Protecting Your Pets: A Guide to Home Safety

In This Article


If you are happy to have a pet as a member of your family, you are not alone. It has been estimated that about 164 million Americans own some type of pet. Taking care of pets can often become a large expense. Those who own pets have to invest in things like food, toys and veterinary care to make sure their companions are kept as happy as can be.

How Many Families Own Pets?

Do you know how much Americans spend on their pets every year? According to CBS News, in 2013, Americans spent a record $56 billion on their pets. The largest portion of this was spent on food and veterinary care. To give you an idea of how much this boils down to, it is more money than Americans spent on coffee and bottled water combined! Though it seems Americans know how to spend money on their pets, some fail to notice potential dangers that exist in their own homes.

america-spends-on-pets

This guide was created to make you aware of the many threats that exist in the average home, in order to modify your home environment, making it safer for your beloved pets, ASAP. Let’s begin!

Common Dangers to Pets in Your Household Environment

Most homes are full of items that have the ability to be harmful to pets. For example, tossing old razors into your bathroom trash can is a particularly troubling habit. If you leave your chocolate candy bar out on the counter-top, don’t be surprised when you are on your way to the vet’s office.

When you decide you want to have a pet of your own, it becomes your responsibility to keep them out of harm’s way. It is important to identify what items are around your house that may be dangerous.

Common Household Pet Dangers

Should your pet get into any of these items, they can get into serious trouble. Though some of these things are used from day to day, it is worth the effort to keep them stored out of reach of your pets.

household-hazards-for-pets

Your Pets and Food Safety

When dogs beg to have a bite of food off of your plate, sometimes it is just too hard to resist them. Although you have the best of intentions, giving your dog certain kinds of people food can be detrimental to their health.

For all pets, it is recommended that you only feed them pet food. Should they eat a dropped piece of human food from time to time, is usually won’t cause problems. However, eating food made specifically for their species is better for their overall health.

Certain foods will cause your animals to become sick, and some can even cause your pet to die. Others cause problems if they are eaten regularly. Feeding your pets people food can cause them to have an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Keeping the following foods away from your pets will keep digestive troubles at bay:

Should you have pet birds, be sure to keep them out of the kitchen while you are cooking. This is because they are sensitive to the Teflon® that non-stick pans are coated with. If they inhale the vapors, they can die.

foods-that-make-pet-sick

When it comes to reptiles, there is a completely different set of health considerations and foods to avoid, which are listed here:

Feeding Carnivorous Reptiles

  • It is common for live meat to contain bacteria, such as in the bodies of rodents.
  • The safest, healthiest food has been pre-killed and stored in a freezer for 30 days.
  • If you place a live rodent in your reptile’s cage or tank, you risk your pet becoming harmed. This is because your reptile cannot camouflage himself or actively hunt as he is not in his natural habitat.
  • Live prey has the potential to scratch or bite your reptile.

Feeding Herbivorous Reptiles

  • There is no point of giving your reptile iceberg lettuce as it has little nutritional content.
  • For herbivores, dark leafy greens are ideal.
  • Don’t give your reptile kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage or romaine lettuce. This is because they contain an ingredient that prevents the absorption of calcium.

Feeding Insectivorous and Omnivorous Reptiles

  • Insectivores: Avoid giving your reptile spiders, ticks, centipedes, millipedes, scorpions or fireflies. Fireflies are particularly toxic as they contain a toxin they use for self-defense known as lucibufagin, which is very poisonous to reptiles.
  • Omnivores: As omnivores consume both plants and animals, follow the suggestions for carnivores and herbivores.

Each type of reptile may require a very specific and monitored diet. This is why you should research your particular type of animal and discuss any questions with your vet before you feed your animal.

Source: http://www.hartz.com

What Should You Do If Your Pet Eats Something Toxic?

While prevention is key, at times it is inevitable that an animal can get into something they shouldn’t. In this situation, the first thing you should do is contact your veterinarian. They will let you know how serious of an issue it is. For example, if your 75-pound dog eats a piece of chocolate, they might tell you not to worry, but if it is something more serious, they will let you know what steps to take to save your pet.

If you are unable to contact your veterinarian and you are concerned about your pet, you have the option of calling the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. However, you should be aware that you will be charged $65 per case.

Ways to Make Your Home Safe for Your Pets

There is no one recipe for pet-proofing your home, because each home and each pet can be different. To have a unique assessment of pet safety in your home, it may benefit you to speak with an expert.

For now, let’s walk you through each room of the house to talk about the common dangers found in each area and suggest ways that you can handle them.

Safety In The Kitchen

Safety in the Kitchen

There are more dangers for you and your pets in the kitchen area than any other. At least humans know what dangers to avoid. Pets aren’t aware that a hot stove can burn them, a sharp knife can cut them or that food from the trash can may make them sick.

The best way to avoid the dangers of the kitchen is to keep your pet out of the kitchen altogether. This can usually be done by setting up a pet gate, which makes you have to let them in the kitchen yourself. If you have an open kitchen and this won’t work for you, another option to try is an indoor pet barrier. With this device, you place it in the area you don’t want your dog to have access to. He wears a special collar that delivers a mild, static charge if he comes near the area where the transmitter is located.

The Garbage

Potential Danger: Kitchen trash cans contain scraps of food and sharp objects at times.

What to Do: Try purchasing a special garbage can that has a locking lid. Another option is to keep the waste can stored inside of a closed pantry or cabinet door.

Cabinets

Potential Danger: Inside kitchen cabinets, there are many items that can be dangerous for pets. Cleaning supplies, breakable glass dishes and sharp utensils are a few of these. Most animals are unable to open cabinet doors, but it is still best to have a backup plan in case they are somehow able to get inside.

What to Do: Installing child locks on your cabinet doors will solve this problem.

There is no need to worry about specific items in the garbage or cabinets, as long as your pet is unable to have access to the area.

Bedroom and Living Room Safety

Safety in the Bedroom and Living Room

The good news is that most bedroom and living room areas are relatively safe for pets. However, as these tend to be the most popular rooms of the house for pets and humans to share, let’s take a look at a few safety hazards that could be problematic.

Potential Danger: Dogs who love to chew can get themselves in big trouble if they decide to munch on an electrical cord. A jolt of harmful electricity can put your pet in grave danger.

What to Do: Whenever you can, keep electrical cords off of the ground or out of reach. In places where this is not an option, there are a few things you can do. Try blocking cords with furniture, taping them to the walls, or spraying a chew deterrent spray on them.

Choking Hazards

Potential Danger: More often than not, there are little items floating around your home that could become a choking hazard for a pet that enjoys chewing on random objects. For example, paper clips, jewelry, pens and batteries could be a real danger if your pet is curious enough to see what they taste like.

What to Do: Take a visual inventory of everything in your living space that could be a risk, and store it somewhere that your pet cannot reach. Try placing these items high upon a shelf, inside a closet or within a box that has a sealed lid that won’t be able to be opened easily.

Tall Furniture

Potential Danger: Pets that are smaller may have a difficult time jumping on and off of pieces of furniture that are tall, particularly when they begin getting older. You wouldn’t want your pets to endanger themselves from just trying to get up as high as you are.

What to Do: Buy some steps or make a ramp so that they are able to get to their favorite spots with ease.

Garage Safety

Garage Safety

Some pets do not spend any time in the garage, while others may frequent there during different times of the day. Some pets might stay in the garage when you are away or at nighttime. If your pets spend any time at all in the garage, you will need to prepare it for them.

Tools

Potential Danger: Some small tools can be a choking hazard, and sharp tools can cause cuts or other injuries.

What to Do: Make sure all of your tools are out of reach. This may mean you need to put them away in cabinets, behind a closed door in a workroom, or inside of a locked toolbox. If you don’t have anywhere safe to store your tools, it may be worth the investment to purchase a storage cabinet.

Temperature in the Garage

Potential Danger: Homeowners are completely aware of the temperature they keep their home, but often have no idea of the temperature of their garage. This is fine, unless you plan on keeping your animals in the garage at all.

What to Do: Make sure you are prepared for extreme temperatures, either hot or cold. Keep a fan available for hot summer months and have a space heater for when it is too cold. Better yet, if the weather forecast warns of extreme weather, find them a safe spot inside of the house rather than risking their health.

Chemicals and Antifreeze

Potential Danger: Many dangerous chemicals such as cleaning supplies, automotive chemicals or lawn fertilizers get stored in the garage. Antifreeze, which has a sweet taste is particularly deadly for pets. All of these chemicals should be stored in a place that cannot be accessed by your pets.

What to Do: Wherever you have found to put your tools, keep your chemicals there as well. They should be behind a closed door, a lock or some other type of barrier.

Bathrooms, Closets & Laundry Room Safety

Safety in Bathrooms, Closets and the Laundry Room

These small rooms should generally stay off limits to your pets. If you don’t wish to do this, you will need to pet-proof them, just like the rest of your home. Specifically, if you use one of these rooms to keep your pet when you leave home, or if your pet enjoys one of them as their comfortable space, you need to be sure that everything that could cause harm is kept out of their reach.

Chemicals and Medicines

Potential Danger: Prescription medicines and cleaning supplies must be kept out of reach.

What to Do: Keep these items behind closed cabinets or up high where they cannot be reached. If you are concerned about your pet getting into cabinets, put child locks on them.

Appliances

Potential Danger: If you have a cat, chances are they like to curl up in small spaces. This makes your washer and dryer a potentially deadly location.

What to Do: Every time you use the washer and dryer, check inside of them to make sure your cat is not in there. To further avoid this situation, keep the doors closed in between use.

Toilet Water

Potential Danger: Chemicals are used to clean the toilet. This makes toilet water dangerous for your pets. In addition to this, toilet water is definitely unsanitary.

What to Do: Your pet isn’t likely to be tempted to drink toilet water if they have plenty of fresh, clean water available to them at all times in their own water bowl. Another precaution you can take is to keep the toilet lid closed.

Porch Safety

Balconies and Porches

The areas outdoors where we like to spend with our pets can be hazardous as well, particularly for dogs. If you want them to be able to spend time with you on your porch or balcony, take some time to make sure they will be safe there.

Height

Potential Danger: If you have a balcony that is high up, this can be particularly dangerous to pets. If your cat falls off, she may survive but if it is your dog, he is likely to become severely injured.

What to Do: If there is any space along the edge that your pet could fit through, be sure to block it off with a mini-fence.

Tight Crawl Spaces

Potential Danger: There may be crawl spaces present underneath decks and porches. Some of them may be too tight and your pet may become stuck in them.

What to Do: Block off your crawl spaces with a mesh screen. Should they be tempted to chase a lizard, for example, they won’t be able to have access.

Grills and Fire Pits

Potential Danger: Your pets may be enticed by the smell of food grilling. If your dog wants a taste of what is on your grill, he is likely to get burned.

What to Do: Watch your pet extra carefully when you are grilling out.

Yard Safety

Yard Safety

If you have a yard, chances are that your pet is going to spend a lot of time in it. The first thing to do is check your yard for any poisonous plants. Next, it is important that if you let your pet out without a leash, that you make sure they won’t be able to escape.

Escape

Potential Danger: If your pet goes missing, this can be a very troubling experience. This is because if they get out of your yard, they are in danger of fast cars, aggressive animals or humans who may be tempted to take your pet home with them.

What to Do: If you plan on letting your dog into your yard, having a strong fence is key. This includes both a standard fence and an electric dog fence as an alternative. If you have a standard fence, be sure to check for spots that your pet may be able to slip through. If your dog likes to dig, you may want to try installing an electric dog fence instead. If you really want to be sure of where your pet is at all times, try getting a GPS system that will keep track of their location.

Toxic Plants

Potential Danger: Some plants that are beautiful to look at may be poisonous to our pets.

What to Do: Learn which plants are poisonous to your pets, by looking at this list.

Choking Hazards

Potential Danger: Common items that are choking hazards in backyards include rocks, sticks or fruit pits. Anything that looks like it might be tasty to chew on can be a hazard.

What to Do: Watch your pet when they are in your yard and keep an eye out for any potentially dangerous objects so you can get rid of them.

exotic pet safety

Keeping Exotic Pets Safe

A majority of pets kept in the United States are dogs and cats. However, we should take a look at the safety of animals that are kept in cages and tanks, because more than 10 million Americans own fish, reptiles, rodents, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters or turtles.

Safety for Pet Fish

Safety for Pet Fish

To begin with, it is important to forget about the image of a goldfish simply kept in a fishbowl. Fish need plenty of space and water to swim around in. This is why you need to invest in a larger aquarium if you would like to keep your fish around. In addition to this, you will need filters in order to keep their water clean. Having plants in their tank will also support their health.

It is also important to understand that you will need to clean the fish’s aquarium regularly. Once a month, you should change out ¼ of the water in the aquarium. You also should watch the thermometer in the tank to make sure it is kept at an acceptable level. About once a month, you will need to clean out any algae that has built up.

Keeping Pet Birds Safe

The first thing you need to think about is your bird’s cage. Is it large enough for your bird to comfortably live in? Check the bars. Are they close enough so that he won’t be able to escape or get his head stuck in between them? Your birdcage should have perches, as well. Your bird’s cage should be kept clean and his water bowl filled regularly.

Birds are especially sensitive to varying temperatures. This is why the room where your birdcage is located should have a temperature that is consistent. Birds are also particularly sensitive to several common household chemicals.

bird-safety

Household Dangers for Birds

household-dangers-birds

When you let your birds out of their cage and allow them to fly around your home, be aware of dangers they may encounter when they are flying. Be sure that your ceiling fans are not on. It is a good idea to keep your windows covered so that they will not try and fly through them. It is wise to limit the rooms they are able to access. Be sure to keep them away from other household pets like cats, which may cause them harm.

reptile safety

Safety for Pet Reptiles and Amphibians

Exotic, quiet and interesting to watch, turtles, frogs, iguanas, snakes, geckos, toads, salamanders and chameleons are relatively low-maintenance animals. Nevertheless, there are still issues to take care of when it comes to their safety.

If your pet is a reptile or amphibian, you need to make sure you have designed the right type of living situation for them. This could mean a desert environment, woodland terrain, an aquatic environment or a semi-aquatic one.

In addition to this, your pet cage should be all of the following:

  • Moisture-resistant
  • Escape-proof
  • Resistant to heat
  • Well-lit
  • As large as possible

You should know that by having a reptile or amphibian, you run the risk of contracting Salmonella. This is a germ that can cause serious illness that could even be fatal. Salmonella can be carried by turtles on their outer skin and shell. Many other reptiles and amphibians carry it on their skin as well.

Should you become infected with Salmonella, you may have the following symptoms within 6 to 72 hours after contact: diarrhea, fever, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and headache. Symptoms may be experienced anywhere from 2 days to 1 week. Though most people with Salmonella recover without treatment, some require hospitalization.

  • Do not handle a reptile if you are ill, elderly, pregnant or under the age of five.
  • When you handle the reptile, keep your hands and other objects away from your mouth.
  • After you handle a reptile, their cage or cage items, wash your hands immediately.
  • Do not kiss your reptile.

In order to minimize the risk of you catching Salmonella or any other illness from your animals, the CDC recommends that you do the following:

  • After handling your pet, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If your home has young children, senior citizens or someone with a weakened immune system, it is best to not keep reptiles in the home.
  • Clean the home of your pet outside of the house and be sure to avoid draining water into your kitchen sink.
  • Periodically disinfect any surfaces your pet comes in contact with.
  • Don’t bathe your pets inside of your sink.
  • Avoid keeping food or drinks around your animals.

Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Event of a Natural Disaster

To begin, make sure you have gone through the list and pet-proofed your home. There are also some things you need to do in order to prepare your pet in the event of a natural disaster. While the disaster that could happen may vary by your location, the precautionary steps you should take are pretty much the same.

5 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe in Case Disaster Hits

The systems that are in place in the event of an emergency rarely include what to do about your pets. This means that it is your responsibility to make sure you are prepared ahead of time. You don’t want to have to make the choice whether to stay and risk the safety of your family, or to leave your pet behind. Here are a few things you can do in order to prepare for a possible natural disaster.

  • Make sure your pet can be easily identified: Your pets need to always be wearing their collar, which has an identification tag with your contact information displayed on it. As an extra precaution, it is a good idea to have your pet microchipped. Properly identifying your pet will help you become reunited in the event you are separated.
  • Keep your pet inside: In the event of a storm or flood, your pet that normally stays outdoors will be at a greater risk. It is a better idea to find a nice spot inside for them to stay in.
  • Keep their vaccinations current: Making sure that their vaccinations are up to date will help determine what risks they may encounter if they escape, and may also be a factor in where you are allowed to take them. You wouldn’t want to be turned away from a place of shelter when you need it because your pet hasn’t been vaccinated.
  • Create an emergency kit: Consider all of the things you might need, should you need to travel for a few days with your dog. This would include food, a leash, poop bags, water, medications and their veterinary paperwork. Keeping everything together means you will be ready to leave as quickly as possible should you need to.
  • Compile a list of local pet-friendly lodging: Utilize websites that specialize in knowing who welcomes pets such as Bring Fido, Pet-Friendly Hotels and Pets Welcome.


Conclusion

Having a pet so often adds value to our lives. They help to lower our stress levels, help us to overcome depression and give us plenty of love and affection. To return the favor, it is our responsibility to care for them, making sure that harm stays out of their way, if at all possible. The careful attention that you give to their surroundings will pay for itself when you receive the benefits of having pets that are happy, healthy and safe.

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Electric Dog Fences: What You Need to Know

Have you ever heard of an electric dog fence? The term itself sounds a little off-putting, doesn’t it? Hearing this phrase probably makes some people imagine an electrical shock being delivered through an electrified fence, causing harm to a dog when they touch it. Thankfully, this isn’t at all what an electric or electronic dog fence is. Here is a quick explanation.

How Electric Dog Fences Work

So first of all, you have a cable in your yard, circling your property. Wherever this cable is laid, this becomes the invisible boundary that the dog won’t be able to cross. It is important to know that there is NO electricity running through the dog fence wire. Instead, a radio signal travels through the wire. This radio signal is emitted by the dog electric fence transmitter, which is the brains of the system. The transmitter is placed indoors, or in a weatherproof location. A neutral, twisted wire is used to connect the transmitter to the outer boundary loop. The third component is a special radio collar, which your dog wears.

When your dog approaches the boundary you have set with the wire, he or she will hear a beep, letting them know that they should not go any further. This beep is followed by what is known as a static correction. Logically, you are wondering what this static shock feels like to the dog. Here is a comparison you may be able to relate to. Run across the carpet in your sock feet, and then touch a doorknob. This is a static shock. Surprising, but not painful, correct? After a week or two of being trained on the underground dog fence, your dog will understand and respect the boundaries you have set.

The Benefits of an Underground Fence

Logically, one of the main appeals of an invisible dog fence® is that it is a boundary that can’t be seen. While traditional dog fencing places a physical wall around your property, an wireless dog fence does not. This means you have a line of sight all around your home, as opposed to having a physical fence that blocks the view in and out of your home. In addition to this, many neighborhoods, or homeowner’s associations don’t allow physical fencing in certain areas.

Another plus of having an in ground dog fence is the cost. Compared to traditional physical fencing for dogs, the price tag is significantly less. This is the case, if you choose to purchase a do-it-yourself invisible fence® for dogs. Installing an electric dog fence yourself will take less than a day to set up, and will save you big bucks. On the other hand, if you decide to go with a company that installs it for you, such as invisible fence® brand, both the equipment and installation services come with a hefty price tag.

Still not sure if an underground dog fence is right for your canine family? Ask your veterinarian. Most veterinarians agree that this form of boundary training is a both safe and effective for a majority of dogs. Keeping your dog at home with you and safe out of the street is something every pet owner desires.

 

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Pet Food Recall: Blue Ridge Beef

Recall Word Red Stamp Defective Product Fix Repair

 

 

As of December 8, 2006 a pet food recall was voluntarily announced by the company, Blue Ridge Beef of Eaton, GA. The affected products were distributed to retail stores in the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona and Texas.

This recall was initiated by the FDA, after they received 2 complaints associated with these products. One involved the illnesses of 2 kittens, and the other resulted in the death of a puppy. Subsequent testing by the FDA showed the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Two of their frozen products are being recalled because they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes. Here are the details to look for on the label of their 2 pound chubs:

First Recalled Item:

Lot#mfd ga8516

Beef for dogs

UPC Code: 8542980011009

Second Recalled Item:

Lot#mfd ga81216

Kitten grind

UPC code 854298001016

About Salmonella and Listeria

Animals that ingest Salmonella or Listeria may become ill. In addition to this, humans are at risk for handling these contaminated pet products. Humans can become ill if their hands aren’t washed after handling the recalled pet food, or if they have contact with surfaces that were exposed to them.

Otherwise healthy individuals should monitor their health, watching for symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody Diarrhea
  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Fever

Those who are showing these signs of illness after having handled these products should contact their healthcare provider.

What to Do

If you find that you have one of these affected products, above all, stop feeding them to your pets. You may return these products to where they were purchased, for a full refund, or choose to dispose of them. If you have any questions about the pet food recall, email the manufacturer at [email protected].

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Separation Anxiety in Dogs

separationanxiety

When a dog has separation anxiety, it becomes troublesome for the pet and the pet owner. Separation anxiety in dogs can also cause problems with neighbors and landlords, and become a stressful situation for everyone involved. This disorder happens when a dog is left by themselves, or can even happen when the owner is home but the dog doesn’t have access to them.

Be aware that in serious cases of separation anxiety, your dog may need help from a veterinary behaviorist or a trainer that has experience in this area. In some cases, medication may be prescribed in order for the dog to overcome this disorder.

Signs of Separation Anxiety

Does your dog have separation anxiety? Here are the signs to look for.

  • Barking, howling or whining when they are left alone
  • Destructive behavior, such as chewing or digging on walls, doors and furniture
  • Urinating or defecating in the home
  • Going to extreme measures to escape, which could result in an injury

Dogs that have separation anxiety are generally very attached to their owners. They may begin to display signs of being agitated when they notice their owner is getting ready to leave. This may happen when the dog owner picks up their keys, puts on their coat, or picks up their purse or briefcase. In most cases of separation anxiety, the dog will greet their owner in a very exaggerated way when they return home.

Handling Separation Anxiety in Dogs

According to experts, confinement may be necessary to control the damage that can be done by an anxious dog. However, be aware that this may not be well-tolerated by many pets. The dog needs to have a chance to get used to confinement. It is a good idea to place toys and treats in the area they will be confined to. A crate or carrier can be used to confine the dog.

Another option is to put your dog in doggie daycare or have a friend or family member look after the dog while you are away.

When it is time for you to leave your house, leave with the least amount of drama as you possibly can. Long goodbyes and making a lot of fuss isn’t recommended. A few moments before you leave, provide the dog with a treat or a toy to distract them. Food puzzles, or toys stuffed with food are a great start. When it is time to leave, saying goodbye or interacting with them is not necessary. When you return home, keep things low-key as well.

When your dog is calm and relaxed, this is when they should be rewarded. When the dog is quiet, encourage him or her to settle onto a dog bed or blanket. Only provide a treat or toy when the dog is being calm and quiet. Avoid rewarding the dog for anxious or exuberant behavior when you are coming or going.

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Probiotics for Dogs

probiotics2

You may have heard about probiotics for people, but have you heard about probiotics for dogs? Yes, it is true. Probiotics are just as beneficial for dogs. Probiotics are helpful bacteria, which are responsible for maintaining and restoring the normal balance of microflora in your dog’s intestinal tract. These “friendly bacteria” are helpful in combatting the harmful types of bacteria that live there. Here are a few ways that your dog’s intestinal tract can get out of balance in the first place.

Common Causes of Digestive Imbalance

  • Antibiotics, NSAIDS, steroids or other drugs can cause a disruption
  • A poor diet or changes in the diet
  • Being exposed to a pathogenic virus or bacteria
  • Having surgery
  • Becoming exposed to pesticides, chemical fertilizers or other pollutants
  • When the gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed
  • Excessive stress, due to changes in environment, for example

Why is a Healthy Balance of Gut Microflora Important?

According to experts, a dog’s digestive tract is the largest immune organ in their body. Dogs come into contact and ingest more harmful bacteria than humans do, but thankfully the “friendly” bacteria present in their gut acts as a first line of defense against these harmful organisms.

This is why it is so helpful to have a consistent supply of friendly bacteria in your dog’s GI tract. Adding probiotics to your dog’s diet is the key to that. Probiotics can help prevent a wide range of health problems, including keeping their immune system working properly. According to experts, there should be a ratio of about 85% good bacteria to 15% non-beneficial bacteria. If this gets out of whack, digestive problems may result and they can become susceptive to other health issues.

Benefits of Probiotics for Dogs

There are many ways that probiotics can benefit dogs. Here are a few examples:

Good for Intestinal Troubles

Probiotics for dogs help to promote proper food digestion and combat lactose intolerance. They help prevent and treat intestinal disorders such as diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and gas. It has also been found that there is a link between intestinal imbalances and the following issues:

  • Yeast Infections
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Asthma
  • Food Allergy
  • Skin Conditions such as psoriasis and eczema

Supplementation of probiotics for dogs can help remedy these maladies.

How Probiotics Work

Probiotics nourish the system by helping to manufacture vitamin B groups, folic acid and biotin. By stimulating the immune system, probiotics improve the health and general wellbeing of your dog. When probiotics are given to puppies, they improve growth by helping its food digest properly. An improved amount of nutrients, antioxidants and iron from food are absorbed, with the help of probiotics.

Antibacterial and Antimicrobial

Some strains of probiotics can help stop the growth of yeast, namely Candida albicans. They can also produce natural antibiotics that have the ability to overpower pathogenic bacteria or other microorganisms like salmonella and E-coli.

 

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Giving Your Cat a Bath

catbath

Wild cats may actually enjoy being in the water, but housecats notoriously aren’t keen for being bathed. Housecats have coats that absorb water, rather than deflect moisture. This means that it is harder for housecats to dry off when they become soaked. It is a good thing that cats self-groom, since most housecats avoid water at all costs. So the question is, why would a cat need a bath?

Truth be told, many cats don’t need to be washed with water. Because they naturally groom themselves, regular brushing is all they need for them to stay clean and comfortable. With that being said, there are situations where a good bath is in order. For example, perhaps the cat has become dirty because of the litterbox. Or, maybe your kitty tried to climb up the chimney? Who knows what kitty decided to get into. Luckily, with a little preparation you can successfully give your cat a bath.

Prepare Yourself

Having all of the necessary supplies handy will help to make your cat’s bath a quick and painless experience. Here is a list of what you need:

  • Kitty Shampoo
  • A Pitcher for Rinsing
  • A Large Comfy Towel
  • Cotton Balls for Cleaning the Ears
  • A Washcloth to Clean the Face
  • Rubber Gloves if you Like

Tip: It is much easier for you to wash your cat in the bathroom or kitchen sink then having to bend over a bathtub. Here is how to give your cat a quick and thorough bath.

  1. Fill up the sink with about 2 or 3 inches of warm water. Be sure it isn’t too warm!
  2. Get your cat wet, from the shoulders to the tail. Apply shampoo.
  3. Lather up your cat, and then use the pitcher to rinse thoroughly.
  4. Instead of splashing water on your cat’s head, use a damp washcloth instead.
  5. Using a cotton ball, clean the inside of your cat’s ears. (Do not use a Q-Tip)
  6. After rinsing your cat thoroughly, place your cat on a large towel and bundle them up.
  7. Using the towel, rub as much water as you can off of their fur
  8. If your cat has long hair, you can set a blow dryer on low, as long as it doesn’t scare them.

Note: It is best to use a shampoo that is specifically formulated for cats. If you are in a pinch, use baby shampoo. If you try to use anything else, your cat’s skin or eyes may become irritated.

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Five Ways to Entertain Your Cat

entertaincat

It has been proven that cats who spend their entire lives indoors live longer than those cats that only live outdoors. However, indoor cats need stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. This involves enriching your cat’s environment. Encourage your cat’s natural hunting and foraging instincts and it will do wonders for their well-being.

With a touch of creativity, you can keep your cat interested and stimulated, whether you live in a little apartment or a big house. To keep things interesting, switch out your cat’s toys every couple of weeks. When you reintroduce them, they will be appreciated all over again. Here are a few feline-friendly activities to get you started.

Foraging

Try this trick that will help your cat fulfill their foraging instincts. Separate your cat’s daily food rations into small piles. Place these small piles of food in different locations around the house. Try tossing a few small treats in random places. Doing this will encourage your cat to forage, and will help him or her from eating their food too quickly.

Leave a Scent Trail

Use some old socks to bait for your cat, washing them in between uses. Take a dab of perfume, vanilla extract or peanut butter and mark the socks with it. Then, you can scent it further by rubbing a piece of lunchmeat across the socks. Place these socks around your house, and your cat will enjoy staying on the prowl, being enticed by the variety of scents.

Watching Birds

Start by attaching a suction-cup bird feeder on the outside of your cat’s favorite looking window. When the birdies come to eat, your cat can stay entertained for hours. Be sure to keep the window closed securely. An excited kitty may try to push right through a screen.

Bathroom Fun

Try placing a ping pong ball in your bathtub and watch your kitty have a grand time chasing down this elusive object.

Cardboard Creations

Take pieces of cardboard and turn them into instant cat entertainment. Create beds, tunnels, dens and mazes for your cat.

Try creating a busy box, by taking small lengths of yarn and attaching toys to the bottom. Then suspend them from the ceiling of a large box. Cut a few windows in the sides to entertain him further.

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Having Fun with Low Energy Dogs

lowenergydogs

Does your dog prefer laying around, over running about? Perhaps your dog is physically challenged, or simply can’t keep up like he used to. If this is the case, no worries… this doesn’t mean the fun has to be over! No matter what your dog’s limitations are, today is the day to interject fun and bonding experiences into their life. Spend quality time with your dog by thinking out of the box, and not focusing on his or her limitations. Here are some ideas of how to get your low energy dog up and moving.

Sniffing Around

Does your dog enjoy walking leisurely and sniffing around? This simple activity can be a welcome addition to his daily routine. Walk around casually outside in your yard or around the neighborhood. If it’s a rainy day, you can walk your dog in the house. Wherever you go, the important thing is that you are connecting with your dog. Encourage him to stop and smell the flowers, the mole tunnels, or anything else that might interest him!

Your dog can even be taught to sniff on cue. Start by pointing and touching the ground and saying “sniff sniff.” Next, point to something that may have an interesting scent, such as a tree trunk. This helps you engage with him, touching the smelling spot and having fun. Allow your doggie to sniff around and walk away. Repeat it on another interesting spot. Because you are pointing out these spots, your dog is likely to catch on quickly, thinking you have an uncanny ability to find cool things.

Doggie Strolling

Dog strollers or wagons are a great invention. They let your dog be out and about with you, without you having to worry about him getting tired. A doggie stroller also gives your dog his own personal space. Doggie strollers also work great for having a backup plan if you are walking with your dog and they run out of steam. Dog strollers are convenient on vacations, adventures and dog events. They allow low-energy dogs to safely come along with you on public outings.

Biking with Your Dog

Very active dogs may enjoy running alongside your bike, but that’s a different subject. If your dog is low energy, you can put him or her inside a bicycle trailer. Or, if you have a little dog, you can use a dog bicycle seat that attaches to the front or back of a bike. This is a great option if you are a physically active person and your dog isn’t. This will keep your dog nice and comfy while you get your heart pumping. You will find it is a great workout, thanks to the extra weight of the trailer and your dog.

Tricks and Treats

Keep in mind that the best way to maintain a healthy relationship with your dog is to interact with them, making a real connection every day. Teaching your dog tricks and other behaviors is a great way to bond with your dog. It also helps to maintain a sharp and active mind in your dog. If your dog is socially adapted, you should consider attending dog training classes with him or her. This is a positive activity that can become a fun, weekly outing.

Hide and Seek

Playing hide and seek can be a fun activity for you and your dog. You can always modify it to meet your dog’s needs. Begin by asking your dog to sit and stay, as you leave the room. Now, hide behind a piece of furniture, curtains, or a door for example. Once he can’t see you, quickly call him and then be quiet. Now he can start searching for you. As long as he is searching, just stay quiet and let him find you. If he can’t find you, just say his name again. When he finds you, reward him with lots of praise.

Doggie Massage

Begin by turning off your TV and putting away your cell phone, or anything else that may be distracting. Give your dog all of your love and attention. One of the most powerful forms of communication between individuals is touch. Through talking gently to your dog while massaging him or her, you can strengthen your bond of friendship. You don’t have to be an expert massage therapist to give your dog a massage. Just let your dog be your guide on how deeply he likes to be massaged, how long and where he likes it most.

Simply including your dog in daily activities will enhance your bond. Low energy dogs have limitations, but so do humans. Instead of leaving him out, find ways to include him. This member of your family will appreciate the effort.

 

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Checklist for Adopting a Dog

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Have you decided adopting a dog is for you? Great choice! Adopting a dog saves a life. Adopting a dog also discourages puppy mills from churning out puppy after puppy, with the mother living in inhumane conditions. However, adopting a dog comes with a lot of changes for everyone. Here is a checklist to make sure your household is prepared.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • If you have other dogs, how will they react to a new dog in the house?
  • Could your current home be considered well-suited for the dog you are choosing?
  • Consider your social life and obligations. Will they affect your ability to care for your new dog?
  • Do you travel for work or have a vacation planned? If so, where will your dog go?
  • Does everyone in your household feel comfortable about having a new dog?
  • Does anyone in your home have dog allergies, or is anyone intolerant of pet hair or dirt?
  • Does anyone in your household have health issues, which may be affected by having a dog?
  • Which breed of dog will fit into your lifestyle the best?
  • Which adult member of your household will take primary responsibility for the dog?

More Considerations

  • Do you have the time and patience it takes to work with the dog? Think about housebreaking, chewing and energy levels.
  • Would a younger or an older dog fit better into your lifestyle?
  • If you have children, is your chosen dog breed known to work well with kids?
  • Do you want a dog who follows you around the house, or one that is more independent?
  • What size of dog can your home accommodate?

Associated Costs

  • Most adoption agencies will charge a small adoption fee.
  • The cost of spaying or neutering your dog
  • ID tags, microchipping, leashes and collars
  • Grooming supplies and equipment
  • A dog bed and toys
  • A carrier or crate
  • Unexpected costs such as emergency veterinary care

Time Requirements

  • Dogs need to be fed 2 or 3 times a day and have a consistent supply of fresh water.
  • Dogs need to be taken outside to relieve themselves throughout the day.
  • Dogs need at least 1 hour a day of direct attention. This includes training, exercising, grooming and playing with your dog.
  • Dogs that have long coats need about 20 minutes of brushing a day, to stop their fur from matting.

Now that you know everything involved in adopting your dog, here is a list of supplies you may need.

Shopping Checklist

  • Bowls for food and water
  • Canned or dry dog food
  • Dog collar
  • A leash, 4 to 6 feet in length
  • ID tag with your contact information on it
  • Carrier for transporting your dog
  • Bed for your dog
  • Dog shampoo and conditioner
  • Nail clippers
  • Doggie toothbrush and paste
  • Doggie brush
  • Scrub brush and sponge
  • Odor neutralizer
  • Poop bags
  • An assortment of dog toys
  • Treats
  • Doggie first aid supplies
  • Baby gates if needed

And there you have it! You and your newly adopted dog are ready to handle life’s adventures together.

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Dog Food Recall: CESAR® Classics

Recall Word Red Stamp Defective Product Fix Repair

On October 7, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary dog food recall from pet food manufacturer, Mars Petcare US. They are the makers of the dog food in question.

This recall involves a limited number of CESAR® Classics Filet Mignon Flavor wet dog food. The company decided on this recall as the food contains a potential choking risk. Some customers have found hard white pieces of plastic in the dog food, which the company says likely entered the food during the production process.

CESAR® Classics Filet Mignon can be bought individually, as well as being found in their flavor variety multipacks. The two lot codes that are listed below are involved in this recall:

Details of Dog Food Recall

As mentioned, the name is CESAR® Classics Filet Mignon Flavor. Look for the lot code printed on the side of the tray. The lot codes to watch out for are those beginning with 631FKKC and 631GKKC. The “best before” dates involved in this recall would read either 080418 or 080518. The UPC code would be 23100017792.

In addition to this, the CESAR® Classics Filet Mignon Flavor can be found in variety packs with the following lot codes: 632D14JC, 633B24JC, 634A14JC, 634A24JC, 634B14JC, 634B24JC, 634E14JC, 635A24JC, 635B14JC, 636D24JC, 636E14JC.

The affected product was distributed throughout the United States, to retail customers. Mars Petcare US states that they are working with all of their distributors and retailers to remove the recalled product from inventory, nationwide.

What to Do

If you find that you have the recalled product, there are two things you can do. Throw it away, or take it to where you purchased it to receive a full refund or exchange. If you have any questions about the recall, you can call Mars Petcare US at 800-421-6456, or visit https://www.cesar.com/notice.

As of today, a small number of consumers have reported finding the plastic pieces. So far, there haven’t been any reports of injury or illness due to dogs consuming the affected product.

According to Mars Petcare US, all other CESAR® dog food varieties they manufacture are safe for consumption.

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How to Help Abandoned Stray Cats and Kittens

abandonedcats

If you are like me, you would love to help every cat or kitten that has been abandoned by their thoughtless owner. Has a feral cat made its way onto your doorstep? Don’t ignore their call to help. This may only make the situation worse. For example, a pregnant cat roaming your yard might just have her kittens underneath your porch. Or, let’s say you have abandoned kittens gracing your yard with their cuteness. Without a mother to care for them, they will starve or become injured. Even though you didn’t cause the problem, it’s not going to go away. Here is what you can do to help out.

Provide Food, Water and Shelter for the Abandoned Cat

Should you decide to bring the cat into your home, be sure to keep them away from your other pets until you know for sure that the cat is healthy. If you would prefer to keep the cat outside, you can make a feral cat shelter for them. Petfinder provides instructions for making a feral cat shelter here.

Contact Your Local Animal Shelter

Shelters and pet adoption groups exist in almost every city. To locate one, take a look at this link to Petfinder’s search tool for animal welfare groups. Perhaps they can take in your feral friend and help find her a new home. Whether you decide to keep the cat or not, ask your shelter or rescue group these questions:

  • What advise can they give you on taking care of very young kittens?
  • Can they suggest different places that have bulletin boards where you can post a flyer?
  • Do they know of other organizations that can help out?
  • Do they know of any low cost spaying or neutering services available?

Placing the Cat on Local “Found” Lists

If you decide to keep the cat in your care, the right thing to do is to put the cat on your local shelter’s “found’’ list. You never know, maybe the cat wandered away instead of being abandoned. If you speak with your neighbors and put up flyers, you might be surprised to find that someone might consider adopting the cat.

Finding the Abandoned Cat a New Home

Before committing to someone who says they will care for the cat, be sure that they agree to spay or neuter the cat. Try placing a classified ad in your local newspaper. Be as honest about the cat as possible, and provide a nice picture of your furry friend for everyone to see.

 

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