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5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween offers lots of opportunity for fun with your pet. Evening strolls, decorations and costumes can all add to the fun. However, all pets aren’t the same and what’s fun for one is terrifying for another. Here are a few guidelines for Halloween fun and safety.Halloween Dogs

1-Pets in Costume – Who doesn’t love a dog (or cat) in costume? Sometimes, it’s the dog or cat. Try the angel costume on your Yorkie but if she seems stressed by it, don’t force the issue. Even if your pet seems happy to entertain you by wearing this year’s ensemble, don’t leave him or her unattended. Pets could hurt themselves trying to tear off headgear, cloaks, etc.

2-Trick or Treating with Your Dog – Does your dog love socializing with other dogs and people of all sizes? If so, you may have a prime candidate for canine trick-or-treating. Dress your pooch as a pumpkin and stroll the neighborhood looking for a bone-a-fied good time. Just make sure to keep your pet leashed and visible with a lighted harness or glow stick. Halloween can be full of surprises.

3-Keep Track of Your Pets – Halloween offers the opportunity for lots of fun and scary times. Most cats and some dogs may be happiest spending the evening behind closed doors safely removed from human trick-or-treaters. Consider your pet’s temperament.

4–Keep Pets Away From Treats – Chocolate can be deadly to dogs. So can xylitol (an ingredient in many sugar free candies and gums). As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep sugar away from your pets. Wellness brand treats like Yogurt, Apples, Bananas yogurt bars are pet-friendly and delicious!

5Decorations—Candles, cords and paper or plastic decorations can all be harmful to your pets. Curious kittens and puppies can chew on things they shouldn’t or knock things over. If the flickering of a jack o’lantern or plastic decorations seem interesting to your pet, be especially vigilant.

Does your pet enjoy Halloween? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page. Pictures are welcome!

Does Your Family Disaster Preparedness Plan Include Your Pets?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month and it pays to be prepared. Planning for unforeseen circumstances can give you peace of mind—not to mention, keep your family safe.

When considering disaster preparedness for your family, it’s important to include plans for your pets. Here are some suggestions:

  • ID your pet. Tags get scratched or lost, and it’s easy to overlook replacing them as needed. Take a moment and review your pet’s tags. Do they need new ones? Dog with identification tag Have you moved and not replaced them with your current address? Is the information still legible? Refresh those tags either online or at the pet store. Proper ID makes it easier to be reunited if your pet gets loose. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet. A microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under your pet’s skin. According to the American Humane Association, “Microchipping serves as a permanent identification system that will always be with your pet. Nearly all animal shelters across the country routinely scan every animal upon intake for the presence of a microchip. Most veterinary clinics also have microchip scanners.”
  • Prepare food and dishes. Putting an extra set of dishes and some food and bottled water aside in case you have to evacuate quickly will help you in frenzied moments. If you pack kibble, make sure to rotate it out every few months so it doesn’t get stale and lose its nutritional value. If you pack canned food, make sure to include a manual can opener.
  • Speaking of evacuation, take your pet with you if you do leave. They are more likely to stay safe if they’re with you.
  • Think through where you could evacuate. Would you go stay with family? At a hotel? A shelter? Consider your options and make sure they’re pet friendly. Many shelters don’t take pets and though more motels and hotels do these days, it’s always a good idea to check it out ahead of time.
  • Make copies of your pet’s medical records. Put them in a waterproof bag or container along with a recent photo in case you’re separated.
  • Stash leashes, harnesses and carriers. These can all come in handy if you need to get your pet out of the house in a hurry. If you somehow get out of your house without them, having extras tucked away in your kit can be lifesaver. If you have cats, you may want to purchase cat harnesses to use in the case of an emergency where you cannot use your carrier.Cat on harness

The Humane Society recommends keeping a basic disaster preparedness kit in your car if you live in a hurricane or flood prone area and in your basement if tornadoes are prevalent where you live.

What about emergencies that prevent you from getting home to your pets? For example, there’s a bad ice storm and you can’t get there at your regular time? It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend, neighbor or family member you can contact during this type of situation. They’ll need a copy of your key and need to know where you keep the pet food, etc.

If you use a pet sitting service, ask them what their policies are for emergencies.

Spending a little time now on your family’s disaster preparedness plan can give you tons of relief later if you should ever need it.

What other suggestions do you have? We’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wellnesspetfood

How to Pet Proof Your Living Room for a New Puppy or Kitten

It’s fun to bring home a new puppy or kitten. You can cuddle them, introduce them to family members, post pictures on Facebook and spoil them silly!

What’s not fun is when they chew something they shouldn’t—remote controls, shoes and  window blinds come to mind. Puppies and kittens are naturally curious. They’ll explore the nooks and crannies that even your vacuum may not have seen lately, and they’ll learn about new things by putting them in their mouths.

So, how do you pet proof your home? Each room will require a slightly different strategy and in this post we’ll focus on your living room. It’s a good idea to take some time before your new furry family member arrives and give your home a critical eye.

5 Steps to Pet Proofing Your Living Room

1) Pick up shoes and stow them in a closet or bin. Puppies are notorious chewers, but kittens may find shoelaces irresistible too. Plus, without house training, they may find shoes to be excellent places to “mark” their territory. Yuck!

2) Remove breakables. It only takes a swish of a tail or a bat of a paw to knock your porcelain or other fragile knick-knacks off tables or mantles. Not only will you be left with shards of glass to clean up, but Mimi could step on them and get cut.

3) Pick up children’s toys. To prevent pets from potentially choking on smaller pieces, store action figures and building toys in a box with a lid when playtime is over.

4) Identify and research your houseplants. Many common plants and flowers are poisonous to pups and kittens so they could get sick from gnawing on the petals or leaves. You may want to swap any questionable plants for safe ones, or store certain plants in a room with a closed door.

5) Give your new furry friend a soft cushion or pet bed in your living room. Your pets want to be with you and they’ll appreciate a cozy place nearby to call their own.

What pet proofing tips have you’ve gained from experience? Do you have a photo of your pet lounging in his or new digs? Share them on our Facebook page!

5 Must Have Travel Accessories for Dogs and Cats

If you plan a summer or fall road trip with your pets, you know you need to do more to ready your pet than simply toss Max or Fluffy into the backseat. It takes a little preparation.

First, you’ll want to establish that your destination is pet-friendlythere’s nothing like showing up at your hotel 7 hours later with Max in tow to be told there are no more pet friendly rooms.

Cat car travel

Of course, you’ll also need a few other items as well. Here’s a list of travel necessities:

1—Restraint – Just as you use your seat belt when in the car, your pets should be secured. This prevents them from becoming projectiles if you are in an accident.

There are many options available today from harnesses that work similar to seat belts to traditional pet carriers. Which is best for your pet?  It’ll depend on factors like your pet’s temperament and comfort level with riding in the car—and, how much space you have. If your car will be full of kids and luggage, putting Fluffy in a carrier may be your best option.

2—Food/Water/Dishes – Be sure to pack enough food for the trip and bring a water supply for your pet. You’ll need dishes too. If you make a pit stop and realize you don’t have a water bowl, it can make for a little unnecessary complexity. Collapsible travel bowls pack well.

3—Comforting Items – Even if your pets are good travelers, they will feel more content with familiar items such as their favorite toy, or an old towel or shirt that smells like home.

dog-travel-car


4—Cleaning Supplies/Alternate Carrier
– Some pets are nervous travelers and may have an accident in their carrier. If this happens, you can minimize your pet’s discomfort by pulling over and cleaning out the carrier or swapping it for an alternate one.


5—Favorite Treats
–Your pets already appreciate their favorite treats. They’ll be very happy that you remembered to bring them!

Enjoy your travels!

Click It or Ticket Extends to Pets

CA and NJ are now requiring pets “buckle up” when riding in the car and other states are likely to follow in the near future.   The reason is unrestrained animals pose hazards.  Whether they want to climb in the driver’s lap because they’re nervous or they’re roaming all over the car pets can create a serious distraction for the driver.

Even if your dog loves to ride and always sits nicely in the back seat, your pet can be seriously hurt in an accident if they’re not restrained.    Imagine getting rear-ended and your pet being hurled into the windshield.

If you don’t want to use a crate to transport your dog, you can stay safe on the road with doggie seat belts.

Here are 3 Types of Dog Seat Belts:

Harness:

Many of the restraints are harnesses.  You slip your dog’s front legs into the opening and it attaches at the back like a walking harness.  They have clips that clip into the seat existing seat belt buckle to secure them similar to the way a person is strapped in.

Zipline:

These restraints have a harness with a strap that goes across your car ceiling to create a zip line.  If your dog is nervous in the car, this gives him the ability to roam from window to window but he’s relegated to the back seat or back cab of an SUV.

Car Seat Lookout:

Small dogs will enjoy a car seat lookout.  This seat is raised so small pets can look out the window as you cruise down the road.  Some are a plush lined box for your pet while others can double as a soft-sided crate with a lid you can zip up if you need to carry your dog into the vet or onto a plane.

Have you used any of these with your pet?  We’d love to hear about your experience on our Facebook Page.

Garden Dangers and Your Pets

It’s a gardener’s favorite time of year. The ground is thawing, the nurseries are coming to life and soon you’ll be digging holes for your bedding plants.

Of course, your favorite pets might like to join you in the hole digging too, or, they may simply find other means of entertainment that could be harmful.

Pesticides, cocoa mulch, even certain plants can be toxic to dogs and cats.   You already know your dog will likely eat anything— or at least to try it and see if it’s tasty…. and this can be a problem.

Beware of Toxic Plants

Plant bulbs such as Daffodils are toxic if your pet digs them up and eats them. So are Azaleas and Tiger, Day, Asiatic and Easter lilies- but with these plants, your pet only has to eat a few leaves or taste the flowers to be sick. Symptoms typically include vomiting or diarrhea and can sometimes even be fatal.

Pesticides and Your Pet

If you use pesticides on your grass or garden areas, you pet can ingest those chemicals. Even if your pet doesn’t eat the grass or plants but just noses around, dog’s noses are a mucous membrane that allows many substances to flow in.  Plus, pets lick their paws and if they’ve walked on treated grounds, that’s another way for them to ingest harmful chemicals.

Always read the label on a lawn treatment to learn what the possible dangers are to pets. If you have a lawn and garden company treat your lawn, be sure to learn what they’re using and their recommendations. They’ll usually tell you if it’s not safe for children and pets. There are organic pesticides that you can use instead.

Be cautious if you put traps in the yard or garden to attract slugs and other pests; often, dogs find them and eat them. They also may eat a dead rodent that was killed by poison.

Chocolate Mulch

It almost sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka; “Tuck chocolate around your plants to keep them healthy.” Cocoa or chocolate mulch smells chocolaty and delicious yet it could be fatal to your pets. True to its name, chocolate mulch has theobromine in it, which is the ingredient in chocolate that is dangerous to dogs and cats.  If your pets eat it, it could cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizures.

Make sure your garden is pet safe and keep an eye on them if they’re spending a lot of time in the yard. If they show signs of sickness, get them to the vet to ensure their safety.

Does Your Pet Have a Microchip?

Spring is here and the warmer weather is coming! This means that your pets may get Spring Fever and want to take themselves on a stroll around the neighborhood. Sometimes dogs and cats slip out of the door or the fence and before you know it, they’re gone.

No matter how your pet gets loose, you have only one wish… to bring them home safely.

A microchip in your pet can help you to be reunited with your lost dog or cat. Without a microchip, only 17% of lost pets are reunited with their families. A study at the University of Columbus found cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to return to their families and dogs were 2 and half times more likely to be reunited.

The way it works is simple: A small microchip—no bigger than a grain of rice– is inserted between your dog or cat’s shoulder blades.  It’s quick, easy and no more painful that getting a vaccination.  The microchip acts like a bar code.

Afterwards, if your pet gets loose, veterinarians and pet shelters can scan your pet to check for ID. If one is found, they’ll check the pet microchip databases to get your pet back home to you.

Though there isn’t a single central lost pet database, however the scanners can read microchips from a variety of brands.

The cost is typically $25-$50, plus a registration fee.  In addition to a microchip, ensure your pet’s tags are up to date too.  A clear name and phone number on a tag can make it easy to return a lost pet.

Fun in the Snow with your Dog (activities you can do with your dog outside)

Fun in the snowDoes your dog love playing in the snow? Many cold weather breeds like American Eskimos, Shiba Inus and Huskies are in their element when it snows- but this doesn’t mean that other breeds can’t have fun in the snow as well.

For many dogs, there is nothing better than waking up to a fresh coating of new snow, waiting to be explored. But why let your dog have all the fun? Here are some great ideas for games and activities that you and your dog can do together in the snow:

  • Chasing snowballs— Have a snowball fight! Most dogs love fetch and will delight in chasing either you or the snowball. Form snowballs from soft snow (don’t pack them hard and make sure there are no rocks or twigs), then gently toss them at the dog. Try tossing tighter packed snowballs in the air for the dog to jump at and try to catch. It’s quick, easy and a good workout for both of you!
  • Winter hiking or snowshoeing— If you love being outside in the snow, there’s no reason why your pup can’t come with you. Dogs love new spaces and smells, so take them along the next time you go for a hike or go snowshoeing. Just make sure you bring plenty of water for both of you as you’ll probably work up a sweat.
  • Shovel the driveway— It has to be done, so why not make a game out of it? Your dog might even want to run and chase after the flying snow. Remember, if your driveway is not fenced in, make sure to put your dog on a leash so that he doesn’t get overexcited and run down the street.
  • Create a maze in the snow— When you are finished with the driveway, shovel paths in the snow to create mazes and run through them with your dog. Your dog will love running through the paths!

Remember! Make sure your dog is adequately protected from the elements and stays warm. If you have a short haired or small dog it might be a good idea to buy him a coat or sweater to help him to stay warm while playing in the snow. Also, don’t stay out for too long if the temperature is bitter cold.

Do you have pictures of your dog in the snow? Why not share them on the Wellness Facebook page?

Curious Kitties – Exploring a New Environment

kittypic

Keep your kitten safe from common household items.

Spring is a popular time of year when people welcome new kittens into their home. If you’re one of those lucky folks who are expecting or recently welcomed a new addition to your family, be sure to consider the likelihood that your kitten’s curiosity will be invoked by the introduction of a new environment. It is important to anticipate your investigative friend may find his way into items that are not suitable for contact. Some items may be more obvious than others so take the time to examine your kitten’s surroundings closely and remove any potential risks. Create a list of important phone numbers that you may need to reference in case of an emergency. Numbers should include your local vet hospital, emergency clinic and animal poison control hotline. Here are some items to be sure to keep our of your kitten’s reach.

1. Human Medications – Human medications were one of the top calls received by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in recent years. Pain killers, cold medications and other prescription or over the counter medications have various toxicity levels and should be stored in a place where pets cannot get to them.

2. Chocolate – This beloved human treat can make pets ill. It can contain high levels of fat and methylxanthine. The darker the chocolate, the higher the potential for clinical problems, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, panting, increased thirst and urination, arrhythmias, and tremors/seizures.

3. Lilies and other Toxic Plants – Lilies in their entirety are toxic to cats and have been linked to cause kidney failure. While only parts of other plants can be considered toxic to cats, it is recommended to research your household plants and remove any that may be considered harmful to your pet.

4. Antifreeze – Whether from a leak or a small spill while refilling, most brands of antifreeze consist of 95 percent ethylene glycol, an extremely toxic chemical. As little as 1/4 of an ounce (1-2 teaspoons) of this sweet-tasting liquid can prove to be fatal to a cat.

5. Easter Basket Grass & Holiday Tinsel – These shiny, stringed decorations are especially attractive to kittens. They are often played with and eaten and can cause intestinal obstruction or act as a linear foreign body.

Dangerous Outdoor Concerns for Pets

Romping outdoors with your pet gives you both fresh air, exercise and some quality bonding time. However, there are some outdoor dangers that you need to be aware of to keep your pet safe.

  • Many outdoor plants can be hazardous to your pet. Steer clear of many bulbs, ferns, flowering plants, lilies and shrubs. If ingested, these plants can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, or organ failure in animals.
  • Be careful about compost piles. The bacteria that forms in compost piles can be lethal. Compost piles should be enclosed.
  • Some varieties of the common mushroom that you find growing in your yard, can be very dangerous for pets. If your pet begins to show symptoms of poisoning, or if you know they have ingested a mushroom or other poisonous plant you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Another outdoor hazard for pets is ticks. Ticks carry and transmit diseases, including Lyme Disease. You should conduct tick checks of your pet after they have been outside. Try to avoid high risk locations such as heavily wooded areas and low-growing grasslands. If you do find a tick on your pet remove it as soon as possible using tweezers. Grasp the tick by the head where they enter the skin and pull firmly and steadily outward. Keep an eye on the site of the bite for the next several days to make sure a rash does not develop, a sign of Lyme Disease.
  • Snakes are also an underlying threat to pets. Most snake bites to pets come from non-venomous snakes, but should still be avoided if possible. To prevent snake bites always keep your pet close-by, and leashed.
  • You should stay on designated trails and do not go hiking at night. Also try to keep your pet from sniffing and exploring holes, crevices, and rocks. If your pet is bit by a snake, bring them to a veterinarian immediately.