Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Winter is here and so is the most awaited Holiday season. It’s that time of the year when everyone is busy planning holidays and finding ways to have fun with the family.

In all these hullabaloos, pets are more prone to get into accidents. As a pet owner, ensuring a safe environment for your pets is essential.

Food

Dogs and cats tend to scavenge when out of sight. They basically forage on the dustbin, empty plates, and crates. To ensure their well-being you must ensure to keep the harmful food or food items away from them. The most essential thing is to keep the people-food away from them.

  • Chocolate is one of the most consumed food items during Holidays, however, it can be very harmful to pets. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, and high-fat contents which are toxic for dogs and cats. Although the toxicity varies based on the type of chocolate, the size of your pet, and the amount they eat, it’s safer to keep chocolate off-limits for pets.
  • Keep sweet and baked goods out of their reach. Baked goods contain fats and sugar which is harmful to pets. Artificial sweetener, chocolate, and xylitol contain have been linked to liver failure and death in dogs.
  • Turkey and turkey skin are harmful to pets. The fat and garlic content leads to pancreatitis.
  • Table scraps such as gravy and meat fat should be kept away from pets. Other items including onions, raisins, and grapes are harmful to pets too. Holiday foods are basically rich in sweetener and flavor. Pets’ digestive system doesn’t allow such food.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets, including painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.

 

Decorating

Another essential aspect of holidays is the decorations. The decorations for the Christmas tree, fireplace, lightings and decorative are common forms of decorations which are basically made of plastic, crystal, glass, and other industrial parts.

  • Christmas trees can easily tip over if pets climb on them or try to catch the decorations. Consider tying your tree to the ceiling or a fixed pole to provide extra protection.
  • Water additives for Christmas trees can be hazardous to the pets. Do not add aspirin, sugar, and chemicals to the water for your tree if you have pets in the house.
  • Decorative and Ornaments can prove hazardous to pets. Broken ornaments can cause injuries, and ingestion of the same can cause intestinal blockage or internal damage. Consuming them sometimes require surgery.
  • Electric lights can cause burns or electric shock when a curious pet chews the cords.
  • Flowers and festive plants such as Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly are among the common plants used in Holiday decoration that can prove to be dangerous and even poisonous to pets
  • Decorate candles are attractive to pets. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire.

As the holiday season is here, you should consider taking extra precaution if your own a pet. The pets who roam outside the house have higher chances of countering accidents or mishaps during the holidays.

How to keep Pets warm this winter?

Winter is here, and so is the time for you to get in the bed as soon as you reach home. Winter can be harsher for pets as they indulge in outdoor activities. Animals have a lesser appetite for cold weather.

5 common myths about dogs in winter

  • Furry and thickly coated pets such as Pomeranian, Samoyed, Chow Chow, Bearded Collie, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland, and Bichon Frise can stay outside as they can keep themselves warm. Their thick coat and fur provide enough protection from the cold. This is completely wrong. Thickly coated pets need protection too
  • Dogs don’t need boots because their paws can’t freeze. Pets with furry feet tend to collect ice and snow between the toes can also largely benefit for feet protection.
  • Small pets can’t play winter sports. It’s actually a misnomer. Small pets can equally indulge in sports.
  • It’s ok to leave your pet inside the car because it’s winter. This can actually be dangerous. The car’s interior can get cold than the weather outside.
  • Dogs don’t need to exercise in the winter. This isn’t true. Dogs need regular exercise to burn the excess fat from overeating during winter.

Tips for keeping pets warm

  • Keep them indoors –You should bring them inside when the weather gets colder. If temperature drops, you should bring them inside for extra warmth. Keeping them outside can prove to be fatal. If you’re not able to bring them into your home you could keep them in a car-free shed or garage.
  • Provide protected outdoor shelter –Keep their kennel out of rain and snow. Dog’s shelter lacks enough protection. Make sure you build it in an area with no rain, snow, or wind. If possible, provide insulation.
  • Give them extra warmth –Put an extra blanket or tarpaulin over their kennel to help keep them warm.
  • Outdoor exercise –Exercising keeps them warm during winter. Even during winter, pets would need natural light and exercise to keep themselves fitter.
  • Extra bedding –Provide extra bedding for enough warmth and coziness. Give them plenty of bedding hay to snuggle into. You should change the bedding regularly.
  • A heating pad –using a heating pad can be a handy option. Place an animal-safe heat pad under their bedding for extra warmth.
  • Wrap up drinkable water –You should provide them with warm water. Drinking cold water during winter can invite many physical ailments.

Consider family photo with your pets

Pets fill our heart very quickly. They are more than our pets. They’re the part of our family! The best thing to value their contribution in our life is by memorizing them. What better than taking a family photo with them?

American Pet Products Association did an online survey of 1200 pet owners. “90% of pets” are considered the important part of the family. So why not give them the benefit of being a family. Do consider taking a photo of your pets and with your pets.

Most pets tend to be camera-shy. Here are some of the tips to take their photos better.

Use Natural Light

Do care to use natural light when taking a photo of your pet in the picture. Avoid flash as it not only causes red-eye but also frightens your pet. Most pets are unaware of photography or may find the enclosed room claustrophobic. Try to get them outside while taking a photo or use natural light or brightly lit room.

Keep the Eyes Sharp

Eyes speak for themselves. Animals are expressive and often extrovert when they are enjoying. It’s important to keep their eyes sharp when taking a portrait. So make sure to focus on your pet’s eyes and keep them sharp.

Indulge them

It’s practically impossible to get your pet to pose or appear in the photo if they aren’t interested. It’s very important that you make them feel comfortable and at ease. Instead of forcing them you can go to them. Most important is to get down to his level. Try to keep the camera on their eye-level to get the best out of a photo.

Give Value to their Character

It’s always fun to add value to their character. Instead of taking a dull picture, try to take a photo which speaks their character or nuances. If you have a lazy cat show him yawning, if your pet is of a playful type show him in action performing its favorite trick.

Surprise Them

It can be difficult to get your pet to stand still or indulge in an action you want to take the shot in. An easy trick is to let them indulge in whatever they’re doing or prepare everything beforehand to motivate them to indulge in an action you want to take the shot in.

Be Patient

Learn to be patient with your pets. It can be difficult to get them to understand what you’re trying to do. Photographing a pet requires a lot of patience. No matter how excited your furry friend is, if you are patient enough, they will end up by relaxing and you will have the opportunity to get a decent shot.

Experiment

Take your time and enjoy the photography session with your pets. Try different styles, poses, movements, and concepts to add value to the photo and make it livelier. Shoot a lot you will have time to worry about the results later.

Camera Tips

You would want to set your shutter speed on a fairly fast frame in case the pet moves. If you are using a traditional film camera, consider 400-speed films.

Dogs need Socialization too

Socialization is basically the process of introducing a dog or pup to in the company of other animals, humans, places, and environment. Socialization should begin at a young age which helps them to adapt to social circle and behavior. The ideal age is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies.

Naturally, a dog socializes by interacting with other canines and learning their verbal cues and body language. Domestic dogs may need to learn socialization skills as they lack the natural learning environment at home. The socialization should continue into adulthood.

Adopting Adult Dogs

Most pet owners who adopt adult dogs need to introduce or reintroduce their new pets to socialization. It can be difficult to socialize adult pets as they need extra attention. The major thing to remember when socializing adult dogs is to be positive and encouraging. Correcting your dogs do not work well here and will likely create a more nervous dog

Socialize Dogs with Other Dogs

Take Your Dog Out to Observe Other Dogs

You can take your dog out in the park but do not go in yourself. Let your dog observe other dogs and their behavior. Every time a dog comes near the fence, offer them a treat. This creates a positive association with other dogs. If your dog reacts aggressively towards other dogs or animals, move further away and slowly move up until he is quiet.

Resist Tugging While Walking

When out walking with your dog if another dog comes into view, resist jerking on the lead or yelling at them. The dogs may see it as a negative experience. Instead, distract your dog with a treat or toy. Sway their attention towards you to avoid any negative interaction with other dogs.

Go to Dog Training Classes

To better train, your pet, go to ‘dog obedience classes’ which can be a great way to help socialize an adult dog. Dog training class is also a safe space for your dog to interact with other animals and humans. You can seek professional assistance to correct any wrong behavior in your dogs.

Socialize Dogs with Humans

Ignore Your Dog’s Unwanted Behaviors

It’s better to let go of your dogs’ mischiefs. When they tend to avoid human contact, you can ignore them and do something to persuade them to come out to you like playing with toys or bringing treats.

Act like Everything is Normal When He Acts Out

It’s normal for dogs to act out. They seek attention too like toddlers or young teenagers. The correct thing to do is not to mention it and act as if there’s nothing wrong. By acting as if your dog’s behavior is no big deal, you’re creating a calmer environment and, thus, a calmer dog.

Introduce People Slowly

You should start introducing them to other people slowly, like one new person every week. This encourages them to interact and adjust with humans. When the new person meets your dog, you can have them offer a treat and speak in calming and encouraging voice. Keep your dog on a leash at first but do not force him to go near the person. Let him take his time.

10 Best Training Dogs

Training is essential to keep any pet disciplined. Almost every breed of dog is smart enough to learn and can adapt to commands.

The first depending factor for training a dog is its age. Training at an early age makes a difference. Adapting to basic commands help for training in adulthood. An adult age is considered an optimum period for training any dog.

A dog’s physical and mental health plays an important part in deciding if they can adapt to training. If a dog is sick, injured or stressed, you should avoid training them.

Here are 10 Best Breeds

Labrador retriever

Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dog breed and generally are in huge demand. They are a gentle breed. Labrador retriever is easy to train, and are known for their playfulness, intelligence, versatility, and capability to learn anything at a short time. Training a young Labrador can be difficult due to their high energy and lack of attention.

German shepherd

The German shepherd is one of the most loyal and popular dog breeds around the world. Originally, a shepherd breed, today German shepherd is adopted in defense (military and police) and home. A staunchly loyal, intelligent, and dependable breed, they are highly trainable dogs and can pick things easily.

Golden Retriever

Golden and Labrador retriever are basically cousins. Alike their close keen, Golden Retriever is a highly dependable and loyal dog breed. A highly intelligent breed, they can be trained for almost anything.  They require daily exercise and make great hunting dogs too. They are a playful and highly energetic dog.

Poodle

Poodles are known for their unique look. You must have seen poodles mostly in films because they are a highly trainable breed and can adapt to new commands easily. They are capable of learning all sorts of tricks and commands. Poodles basically come in three sizes (standard, miniature and toy) and are hypoallergenic. The fit well to pet owners with allergies.

Australian Cattle Dog

A herding or shepherd dog, Australian Cattle Dog is known for their agility, strength, and courage. They are a highly trainable and intelligent dog breed and remain loyal throughout their life. They enjoy a challenging environment and can herd the cattle very well.

Doberman Pinscher

You might find it surprising but Doberman makes great pets. Despite a staunch reputation as a guard or attack dog, Dobermans can make great pets if trained properly. They are very fast and strong breed which requires a good amount of attention while training.

Australian Shepherd

Like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds are very adaptive and can learn lots of tricks and are great dogs for highly active owners. They are a hard working dog and can be a loyal breed for herding.

Miniature Schnauzer

Like its name, Miniature Schnauzer is a small breed. Despite its small size, it has a high amount of energy and agility. They can be highly loyal. They do tend to bark, but this is a behavior that can be curbed if you are able to teach the dog early on. Miniature Schnauzer makes great pets.

Papillon

Also known as Continental Toy Spaniel, they are known for their look. Like the Doberman, toy breeds don’t have the best reputation. But if they are trained properly, they can be great pets. They are smarter and enjoy plenty of exercise and activities.

Border Collie

Border Collies are incredibly smart and capable of learning a wide variety of tricks. Also known as ‘workaholic dogs,’ they are eager to constantly learn new things, which makes for great dogs to train. They are also popular as hunting dogs. They are highly active and will rarely sit still.


Almost every dog breed can be trained if managed by a professional. Find more on how to train your dog.

Kittens need Socialization too

A newborn or juvenile cat is known as a kitten. Alike most juvenile pets, kittens need constant attention and familiarity with the outside world. Most kittens are prone to loneliness and many ailments related to isolation.

After being born, kittens are totally dependent on the mother cat for survival. After two weeks of birth, kittens start exploring the outside world and starting eating after three to four weeks. The time between 2-8 weeks is considered the best time for introducing kittens to socialization skills. Domestic kittens are highly social animals and usually enjoy human companionship.


Why kittens should be socialized?

  • Socialization teaches a kitten how to be a cat.
  • Proper feline manners and how to communicate with other felines help in bonding with other pets
  • It also helps them to ascertain who their enemies are.

Three T's of Kitten Socialization

The most trainers focus on three T’s of socialization for cats. These are; Touching, Talking, and Timing.

Touching

Touching is the most essential part of any grooming or nurturing process. Mothers tend to care their newborn with their touch to provide the warmth and protection. Touching a kitten helps them realize that they shouldn’t fear humans. It offers them a chance to get close to their pet owners.

  • Touching kittens help them remember your scent which helps to them to associate the memories spent with you and bring closeness.
  • Petting is one of the first sensations newborns feel when they come in contact with mother cats. Petting gives them a wonderful safe experience.
  • Comforting touch helps to reduce blood pressure, and improve heart rate and brainwave.
  • While handling the kitten, be sure to touch its ears, tail, paws, and mouth so the experience is comforting and pleasing. Keep it as a routine.

Talking

Pets can very well interpret most basic words and gestures.

  • Talking to the kitten teaches them to listen and pay attention to your voice. It brings familiarity between you and your pet.
  • The often you speak to your cat, the better they will understand and react to you. This enhances and improves your relationship.

Timing

Timing is the third most important chapter on kitten grooming. Training them during the 2 weeks to 8 weeks of their life helps them grasp the skills better. Kittens won't know what's right and what's wrong unless you tell them at the right time.

Catching them during the act or mischief can help them disciplined. Timing also helps to offer rewards to kittens to follow the routine and become more dedicated.


Learn more about pet training and grooming.

Dental Problem in Pets

Dental problem in pets, both cats and dogs, is quite common than you think. By the age of 3, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs have some form of gum disease. The dental problem isn’t only persistent in senior pets.

Here are some of the common risks from dental problem.

  • If your pet remains uncured from dental disease, they are at a higher risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease
  • Bacteria under the gum can travel to different internal organs.
  • Dental disease can result in bad breath, painful chewing, and tooth loss.
  • Broken teeth is a major concern among pets. Chewing on hard surfaces or materials can render their teeth weak. A broken tooth can expose the nerve of the tooth which can be a painful experience for your pet.

What is Periodontal disease?

Periodontal is a dental disease common in pets. The disease starts when bacteria in the mouth combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth. Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the plaque to form tartar (a hard substance). When tartar and plaque begin to start their way under the gum line, they produce toxins which lead to bone and tissue damage.

Periodontal disease includes conditions such as Gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums, and Periodontitis, loss of bone and soft tissue in the mouth. Both these diseases can be very painful and may affect the overall health of your pet.

What is Dental Cleaning?

You can check at home if your pet has any dental issue. Try this at home with your pet.

  • Do you see any redness or swelling of the gums? Do you see any brown plaque or tartar?
  • Does its breath smell bad sometimes or foul consistently?
  • Redness, swelling and bad breath are all signs of periodontal disease due to bacterial infection.

During a veterinary dental cleaning, unless unable due to a medical issue, veterinarians will put your pet under general anesthesia to protect both your pet and the veterinarian. The veterinarian will use dental tools to remove the plaque and tartar from the teeth. Then, the veterinarian will use a special polishing paste which smoothen any scratches in the enamel of the teeth. A fluoride treatment or barrier sealant will then be put on the teeth to help strengthen and desensitize the teeth, while also preventing more plaque from developing.

Preventive Measure

Some of the common ways to prevent dental disease in cats and dogs are;

Brush their teeth. You should brush your dog’s teeth at least 3x a week and to brush your cat’s teeth at least 2x a week.

Halloween Safety Tips for Pets

The Halloween is near. And, so are the spooky pumpkin head figures, candles, eerie costumes and accidents. Pets are prone to get into accidents during Halloween. As a pet owner, ensuring a safer environment for your pets during all the hullabaloo can be difficult. However, to ensure the safety of their life, you must consider few facts in check.

Avoid Trick or Treats Candies

Be aware not to feed your pets the Halloween candies, especially if it contains chocolate or sugar (Xylitol, a common sugar substitute found in sugar-free candies and gum). Pets are prone to several ailments if fed chocolates. If your pet is inside the house, do keep trick or treat candies away from their reach.

Identifying your pets

There are many cases of missing pets around Halloween. Most pets who wander outside the house are easily lured or distracted. To ensure their safety, make sure your pet is properly identified (microchip, collar and ID tag)

Keep lit candles and Jack-o-lanterns away

The Halloween goodies, such as candles, and Jack-o-lanterns look exciting enough for your pets to mess with. The hot candle wax and fire can do severe damage. The damage can range from slight burn to major burns which may require extensive medical attention.

Be careful not to allow your pet to stay around lit candles and Jack-o-lanterns, or keep them away from it.

Halloween costume

If you plan to put a costume on your pet, make sure it fits properly and is comfortable, doesn't have any pieces that can easily be chewed off, and doesn't interfere with your pet's sight, hearing, breathing, opening its mouth, or moving. Take time to get your pet accustomed to the costume before Halloween, and never leave your pet unsupervised while he/she is wearing a costume

Don't leave pets out in the yard

Harmful pranks are common during Halloween. Most pets who are left unattended tend to get involved in the pranks or are the outright victims most of the time. Vicious pranksters have been known to tease, injure, steal, and even kill pets on Halloween night. Specific pets, black cats, are more prone to suffer from pranks and accidents during Halloween.

Keep glow sticks away

Keep glow sticks or jewelry which glows away from your pets. Although the liquid filled inside these products isn't likely toxic, it may taste bad and leave your pet salivate excessively or act strangely.

Keep your pet inside

If your pet has a tendency to bite, it’s better to put them on lease or inside the house for preventing them from biting the strangers. It’s better to keep them inside or in another room during trick-or-treating hours or provide them a safe hiding place.

Indoors is certainly better than outdoors on Halloween, but your door will be constantly be used. Seeing eerily costumed strangers can scare your pets which can lead to escape attempts or unexpected aggression. Putting them in a safer environment will reduce stress and prevent them from darting outside into the night.

Water Diabetes in Dogs

Diabetes Insipidus (DI) or Water Diabetes is a rare disorder in dogs that affects their water metabolism, preventing the body from conserving water and releasing too much of it. The condition is characterized by frequent or increased urination, dilute urine (Dull urine), and increase thirst for water.

Unlike Diabetes mellitus, this disease isn’t caused by deficiency of insulin.

There are two major DIs that affect dogs;

  • Neurogenic (Central diabetes insipidus)
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus

Neurogenic DI is caused by the lack of the hormone vasopressin, which regulates the body's retention of water. The hypothalamus in the brain controlled the production and regulation of vasopressin. A dysfunction in its release can be caused by a head injury or also a tumor in the brain. The dysfunction on the production of Vasopressin can also be due to failure in hypothalamus or in the pituitary gland.

Nephrogenic DI is caused by a deficiency of antidiuretic hormone (ADH), which functions to stimulate the capillary muscles and reduce the flow of urine, effectively conserving water for the body's various functions. The cause of Nephrogenic DI is found in the kidneys and their inability to respond appropriately to ADH, allowing too much water from the body to escape into the urine.

This is typically an acquired condition, and may be due to amyloidosis of the kidney, cysts on the kidney, or an imbalance of electrolytes.

Other common symptoms seen in dogs with Diabetes Insipidus may include:

  • Increased urination (polyuria)
  • Increased drinking (polydipsia)
  • Decreased urination with dehydration
  • Houses oiling
  • Poor hair coat

Some of the common causes of DI are;

Inadequate secretion of antidiuretic hormone ADH

  • Congenital defect
  • Unknown causes
  • Trauma
  • Cancer

Renal insensitivity to ADH

  • Congenital
  • Secondary to drugs
  • Secondary to endocrine and metabolic disorders
  • Hyperadrenocorticism - overactive adrenal glands
  • Hypocalemia - low calcium levels in the blood
  • Pyometra - bacterial infection of the uterus
  • Hypercalemia - Increased levels of calcium in the blood

Secondary to renal disease or infection

  • Pyelonephritis - bacterial infection of the kidneys
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Pyometra - bacterial infection of the uterus

Sometimes, dogs can have a varying issues for urinary accidents at home. Some of these causes shouldn’t be confused with DI.

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Incontinence
  • Urinary Tract Cancer
  • Kidney disease

 You must contact your nearest Vet to for the diagnosis, and offer medications as required.

 

Tips for Traveling with Pets

Pets aren’t just animals you can take for granted. They are a part of your family, most of the times your companion. Leaving pets at home or at neighbor’s care while you travel can be difficult. Keeping constant touch while traveling can be difficult too. The best tip is to prepare yourself and your pet to travel along with least difficulties.


Types of Commute

By Car

Car is the most common form of transport throughout United States. Thanks for the good roads, you suffer the least from the bumps or off-road experience. The safest way for your dog to travel in the car is in a crate that has been anchored to the vehicle using a seatbelt or other secure means. Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car to prevent any accidents.

By Plane

Traveling in a plane with a pet can be the most challenging experience as most airlines do not allow your pets to sit along with in a cabin. Most pets travel inside the pets’ carrier in a plane. You can check with the airline if they allow smaller canines or felines to sit beside the pet owner. Dogs with short nasals such as bull dogs, pugs and Persian cats may suffer from oxygen deprivation and heat stroke.

By Train

Most small U.S. railroad companies permit animals on board if the pet owners can take care of them.

By Ship

Pets are mostly welcome on cruise lines or long route ships. Some lines permit pets in private cabins, but most confine pets to kennels.

Here are 10 tips on how you can easily travel with pets

Bed

The first goal when traveling with your pet is to make sure they are comfortable. Pets need a comfortable or homely space to relax and to sleep. They are keen on following their daily routine, hence you should bring along a cozy bed or mattress for them.

Water/Food

Traveling inside the automobile can a fatiguing experience for most pets. The heat can result in dehydration too. You must keep enough water inside your car and provide easy access. Regular feeding is essential too. Make sure you carry enough dog food and you feed your pet regularly.

Puppy Pads

Puppy pads is essential to help you pet relieve while traveling. On long trips you can’t exactly pull over for a pit stop, hence puppy pads are the next best thing. While many airports now include a pet relief area, most do not. These pads also prove to be useful during a long layover between flights.

Games

Animals can get bored pretty quickly. Traveling for 8+ hr is a lengthy time, hence you must try occupying your pets’ attention by offering quick games on the road. Providing them to fidget with helps to keep them occupied and prevents any disturbances to the driver.

Blanket

Traveling during the night, long destination commute or to colder areas, all these pose problems for your pet’s health. Do not forget to bring warm blanket or covers for your pet to nap in on the road.