Easter arrives this coming Sunday and with it all those things that signal spring is truly here to stay. From daffodils and blooming trees and shrubs to pastel colors and sun bathing. Something else that’s also prominent in the springtime are baby bunny rabbits! These little balls of cuddly fur with perfect little ears make their appearance every spring – especially around Easter.
While in some places the admiration of baby bunnies, and chicks, and ducks are part of the Easter festivities, they are also encountered in the wild too. Do you or your children really know how to handle bunny rabbits though? They are A LOT more complex than they seem. We wanted to hit on a couple high points as you encounter these lovely creatures this season.
Bunny Rabbits 101
Don’t take one home as a pet on a whim. We can’t stress this enough. They require so much consideration and specialized care and can live up to ten years or more. If you plan on getting a bunny rabbit as a pet, it is so important you do your research. They are not a cat or dog and have very different needs.
Don’t let your children pick them up without adult training and supervision. If a rabbit has been handled enough that you can pick it up, you must do so in a specific way. Many bunny rabbit deaths occur from improper handling that result in broken backs.
NEVER pick a rabbit up by it’s ears.
If you find a nest in the wild, leave it alone. The babies have not been abandoned. Rabbit mothers spend most of their time away from the nest to keep from attracting predators. Leave the babies be or the mother may reject them.
If you find a lost baby bunny rabbit outside the nest, or your cat or dog bring one in, it’s important that you know how hard it can be for them to thrive. If it still has the little white mark on its head, it is likely still far too young to survive without its mother. If it doesn’t have the star, call your local vet to ask if there is a wild animal rehabilitation center or similar organization you can hand it over to.
This season, we really can’t stress enough how important it is that wild bunnies be left to be wild bunnies and tame bunnies are well thought out and planned for before they come home with you!
Pennsylvania has always been a pet loving state, with statistics indicating that over half a million of us seek the companionship of a dog, cat, or other furry, spiny, or ‘slimy but friendly’ creature in our homes. Around 400,000 households have at least one dog vs 244,000 households with at least one kitty. Statistics also show that we love our yards; even city dwelling millennials dream of having a large home in the suburbs with a backyard lawn on which to have barbecues, socialize with friends, and play fetch with Fido.
If you are lucky enough to have a beautiful, spacious backyard, are you sure it is safe for your dog or cat? If you already know how to puppy proof your home, why not ensure the yard is just as safe?
Picking the Right Plants
Many pet owners are surprised to find out that common flowers such as azaleas, rhododendrons, many types of lily or daffodils, are toxic to cats and dogs, so much so that ingestion of just a small amount can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and sometimes, even death. If you have bought a new house and are not sure about which plants are in the yard, help from a trusted gardener will enable you to weed out potential culprits.
Fencing Fido In
Dogs have a natural digging instinct and some might try to escape to the Great Outdoors if they are bored or alone in the yard or backyard. To stop this from happening make sure your fence is sturdy and that it reaches all the way down; flexible dogs are often able to worm their way out of even the smallest gap.
Bury chicken wire deep into the soil beneath the fence or better yet, consider building a stone or paved path between the fence and the grass, so your dog has no soil to dig up when escape is on his mind.
Another unsuspected danger for dogs in the yard is a gate that is easy to open. A self-closing system will ensure your pooch can’t just slide the latch to the side and escape. If you prefer a manual latch, make sure it is too difficult for your dog to manoeuvre.
If your dog is a digger, build him a little play area in your yard by digging up soil and filling it with sand. Place his favorite toys under the sand and watch him go!
Also, ensure that your dog isn’t digging because of boredom. Make sure he is physically and mentally challenged through exercise and Kong style toys and puzzles, which will keep him interested in more useful pursuits. Walk him regularly, even if he is a yard dog, to ensure mental stimulation and exploration! Hire a pet nanny if you can’t find time regularly!
Ticks, Fleas, Insects (and Snakes!)
Dogs and cats love to roll around in the grass, which means they can be bitten by insects or infested by ticks and fleas. The first priority is to keep the grass shortly mowed and clear of clutter.
Make sure your pets are protected with a pet-friendly flea and tick repellent that is free of harsh toxins such as pyrethoids, which have sadly caused too many pet deaths. Go with what your vet recommends and talk to them about natural possibilities.
Many dog and cat owners use diluted essential oils such as eucalyptus or peppermint to repel parasites, but be very careful, since some essential oils can cause harm. For instance, geranium and citrus oils can be dangerous for cats, while some oils (such as cedar, citronella or pennyroyal) should never be used on pregnant animals.
The one oil cats seem to be okay with is neem oil, which can be added to shampoo (one teaspoon of oil per cup of pet shampoo is usually okay, according to passhealthfoods.com).
For dogs, typical solutions contain around five drops of essential oils like geranium, lemon, or lavender, with one teaspoon of carrier oil. When rubbing the oils onto your pets, avoid the eyes, nose, mouth, genitals and anal area.
Neem juice and citrus essential oils are also excellent to spray on plants to repel insects, but if you have cats, avoid anything but neem in most cases.
Beware of the Sun
Dogs can suffer from heatstroke if let out in the sun too long. Unless your backyard has tall trees that can provide plenty of shade, build your dog a wooden dog house where he can hide from the burning UV rays during peak hours of sun.
Make sure there is a fresh bowl of water out and place his house far away from his ‘potty spot’.
For most Americans, a pet is as much a member of the family as humans are. Make sure their favorite place to lounge contains no toxins that can harm their health, and keep them inside to avoid the risk of loss or injury. Finally, adapt your yard to the seasons, making sure Fido or Kitty always have a cool spot to chill out in.
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!
As March creeps closer one can’t help but feel Spring fever take hold and the pull to do a little gardening! Whether you live in the city or out in the sticks there is a gardening style to suit both you and your pet! Each pet has their own personality so try a few options from your grocery store to find out their preferences and then get busy planting!
Gardening for your Pet
The Urban Gardner: Here you may be restrained to window or balcony boxes and indoor planters. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow pet-friendly treats and snacks! Catnip is a given. It’s easy to cultivate, pretty and green, and drives kitties crazy! Bunnies also like to give it a nibble. Lemongrass and any variety of mint are also favorites for cats, rabbits, and even some dogs! Trays of wheat grass are an attractive multi-pet friendly option for indoor gardening and can be found at most pet supply shops!
Gardening for your pets!
The Backyard Gardener: If you’ve got a little space like a fenced in courtyard or a full backyard garden your options expand a lot! Many of the indoor varieties listed above are also great options for outdoor gardening. Lavender is a lovely fragrant plant that some dogs enjoy chewing. Other common vegetable garden plants dogs enjoy include spinach, pumpkins, green beans, melons, carrots, blueberries, and even sweet potatoes! Cats often love to nibble thyme and it’s a great culinary herb for cooking! Try broccoli and zucchini as well (just don’t place a cucumber behind them)! Got a bunny hopping around? Plant a nice patch of parsley and kale – two rabbit favorites!
Some precautions: If your pet is going to be playing in your potted or outdoor plants, make sure that the plant leaves and soil are free from pesticides or fertilizers Be sure to always do your research before you introduce your pet to vegetation. Lots of house and garden plants can be poisonous!
The clocks have sprung forward and spring is in the air! With each changing season comes the need to change your routine with your pet. After a hard winter sometimes it can be difficult to remember the dangers and precautions that spring brings. It’s not all about sunshine frolics in the park! Check out our list of spring threats and feel free to chime in with a comment about any of your spring-time precautions!
Spring Threats to your Pets
Pet Allergies – Spring brings pollen and pollen means allergies. Some pets can be affected by pollen just as much as their humans. Pets don’t always exhibit pollen allergies with runny eyes and lots of sneezing. Some do so by scratching and biting themselves. Pollen gets embedded in their fur making it a skin irritant. Be sure to brush and wash them regularly. Doing this will also help you get a start on the upcoming shedding…
Window Screens – Warm breezes and pretty days mean lots of open windows. Be sure that all the windows you open are fitted with secure screens free of tears. This is important to keep an over-excited dog from jumping through one in pursuit of you, or a lounging cat from rolling out.
Flea & Tick Protection – If this is something you let lapse over the colder months, get a head start now by in acting your yearly, vet recommended preventative treatments and procedures. Depending on your area’s spring, these buggers may be out and about before you thing. Don’t wait until it’s a problem!
Cleaning Threats – Spring cleaning can pose all sorts of risks for household pets. Remember to keep cleaning supplies out of pets reach! Also, if cleaning out closets or old cupboards, be on the look-out for mouse poison that may be swept out and left in the trash. Spring cleaning also means lots of furniture moving. If your pet’s a chewer, be aware of exposed cords and keep your pets locked up elsewhere until they are hidden again!
Buzzing Bees – Pollen’s handy ally in the assault on pets! Taking your pet out to sniff the flowers could result in a bee sting on their curious snouts! Check out this handy article “What to Do When Your Kitty of Puppy Gets a Bee Sting” to prepare yourself for any necessary first aid required!
Fertilizer – Everyone can’t wait to get outside in the spring and jump into gardening and lawn care! Be extra cautious about letting your pet out to play on a fertilized lawn though. Both cats and dogs like to eat grass and if that grass is covered in fertilizer, it could seriously harm your pet. Refrain from using any in areas of heavy pet activity.
With spring also comes Spring Break! Planning a family vacation? Don’t forget to reach out to a local pet sitter if you can’t take yours with you. Pet sitters are a great alternative to pricey lodging, and can provide your pet some one-on-one personal care while you’re away!
photo credit: Es wälzt sich gut in Leipzig via photopin(license)
It’s getting to be that time of year again… No longer needing their thick coats for warmth, pets begin shedding. Even for those lucky enough to not have allergies can be subject to sneezing fits and itchy eyes when the season of shedding begins. The back seats of cars, your carpets, furniture, and clothes are usually he biggest victims. How to cope? Here are some great tips, tricks, and devices to help get pet shedding under control!
How to Conquer Shedding this Spring
Brushing – It may sound obvious but frequent brushings cannot be recommended enough! While once a week may be good for most of the year, we suggest once a day during peak shedding season! Try using a specialized brush with rubber teeth to really grip the hair. Two top rated such brushes are the Kong Zoom Groom Dog Brush and the FURminator.
Conditioner – When bathing your pet be sure to include a conditioner. Not only will this help to keep dry skin at bay but the sleeker your pets coat the easier it is to remove loose fur during a brushing.
Air Filters – This may not help with shedding but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Make certain that all the filters in your house are checked frequently and either cleaned or replaced until shedding season is over. Don’t forget the vacuum filter to maximize its usage!
Lint rollers and rubber gloves – These are two common household items that can work overtime in the spring! A damp rubber glove run over furniture picks up pet hair wonderfully! A lint roller can be used on more than clothes too! From car seats to mini blinds their uses are plentiful!
Launder – Wash pet bedding daily if possible. Don’t leave clothing where your pet can recline on it. Keep your pet off your bed or be prepared to wash your bedding several times a week! Don’t give pet hair a chance to build up on anything!
Do you have your own tried and true tips for dealing with a shedding pet? Share it with us!
While April showers are making the preparations for May flowers, the season of spring cleaning has come upon us again! It’s time to throw open those windows and shake out the dust (and pet dander) of winter. While spring cleaning is a chore for most any home, there are extra precautions that pet owners should be sure to make. It’s easy to overlook the dangers that some cleaning practices may have on your pets so we’ve complied a great list of potential hazards and precautionary practices to ensure you have a house as fresh as a spring breeze and a healthy pet too!
Pet Friendly Spring Cleaning Tips
Avoid bleach and ammonia as well as all cleaners that contain it. These harsh chemicals can cause respiratory issues not just in pets, but humans as well. Try using natural cleaning brands like Method or Mrs. Meyers – or try making your own vinegar based detergents! Healthier for both you and your pets! Click here for pet approved cleaners!
Keep your pets out of the space you are cleaning. Not only does it make it easier to clean when your pets not busy messing behind you, but often times spring cleaning requires moving heavy objects or exposing areas that are often inaccessible – like access to power cords or rodent poisons. Be certain to keep your pet contained (or, better yet, send them out with a Pet Nanny!) to ensure their safety.Spring cleaning with your pet!
When it comes to cleaning your pet’s area and bedding, avoid heavily scented products. Try scrubbing the area down with baking soda and vinegar followed by a good rinse and wash their bedding in unscented detergent, minus the dryer sheets!
Be mindful of dangerous plants and flowers. Many people are likely to purchase new plants or pick/bring home flowers for display in the spring and summer months. Be sure to run a quick internet search on the varieties that you choose to be certain that they are pet friendly.
Have your own spring cleaning pet tips or tricks? Share them with us! Happy cleaning!