Thanksgiving Pet Tips

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and for pet owners that means in addition to thinking about how we’ll handle our own excesses over the holiday we need to be aware of how our pets will deal with it, too. This can be a really hectic time, with more people in the house than usual, so it’s important to think about this stuff beforehand – that way you don’t end up cleaning up unexpected messes or emergency trips to the vet when you’d rather be sleeping off your oversized meal in front of the big-screen TV!

Here are some tips to make sure your Thanksgiving is pet safe.

1. Be careful about any turkey you give your pet

If you decide to give your pet a little bit of the big ol’ bird, make sure it is completely cooked and has no bones. Do not offer raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella. If your pet is on a diet or has food allergies, avoid giving any “people” food to him and keep him on his regular feeding schedule.

2. Know what’s not safe for your pet to eat

Just because it’s okay for you to eat doesn’t mean it’s okay for your pet. For instance, onions, garlic, sage, and grapes aren’t good for pets; uncooked bread dough can expand in the stomach and cause abdominal pain; and things like corn and bread are difficult for them to digest. Ask your vet for lists of what foods your pet can and can’t have, and when in doubt – don’t let them have it. If you feel bad about depriving them of a treat, have extra pet-friendly treats on hand.

3. Avoid giving out bones to your pet

Turkey bones may seem like the ideal dog treats, but those bones can break easily, which means they could be a choking hazard or even cause internal damage by cutting your pet’s stomach or intestines.

4. Take out the trash frequently

Determined pets can – and will – go digging through the trash to get hold of those yummy-tasting scraps, especially if you’re being careful about not giving them any. Take the trash out on a regular basis throughout the day, and make your in-kitchen garbage can difficult for them to access or get into.

5. Keep candles and pets away from each other

We often light candles at the Thanksgiving table, which may be one of only a few times each year that we have candles going. Pets are excited enough about all the heady food smells and extra company, so they’re even less likely to notice if (for example) their tail catches fire when they brush by a lit candle. Make sure you’ve extinguished candles when you’re leaving the table, and don’t leave lit candles unattended.

6. Be conscious of the issues when mixing guests with pets

Not everyone loves animals as much as we do, and some of your guests may not want to have a dog or cat roaming around the dining room during the Thanksgiving meal. Not only that, even if your pet isn’t a beggar, that won’t stop your cousin’s youngest kid from handing out scraps under the table (which may include things that are unsafe for your pet to eat). It’s probably best for everyone if pets are kept out of the dining room during the meal.

7. Consider keeping your pet in a separate part of the house for the whole day

It may not be enough to just keep your pet in another room during the meal – you might want to do that for the whole day. Your pets are likely to be more excitable during the holidays, so even if you’ve usually got an exceptionally well-behaved dog or cat he or she may not obey commands once the house is full of new people. If you can sequester your pet in another part of the house during the busy part of the day, that might be a good idea – especially if your pet tends to get stressed out with too much change. You might consider boarding your pet for the day, too – you’ll know what’s best for your pet.

8. Make sure your pet has proper identification

It may sound strange, but remember that anytime you’ve got a house full of guests that means the door is being opened numerous times – including times when you’re not paying attention. If your pet isn’t locked in a different part of the house when Uncle Carl steps outside to get something from the car (leaving the door open because it’s “just going to be a second”), you may not notice he or she is missing until much later. Making sure your pet has ID tags and is microchipped means a better chance you’ll get reunited quickly.

9. Have extra treats on hand for your pets

You’ll be focused on making sure you and your guests have a good time, but don’t forget your pets! Have some special pet-friendly treats on hand to let them know it’s a special day for them, too – dole them out throughout the day, or as a reward for good behavior at the end of a hectic Thanksgiving.

All of us at PetsWelcome hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Halloween Costume Safety Tips

Halloween can be a lot of fun. It’s even more fun when your pet can dress up and you two can walk around as team like Batman and Robin or a cowboy and a horse. You need to be sure that your pet will be ok being dressed up or else it could end up being a day where your pet is stressed and confused.

Here are 5 tips for Halloween with your pet:

1: Never leave them unattended

If you’re going to buy a costume for your pet this year, make sure that your pet is ok wearing it. Some dogs and cats do not tolerate any type of material on their bodies and may fight to get it off. This can mean they will shred and chew the costume. They can also ingest pieces of it. If your pet is not the type that will tolerate a costume on them, it is best to not dress them up.

2: Be aware of your pet’s moods

If your pet seems grumpy or tired, dressing her up and making her go out with your family probably is not a good idea. She may show some excitement at going for a walk but after a few minutes she might not tolerate the costume, trick or treating, and the whole routine. Some pets just hate having anything on them and if that’s the problem, it’s not worth forcing them to wear something or making a tired old dog go out for hours when they’d rather stay home and nap.

3: Test run

Before the big night of trick or treating, do a test run with the costume. Get her dressed up and see how long she wears it without fidgeting. You want to make sure the costume doesn’t restrict her or have elastic that is too tight on her body. Praise her for wearing it and see if she is ok doing her usual stuff in costume. This may mean you have a few test runs before trick or treating.

4: Being in a crowd

Some pets don’t mind being in a crowded area or walking down streets that have a lot of people. Others might enjoy it too much and try to make new friends with everyone they meet. Then there the dogs that get nervous and might try to dart away. If your pet isn’t the type that handles social situations well, leave her home.

5: No Candy!

Remember that candy and chocolate can be toxic to your pet. No candy, candy wrappers, or anything that isn’t meant for them. Watch your pet to make sure they don’t get into the halloween candy and nom on something they shouldn’t.

Back To School Blues: Pets and Change

For some of us, school has started. The summer routine of day camps and small weekend getaways are over and your dog is again alone for 8 to 9 hours a day. With the hustle and bustle of getting kids ready for school your pup knows something is up and can sense the change of schedules.

Maybe you’ve noticed your dog is whining more, pacing, or staring at you with a slightly worried look.
This is normal. Just make sure your pup still has walks, play time, and plenty of pets.

Keep an eye on your pup for the following signs of loneliness and boredom:

Depression and anxiety – dogs experience these feelings and show signs of it by being listless, not eating as much, hiding, and not wanting to play. Some dogs show their anxiety in excessive barking, pawing at the doors, windows, and fences to get out, chewing on things they normally don’t touch, and being overly excited when you come home.

Relieve the chances of depression and anxiety

If this is your dog’s first time experiencing the kids going back to school, it will take some time for your dog to adjust. It is important to make sure your dog is given the time and attention needed to alleviate stress.

Morning – Exercise in the morning before everyone runs off to school and work can help your dog burn off some energy. After breakfast and a potty break, your dog may nap while everyone is gone. Meaning your house will be in one piece when you come home.

When it’s time to go – Try to not make a big deal of saying goodbye. A pat on the head and if you crate your dog, a simple, “see you later” will do. If your dog does have some anxiety, leaving a radio or tv on can help. Talk to your vet if your dog has extreme displays of anxiety and talk to a trainer or think about enrolling your pet in doggie daycare.

Home again – When you come home, walk in and put down your bags and take off your coat. Don’t make a big deal and baby talk your dog to death. You may even need to ignore your dog for a few minutes. Calmly greet your dog and take her/him out for a bathroom break and walk or romp in the yard.

After dinner – Once everyone has had their dinner, including your pup, it is time for another session of exercise. 20 minutes of playtime or a walk will help your dog burn off some energy and have time to bond with you.

Encourage the children to play everyday with the dog – between video games, homework, and friends, your kids need to be reminded that the dog also needs time with them. Try to get them to all play for a little bit when they come home with the dog. A game of fetch or tag with the family dog will make everyone happy.

It’s so easy to get caught up in things and our pets sometimes a little neglected. Of course we will never forget to feed them or clean up after them but we may forget to make the time needed to keep them happy as well as us. Having routines is important for us just like them.

Plus, the pet time when you aren’t dragged around between work, family, and other tasks can also be your “break.”

Good luck!

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.