iCPooch – The App That Lets You Chat With Your Pup

iCPooch is a new app that works with a tablet computer to allow an owner to video chat with his/her pet. It also allows owners release a treat to their pet while they are chatting. The app wasn’t the brain child of a tech company or pet food company, rather, it was the invention of a 14 yr old girl, Brooke Martin, who felt anxious being away from her dog, Kayla.

iCPooch was a kickstarter project and since then met its funding needs and is available for sale from their own website as well as Amazon. It retails for $129 and would make an excellent present for the pet lover in your life.

To read more about iCPooch, check out the article on CBS.com.

Raw Veggie Snacks

Let’s face it, we don’t eat enough vegetables… well, maybe some of us do… but I bet given choice, many of us would choose the BLT (heavy on the B) over a veggie tray of carrots and celery with ranch dip. I bet many of us also feed our dogs better than ourselves.

Well, it may be time for you and your dog to start sharing snacks to keep you motivated to eat better and also to make sure your dog is healthy. Raw vegetables make great snacks for dogs and are cheaper than buying a box of little biscuits.

Remember: Before serving vegetables rinse them well and cut them up.

4 Veggie Snacks For Your Dog

Beets – full of vitamins and minerals and can be grated and sprinkled on top of your dog’s food or cut up and dried for snacks. Don’t worry if your dog’s urine has a pink tint to it.

Bell Peppers – Peppers are high in vitamin A, C, B6, and Potassium. Before serving, remove the seeds and insides. Cut them into small slices or little squares before serving them to your pup.

Sweet Potatoes – Great snack packed with vitamin A, Potassium, and B6. Cut them up, dice them and serve them raw or roast them on a cookie sheet in the oven and make fries or chips. You and your dog will def like these!

Zucchini – A year round veggie that has folate and can be grated and sprinkled on top of dog food, peeled and cut into bite sized treats, or roasted with sweet potatoes to make great training treats.

Now, go! Eat your veggies with your dog.

Image from Posted in petsTagged , , , ,

Easter and Passover: 5 Holiday Pet Tips

Passover starts on April 3, 2015 and Easter is April 5, 2015. If you celebrate either one of these two holidays and have a furry friend in your house, there are some safety tips to consider to ensure your pet has a safe and happy day.

  1. Keep all decorations out of reach of your pet. If you have easter grass be careful that your dog or cat doesn’t chew and ingest any of it. This fake grass can cause blockages in their digestive system. You can substitute tissue paper in the baskets for grass. Cats are often intrigued by plastic items that catch light and move easily like tinsel and fake easter grass.
  2. Make sure flowers and potted plants are out of reach from your pet. Some decorative seasonal flowers are highly toxic to dogs and cats, and the temptation to chew on them seems unbearable. My cats just love to put holes in plants, so they always stay out of reach on a mantle or bookcase.
  3. Make sure your pets don’t find those easter eggs or the afikoman before the kids do. If you engage your family in the games of finding gifts, keep the family pet away from the room or yard where you’ve placed the items. Any foreign foods or objects that your pet may try to eat could make them very ill.
  4. Candy is a big part of Easter. Wrappers need to be out of reach from dogs as well as chocolate. Keep all ‘people’ treats and their wrappers away from your pet.
  5. If you host a party and your pet isn’t one for loud noises or gets overwhelmed, try keeping them in a room while your guests are over. It’ll reduce the stress on your pet and also your guests.
  6. Also remember, don’t get them wet, don’t expose them to bright light, and don’t feed them after midnight. Oh wait, that’s not dogs and cats…that’s mogwais.

    Image from PopHangover

Most Popular Puppy Names for 2014

Did you pet’s name make the list? Vetstreet.com has released their top ten list of male and female names for dogs. After combing their database that has about 960,000 names of puppies born in 2014, this year’s top ten has a few new names and some classic ones.

Top Male Puppy Names

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Rocky
  4. Buddy
  5. Cooper
  6. Duke
  7. Bear
  8. Zeus
  9. Bentley
  10. Toby

Max has been in the top spot for 9 years and Zeus is the new name on the list.

Top Female Puppy Names

  1. Bella
  2. Daisy
  3. Lucy
  4. Sadie
  5. Molly
  6. Lola
  7. Sophie
  8. Zoey
  9. Luna
  10. Chloe

Maggie was on the list last year but was knocked off with Luna entering the top 10.

Is your dog’s name on the top ten lists?

Image from redditian

Cruising with Fido: Tips for a Safe and Fun Car Ride with Your Dog

Most dogs love car rides. It’s exciting to them to look out the window and watch the buildings, trees, and other cars whizz by. The wind and different smells keep their noses moving and will bounce from window to window.

Dogs like to explore and having them loose in the car allows them to move around and find their perfect perch spot. Now, not all dogs will bound around. Some will find their spot and settle down. Some dogs I know just lay down in the backseat and don’t move. But, an overly excited dog might get in your way as you drive and that can create a dangerous situation for you.

Make sure your car rides are safe:

Keep Fido in the back seat: Keeping your dog in the back protects them for the harm of an airbag opening and hurting them. Airbags open with a force of about 200 miles an hour, which could severely injure your pet. Car harnesses aren’t 100% safe but they prevent your dog from blocking the rearview mirror, trying to sit on your lap, or hitting the gear shift.

For the safety of your pet and you, remember to use a pet safety harness and keep your dog in the backseat. Car harnesses can be purchased at your local pet store. They look very similar to a regular walking harness but have a strap where the seat belt fits through. Your dog can sit, stand, and stretch out in the backseat comfortably and you can concentrate on the road.

Use a crate: If you are going on a long trip, you may want to use a carrier or dog crate in the back hatch area of your car. If you have a large car or SUV, a mid-size dog crate fits in the back with plenty of room for your luggage. Your dog can lie down, have a bowl of water, and some food. It also will keep your dog from losing his/her balance as easily as when standing on the backseat when you make that right or left turn. For long trips, it is best to not feed your dog a regular size meal but many small snacks. It will help prevent motion sickness.

Keep Fido IN the car: Not every dog needs to be restrained. If you have a dog that doesn’t bounce around the car in a hyper manner, you’re very lucky! However, never let your dog stick its head out the window. It’s not safe and the wind can actually give your dog an ear infection. Dust, debris, and that flying cigarette from the car in front of you could hurt your pup!

Opening the window a few inches is enough for your dog to smell the air, enjoy the breeze, and stay safe. Also, you’ll be able to make sure your dog doesn’t accidentally fall out the window or jump if there’s something worth chasing!

If your destination isn’t too far and the weather is perfect, skip the car, put on your best sneakers, and take the walk! Your dog will thank you for it. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

Pet Dental Problems

February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Your vet probably has a discount this month for teeth cleanings and checkups. If you’ve noticed your pet’s teeth looking yellowed or the gums are puffy, then a trip to the vet is in order.

Not sure what dental problems dogs and cats can get?

The most common dental problems are

  1. Periodontal Disease: a painful infection between the tooth and gum that can result in tooth loss. The infection can spread to the rest of the body and cause other serious problems. Signs of periodontal disease are bad breath, loose teeth, sneezing, and nasal discharge.
  2. Gingivitis: this is an inflammation of the gum caused by an accumulation of tartar, plaque, and other bacteria. Signs are bleeding gums, red, swollen gums, and bad breath. It can be taken care of with regular brushing and giving treats that help scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth.
  3. Halitosis: this is bad breath… really really bad breath. It’s the first sign of mouth problems and is caused by bacteria growing from food particles caught between the teeth or by a gum infection. Regular brushing and healthy snacks can help prevent this.
  4. Swollen gums: gums will swell when there is a build up of tartar. Regular dental care and a good diet (no table scraps or foods that break down to sugars) can help prevent this.
  5. Salivary cysts: if you aren’t sure what these cysts are, they resemble blisters. They are full of fluid and develop near the jaw. Often they require a visit to the vet to drain them and sometimes the damaged salivary gland needs to be removed.
  6. Mouth tumors: these look like lumps in the gums. Some are malignant and have to be removed.

The best way to make sure your pet never has any of these painful problems is to keep them on a high quality diet, brush their teeth if they are ok with that, and regular vet visits. Preventing dental problems is cheaper and better for you and your pet. While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, dental care should be a daily thing for your pet all year long.

Have pictures of your pet’s pearly whites? Share them with us!

February is National Pet Dental Month: Keep those fangs shiny!

February is National Pet Dental Month. The American Veterinarians Medical Association is working in conjunction with several clinics and companies around the country to educate and promote dental health to pet owners. It is estimated that about 1 in 10 pet owners make sure their pet’s teeth are cared for and brush them on a regular basis.

According to surveys and statistics gathered by the American Veterinarians Medical Association, periodontal disease, tartar, and swollen gums are the most common ailments vets see when they examine pets. Proper dental care can begin with a trip to the vet, who will let you know if your pet needs a cleaning or other periodontal care. It’s estimated that 70% of dogs and cats will have some kind of oral disease by the age of 3. But don’t worry, your pet doesn’t have to be one of them.

Did you know?

Like us, cats and dogs need regular care of their teeth and gums. They can get plaque buildup, tartar, and sometimes red, swollen gums and need treatment. Oral infections can sometimes also lead to other health problems and could cause problems in the kidneys and liver.

What can you do?

The American Veterinary Medical Association urges all pet owners to bring their pet to the vet for yearly checkups.

You can also try brushing your pet’s teeth. “TRY” being the operative word. There are toothpastes for dogs and cats that are easy to use and you don’t have to brush for 2 minutes like our dentists recommend. A finger brush, which is a rubbery soft brush, with some pet toothpaste is all you need to brush your pet’s teeth. It can take some getting used to for them and you. My cats hated it but tolerated it after several small battles the first bunch of times.

There are also treats that are geared to helping keep your pet’s teeth clean and remove the bits of food that get stuck between those fangs. Most importantly, it’s good to know what food and treats will not promote dental issues. Table scraps that contain sugars and some acidic ingredients can wear away at your pet’s teeth. Be careful to not let your cat or dog eat people food that isn’t for them. If you cook for your pet, talk to your vet about the ingredients in the meals you’re preparing and if anything might contribute to any oral disease problems.

What if your pet refuses to have their teeth brushed?

My cats tolerate having their teeth brushed but as they’ve gotten older they have taken to hiding when they see the toothpaste on the counter. If your pets are like mine and find this some mild form of torture, there are other things you can do to cut down on tartar and plaque buildup. There are treats that contain ingredients and are shaped in ways that help breakdown and prevent plaque buildup. Special treats like dental chews, dental bones, and other products are made specifically for promoting good dental health.

Chances are your vet is offering a deal for February for dental exams and cleaning. Check with them and talk to your vet about your options for maintaining a dental plan and what types of brushes and toothpaste are safe for your pets. Preventative care is always better and cheaper and your pet will be happier in the end.

Looking to start a healthy routine of brushing your pet’s teeth? Then check out these videos!

Image from Clearwater Veterinary Centre

5 Ways Pets Make Our Lives Better

Adopting a pet isn’t just great for the pet. It’s great for you too. You may have read articles that tell you that pets reduce stress and help with depression… and it’s true!

  1. They boost our self-esteem – an article from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows that pet owners exhibit stronger self-esteem than non-pet-owners which improves interactions with others, helps with shyness, and makes our days not as rough.
  2. Pets help reduce allergies – sounds weird, right? But being exposed to a pet early in life can decrease your allergic reactions to animals. In a study, it was found that people who had pets in their house as children were about 50% less likely to develop reactions to animals as adults.
  3. You’re not alone – pets help fulfill social needs and help us stay on top of our game. We might feel a little lonely but we still a pet that asks for our attention and asks for us to play, cuddle, and go for walks. A pet helps prevent us from getting stuck in our negative thoughts and in some ways remind us to stay present.
  4. Pets keep us healthy – playing, jogging, and walking your dog improves our overall health. Dragging a toy around for your cat to hunt and pounce is better than being a couch potato. Pets keep us active! They reduce stress by reminding us that it’s not all about bills and work, and petting a pet can reduce our blood pressure.
  5. Pets improve our interactions – owning a pet can draw people to us. Your dog might spark a conversation with a stranger on the street or another dog lover at the park. Your cat sitting in the window might make someone ask you how old s/he is. Pets can be natural conversation starters!

Image from Old Yella Dog Ranch

Think Green! 4 Tips For Caring for Pets

An article from the Poughkeepsie Journal focused on one family whose pets are “green.” Their cats are indoor only cats which helps protect the birds in their area and their guinea pig gets fresh grass from their yard to eat. They even sometimes give their dog the leftovers of the food they eat. Now while, many table scraps are bad for your dog because of sugars, additives, and other ingredients in food, some can be ok and can cut down on the amount of garbage that is thrown out. If you have a pet and want to try to live greener and reduce your carbon footprint, it can be done with ease and simplicity.

4 Tips for A Greener Pet

  1. Flea prevention – if your area is one where fleas are not too much of a problem you may not need to use flea preventatives on your pet which contain chemicals that are harsh to the environment and can be toxic to your pet if s/he ingests them. This is why many preventatives are put on the shoulder blades, to prevent your pet from licking the chemicals and becoming ill. A bath can kill the fleas that are on your pet if you find a few and you don’t need to use special flea shampoo. The soap in regular pet shampoos is enough to kill fleas as long as you leave it on your pet for 5 to 8 minutes. Vacuuming your house and emptying the container as soon as you finish will help get rid of fleas and eggs that are living in the carpets, couch cushions, and other areas. Rather than using a pesticide bomb, try cutting up a flea collar and putting that in your vacuum container to kill the fleas.
  2. Vinegar and baking soda – Vinegar and baking soda make an amazing cleaner. Wipe down bird cages, clean litter boxes, and kill odors with this mixture. Baking soda can also be sprinkled in your cat’s litter box to absorb odors. Instead of using overly priced car fresheners and paying for interior cleaning, sprinkling some baking soda on the floor and seats before vacuuming can eliminate smells. Vinegar diluted with water makes a great glass cleaner and removes those wet noses marks all over your back windows.
  3. Cat litter – instead of choosing clay based litter which is probably strip mined and contains silica dust use natural products that are made from pine, newspaper, corn, or wheat. They are biodegradable, easy to clean, and do not contain harsh chemicals or carcinogens.
  4. Doggie bags – we all need them when we walk our dogs or go camping but instead of using the plastic ones try biodegradable bags. In your yard, you can train your dog to go in a spot to save your plants and grass and when it’s time to clean the yard, a doggy septic tank can replace all those garbage bags used to throw out your dog’s waste.

How do you ‘Go Green’ with your pet? Let us know!

Image from i-facts.info

Obese Pets: Why It Can Be Dangerous

All the pets I’ve had have been a little chubby. Some had a layer that covered their ribs and others had a belly. When one of my cats gained weight over the summer from being lazy but still eating the same amount of food and cleaning up his sister’s bowl too, I put him on a diet. He protested everyday. I fed them in separate parts of the kitchen. It was a little bit of a hassle for me but it helped him slim down. Still, he hated it. But a trimmer cat can mean a healthier cat.

Obesity is defined as excess body fat in pets which impair health and body functions. 10 to 20% of weight that exceeds their ideal body weight is considered overweigh. Pets that have more than 20% of weight above their ideal are considered obese.

Obese pets have a greater chance of problems like arthritis and back problems, as well as a weaker immune system. They also have a greater chance of developing diabetes, liver disease, and cats are at a greater risk of having urinary tract problems, skin problems, and greater sensitivity to weather due to their weight. Many pets that are overweight also have a shorter life span which can be heart breaking.

Figuring out if your pet is overweight or obese is more than just weighing him. It also depends on your pet’s body build and condition. I’ve had cats that were petite and weighed only 5 lbs and others that were healthy at 13 lbs. The body condition of your pet takes into consideration the weight, height, and proportions of body muscle and fat. Your vet can help you determine what would be an ideal weight for your pet. Once you know what your pet’s weight should be, monitoring their intake, exercise, and overall health can help you know how to best take care of them.

The weather is starting to cool down. Your dog might be a little more energetic now and your cat might not be sleeping in the cold bathtub anymore. This means more playtime and longer walks. Take longer walks in the evenings with your dog and see if you can get your cat to start chasing that catnip mouse around the house again. A thinner pet can mean a healthier, longer living pet!

What do you do to exercise your pet?

Image from Reddit.com