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December 2013

The Best Way to Clip Your Dog's Nails

By Cheryl Lock for The Dog Daily

The Best Way to Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Being a dog owner means sometimes taking on tasks that might not be that pleasant -- for either you or your dog. Nail clipping, in some cases, is one of the tasks. This doesn’t need to be a horrible experience for you and your pooch, says Petplan staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Jackson. Assuming your dog is fairly laid-back, there are a few steps you can take to make sure the task goes smoothly for everyone involved. Here’s what Dr. Jackson recommends:

  • Before you begin, make sure your dog is calm and relaxed, his paws and nails are clean, and any excess hair in that area is trimmed. You’ll have a much harder time -- and increase your risk of cutting the nails too short -- if you can’t see what you’re doing.
  • Make sure you have a good, sharp pair of dog friendly nail trimmers, a damp paper towel and some styptic sticks or powder (baking soda works pretty well, too). The styptic sticks can be used if you accidently nick the “quick,” or the blood vessel inside your dog’s nail. If possible, ask a family member or friend to help hold your dog still. (Even easygoing dogs might be ready for a break by the time you get to the law paw.) Having some treats handy can’t hurt, either.
  • Locate the quick in each toenail -- you want to avoid cutting that far. If the nail is white or clear, it should be easy to see; if the nail is black, this might require some guesswork.
  • Snip off a bit of the nail tip -- be conservative to start, particularly if the nail is too dark to see the quick. Stop if your dog flinches or if the nail bleeds.
  • If the nail does bleed, don’t worry -- use the damp paper towel to wipe away any blood, and apply the styptic powder or baking soda with a cotton swab to help stop the bleeding. This bleeding will stop on its own -- it just might take a few moments and some added patience.
  • If your dog is getting antsy, give him a break. It might take a little longer, but you’ll all be happier with the outcome.
  • Give your furry friend a treat or two for being such a good dog during his ‘paw-dicure’!
  • If your pet becomes agitated, aggressive, seems overly uncomfortable, etc., it’s time to abort the mission. You can try again another day, or leave it to the experts.

Cheryl Lock is an editor at Studio One. Her work has appeared online at Petside and Pet360, as well as in print in publications like Parents, Family Circle and Runner’s World. She lives in New York with her adorable rescue cat, Penny, and a rabbit named Nugget.

$5 Adoption Sale Extended - Asheville, Dec. 27, 28

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 27 09.16Asheville Humane Society has extended its "$5 Whisker Wonderland" adoption sale through Saturday, December 28.

You'll find some very special animals, any of whom will add joy and love to your home this holiday season and in years to come. For a limited time, adoption fees have been reduced to just $5 each (excluding puppies less than 6 months old).

Every animal offered for adoption by Asheville Humane Society is a local Buncombe County animal that has been spayed/neutered, microchipped, and medically/behaviorally screened.

Check out all the cuties up for adoption at Then come to the Adoption Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Brevard and Pond Roads, behind Harmony Motors and near the WNC Farmers Market), from 10 AM to 6 PM on Dec. 27th and 28th. Stop by to find the love of your life for just 5 bucks!

Ten Poisons to Watch Out For

ScreenHunter_01 Nov. 05 14.34A wide variety of modern day toxins can be harmful or fatal to dogs. The ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center put together a list of the "top ten toxins of 2013" and it's worth reviewing to make sure you keep your pet away from them. In order, the substances that caused the most reported animals deaths in 2013 are:

  1. Permethrin (widely used insecticide)
  2. Laundry Detergent (liquid and individual detergent packs in particular)
  3. 5-FU (topically applied chemotherapeutic agent)
  4. 'Hot' Carbamates (insecticides)
  5. Ivermectin (antiparasitic medication)
  6. Hops (flower plant commonly used in brewing beer)
  7. NSAIDs (various drugs including ibuprofen)
  8. Caffeine (particular any pills containing caffeine)
  9. Anticoagulant Rodenticides (rat poison)
  10. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Fluoroquinolones (antioxidant and antibiotics)

The ASPCA also offers an educational video about how to put together a Pet Poison Prevention Kit. You can watch it here.

$5 "Whisker Wonderland" Adoption Sale - Asheville, Dec. 20, 21, 24

ScreenHunter_01 Dec. 18 15.36There is a very special gift waiting for you at Asheville Humane Society -- the gift of love!

On Friday, December 20, Saturday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 24, the organization will hold a "$5 Whisker Wonderland" adoption sale. You'll find some very special animals, any of whom will add joy and love to your home this holiday season and in years to come. For a limited time, adoption fees have been reduced to just $5 each (excluding puppies less than 6 months old).

Every animal offered for adoption by Asheville Humane Society is a local Buncombe County animal that has been spayed/neutered, microchipped, and medically/behaviorally screened.

Check out all the cuties up for adoption at Then come to the Adoption Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Brevard and Pond Roads, behind Harmony Motors and near the WNC Farmers Market), from 10 AM to 6 PM on the 20th and 21st and from 10 AM to 4 PM on the 24th. Stop by to find the love of your life for just 5 bucks!

Holiday Safety Tips for Dog and Cat Owners

What-to-do-if-your-pet-is-poisonedCourtesy of the ASPCA, here are some tips to protect your dog or cat around holiday time.

Wrapped Presents
Gifts are a surprising source of toxicities during the holidays. If you are going to wrap any food (especially chocolate), dog treats, or dog toys, keep the items in a safe place and well out of your pet’s reach until they are ready to be opened. Pets have a keen sense of smell and will often unwrap presents early and eat all of the contents.

Snow Globes
Some snow globes contain ethylene glycol, a highly toxic substance to all pets. If a snow globe is broken, either by a person or a pet, the sweet smell can attract a pet to lick it up, leading to a potentially fatal intoxication. Snow globes should be kept out of reach of pets.

Holiday Food
Pets are often not shy about taking food that is left sitting out on counters or tables. Pets should be kept away from food preparation areas or places where food will be left out. A few of the more concerning common food exposures during the holidays are chocolate, bread dough, fruitcake and alcohol.

There are often a large number of visitors during the holiday season, and pets often get into medications that friends or family have brought with them. These exposures can be prevented with a little advance planning. People who are not used to having pets in the house can often be unaware of how curious they can be. Pets will often investigate suitcases and can get into pill vials or weekly pill minders. It is safer to have the visitors put their medication in a closed cabinet that is not accessible to pets. Be sure that when they take their medications that they do so behind a closed door, such as the bathroom, so that a dropped pill can be found before the pet has a chance to eat it. A prewritten list of the names, milligram strength, and number of pills that visitors have brought is very useful in an emergency situation as well.

Ice melt, homemade play dough, and salt-dough ornaments (even when dry) can all be a tempting salty treat for pets, but can cause life-threatening imbalances in the electrolytes.

Pet owners should, of course, contact their local veterinary professional or theASPCA's  Animal Poison Control Center if their pets get into any of these substances.


Helping Your Dog Survive the Holidays-No. Asheville, Dec. 17

Holiday dogPet Behavior Aid is sponsoring a free session called "Helping Your Dog Survive the Holidays." It will be held on Tuesday, December 17, from 7 to 8:30 PM, at Animal Hopsital of North Asheville, 1 Beaverdam Road, North Asheville.

Pet Behavior Aid holds numerous free classes and events for dog and cat owners in the Asheville area. For more information, visit

Image: Theeradech Sanin,

ReTail Scene: Natural Balance Gift Pack is Perfect for Holiday Giving!

NaturalbalanceThe holidays are here and it's time to celebrate! We found a great low-cost, high-value gift that's sure to please any doggie on your gift list.

It's the Natural Balance Holiday Pack for Dogs and it lets your four-legged friend test all the best Natural Balance has to offer at a very reasonable price. The sample pack includes a bag of limited ingredient treats, a can of ultra premium chicken formula food, and a delicious turkey food roll - a great mix for the holiday season, all packaged in a nifty carry box. (Chester, the Carolina Mountain Dog mascot, is very fond of the food roll!) Natural Balance is a brand known for the highest quality ingredients.

You can get the Natural Balance Gift Pack from, on sale now for $5.99. is an online store for pet lovers with over 200 brands of dog food, treats and other great stuff. Everything you purchase from is conveniently delivered to your door, with 1 or 2 day delivery, and free shipping on orders of $49 or more. offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, and's customer service is open 24/7 and aims to please. 

Free Puppy Social-Asheville, Dec. 14

ID-10036262Your puppy needs socialization with other dogs to develop into a healthy, balanced pet. Join other puppy owners at a puppy social on Saturday, December 14 from 9 to 10 AM, at Asheville Humane Society's Adoption and Education Center, 14 Forever Friend Lane, Asheville (off Pond and Brevard Roads, behind Harmony Motors, near the WNC Farmers Market).

Mingle with other puppy parents and get your training questions answered by certified trainers while your puppy romps with other pups and meets new and different people and things. Doggie treat bag and human treats provided for all participants.

- Ages 9-20 weeks of age
- Puppies must be healthy
- Must be in home at least 10 days prior to coming to social
- Must have at least 2 sets of vaccinations
(copy of vet records required)
- Rabies vaccine is required (16 weeks and older)

This is a FREE family friendly event, but space is limited! Reserve your puppy’s spot today. Call (828) 707-0644 or email to make a reservation. For more information visit

Image: nixxphotography /

ASPCA Dog of the Year

ScreenHunter_01 Nov. 22 10.35Xena
Dekalb County, Georgia

On September 15, 2012, an animal control officer responded to a call reporting an extremely malnourished pit bull puppy abandoned in a Dekalb County, Ga. resident’s yard. The officer took the fragile puppy, on the verge of death, to the Dekalb Animal Shelter. Chrissy Kaczynski, one of the founders of Friends of Dekalb Animals (FODA), says she’d never seen such a severe case of neglect.The puppy’s prognosis was bleak, but  Chrissy took her home, intending to make her last hours as comfortable as possible.

Remarkably, the puppy rebounded, prompting Chrissy and her partner, Aaron, to name her Xena, the Warrior Puppy. Soon after, they started a Facebook page to help raise funds for Xena's treatment and chronicle her amazing recovery. Friends and fans were mesmerized by Xena’s story. Two months later, at a party in Xena’s honor, the puppy bonded with the Hickey family and their eight-year-old son, Jonny, who is autistic.

Before Xena came into his life, Jonny very rarely communicated with others, and sought comfort in solitary activities. But Jonny forged a miraculous connection with Xena that brought out Jonny’s playfulness, his singing voice, and verbal assessments of everything he sees and experiences.

Together, Jonny and Xena spread a message of compassion for both animals and those with autism throughout America and 89 countries, territories and provinces around the world. Their efforts include a YouTube video to promote Autism Awareness Month as well as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Xena has participated in the Atlanta Dog Jog and Atlanta Autism Speaks walk, appeared at fundraisers for FODA, and received a medal from the Georgia SPCA. Jonny and Xena‘s story has also been featured by numerous media outlets, after gaining attention from a profile by Jill Rappaport on “NBC Nightly News” and on


Flap Jack Fundraiser, Santa Paws and Open House, Boone, Dec. 7

ScreenHunter_04 Nov. 20 21.26Appalachian State University's Net Impact Club is holding a Flap Jack Fundraiser on Saturday, December 7, from 7:30 to 10 AM at Applebee's Restaurant in Boone, NC.

Tickets are $6 each and can be purchased at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Watauga Humane Society spay and neuter assistance program.

Also on December 7, Watauga Humane Society will hold its annual "Santa Paws and Open House" from 1 PM to 4:30 PM. Come visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and get your pet's picture taken at the Society's beautiful facility at 312 Paws Way in Boone. Holiday handcrafted treasures will be available for sale, and there will be a Super Stuffed Holiday Stocking Auction too. Please bring a gift for a dog or cat!

More details at

Christmas Bazaar-Spindale, Dec. 6, 7

ScreenHunter_01 Nov. 20 21.03

An Indoor Christmas Gift Bazaar will be held on Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7, from 8 AM to 4 PM at the Spindale Presbyterian Church (basement), 125 Pleasant Street, Spindale, NC. The event benefits the Rutherford County Humane Society.

The Society also operates a Thrift Shop, located at 311 Buffalo Creek Road, Lake Lure, across from Apple Valley Golf. It is open every Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM, and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. Available merchandise includes holiday items, household goods, kitchenware, books, collectibles and more. Proceeds fund spay/neuter and medical care for dogs and cats in need.

For more information about events and the Rutherford County Humane Society, visit

Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winter

By Rachel Morris for Exceptional Canine

Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winter

When the weather outside gets frightful, it's a must to make sure your dog stays safe and warm. Your pet is unlikely to whine about the wind chill, so it’s up to you to keep an eye on the conditions and decide when it’s time to come inside and warm up. Use these tips to help keep your dog toasty on the coldest days.

Pay attention to the mercury Down coats, chunky scarves, wooly hats and thick gloves make it easy to forget what the temperature actually reads, but remember that your dog is only sporting what nature gave him, and for many dogs it’s not always enough. “Dogs who have a second layer of hair, such as Huskies and Newfoundlands, can withstand cold conditions, but most breeds don’t have this additional layer of insulation,” says Douglas Aspros, DVM, President of the American Veterinary Medical Association. If your dog lacks this additional warmth, Aspros says to be careful when the temp dips below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s a wet or exceptionally windy day, consider shortening your daily walk, or skipping it altogether and only venturing outdoors for bathroom breaks.

Size up your dog Smaller breeds have a higher surface area to body mass ratio compared to their larger dog park pals, which means they radiate heater faster. If your pup is on the petite side, a dog jacket can help provide protection from the wind and cold. Older dogs with arthritis—whether large or small—should be watched carefully too, since the cold can aggravate the condition and make their joints even stiffer. Bottom line: Pay attention to your pet.  If she’s reluctant to go outside on a winter day, it’s probably a sign that she’s not ready to handle the weather.

Feed wisely If your pet’s outdoor time isn’t cut short during the winter, he’ll need more energy to stay warm, so talk to your veterinarian about upping how much food you give him. However, most dogs tend to spend more time indoors during the winter. Be careful not to overfeed your dog if he gets less exercise during the colder months to ensure that he is at a healthy weight come springtime.

Watch the ground Dog booties don’t just look adorable; they can also be a big help on frozen surfaces. While they won’t do much to keep your dog’s paws warm, they will protect him from irritants such as sharp crusty snow and ice that can cut up his pads. If you choose not to purchase booties for your dog, Aspros recommends attempting to avoid these icy areas during your walks and checking your dog’s paws after he comes inside to make sure they aren’t injured. And don’t worry about him getting cold feet: Thanks to their unique circulation system, dogs’ paws are naturally equipped to handle frigid temperatures, according to a 2012 study in the journal Veterinary Dermatology.

Sleep soundly Your dog will probably scout out a warm spot to curl up indoors, whether it’s in front of the fireplace or in a sunny patch on the floor, but be sure that his bed is also located somewhere away from drafts. If you have hardwood or tile floors, consider throwing an extra blanket on there to give him more protection from the chilly surface. And when in doubt, an extra snuggle session will warm you both up, no mater how frosty it is outside.

Rachel Morris is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY, and fervent photographer of her 1-year-old dog, Ridge.

Free Pet Food for Those in Need in Buncombe County

Dog-food-imageAsheville Humane Society is expanding its service to the Buncombe County community through the pet food assistance program.

Through Asheville Humane Society's union with Animal Compassion Network, they are now able to offer pet food assistance through thirteen local food pantries, making it more accessible to citizens in need. According to Asheville Humane Society, "We often hear stories of people who are struggling financially who either go without eating themselves in order to feed their pets or relinquish them to the shelter. Our hope is that by providing free pet food, we can help to ease some of their burden and keep pets in their homes."

If you or anyone you know needs this service, you can come to the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, where they can offer you an initial one week supply of pet food and then they will direct you to the partnering food pantry in your area.

For more information about the program and a list of partner food pantries, visit:

Image: Asheville Humane Society