Holiday Safety Tips

Winter is here and this means many of us who celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah have decorations out in our homes. Our pets may not understand that these once a year items are not for play, to eat, or to climb. As the holidays approach it’s important to keep their routines in tact and also to make sure they do not end up injured from dangerous decorations, unhealthy treats, and toxic plants.

Steer your pets clear of the following items

  • Christmas Trees – there are so many stories of cats climbing the trees, especially young cats who have no idea why there is a now a big scratching post in the house. The problem is the tree is full of danger – wires from the lights can wrap around your cat’s body, tinsel can be eaten and cause your cat major stomach issues, and decorations that are fragile can break and cause glass or metal shards to be strewn about on the floor. Stagnant tree water can also cause stomach problems if your pet drinks it.

    There are products that you can buy to help deter your pets from checking out the tree like tree stands that have deeper wells where the water is unreachable, placing a baby gate around the tree to deter puppies from knocking it over, tying the tree to the wall with fishing line to prevent cats from knocking it down, and swapping out tinsel for other decorations that aren’t as enticing to cats.

  • No Feasting for the Furballs – you know chocolate is bad for dogs, but keep table scraps away from your pets as you cook big meals for family. Onions, spices, and other foods can be toxic to your pet. Make sure the wine and alcohol is also out of reach from a sloppy dog tongue.
  • Mistletoe and Holly – when a pet eats holly their stomachs can reject it and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. Mistletoe has been known to cause cardiovascular problems in dogs and cats. Lilies are dangers to cats causing kidney failure and stomach upset. Keep these plants out of reach or opt for pet-safe bouquets.
  • Holiday Candles – don’t leave the candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Use candle holders, place them on a stable surface, and blow them out when done.
  • Play time – if your family and friends who are visiting want to play with your pets, ask them to take it slow in case your pet is a little stressed about the excitement and people. Your dog might look excited to play but might also be anxious and get too rowdy or scared. Once it seems like everyone is cool – game on!
  • Final note – make sure there’s a place for your pet to “hide” if the hustle of your house is too much for them. A place where your pet can hide, cuddle, or relax without being disturbed is important to keeping the peace.

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6 Memorial Day Travel Tips

Heading out of town for the weekend? Want to take your pet? Traveling with your pet can be a lot of fun for you and them. Before you hit the road, don’t forget a few tips to make the weekend awesome!

6 tips to travel like a pro with your pet:

  1. Check pet policy and guidelines of the place you have booked. Review the policies, check your reservation and let them know you are bringing your dog and ask what they require in terms of vaccine records and other paperwork. Some hotels have a size and weight restriction. Some campgrounds have strict rules about dogs staying on the grounds, ask them if you need to bring a crate, what the leash length restrictions are, and if there are any other rules.
  2. Reinforce the training techniques you have established with your pet. New places and new smells can make dogs very excited. Sometimes they won’t listen as well because they are distracted with the new environment. Avoid situations that could be embarrassing and tense by making sure your dog has some of the basic commands drilled into her/his head.
  3. Plan for fun with your pet. Many places do not want your pet to left alone for long periods of time. Plan activities and places to go that allow you to bring your pet. Hiking trails, places to eat, and parks that welcome your dog can be found in visitor guides, websites of the places themselves, and here on our site.
  4. Have your pet’s vet number on hand. Look up the local vet and 24 hour emergency hospital near where you are staying. If you have an app on your phone for pet information, check that the information is up to date. Pack a small emergency kit that can be used for your pet and you. Hydrogen peroxide, bandages, tweezers, and some ointments, an extra leash, and gauze are all good to have on hand.
  5. Pack some extra food, treats, and medication for your pet in case you run out and can’t find it in the local pet stores. If you extend your trip an extra day or you drop a pill by accident, having more than you need on hand can ease your worry.
  6. Clean up after your dog. Pack doggie bags and leave the parks and streets the way you came across them. Be considerate and always be responsible.

Have a great weekend!

Image from The LA Times

10 Tips to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree

If you have a curious kitty and a Christmas tree, you know there is a chance that you’ll find your ornaments on the floor, gifts with little claw marks on them, and a cat perched in your tree peeking out at you.

Here are 10 tips to try and save your sanity this holiday season:

  1. Wrap some tin foil around the trunk of tree to repel your cat. Cats don’t like the the feeling of tin foil or the sound and will often run away.
  2. Spray the tree and some of the decorations with citronella spray. The smell repels cats but may also repel you so use it sparingly.
  3. Place a floor runner under the stand of the tree upside down. The little bumps feel weird to cats and they tend to stay away from the texture.
  4. Place ornaments that are sentimental or more expensive higher up on the tree with strong hooks so your cat won’t knock those one off as easily.
  5. Consider placing the tree on an elevated stand if it’s short using a milk carton or box.
  6. Secure your tree using fishing line and some hooks placed in the wall or ceiling.
  7. Orange peels that are laid around the base of the tree will repel your cat. Cats do not like citrus and will stay away from anything that has that scent. Remember to throw them out when they are dried up and old.
  8. Double-sided tape placed around the base will repel your cat when they step on it and it’ll keep them from coming near the tree again.
  9. If you’re able to supervise, keep a squirt bottle nearby and spray your cat if he tries to scratch or climb the tree or play with the ornaments. To a cat, a decorated tree is like a gigantic toy!
  10. If all else fails, get a big big dog and tie him to the tree as your personal Christmas tree bodyguard. Problem is, you may have a tree that is then covered in dog pee. **

**We don’t really advocate  tying dogs to trees, indoor or outdoor.

In all seriousness, some cats don’t care and will just sniff the tree and have nothing more to do with it. Outsmarting your cat can become a comedy sketch but if you keep the shiny ornaments off the lower branches, keep some orange scented items near the bottom, and make sure the cat doesn’t drink the water in the stand, your holiday should be peaceful and nice. You may even have some great photo opportunities of your cat snoozing among a pile of gifts under the tree and looking unbearably cute.

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Keep Pets Safe Around Holiday Decorations

The holidays are here and this means lights, decorations, candles, trees, and many other festive items that make our homes a little brighter, warmer, and fun. It also means our pets are exposed to items that could be harmful to them.

Holiday decorations come in many sizes, forms, and materials. The candles in our menorahs for Hanukkah or the poinsettias in the window sill could cause major problems if our pets chew on them. Wires from lights and tinsel on Christmas trees can be hazardous too.

If you are decorating for the holidays, remember these tips:

  1. Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are toxic to pets. If you have these in your home, place them where your pet cannot reach them. It might be best to have these hanging outside on your porch or in planters where they decorate the steps up to your house if you have a very curious kitty or nosey dog.
  2. If you have a live tree in your house, keep the needles tidy. The needles can puncture the stomach lining. Clean up the needles that fall off as soon as possible.
  3. Ornaments on the tree are very intriguing to animals. In particular it seems cats get curious and will smack them around like it’s their own personal jungle gym. Dogs might try to carry an ornament and break it in their mouths. If you have a pet that plays with the ornament, try using a training spray that deters them. Avoid tinsel as cats have a tendency to chew it. The tinsel can cause blockages and make them very ill.
  4. Keep the wires from lights, lamps, and other decorations tidy and tucked away so your rambunctious puppy or playful kitty doesn’t tug them or get tangled in them. Many hardware and house-ware stores sell cord covers and zip ties that can keep things neat.
  5. If your cat insists on drinking water from the bottom of the christmas tree, you may need to find a cover to prevent her from doing so. Dirty water can make your cat ill. Your dog may also think it’s a new water bowl and could knock decorations or the tree off the stand. Always keep fresh water out for your pets in their water bowls to urge them to not look anywhere else for a drink.
  6. And don’t forget to shop for your pets as you hit the stores this season!

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7 Thanksgiving Tips: Keep Your Furry Friends Safe

As we pet owners rush around this weekend for groceries for Thanksgiving, remember to take some extra precautions for our pets to keep them safe and healthy. Holidays are always hectic and things like loud noises, lots of people, and the extra stress you exude can affect your pet. There are also other things you need to be aware of when celebrating a holiday and preparing a big meal for family and friends. The following tips should help keep you from making an emergency trip the vet or taking Max for a few extra trips to the backyard due to an upset belly.

1: Keep your pets out of the kitchen as you prepare Thanksgiving dinner. They may try to eat something that could cause them to get ill or may get burned by touching a hot stove or knocking something off the counter.

2: If you are cooling something on the counter like a pie or your big turkey, keep an eye on the kitchen door. The temptation to jump a baby gate or sneak through an open space to get to the smell of food might be too great for some pets. Supervise your pet if she’s a foodie or if you can’t, set her up in a room with the door closed and plenty of water, some bedding, and a toy or activity to keep her occupied.

3: Bones from turkey are not safe for your pet. Do not give them as treats. The shards can break and cut their throat or stomach.

4: Remember to keep sweets out of paw’s reach as well as alcohol and certain other vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

5: If your pet does not usually receive table scraps, Thanksgiving is not the time to start. Remind your guests to not give your pet any food from their plates as this can greatly upset their stomach.

6: Keep your pet from digging in the trash by taking it out to the garbage cans frequently. Any trimmed fat, bones, or other discarded food can lead to indigestion, loose bowels, and vomiting.

7: If you burn candles, watch out for wagging tails and acrobatic cats! They can accidentally knock a candle over or singe their fur. Do not leave any candles burning in a room unsupervised.

If you want to give your pet a treat for Thanksgiving, give them a new toy or a special treat. Even an extra long romp in the dog park or some extra play time can make your pet happy. They’ll stay healthy, won’t feel neglected, and will also have a good Thanksgiving!