons to Adopt a Senior

1. Senior dogs already know where to “go”.

Housetraining a puppy takes a significant amount of time, patience, and consistency, and you are bound to deal with accidents and damaged carpets along the way. Those wake-up calls in the early morning hours to race your puppy outside aren’t exactly a thrill either.

Senior dogs are already trained to eliminate outside, so you don’t have to start from square one with them. You can save a lot of time and money replacing furniture and rugs by adopting an older dog.

2. You’ll know about a senior dog’s behavioral and medical history.

Puppies are full of surprises, including being more rambunctious than planned and growing bigger than expected. That often leaves both owner and puppy frustrated at their circumstances.

With older dogs, you will be able to effectively choose a dog who fits with your lifestyle and living conditions. A senior dog’s size, personality, temperament, and activity level are already established; there is no need to guess about the dog at all. Additionally, knowing the dog’s medical background will allow you understand what you’re getting into when you adopt him.

3. Older dogs are already trained but are also willing and able to learn new things.

Training a puppy can involve large chunks of time and practice, not to mention fees associated with any training classes you might enroll your pup in and money spent on dog crates. Puppies are adorable, but puppies pulling on leashes, jumping up on people, not holding a stay command, or not socializing correctly with other dogs are not.

Senior dogs are a ready-made package as they will already know basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “heel.” You can avoid all the work that it takes to train a puppy by adopting an older dog who knows what he’s being asked to do.

This doesn’t mean that seniors are old dogs who can’t learn new tricks; in fact, they are better at learning new commands than puppies. Adult dogs can focus much better on the task at hand, something that puppies struggle to accomplish. Additional training for a senior dog is not only fun for you as an owner, but it also keeps your older canine mentally sharp and agile.

4. Seniors are ready to give you all of their love.

No matter what painful background experiences they’ve had — neglect, abuse, homelessness — dogs are all about living in the moment. They are excellent at forgiving and forgetting.

Whatever they have encountered in their past, whatever emotional or physical scars they carry, they are more than ready to let you into their hearts. All senior dogs want is love, kindness, a good home, and good food, and they will love you forever in return.

5. You’re giving an older dog a second chance.

Older dogs deserve the chance to live out their final years in a loving home surrounded by people who care for them. A crowded, noisy, stressful shelter environment is not the right atmosphere for a senior dog. But sadly, shelters and rescues are full of older dogs, and it takes much longer for seniors to get adopted.

Some shelters are overpopulated and may not have the time to wait for a senior dog to be adopted. Too many of these old pals are euthanized in shelters, while some spend years at rescue facilities waiting for a home. By adopting a senior dog, you are saving his life, literally or figuratively, and your kindness will be repaid by your new dog every day he is with you.

Senior dogs make the best, most loyal companions, so be a hero and adopt a senior dog! His gratitude for a loving owner and a permanent home will be the foundation of a beautiful relationship between you both.

Classroom Pets – What You Need to Know!

The summer has blown by and back-to-school is just around the corner! Are you a teacher or a parent? Did you have a classroom pet when you went to school? Maybe you’re a student who’d like to have one?Classroom pets offer a variety of cool and interesting ways to learn and engage students. They are also an obligation though. Let us walk you through some of the ups and downs!

What sort of animal makes a good classroom pet?

Not a dog or a cat for sure! Low maintenance animals are best. Ideally, it’s not a critter that needs to be taken home every night, is small and doesn’t cause classroom disturbance.

  • Guinea Pigs – Small, relatively quiet. They require minimal care, are generally calm and easy to handle. You will need to have a pair though to prevent boredom and loneliness.
  • Hamsters – All the same features of a guinea pig, but smaller. They do tend to be nocturnal though, so students will see less of their prime activity hours.
  • Lizards – Iguanas, bearded dragons, and the like make super low maintenance classroom pets. Their needs will vary slightly depending on the type you get but they usually require less food, interaction, and are easy to handle.
  • Rats – Nice clean pet shop rats (not the ones from the alley!) are a super smart and active classroom pet. Students can spend time building mazes and test the rat’s brain power! They are also less likely to bite than hamsters or mice.
  • Fish – Probably the lowest maintenance pet, but also likely the one with the least amount of reward. They can add a nice, calming atmosphere to the classroom though and make good study subjects for aquatic science! Also, consider hermit crabs!

Classroom Pet Pro’s

Pets in the learning space can provide exciting new ways for students to engage with their curriculum. Animals can frequently be easily incorporated into math (animal weight, food measurements), science, and even history, social studies, and literature! They also instill a sense of responsibility and respect for life in children. They can also have a great calming effect on nervous or upset students. Plus, parents might appreciate seeing how their student interacts with a classroom pet before committing to one in the home!

Classroom Pet Con’s

Most of the cons have to do with the added responsibility on the teachers part. Teachers are, ultimately, responsible for the welfare of the pet. They need to ensure students are performing daily feedings and care properly and that the pet’s living space is kept clean. They are also responsible for vet visits (though some schools may foot the bill), shots, and spaying/neutering. It’s also important for the pet to have a place to go during vacations, or even the weekends depending on the animal.  It’s also suggested that parents give their expressed permission for their child to interact with the school pet, in the case of a rogue bite or scratch.

photo credit: Ukelens Guinea Pig Photoshooting Selection via photopin (license)

Diet Changes for Your Cat – What You Need to Add!

Before cats became civilized and domesticated, their primary diet consisted of raw meat. Of course, you aren’t going to let your cat out to grab a bite to eat for dinner every night, so you’ll feed him/her a commercial cat food. But what kinds are the right ones that provide a balanced and nutritious diet that your fur ball will thrive on?

Well, if you understand the 5 ways to improve their diet, you can keep your kitty happy and healthy for life.

Veggies are Good

You may think that as a carnivore, a cat only needs meat to survive. The truth is that even when they were wild they always took in some veggies by eating grass or the digested vegetation in their prey’s stomach. So, giving your kittycat a few veggies is a nice little treat. Familiarize them into your cat’s diet by mixing them into their regular cat food, or if they will have them, giving bits and pieces as treats. Some veggie suggestions are broccoli, green beans, squash, and carrots, but always make sure that meat makes up the bulk of your cat’s diet. However, a few veggies added every once in a while is a good thing.

Always Serve Cooked Meat

Yes, cats ate raw meat in the wild, and they also got parasites like worms too. Meat treats are terrific for your cat, but be safe and make sure they are well cooked.

Eggs Make Great Snacks

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein and B vitamins, and it doesn’t matter if they are sunny side up, over easy or hard boiled. Just make sure they are cooked, and you’ll be good to go.

Add Omega 3’s to Their Diet

Essential fatty acids, like Omega 3’s, are just as good for cats as they are for humans. Cold water fish are loaded with them, they are heart healthy and your cat’s fur will be silkier and shiny. Better still, research shows that they slow the spread of cancer, and if your cat has arthritis, they’ll reduce the inflammation.

… And Probiotics

If your cat has digestive problems, probiotics are the best thing you can do for them. Probiotic supplements are known for creating more effective and efficient digestion while strengthening a cat’s immune system too.

Follow the suggestions as illustrated, and you’ll see for yourself that a healthy diet means a healthy cat.

Thanks Feline Living for the great tips and infographic!

 

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Up-to-Date Food Recalls – Keeping Your Pet Safe

As pet parents, we all try our hardest to keep our fur babies safe and healthy! Sometimes that delicious food or those tasty treats aren’t so safe though… Most of us don’t have a real-time option for pet food recalls. This leaves us relying on social media or the news to find out and by then it could be too late!
Fret no more! Bookmark this page for your #1 resource for current pet food recalls courtesy of PawDiet.com.

Recalls By PawDiet.com

 What causes a food recalls?

Pet food recalls happen when the food company because aware that a batch that has left the factory may have become tainted. Sometimes they are alerted to potential issues internally, other times recalls don’t happen until the company is alerted by a concerned pet owner who has had an issue.

Sometimes these recalls occur due to contaminants – some that could be deadly. Other times because of plastic, metal, or other foreign bits could be contained in it. Sometimes it could be simply that the food was mislabeled.

 

Cookout Pet Safety For Your Summer Vacation

Most schools have let out for the year by now – that means summer is about to get into full swing! A favorite family and community pass time for ages have been the summer cookout. Lawn chairs, cool drinks, colorful dresses, and lots of grilling! Do you know how to keep your pet safe?

Cookout Pet Threats

  • Hot grills and fire pits – Most cats and dogs know better than to sniff around too closely to something that’s on fire, but sometimes the smell of those unattended burgers can be too much for them to bear! All reason goes out the window as they decide it’s worth the risk. Make sure someone is keeping a close eye on the food at all times!
  • Hazardous foods – While most foods found at a cookout might not kill your pet, they could cause some serious stomach upset, especially if they aren’t used to such foods. Onions and avocados are two bellyachers as well as all those preservatives and salt found in chips and hot dogs. Let guests know you’d rather they not feed your pet, or better yet, keep your pets sequestered elsewhere while the bulk of the food is going around!
  • Lawn games – Sometimes cookouts include horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or other yard sport. An over anxious pet can easily get in the way of participants injuring both them and the guests. Chewing on abandoned lawn toys can pose a choking hazard too.
  • Candles and torches – Keep your pets away from tables with candles or tiki torches to prevent a fire hazard.
  • Strange people – Pets that aren’t used to large groups can become over excited or nervous during cookouts. Especially if there are loud noises like music or fireworks involved too. If your pet is familiar with most of the guests or easily excitable leave them at home or put them inside somewhere with some water, food, and toys of their own. DO NOT LEAVE THEM IN A CAR.

photo credit: frankieleon Dogs and Cats via photopin (license)

Gut Bacteria – Keeping Your Pet In Balance!

Do you know what “gut bacteria” is and how important of a role it plays in your pet’s health? Recent studies on the topic have pointed to the conclusion that maintaining a healthy level of good gut bacteria is a key factor for good overall health in both humans and their pets! So, what is gut bacteria and what does it do? What happens without it? What can you do to help your pet maintain the right levels? Let us teach you!

Bacteria? Good? Yup!

While stomach acid helps break down the foods you eat, thousands of tiny little microbes do the real work! These helpful little buggers neutralize toxins, kill off bad bacteria and yeasts that try to overgrow, and assist in vitamin absorption!

 “The gut is the largest immune organ in the body,” says Susan G. Wynn, DVM, a veterinary nutritionist in Atlanta

Low Population?

Several factors can affect your pet’s level of the good bacteria. The balance is frequently upset by consuming things they shouldn’t and/or picking up parasites from things they eat. Taking antibiotics can also upset the flora & fauna of their bellies. Be sure to talk to your vet about gut bacteria levels if your pet is prescribed an antibiotic. Some signs of an improper balance include vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation – though your pet can have moderately low levels for an extended period of time that will affect them in other ways like malnutrition, or low immunity.

Growing & Maintaining Your Pet’s Gut Bacteria

Maintaining your pet’s gut bacteria is the best option! You can do this by ensuring they aren’t eating a lot of human foods (especially processed ones!) and aren’t given the opportunity to consume things in the wild that may have parasites. If you’re laughing at the latter option there though, talk to your vet about temporarily introducing a probiotic specifically for your pet and breed. Probiotics can be given in the form of pills, powders, or a liquid that can be added to food. They work two ways – lowering the pH of the gut creating a healthier environment for good bacteria to flourish, and by replenishing said bacteria!
photo credit: ynaka29 Happy Laika on Bed at Taconic, Kimpton Hotel via photopin (license)

Wet Dog Smell Explained – Why & What You Can Do!

The term “wet dog smell” is so universally relatable it’s used to describe things other than a wet dog! No grooming, bath, conditioner or scented oils are powerful enough to make it go away entirely. Where does it come from? What can you do about it?

The Source of Wet Dog Smell

Dogs may be furry but their skin is very similar to ours. Underneath all that fluffiness their skin excretes oils (called sebum) that help to moisturize and protect it. When this oil builds up around the hair follicles of your dog’s fur bacteria can start to grow. This growth is spurred by the addition of water. The bacteria create the smell that we (not so fondly) refer to as “wet dog smell”.

Treatment & Prevention

That sounds a little dramatic. This isn’t a dangerous or life-threatening situation, but it is mighty unpleasant. Here are some ways you can deal with and prevent a return!

  • Humans have to wash regularly to keep sebum from building up and wash away dead skin cells. Your pup needs this service too! Regularly removing build up can be a big help! Don’t go overboard though – remember that oil serves a purpose. How often should “regular” washing occur? Try a couple times a month. You may reduce this down to once a month in the winter when skin tends to get drier.
  • Regular deep (but gentle) brushing can be helpful in between baths to loosen and remove buildup from the hair follicles. This may be more effective on short-coated pets than long ones.
  • Wash all their things regularly! Imagine if you never washed your bed sheets or clothes? You’d be pretty smelly too, no matter how many baths you took. Toss all things washable through a wash cycle every time you bathe your pet. If something’s not washable, spray it down with some white vinegar, wipe it down, and air it out in the sunshine regularly.

photo credit: carterse Dusty Loves the Water via photopin (license)

Organize You & Your Pet’s Life This Spring!

Somewhere along the line pet ownership got complicated. Between grooming equipment, travel items, medicine, and toys a pet-friendly home can get pretty cluttered! Don’t waste that valuable time allotted for the dog park trying to find the leash! Check out our top tips to organize your pet-friendly lifestyle this Spring!

Organize Now!

Accessorize – I know, you’re thinking “the last thing I need is more pet stuff!”, but hear me out! When it comes to grooming your pet you’ve got a brush, nail clippers, and shampoo – if you’re a bare minimalist! Maybe you have a moisturizing winter shampoo and a flea & tick summer shampoo? What about a toothbrush? Ear swabs? Conditioner/lotion? Things can add up fast. Instead of cluttering these things up in your bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, why not consider a pet grooming caddy? This handy little one below from Everything Mary is under $30 and has room enough to accommodate and organize all your pets grooming needs and more!

Health Needs? Even a healthy pet may need to take medicine from time to time, or even a vitamin. You’ve seen those day-of-the-week pill organizers? Check out this cute pet version from ForgettingthePill.com!

This keeps pills organized, is great for travel and easy to slip into a grooming caddy, first aid or emergency kit, or a medicine drawer or bag.

Have a Car Kit! Don’t waste time looking for the leash, water bowl, or any other travel accessories your pet may need – keep an extra in a travel kit for your pet! Travel kits that are kept in your vehicle are a great idea for quick trips to the dog park, road trips, or to double as an overnight bag if your and/or your pet are staying away from home. You can include a few treats, food, fresh bottled water, toy, leash, and anything else specific to your pets needs!

Consider a Toy Box! Always stepping on a squeaky toy, or even worse, a spiky toy? You put them “away” in whatever area of the home your dog “owns” yet they always get drug back out? Consider a toy box! Adorable and functional for that pet that has everything!

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