Poisonous Summer Plants

Summer isn’t easy on our pets. Some days it’s just too hot or humid to do much outside. Our pets can overheat or just be uncomfortable and want to just lay on the cold tiles. Summer also exposes our pets to different poisons that they may not come across during the other seasons. Plants and fertilizers used to help gardens grow can be poisonous to our pets and cause problems such as kidney failure, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Some summer plants to be aware of:

Crocuses: There are two types of crocus plants, one that blooms in the spring and the other in the fall. The spring one is more common and may cause an upset stomach followed by vomiting in dogs and cats if they eat it. However, the fall crocus is much more toxic and can cause organ failure.

Sago Palm: Sago palms may cause damage to the stomach lining and liver. The plant is thought to be one of the most deadly ones to dogs and prompt treatment is always necessary. The leaves and seeds are especially poisonous to your pet. If you have one of these plants, keep it out of reach of your pet or think about giving it away to a friend who doesn’t have a pup.

Lilies: Cats tend to chew on plants. Lilies, depending on the type, can cause minor illness and make them a little sick but the other types: asiatic, easter, and day lilies can be deadly. Ingesting a small amount of them or licking the pollen that falls on their fur can result in kidney failure.

Soil additives and fertilizers: While some fertilizers and additives are harmless to pets, there are those that contain bone meal and blood meal. Some insecticides and pesticides contain organophosphates. These ingredients are harmful and can cause gastrointestinal problems, pancreatitis, and in some cases, be life-threatening.

If you’re working on your garden, read the labels on the fertilizers and make sure your plants are safe for your pets.

Rainy Day? No Problem

Rainy days don’t mean you have to be bored and stuck inside. There’s a few games you play inside that won’t knock every picture off the wall or break your favorite lamp.

Here are 5 games you play inside that will keep your pup happy:

1: Hide and Seek: Take one of your pet’s fav treats and hide with it. This normally takes two people. One to distract your dog and the other to hide. When the person is hidden, have them call out “Come!” or other commands. As your dog goes from room to room or look around for the hidee, give some verbal commands to help her out. When she finds the hidee, she gets the treat and a ton of praise. You can play this game a few times and your dog will find it fun and rewarding.

2: Trick training: Go through all the commands your dog knows and teach a new one. Have you dog sit, sit up, and stand several times in a row. If your dog knows how to roll over, turn this and sitting, laying down, sitting up, etc into a routine. Teach your dog to shake hands or crawl. All these tricks can help them exercise their body, improve their balance, and stimulate their mind. Try mixing up the order of the tricks.

3: Tug of War: If your dog is good at tugging and knows what toys are ok to play that game with, a light game of tug of war can be good. It can work her shoulder muscles and be fun. Just be careful to not let it become too tough and rough.

4: Treat Balls: These toys are sold in pet stores and are made to give your dog a mental workout. Place some treats inside the toy and let your dog roll, push, prod, and tug to get the treats out of the toy.

5: Have a treadmill, go for a walk: You’ve seen this on tv many times and it does work! The first few times your dog may be unsure of what’s going on. Start slow and coax and praise your dog for walking on the treadmill. Pretty soon you can get her up to a jog and keep her fit and trim.

Image from Iheartdogs.com

4 Things You Can Do for Your Pet on the 4th of July

This week we will celebrate the 4th of July. Maybe some of your neighbors have already began the holiday by setting off firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other small fireworks. As exciting and as pretty as some fireworks can be, not everyone in the family likes fireworks, usually your pets.

If your dog does not like the booms, pops, and bangs that fireworks make, here’s 4 tips to help keep your pet calm.

>> Did you see our article about tips to help ease your dog’s anxiety about loud noises, whether it’s fireworks-related or otherwise?

1: Drown out the noise

Play music loudly in your house or turn on something that will mask the sound of the fireworks. Air conditioners, a loud fan, the television, or radio can create “white noise” which can hide or override the booms of fireworks and hopefully decrease your dog’s reaction to them. 

2: Keep your pets inside

The noises can make your pet panic and want to “run away.” Dogs might dig out of the yard and cats may hide or climb and find themselves stuck somewhere. Also, for their own safety, keep them inside to avoid being hurt accidentally or on purpose from an exploding firecracker.  

3: Board your dog

If you live near the source of the fireworks in your city, consider boarding your dog overnight in a place that is farther away. Some boarding facilities have soundproofed walls or are just far enough away that the fireworks aren’t able to be heard. Many boarding places will also have a radio or some form of “white noise,” ask when making your reservation. 

4: Talk to your vet

If your dog is extremely sensitive to noise, you may want to consult your vet about medication or a sedative that will ease your pet. Your vet will know the proper dosage and let you know how soon before the fireworks begin you should administer the medication. 

Photo by Anja_Johnson

Keep Your Pets Cool This Summer

It’s gonna get hot soon and your dog or cat might start looking for those cold spots in the hot to hang out like the tub, tiled floors, and right in front of the a/c. Hot weather can be dangerous for pets. If you are wondering how to make sure your furry friend can stay cool, try the following things.

4 Ways to Keep Your Pet Cool

  1. For pets that come in from playing outside, give them a frozen treat like a chew toy that has been in the freezer. A kong toy stuffed with peanut butter that is frozen is great and will keep your dog occupied after a romp out in the sun. Dogs will lick it, chew on it, and cool off their body quickly. You can also give your dog a frozen jerky treat. Your dog stay cool.
  2. Never leave your dog in a car while you run into the store. Even if you had the a/c cranking, don’t do it. A car heats up in a matter of minutes and becomes an oven. It’s estimated in about 10 minutes a car’s temperature can rise 30 degrees. In some states, you may also be fined if the police are called. Cracking a window is not enough. If you have chores to run, leave your pup home.
  3. Go for walks in the early mornings or later in the evenings when the pavement isn’t as hot. Your dog’s paws can get burned walking on cement that has been in the sun for hours. If you think it might be too hot for your dog, don’t go out. Their paws can blister and be incredibly painful. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, keep her/him inside too during the hottest parts of the day.
  4. During really hot and humid day make sure there’s fresh, cold water available for your pet all day. Dogs and cats release heat through their paws, panting, and ears. When leaving them home, toss a few ice cubes into their water bowl. You can also wipe their paws with a cold towel to help cool them off. They might wonder what you’re up to but will thank you after you’re done.

Summer Shedding Tips

Summer is here and that means our cats and dogs that have been lightly or moderately shedding as the temperatures have been rising will most likely go into what feels like overdrive shedding. You would think it’s their job to shed.

I’ve started finding tufts of fur on the pet beds I have for my cats and little tumbleweeds of cat hair in the corners of the rooms. While I can’t prevent them from shedding, I can prevent hairballs and I can prevent my house from being overrun with fur. It takes some routine cleaning and regularly scheduled grooming sessions.

Here’s a few tips to cut down on unwanted pet hair in the house:

  • Brush your pet regularly during these warmer days. It’ll remove loose and dead fur and help keep your house fur free. It’ll also make your pet’s coat softer, cleaner, and prevent hairballs.
  • Your pet may benefit from a fatty acid supplement such as Vitacoat. It’ll help keep their skin and fur healthy.
  • High quality pet food can create a shinier coat, cut down on shedding, and give your pet plenty of protein.
  • Cover your car seats and furniture with throws to keep the pet hair off. Some fabrics hold pet fur more than others, some patterns and weaves of furniture allow pet hair to work its way into it. You may also want to invest in a vacuum that has attachments for upholstery to remove the fur that does get stuck on it.
  • Wash pet bedding often to remove fur, remove odors, and keep your house fresh and clean.
  • Vacuum and sweep often to keep fur from building up in the house. Be diligent. You may want to vacuum every few days, once a week, or whatever works best for your house.
  • Bathe your dog (your cat too if you can) during the summer. A clean coat is a healthier coat and will help prevent dry skin. Brush your pet before and after the bath to remove dead fur. It’ll cut down on fur that ends up everywhere else.
  • If your pet is ok with it, some vacuums have a pet tool accessory that lets you literally vacuum your pet.
  • Get your pet a nice summer cut but make sure it’s not too short to expose skin to the sun. Your pet can get sunburned. Grooming helps cut down on shedding and keeps their fur tangle-free, clean, and cuts down on fur on everything.

Image from Vipado.com

8 Tips To Keep Your Dog Happy This Summer

You probably know most of these tips when it comes to making sure your pet is kept safe and cool this summer, but it never hurts to be reminded. As the temperatures change, the things we need to be mindful of when caring for our pets change too.

8 Safety Tips for Summer

  1. Never, ever leave your dog in the car
  2. Make sure your dog has unlimited access to fresh water
  3. Make sure your dog has access to shade when outside
  4. Take walks during the cooler hours of the day
  5. When walking, try to stay off of hot surfaces (like asphalt) because it can burn your dog’s paws
  6. If you think it’s hot outside, it’s even hotter for your pet – make sure your pet has a means of cooling off
  7. Keep your dog free of external parasites (fleas, ticks) and heartworms – talk to your vet about the best types of preventatives
  8. Consider clipping or shaving dogs with long coats (talk to your veterinarian first to see if it’s appropriate for your pet), and apply sunscreen to your pet if there are areas where the skin is completely exposed to the sun

Have other tips? Let us know!

Keep Fleas OUT!

Spring is here and that means fleas are back… maybe they never left… but to keep them from becoming a pest in your home here’s some tips to keep them out of your house.

Protect Your Pets

  • Start with monthly flea treatment – These will help to keep your pet free of fleas and itch.
  • Ask your veterinarian for more information about flea prevention methods to ensure that your pet is being treated with the most appropriate prevention.
  • Check your pet and yourself after a trip to the park or a hike – you don’t want to bring fleas home.

Protect Your House

  • Wash all your pet’s bedding in hot soapy water.
  • Clean all surfaces where your pets spend time.
  • Vacuum including all corners and crevices.
  • Dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag after each cleaning.

17 Foods With Xylitol Which Could Kill Your Dog & Marketing Phrases Indicating Xylitol As A Possible Ingredient

Dog eating peanut butterYou may have heard about the toxic and potentially fatal effects of Xylitol when ingested by dogs. Most of the articles I have seen revolve around the fact that some manufacturers of peanut butter have started adding Xylitol as a sweetening agent. This is very significant, as many pet owners give their dogs peanut butter. I’ve used it for years as a treat, or as a way to hide pills to make it easier on me, and more fun for my dog when I have to give medication or supplements.

The FDA has even issued a consumer warning entitled, “Xylitol and Your Dog: Danger, Paws Off,” which warns that xylitol can be fatal to dogs. The substance is quickly absorbed into their bloodstreams, and triggers a sudden release of insulin from their pancreases which causes their blood sugar levels to drop to dangerously low levels. This can occur within as few as 10 to 60 minutes after consumption, and can become fatal if it is not treated right away. Even a few pieces of gum are enough to poison a large dog.

What you may not have heard, is just how prevalent Xylitol is becoming in human foods.

Our list below has 17 common items that your dog could get into which would be really, really bad news. Now I’m not saying you would feed all these items to your dog, but some dogs are very creative in getting into cupboards or finding items on counters so it only makes sense to pay attention to these products.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute which is being used more and more for its diabetic and dental benefits in people. But xylitol is highly toxic for dogs and many times can be fatal – even in very small doses.

Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol normally found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. Because of its sweet taste and plaque-fighting properties, it is frequently used as a sugar substitute and can be purchased in a granulated form for baking and as a sweetener for cereals and beverages. Nontoxic amounts are even found in some pet dental products. Due to its low glycemic index, it is also being sold in bulk to substitute for table sugar in baking and in-home use.

Products that contain Xylitol

Please – before you just read this list. Remember that this list is only some of the items and there is NO WAY anyone could list every brand which uses Xylitol now. That wouldn’t do any good anyway as a manufacturer may choose to include it as an ingredient tomorrow.

If you get only one thing from this article, let it be this: Read the ingredients before giving your dog human food, and if there is any question or uncertainty, such as at a restaurant – don’t feed it to them!

Here are 17 products which may contain Xylitol:

  1. sugar-free gum
  2. mints
  3. nicotine gum
  4. chewable vitamins
  5. oral-care products
  6. baked goods
  7. some peanut butter products
  8. energy drinks
  9. nasal spray
  10. Super Sleep Soft Melts by Webber Natural (dissolvable tablets).
  11. KAL Dinosaurs Children’s Vitamins and Minerals (chewable tablets)
  12. prescription sedatives
  13. antacids
  14. Children’s Allegra Oral Suspension
  15. Fleet Pedia-Lax Liquid Stool Softener
  16. Jell-O sugar-free pudding snacks
  17. Nature’s Hollow jams and syrup

How to Easily Identify Products Which May Contain Xylitol:

Marketing words on products can sometimes actually be helpful! In this case, if you see a product that claims it is low in sugar, sugar free, or many other various terms, it may indicate that a product uses Xylitol as an ingredient.

Here are 17 common marketing “buzz” terms that you can look for on product packaging:

  1. Sugar Free
  2. Reduced Sugar
  3. All Natural – No Sugar Added
  4. No Artificial Sweeteners
  5. Naturally Sweetened
  6. 100% Natural
  7. Safe for Sugar-Controlled Diets
  8. Safe for Diabetics
  9. Aspartame Free
  10. Sweetened with Birch Sugar
  11. Low Carb
  12. Low Cal
  13. Low Calorie
  14. Helps Fight Cavities
  15. Cavity Fighting
  16. Anti-Cavity
  17. Tooth Friendly

Warning Signs of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs

How can you tell if your dog has consumed xylitol?

  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • lack of coordination
  • seizures
  • trembling
  • a racing heart
  • jaundiced gums

What to do if your dog has ingested Xylitol

If you believe your dog has ingested xylitol, call your local veterinarian immediately. If left untreated, your dog can suffer liver damage and if not treated, it can be fatal. Always try to keep products or foods out of reach from your pet and make sure that medicine cabinet is closed securely.

5 Rules For Dating Dog Lovers

We all know that if someone wants to date us, they also date our dogs. If you’ve met someone and they aren’t as pet crazy as we are, let them know there are at least 5 rules for dating you and your dog.

5 Rules For Dating Dog Lovers

  1. It’s the dog house, too – Yes, the dog does need that squeaky toy that is annoying. He also needs all the chew toys, 3 different beds, and a special blanket on the couch. But don’t worry the vacuum is new and a beast at picking up the pet hair off the rug and other areas.
  2. Yes, I do talk funny to the dog – It’s fine that you think it’s silly. I know it is but the dog gets excited, wags his tail, and knows something good is about to happen. So if I want to talk in high pitched and silly voice to my dog, I will. I will do it anywhere too, the park, the house, in front of your coworkers…anywhere.
  3. The dog is family – He isn’t just a dog. He has a name. He has doctor appointments, and he has his own food bowls. He gets to sleep on the bed with me and he’s always down for a walk or watching netflix. Just don’t ever refer to him as “just a dog.”
  4. Don’t insult my other dog loves – My love for dogs isn’t just for my own. I like all dogs and may buy gifts for my friends’ dogs, donate to the local shelter, and participate in events like a doggie dash. You don’t have to join me on these things but respect the fact that my love for dogs extends to any and all dogs.
  5. My dog licks me and I kiss him on the head – Yes, my dog licks my hand, sometimes my face, and yea it can be gross. But I also kiss him on his head and will smush his face against mine when I hug him. You don’t have to kiss my dogs but I do and if you think you can deter me, the door is over there.

Image from dogtime.com

Submissive Urination: 6 Tips to Curb It

Submissive urination can be annoying and frustrating. It can also take a while to break your dog of this behavior. Whatever you do, try to remain calm and don’t punish your dog.

6 tips to curb submissive urination

  1. Build confidence – basic obedience training can build your dog’s confidence. Get your dog used to noises, people, and places slowly. A walk through the park on a weekend, downtown, or anywhere where there’s people and noises can help get over the fear of loud noises. Do it in small trips and start out going on less crowded times like after rush hour or a weekend afternoon.
  2. Use a crate – crate training reinforces your dog to hold it until outside. Put the crate near the door to allow for a quick exit to the backyard or out the front door. Crating also gives your dog a safe space to stay when you can’t supervise or aren’t home.
  3. Stick to a schedule – take your dog out on a regular schedule. This includes getting up early on weekends too, no sleeping in. A schedule will help prevent buildup on your dog’s bladder and cut down on accidents as you two head outside.
  4. Praise your dog for going outside – as you two are outside, walk around quietly, and when your dog finally goes, praise him. Try to minimize the excitement, do it calmly.
  5. Quietly clean up the mess – your dog is still going to have accidents in the house. A truck going by or loud noise could startle your dog and he may pee. Maybe you’re arguing on the phone and your voice will scare him. If this happens don’t say anything to your dog. Take him outside an clean up the mess without your dog watching you.
  6. Practice – this will take time. It will test your patience. You’ll go through lots of paper towels and cleaning spray. Go for walks with your dog and make sure you two have fun times for your sanity and his confidence.