Tips for Going Through Airport Security with Your Pet

When I moved from New York to Oregon I had two cats. Driving them across the country would have made them miserable so I opted to fly. However, I was stressed out about how to the whole process works. I knew the cats would have to be screened with me but wasn’t sure if I had to take them out of the carrier. The security personnel was very helpful and both my cats were screened and put back in their carriers after walking them through the screening machine. I wish I had a better idea of what the experience would be like before heading to the airport.

If you are flying with your pet soon, here’s a few tips:

  • The TSA says to bring your pet to the security checkpoint in a handheld travel carrier. Your pet does not travel down the conveyor belt into the screener with your luggage. Instead, you most remove the pet from the carrier after you get yourself for screening.
  • You may need to remove any collars from your animal. The pet should be carried through the screening process, meaning it goes through the metal detector in your arms. The security personnel allowed my cats to keep their harnesses on, but I had to remove the leash portion. I held the harness and the cat as I walked through the screening machine.
  • After walking through, your hands will be tested for any trace of explosives.
  • Once you are through the screening process, you are told to put your pet back in the carrier.

Here’s a good tip: send your carrier down the conveyor first so that it’s ready on the other side when you are done. Also, try to keep your animal calm.

Cats may have a more difficult time with this process. If necessary, you can ask for a private screening, so that way you can get your cat out of the carrier in a contained room.

Have you traveled with your pet on an airline? What was your experience like during the screening process?

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6 Spring Flowers That Are Toxic For Dogs

Springtime is here. It’s time to replant some flowers in the yard. When planting, remember some plants are toxic to dogs and other pets. You may want to opt for some other safer flowers when planting this spring.

Here’s 6 kinds of flowers that are toxic to dogs

  • Oleander – It can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation and abnormal heart beats if ingested.
  • Lilies – They are toxic to cats and can cause severe kidney damage.
  • Tulips – The bulbs contain toxins that cause depression of the central nervous system, convulsions and heart abnormalities.
  • Cocoa mulch – Reacts like chocolate to dogs causing vomiting, hyperactivity, and seizures.
  • Aloe – Can cause diarrhea and tremors.
  • Azalea – May cause vomiting.
  • Stay safe this spring and for more information about toxins in plants, visit the ASPCA.

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4 Ways To Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Did you pup put on some “winter weight?” That’s ok, it happens to us all. But losing those few extra pounds and getting your dog back down to a good weight is important. For some dogs, the extra weight can make their joints ache, hurt their hips, and make breathing harder when walking. Health-wise, an overweight dog may be prone to diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. To help your dog stay within a normal weight, try these 4 tips.

1: Set a realistic goal – your dog’s age, energy level, and your time will impact how fast your dog will lose weight and how much. Be reasonable. Don’t overwork your dog or underfeed your dog. Talk to your vet about how to change up the routine without harm. Weight loss can take a long time, but you’ll see results after a few months.

2: Exercise a little each day: – Daily walks and a little play time are great ways to get some exercise in. If you walk your dog every day, speed the pace a little or extend the length of the walk. Vary it up from a brisk walk to a stroll. Maybe you’ll even your dog to jog with you after a little bit. This is great for you and your dog.

3: Monitor the meals: – It’s easy to overfeed your dog, start cutting back on the portions slowly. Increased exercise and a little less food will help our dog lose weight. You may even want to try changing food to a lower calorie brand but keeping the portion the same. Go slow with reducing the food portions as you don’t want to mistakenly underfeed your pup. Cut back on treats too.

4: Use interactive toys: – Instead of just a chew toy, look at toys that you can stuff a few treats into and move. A kong ball or other rolling, bouncing toy is great. Your dog will have to chase it, hold it, and move to get it and then as a bonus a few treats will fall out. You can try putting carrot in the toy instead of high calorie dog treats and peanut butter.

What other tips do you have? Share them with us!

Pet Safety Tips for Spring

The days are getting longer, we’ve put away our winter gear, and we’re getting geared up for the outdoorsy fun we’ll be having in the spring. But, as we prepare for spring, we have to keep our pets in mind. Season changes mean new things are in their environment and some stuff needs to be checked.

As you transition your surroundings remember the following tips:

  1. Spring Cleaning – Be mindful of the chemicals in the cleaners you use around the house. Keep your pets out of the room till the floors and other surfaces are completely dry. Think about using more eco-friendly cleaners and natural products.
  2. Holiday decorations and treats – Spring time holidays like Easter means there are things for your cats and dogs to eat that aren’t good for them. If you celebrate Easter, keep the fake plastic grass, chocolates, and other sugary treats out of reach of your pets, and get more Easter pet-safety tips here.
  3. Windows and Door care – Check your windows and doors for holes or weak spots in the screens. You don’t want bugs crawling into your house and you definitely don’t want your cat accidentally getting out if s/he’s indoor only.
  4. Flea and tick preventatives – Visit your vet to get your pets started on preventatives again. Spring is when fleas and ticks start coming out again. Keep them away from your pet with preventatives and out of your house, yard, and carpeting.
  5. Lawn and Yard care – Lawn and yard fertilizers are highly toxic. If you can, look for alternatives to the usual bone meal, cocoa mulch, and pesticides used to make gardens beautiful.

Need some more Spring tips? Check out all our articles below:

Pet-Safe Garden Tips
More Spring Tips
5 Tips for Spring

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Getting a New Pet? Prepare Your Home

Getting a new pet is exciting. New toys, new pet bed, new everything! You want your pet to be pampered but you also want your pet to make the transition into your home easy and non-threatening.

5 Tips To Prepare For Your New Pet

Pet proof your home – Puppies and kittens, and other animals learn about the world through their mouths, so pick up and put away any item that could be within an animal’s reach. Remove potentially dangerous or poisonous items such as electrical cords, needles, thread, string, ribbon, pins, medications, food items (particularly chocolate) and some houseplants.

Pet proof your yard – Fence off forbidden areas like water gardens or landscaping that you don’t want your pet to get into or that contain plants that are poisonous to your pet. Remove sharp objects and garden ornaments that may cause injury. A visibly fenced-in yard could be ideal, but always examine an existing fence for any openings or weak areas to prevent a pet’s escape. Plan to supervise dogs at all times and plan to walk them on a leash if you do not have a secure fenced-in area for them.

Get stuff – Purchase the equipment needed to house, feed, groom, and play your new pet. Dogs tend to need a crate with soft bedding, baby gates, bowls for food and water, an adjustable collar onto which tags will be attached, a 4 to 6 foot leash, toys, grooming equipment, and wee wee pads if it’s a puppy and learning. Cats tend to need a litter box, litter and scoop, bowls for food and water, a crate/carrier to safely transport them, brush, toys, and scratching posts. Fish, reptiles and amphibians may need heaters and thermometers and covers for their tanks. Small mammals and birds may need an easy-to-clean spacious cage or enclosure, bedding materials, food and water dispensers, and safe toys for chewing and enrichment.

Schedule an appointment with a veterinarian – within 48-72 hours of your pet’s arrival get an examination done as a preventative checkup. Bring any health records that were provided by a shelter, rescue group or breeder.

Make a routine – Devise a schedule for “pottying,” feeding, playing, napping and bedtime. Animals thrive and feel more secure when they have a daily routine to follow. Puppies will need to be walked frequently- every time after waking up, 15 to 20 minutes after eating, after playing and before bedtime. Owners are advised to take dogs out of the same door and to the same “potty” area consistently.

Swimming Safety Tips For Pets

Warm weather and fun trips to the beach, dog parks, and hikes can mean more fun and exercise. Your dog might also want to swim. Before diving into the lakes, pools, and sea make sure your dog is prepared for it. Swimming pools can be dangerous for dogs because they may not be able to climb out due to the design of the steps or ladder. Lakes and beaches have debris that can get tangled around your dog’s legs and tails. Cats aren’t big swimmers but they can swim. I’ve never met a cat that likes to swim but I’ve met several cats that don’t mind walking through shallow water and like to play with the light reflections that dance on the water.

Here are a few swimming tips for your dog (and cat):

  1. Secure your pool with a gate to keep your dog out when he’s in the yard. Never leave your dog unsupervised or unattended when around the pool.
  2. Make sure your pet can get out of the pool. If your pet jumps in and doesn’t have a way to get out it can cause a panic reaction. Ramps can be added to your pool to help your pet walk out of the pool if you have a ladder. If your pool has steps, make sure your dog knows where they are by walking her down and up them every time she wants to go into the water and out.
  3. If your pet is unsure of the water, introduce her gradually. Anxiety about diving into the water can cause pets to panic and sometimes drown.
  4. When on a boat, put a pet life-jacket on your dog or cat. If your pet seems to suffer from sea sickness after your first ride out, maybe it would be best to leave her home.
  5. Don’t let your pet explore lakes or streams without you. They may drink the water or eat something that is bad for them like another animal or algae. Your pet could develop an upset stomach.
  6. Don’t let your pet drink the pool water. The chemicals used to keep it clean can cause stomach upset and dry mouth. It’s inevitable your pet will swallow some water but try to prevent them from drinking it.

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4 Tips To Manage Shedding

Spring is coming and you may notice your dog is starting to shed more, getting rid of the extra winter coat. Blowing a coat can last from a couple of week to over a month and your house can become crazy. If you’re looking for ways to help control the shedding and keep your place somewhat clean, try these tips.

4 Tips to Manage Shedding

  1. A warm bath – A nice warm bath will loosen the dead hair and if you can brush your dog with a glove brush while in the tub, it’ll pull all that dead fur off. Follow up with a high quality pet conditioner and thoroughly dry your dog afterwards. If your dog tolerates a blow dryer, use a low heat. You can bathe your dog twice a month during shedding season. Look for a self-wash dog grooming place so your tub at home and bathroom doesn’t look like a stuffed animal exploded.
  2. Brushing – Brush your dog more often during shedding season. If you can, spend a few minutes everyday brushing your dog’s fur, especially around the neck and sides. Catching the fur before it sticks to your couch, your pants, and everything else will remove the loose fur and keep you sane when vacuuming.
  3. Vacuum your dog – Yea, you can try it. If you have a dog that won’t freak out at the sound of the motor of the vacuum, use one of the upholstery attachments or you can pick up a “dog” attachment and run it over your dog’s body. Some dogs love the feeling. If this is your first shot, go slow and make sure to accustom your dog to it gradually so they don’t freak.
  4. Call the groomer – A good bath, haircut, nail trim, and brush out by a professional can remove a lot of loose fur. Your groomer has the right brushes and tools to get that excess fur off your dog.

Finally, don’t worry, shedding season doesn’t last forever, it just drives us crazy for a little bit.

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Preventing Dog Fights

Hopefully you will never have to find yourself pulling fighting dogs apart. It’s dangerous and can result in you being injured no matter how careful you are. The well-known method is to pull a dog away from the other dog by grabbing around the hips or waist and pulling the dog away. But that’s not always easy to do depending on the way the dogs are situated, how fast they are moving, and if you’re alone.

What is the best way to prevent a fight?

Socializing your dog as a puppy will cut down on chances of a dog fight. Work with a trainer, practice the methods you learn, and address any behavioral problems you notice in your dog that could result in fear biting. If your dog is afraid of sounds or changes in the environment work with the trainer towards desensitizing the things that trigger your dog.

If your dog is not dog friendly, do not bring her to the dog park and cross the street when on a walk if you see another dog coming towards you. On walks, if you walk by a house with a dog in the yard, keep your dog focused on the walk rather than growing or trying to lunge at the fence or house. If you see another dog out on a walk, you can cross the street and have your dog to sit and wait instead of barking and pulling.

If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs to the point where it can be extremely tough to pull her away or redirect her attention, walk her during off-peak times at the park and around your neighborhood. Many people walk their dogs after work and you may have to wait a little later than that or find a few blocks that aren’t often visited by your neighbors with their dogs. If you see an unleashed dog jogging around, yell for the owner to get their dog, and tell them yours is not dog-friendly.

However, if you ever have to break up a dog fight try the following tips

If your dog is leashed and an unleashed dog is approaching
Pull the leash hard to get your dog away from the approaching dog. If the owner is present, yell for them to get their dog. If the dog attacks your dog or you, yell “HELP!” as loud as you can. Do not stick your hand in their faces as this could result in you being bitten. Use the leash to try and get your dog away from the attacking dog and stay as calm as possible.

Two dogs off leash
If your own two dogs get into a fight in the yard or in the house over a toy or treat, try throwing water at them. It startles the dogs and gives you a few seconds to draw the attention away and separate them. You may have to sometimes use an object like a stick or broom to pry them apart and create a barrier. At a dog park, use a spray bottle with water in it or throw the water from the water bowl works to give you a few seconds to get your dog away from the other dog.

Grab the attacking dog by the back legs then pull and lift them up
This can be tough but if you are able to lift the dog off the ground a few inches to a foot or two, it will throw them off balance and give you enough time to get the other dog to a safe place. If you’re alone and breaking up a fight, when you grab the dog, find a place to put the dog – another room, the garage, or in the house.

If a dog is charging at your dog on a walk
Don’t hesitate to place your dog somewhere safe like on top of car roof, on a garbage can, or anywhere that is high enough to make it tougher for the attacking dog to get yours. It sounds odd but it does work. Yell for help. Some dogs who are aggressive towards other dogs are not aggressive towards people. If you have a big dog and can’t lift your dog up, yell for help and try to place something between your dog and the approaching dog to create a wall or shield. A garbage can lid can work or anything that can cause a barrier, do not ever place yourself between the dogs!

Do you have other tips? Share them with us.

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6 Tips for Finding a Pet Sitter

Sometimes we can’t take our pets with us. So what do you do?

You can board your pet at your local vet or find a daycare that does boarding. You could also find a neighbor or a friend who may be able to stop by and feed your cat or bird. If your pet has a special need, it might be best to look for a pet sitter who is experienced with dispensing medications or behavioral problems.

Here are 6 tips to finding a good pet sitter:

Ask your vet – any pet sitter who is working hard and is building a reputation will have reached out to others in the pet industry and local community. Your vet may have clients and others who use a pet sitter or knows of one that comes highly recommended. A pet sitter who has established a good rapport with a vet can be a sitter than knows the importance of pet care and takes the job seriously.

Ask your friends – anyone can look good on a flyer, advertisement, or website. If you aren’t sure about a pet sitter, ask your fellow pet owners who they have used or liked. Even the locals at your dog park may have a good recommendation.

Questions – once you’ve found a pet sitter, ask for references and ask some questions such as is s/he insured, bonded, and what training, if any, has s/he completed? Will the sitter make notes about your pet and update you while you’re away? Is the sitter associated with a vet who can provide emergency care? Does s/he have a contract? A google search too may bring up reviews of the sitter on various websites like or yelp.

Read the contract carefully – the pet sitter will have complete access to your house and belongings, take care to ensure that all the discussed care and other jobs (taking in mail, watering plants) are listed in the contract. Review the amount of time your pet will be the pet sitter, how long the walks will be, play time, and other services.

Test run – a few days before you go away, ask the pet sitter to come by and meet your dog, cat, hamster, fish. See if your pets are ok with the new comer and how they all get along. Take the dog out for a walk with the pet sitter. See if the cat comes over for a pat on the head. Use your instinct and see if you feel at ease with your pets in their care.

Emergency plan – if your pet becomes ill or injured what is plan have you agreed upon with the pet sitter? Some pet sitters have a plan set up such as calling the client before taking the pet to the emergency vet. Others have resources that are readily available. Ask if the pet sitter knows CPR or knows of the local 24 hour emergency animal hospital.

What other tips do you have?

Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

My cat is pretty good about using his scratching post but lately he’s taken a liking to the mesh weave of my office chair. It’s fairly new so the last thing I need is my chair to become nothing but a string of threads. I’ve yelled “No!” sharply and clapped my hands to startle him and so far that’s been working but he’s determined and I’m not always home. If your cat also has taken a liking to scratching things s/he shouldn’t, try the three D’s.

The Three D’s: Deter, Displace, and Dull

  1. Deter – use double sided tape which can be picked up at any hardware store. Pet stores also sell a less sticky version with names like “sticky paws.” Place the tape on objects that your cat is scratching. Cats tend to hate the feeling of their feet getting “stuck.” Also, if you have a water gun, a small squirt may also deter your cat. However, use a small pistol not the super soaker.
  2. Displace – if your cat doesn’t have a scratching post or maybe it’s worn out – buy a new one. If the location doesn’t seem to appeal to your cat, move it. Provide different types to see which your cat prefers. Some cats love the carpeted type while other prefer cardboard. Also, if your cat prefers scratching wood furniture, consider buying a cat post made of cedar or pine. Place on catnip on the posts to entice your cat too.
  3. Dull – trim your cat’s nail as part of a regular grooming routine. Keep treats handy as most cats squirm and don’t like this. It can take time to get your cat used to nail trimming so go slow and don’t be discouraged if you only get to trim one claw or one paw at a time. Reward your cat for being a good sport with treats. Another idea is to try the soft claw nail caps that glue on to the nails and typically last about month. These take the edge off the scratching and prevent cuts and gashes into furniture and you.

What else do you do? Let us know!