Tag: pet health

Prep Your Pet – Spring Into Action Now!

That time of year we’ve all been eagerly waiting for – Spring! Throw those windows up and welcome the fresh air! As we roll back into motion after winter there is so much to do. Twice as much if you’re a proud pet parent! In addition to thinking about your tan and planning summer fun, there are important steps you need to take to prep your pet for the return of warm weather!

Spring Pet Prep

  • Vaccinations – Is your pet up to date? Warm weather can bring your pet into contact with risks you need strong vaccinations against. Digging in the dirt? Contact with wildlife? Ask your vet to ensure your pets rabies, parvo, and other vaccinations are all up to date!
  • Collar with Contact Info – Lost pet numbers always rise with the temperatures. Even if your pet is microchipped make sure they have a secure collar with your contact details clearly listed on it!
  • Heartworm Prevention – Prep your pet for the incoming mosquito season before it arrives! Whether you treat with oral medication or a shot, make sure your pet stays healthy by administering their spring dose!
  • Fleas and Ticks – These buggers always make it out earlier than you expect and then before you know it, you’re fighting an infestation instead of doing simple Spring Prep! Many pet owners keep up flea and tick prevention year round, but if you’re a pet parent that lets it lapse over the winter, prep now! If you’ve got a new puppy or kitten check with your vet first to determine dosing for their size and age!

Whew! Now take them for a treat after all those shots and medicine and make sure this spring they hit a few mud puddles with you! Happy Spring!

photo credit: The_Little_GSP 0230 Happy Spring Puppy via photopin (license)

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)

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

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)

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!

 

 

Top 5 Threats To Your Pet This Halloween

The candy bowls are filling up and everyone’s picking out their costume for the big Halloween bash! In amongst all the activity that October brings are our pets. Living their life along side us and the many hazards we are constantly dragging out!  So, aside from the candy, what do you need to watch out for? Here’s our Top 5 list of things you might overlook…

Top 5 October Pet Threats

  1. Chrysanthemums (mums) – Those pretty pots of red, yellow, purple and orange mums are filling popping up everywhere! They may be the most popular seasonal flower, but they are also toxic to dogs and cats! The flowers, stems, and leaves all can make your pet ill. Vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, excess salivation – all these are symptoms of chrysanthemum poisoning. If you decide to decorate your home or yard with these autumn beauties, display them out of your pets regular zone. If you suspect your cat or dog has partaken, contact your vet!
  2. Jack-O-Lanterns – Nothing says fall like the friendly (or not so friendly!) jack-o-lantern glowing on the porch! Is pumpkin okay for your pet to eat? Yup! Is a pumpkin that has been sitting on your porch for nearly a month with a candle in it okay for your pet to eat? No. Accumulated bacteria and the possibility of wax  likely won’t kill your pet, but they could make them not feel so hot. Also, be sure to keep your jack-o-lantern in a safe place where your pet won’t knock it over while lit!
  3. Candy wrapper – Everyone should know that candy, especially chocolate, isn’t good for your pet. Have you thought about the wrappers though? You or your child may be great about keeping candy out of reach, but don’t forget to be fastidious about keeping those wrappers up too.  The tempting smell or remaining bits stuck inside can be just enough to entice a pet into eating them and could cause some serious gastrointestinal concerns.
  4. Pet costumes – Will they look adorable? Sure! It doesn’t mean it’s a good idea though. Don’t prioritize your satisfaction over your pets comfort and safety. If you plan on dressing your pet up make some trial runs. Put the costume on and see how they react and how well they can get around. Is it a tripping hazard? Will they get tangled up in it? Are they going to chew on it and possibly choke? Keep all these in mind!
  5. Strangers – Halloween is a time of high activity! Halloween parties and trick-or-treaters can keep the door revolving and add a lot of excitement and/or stress to your pets life. Especially when those people may come dressed up like monsters! A protective pet may overreact, even to people they are familiar with, if they show up in an unrecognizable costume. It’s best to confine pets somewhere out of the way with some food, water, a soft bed and their favorite toy.

Think your own threats not covered in our top 5? Share them with us!

photo credit: Randy Son Of Robert Wee Westie Watching for Tricksters via photopin (license)
photo credit: Verity Cridland Great Yorkshire Show 2015 via photopin

Accessories For Your Pet – Awesome Things You Need!

Pet accessories  cost American’s over $60 billion dollars in 2016. While we may feel a little ashamed, we still can’t help but want to spoil our furry little friends! It seems like every day some new, clever item is being introduced to the market. It can be a bit overwhelming… Below we’ve compiled (yet another) list of some great new products that are sure to make life with your pet better! Got a “must-have” item of your own? Tell us about it and share your find with others!

Pet Accessories to Have Now

  • Quilted Pet Cover – Got a problem with your pet getting on the couch leaving fur and damaging it? This awesome microfiber quilted pet cover should put an end to battles over the couch!

  • Retractable Pet Safety Gate – Tired of pet gates that don’t go as far as you need them to? Or are too big for your space? This accessory offers a solution for spaces up to 55 inches wide. That’s 4 1/2 feet!
  • Emergency Pet Cards – Do you live alone with your pet? Have you ever worried what would happen if you found yourself in an emergency and couldn’t get home in time to care for them? Invest in one of the Pet Care Cards. They notify emergency personnel that you have a pet at home alone and provide a contact for them to notify on your behalf!

  • They Gulpy Water Dispenser – The size of a water bottle, this little dispenser eliminates the need for you to carry around a bottle and a water bowl for drink breaks. Ideal for walks, hikes, and road trips!
  • The Bike Leash – Want to take your dog along on your bike ride with you? Check out this awesome Bike Tow Leash! Approved by the American Pet Association, this leash keeps your pet safely right  along with you!

Millennials – The Pros and Cons of Pet Ownership

A badge once held by the baby boomers, millennials have taken the lead for most pet-loving generation! Loosely defined as those born between 1980 to 2000, millennials have given pet shelters (and the pet industry) a renewed hope after earlier reports put pet ownership rates down among the Baby Boomer generation. According to the 2015 Global Pet Expo 35.2% of millennials own pets, up a few percentage points from where baby boomers now range.

Early last year reports surfaced that many millennials while being pet lovers, may not be the best pet owners for a variety of reasons:

  • They are more likely to rent and not own, making them subject to lease agreements regarding pets and more likely to have to give up a pet due to a move.
  • 38% of millennials believe that pets can stay safely in shelters until adopted out.
  • They are more likely to be impulse buyers meaning they hit pet shops instead of shelters and frequently end up unprepared for all the duties of pet ownership.

So where do millennials excel as far as pet ownership goes?

Millennials – A Positive New Generation of Pet Owners

  • Social Media – This is a generation that has largely grown up with social media and the internet. They love networking! Shelters should be sure to have a strong presence with informative posts.
  • Social Causes – Millennials are very socially minded and they like to be a part of things that represent the world they’d like to see. From buying things for a good cause to investing in shared economies. Millennials, while they may have a reputation as impulse buyers, they are also conscious buyers and care about where their investment goes. Make sure they know they are doing good when they adopt!
  • Spending – Pet spending has increased steadily over the years and it doesn’t look set to decline anytime soon. Millenials spend more on pets (both spoiling and on medical care) than previous generations.
  • Tech -savvy – Pet owning now is easier than ever with all the great new innovations this tech-savvy generation has pioneered. Micro-chipping, tracking collars, thousands of pet apps and services all make it easier to care for your pet!

Want to know more ways this new generation is defining pet ownership, check this out!

Hot Car + Pet: Do You Know What To Do?

No matter how many reminders, news stories, memes and infographics warn about the dangers of leaving pets locked in cars on hot, or even mild days, people continue to do it. On a moderate day with temperatures in the 70’s, the heat can rise to 100-110 degrees in a parked car. In the summer when outdoor it’s in the 90’s, it takes just 10 minutes to hit 160+ inside a car.  As a concerned pet lover, what should you do if you see a pet left in a hot car?

Helping A Pet In A Hot Car

  • Assess the situation – Don’t assume the worst. Look around and see if you can locate the owner nearby. Observe the animal to see if they are in heat distress or not. Visual symptoms of heat distress are excessive panting and lethargy.
  • Wait a minute – Unless you perceive the pet to be in severe distress wait a few minutes to see if the owner returns. You may spend this time taking note of the vehicles make and model, and pulling up the local sheriffs number.
  • Get help – If the dog is in severe distress enter the business  you believe the owner to be in and give the manager the vehicles make, model and color and ask that they be paged. If the pet is in clear distress, call the local law enforcement and let them know the pets condition in the hot car.
  • Know your risk – Many people will break windows to rescue animals in hot cars. Know your states laws regarding pets left in hot vehicles. If it is legal, always look for a corroborating witness who agrees it is an emergency situation. There is a chance that you may face charges. Always contact the local law enforcement agency or humane society before you take action.
  • Know how to cool a pet down – Make water available, and if possible wet the animal, but not with ice water! You want to cool them slowly and not shock their system.

photo credit: Headrest via photopin (license)

Food Labels and Your Pet’s Needs

Food labels can be confusing – whether they’re for you or your pet! Do you know what your pet is eating?  Keep your pets fit, healthy, and trim by understanding those sometimes tricky labels!

Know Your Pet Food Labels!

  • Know the right quantity – Different pet food has different nutritional values. Talk to your vet and be sure you know what your pet needs for their breed and size, then follow the serving sizes accordingly!
  • Real vs “Flavored” – Know the difference between brands that contains real meat, vs meat flavor. Wording on the bag will let you know approximately how much meat it actually contains, thanks to AFFCO regulations. Food that contains 100% meat is easy to determine – it will say so! Wording gets a little foggier though as that percentage drops. If it drops to around 25% it will often be advertised as “Chicken Dinner” or “Beef entree”. Around 3% will be described as “contains” or “with”, and none at all will say “flavored”.
  • Know how to read the ingredients –  Lots of people don’t know that the order ingredients are listed in (this goes for people food too!) is important!  Ingredient lists are designed to start with the largest quantity, by weight, with the first item listed being the main ingredient and the last item listed being the smallest. The first three ingredients should be the top sources of protein. Most ingredients that come after “salt”, make up less than 1% of the food.
  • Dry vs Wet – Most adult pets eat a dry kibble, but you should know that there is a greater difference between dry and wet food than just the texture! This handy infographic will help you understand:

You are what you eat, and that goes for your pets too! Make smart choices and know your pets unique needs.

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