Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to School Separation Anxiety

With all the excitement of the kids going back to school, many families may not think about what it means to the dog or cat. What you may notice are changes in behavior, a sad dog or cat, who mopes around or sleeps a lot more. Or your dog may suddenly started chewing things he shouldn't, or your cat does a lot more meowing. And you may not even connect the unusual cat or dog behavior with back-to-school time. Dogs and cats love routine, it makes them feel secure. They like knowing that certain things happen at about the same time each day, and they know where they want to be when it happens. If the kids have been around all summer, playing outside with the dog, or giving kitty extra love and snuggles, and suddenly they’re gone all day, it's upsetting. For some pets, they just feel sad and confused, and others feel real separation anxiety and may act up.

Kids can help your pet through the back-to-school blues The first thing to note is that this is a family matter, and a good opportunity for the kids to take more responsibility for the care of their pets. Let your kids know that their dog or cat is going to miss them when they're gone all day, and discuss what they can do to help their pets through it. One of the best ways for a pet to get over the loss of one routine is to replace it with another. Your pet may be sad all day at first, but if he knows that at 3:45 your kids will be home from school and will actively play with him soon after each day, your pet has something new to look forward to. If your child has a set time to do homework or read, that's an excellent time for the dog or cat to curl up next to her and "help" with studying. Ask your kids to think of other ways to include their pets in their routines.

More than just sad, it’s separation anxiety If your pet exhibits true separation anxiety, as in, he goes crazy when he sees your kids put on their backpacks to leave for school, or is destructive when everyone is gone, you'll have to do some gentle training to ease his stress. Your kids may feel sorry for their pet and do a long sad goodbye. This only reinforces your pet’s fears and builds up the anxiety. It’s better to make the goodbye upbeat and brief, or eliminate it completely. Depending on your pet, he may respond well to a goodbye petting, a little goodbye treat, or simply leaving with a cheerful "good boy!" as your kids go out the door. This should happen before your pet gets upset. If your pet is freaking out, absolutely do not reward with anything. If you can get your pet to calm down รข€“ if it’s a dog, a simple "sit!" command may help. Then reward with petting and telling him he's ok once he’s calm. If your pet gets upset just by the backpacks or car keys being picked up, pick those items up and walk around the house with them several times a day, but don't leave. Your pet will learn not to associate those items with the pending doom of your kids leaving.

When back-to-school means an empty house If everyone is gone all day, both parents included, your pets are going to be bored on top of being upset. It's important to leave them some interactive toys to help them pass the time. Eventually, they will get used to the new reality, and will likely sleep most of the day. You can balance the boredom by providing vigorous exercise each day when you or your kids are home. Remember, you and your kids may have had a very busy day, but your pet has done virtually nothing, unless there is evidence to the contrary, as in a shredded or chewed up sofa. Providing your dog or cat active, vigorous play each day will help them burn up their pent up energy. Take your dog for a run or go outside and throw a ball or flying disk. For your cat, run around the house with a little toy on the end of a string. You may also want to consider getting your pet a little buddy to keep him company when no one is home. Even an aloof adult cat is likely to accept a kitten into her life, and the kitten will entice the older cat to play. And dogs, being true social animals, nearly always accept another dog to play with. Remember, your pets can get nervous, upset, anxious or lonely just like people, only they don't have the benefit of knowing that you’ll be back when you leave. It's up to you and your kids to make your pets feel secure in ways they understand.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Car Sickness In Pets

Does your dog throw up in the car when you go for rides? He may be experiencing typical motion sickness, just like some people do. Motion sickness usually begins very shortly after starting the car ride. The dog will begin to drool and then vomit. It’s not serious, but certainly not something that we like to clean up! To solve the problem, first try acclimating the dog to car rides. Do this by simply putting him in the car for a few minutes each day without going anywhere. Then try just going down the driveway and back, and the next day going around the block. Gradually build up the distance and time the dog rides in the car. 

 Sometimes this will help to decrease the dog’s anxiety over riding in the car and may help to decrease vomiting. If that doesn’t work, there are some over-the-counter medications you can try. The medication will need to be given about an hour before the car ride. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation as to what drug to try and the dosage for your pet.

(Never give any medications to your pet without your veterinarian’s advice!) These drugs are safe, with drowsiness usually the only major side effect. But since your dog isn’t driving the car, that shouldn’t be a problem! If over-the-counter drugs don’t work, your veterinarian may be able to suggest another method for curing the car sickness.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hot Weather Tips to Help Your Pet Stay Cool This Summer

Summer means enjoying the weather, and for most, with your pet! Remember to keep your pet healthy this summer by keeping them safe in the summer’s high temperatures.

 Here are just some of the ways you can help ensure your pets have a safe summer:

 Visit the Vet. A visit to the veterinarian for a spring or early summer check-up is a must. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. Pets should also be given a blood test for heartworm every year in the early spring. The deadly parasite is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and it is recommended that dogs and cats be on a monthly preventive medication year-round.

 Keep Cool. Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give your pets plenty of water when it is hot outdoors. Also make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and when the temperature is very high, don't let your dog linger on hot asphalt.

 Know the Symptoms. Some symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, seizures, and an elevated body temperature of over 104 degrees. Summertime is the perfect time for a backyard barbeque or party, but remember to keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, depression, comas, or even death. Similarly, remember that the snacks you serve your friends should not be a treat for your pet; any change of diet, even for one meal, may give your dog or cat severe digestive ailments.” Avoid raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and products with the sweetener xylitol.

 Water Safety is Pet-friendly. Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool, as not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure pets wear flotation devices while on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It’s Pet Appreciation Week!

Our pets appreciate us every single day as they depend on us for food, water, shelter, and love. Let’s show our pets some extra appreciation this week!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dog Safety Tips for Memorial Day

Like many Americans, you may be planning a festive Memorial Day, complete with barbecue and fireworks. It’s important to remember, fireworks and dogs don't mix. Unlike people, dogs won’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with a celebration.

Fireworks will often cause panic and anxiety in dogs. It’s important to remember that dogs panic at the sound of fireworks and flee into the night, often winding up lost, injured, or killed.

1. Keep your pet indoors at all times, if possible.

2. Use Pet Friendly Repellent.

3. Don’t give your pet table food. Source:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Plants Poisonous to Dogs

Some spring plants may be poisonous to dogs in spring. Dogs like to eat plants because they may crave greens or because they are curious or bored. Dogs will sniff, chew and eat almost anything, especially when they are puppies. What does a pet-loving gardener need to know about plants poisonous to dogs? These 9 plants are among the most poisonous to dogs:

*1 Grapes -It is said that grapes are poisonous to dogs. How they are toxic is not known, however as few as 7 raisins or grapes could be poisonous to dogs. Raisins are much more concentrated and that is why are more dangerous. Grapes cause kidney failure in dogs if it gets inside their system. After the kidney fails, the dog is naturally unable to urinate and the situation turns serious soon if not treated quickly. The color of the grapes is irrelevant, both dark and green grapes are poisonous to dogs . If large amounts of grapes are ingested by the dog, symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting can be observed. Activated charcoal will absorb the toxins in the dog’s body, so it should be given to the dog. Rush to your vet as soon as the symptoms are seen.

*2. Mushrooms. Dogs and mushrooms don’t mix. These fungi can contain a variety of different substances that can be poisonous to dogs. They affect an animal’s gastrointestinal tract, nervous system, kidney, liver and even their red blood. They shouldn’t eat the ones that grow wild in your yard. This can make them really sick and could even result in death. If you see your dog eat a mushroom – induce vomiting immediately. Use a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide and get it out of dog’s system.. It could save life.

*3. Lilies. The peace lily, calla lily, amaryllis, lily of the valley, autumn crocus are all poisonous to dogs. They contain oxalic acid, which is poisonous to dogs, cats and rabbits (probably others too). The most dangerous part is the root. The toxins cause burning in the mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting, depression and tremors.

*4. Azalea. Azalea plants are poisonous to dogs. They contain toxic substances known as grayanotoxins. These toxins can cause drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, and even a depression of the central nervous system. Severe poisoning from azaleas can lead to coma and death caused by cardiovascular collapse.

*5. Castor bean. The poisonous ingredient in Castor beans is called ricin. Ricin is a highly toxic protein that can cause drooling, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, excessive thirst, loss of appetite, and weakness. Severe poisoning from Castor beans can cause muscle twitching, seizures, tremors, dehydration, coma, and even death.

*6. Daffodils. The bulbs are the most dangerous part of the plant.They contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause vomiting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors and heart problems. The lethal dose can be as little as just one bulb!

*7. Chrysanthemum. These flowers contain something called pyrethrins that if eaten can cause diarrhea, drooling, and vomiting. If enough of the plant is consumed, it can cause depression and loss of coordination.

*8. Onions and Garlic.They contain the toxic ingredients sulfoxides and disulfides can damage red blood cells and lead to anemia. Onions are more of a danger. All forms of onion can be a problem including dehydrated onions, raw onions, cooked onions and table scraps containing cooked onions and/or garlic.

*9. Morning Glory This annual climbing plant contains 4 toxic chemicals which cause hallucinations, disorientation and diarrhea. The seeds of the morning glory have the potential to be the most poisonous to dogs.

*10. Christmas Tree Pine Needles. Pine needles are not considered poisonous to dogs.But they can be irritating to the mouth and stomachs of dogs. The needles can puncture stomach and intestines. Many dogs will vomit after eating the needles. If you already have some of these plants poisonous to dogs, consider creating a fenced-in run to keep your dog away from your gardens. Wheat grass and catnip are not the plants that are poisonous to dogs. They are healthy and even recommended, so you may grow these in the garden for your dog.

 Source: Author: Polly – Organic Gardener