The ASPCA has published a helpful "Holiday Survival Guide for Pets & Their People." This one-page overview lists medications that could be dangerous to pets, holiday goodies that are bad for pets, plants that can cause illness, and the five big holiday dangers to pets. You can download this Survival Guide as a PDF at the link below.
Guest Post by Lori Wade
We all love our dogs, which is what makes it absolutely heartbreaking to see them struggle. There are few things more inherently awful than being forced to see any living creature struggle with pain or disability. That’s especially true for dogs, both because they are so loyal and lovable as well as the fact that they’re so innocent and helpless when it comes to maladies.
Dogs are absolutely heartwarming creatures, and their maladies are thus all the more heartbreaking. You never want that to be the fate of your dog. You want to make sure that they remain in good health and good spirits – even if they are disabled. Thankfully, these tips can help you do just that.
From accidents and injuries to the ravages of old age, there are many reasons why your dog may be having trouble walking with comfort – if they can walk at all. If your dog finds themselves in this position or otherwise suffers from mobility issues, it might well be time to look into a dog wheelchair.
Dog wheelchairs are typically easily fitted around the dog’s waist and backside. They enable dogs to wheel themselves around in the event of bad hips or one or more legs not being up to walking. These wheelchairs feature openings at the bottom and back, allowing dogs to “do their business” unimpeded while wearing them.
If your dog has a broken leg, hip dysplasia, or any number of other conditions that hurt their hips or legs, it can be incredibly difficult and painful for them to get upstairs. You don’t want that to be a problem, of course. While you can sometimes carry smaller dogs, this can get old fast, won’t always be convenient for either party and isn’t exactly an easy option with larger dogs.
That’s why you’ll want to look into installing a dog ramp instead. As with ramps for human wheelchair users, they enable dogs in wheelchairs to get up to an area that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They also make it possible to avoid steps.
Ramps can be especially helpful for your outdoor area near the front and backyards. Your dogs may not be able to get up porch steps with ease, so these dog ramps can be essential to get to and from the doors in question as they go into and out of your home.
Addressing Dog Vision Problems
As your dog gets older, it’s possible that they may begin to suffer from vision problems. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you keep the light on for them, ensuring that areas in which they are staying are bright. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your veterinarian about any potential treatment if these eyesight problems worsen.
Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication. There are some medicines on the market, such as phenobarbital, which can treat the same issues in dogs (seizures) as they do in humans. In other cases, there are medicines that are more dog-specific, such as proin, which helps tighten the muscles around a dog’s urinary tract in the case of urinary incontinence.
Whatever the case, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is getting the right medication for them. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to some medicines, some do better with some options than others, and then, of course, you always need to be on the lookout for bad dog medicines which may be harmful. Your vet can be instrumental in determining all of this.
Ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most by accommodating their disability - and if you have a furry friend who is advancing in age, make the most of your dog’s golden years.
Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. A content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of pet care and veterinary. You can find her on Twitter & LinkedIn or on other social media, where you can read Lori’s useful insights!
Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:
- 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
- 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
- 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
- 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.
These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/
Ready Your Dog
- Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
- Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
- Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
- Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.
Prepare Your Home
- Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
- If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
- Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
- Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
- Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
- In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.
Create an Emergency Kit
- Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
- Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
- Medical records
- Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
- Water bowls
- Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
- Pet’s medications
- Pet first aid kit
- Dish soap and disinfectant
- Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
- Extra collar, harness and leash
- Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.
Carolina Mountain Dog recently published a guest post about the pros and cons of invisible dog fences. We have received requests to publish more comprehensive information about such fences. Our intent is to provide information without endorsing training methods or specific products. If we accept a guest post for publication, the post represents the opinion of the writer, not necessarily this blog.
There are often strong opinions, both positive and negative, about invisible dog fences. In order to present additional details about invisible dog fences, we have provided a link to a recent comprehensive article written by a dog behaviorist that appeared in Whole Dog Journal:
We hope this information is helpful to anyone considering an invisible dog fence.
Guest Post by Jennifer Scott
Nothing can ruin your day, or your dog’s, like a full-blown doggy disaster. Yet, as pet owners, we’ve all come home to an undesirable situation every now and then. While dog shaming can be good for a laugh, preventing these common misbehaviors is much more productive. Here are some common doggy disasters and some ways you can prevent them in your home:
Having Accidents Inside
New puppies are especially prone to relieving themselves inside since they haven’t had a chance to be housebroken. You can encourage your dog to do its business outside by scheduling plenty of potty breaks. Take your puppy outside and give lots of praise when he goes where he’s supposed to. Eventually, your dog will get the idea and should begin to ask to go outside.
If your adult dog suddenly has frequent accidents, schedule a check-up to make sure that health issues aren’t causing these problems. If your vet gives him a clean bill of health, his food may be to blame, whether due to an allergy or because he simply doesn’t like it. If this is the case, try switching to an organic brand of food with limited ingredients, which will be less likely to upset his digestive tract.
Destroying Their Toys and Bed
We’ve all given our dogs the perfect new toy or bed, only to have them rip it to shreds in a matter of minutes. While watching them de-stuff a toy isn’t cause for concern, chewing up their bed could be a signal of a much bigger issue. Make sure your dog has the right kind of bed for his needs, as this contributes to his sense of safety when sleeping and lounging in it. If this doesn’t seem to be the issue, your dog’s destructive habits could be rooted in some other problem, such as a lack of attention or anxiety. Take steps to relieve any anxiety and remedy your dog’s destructive tendencies.
Guarding Food and Resources
Resource guarding is a common issue with dogs, especially those who have spent time in a shelter. If you are working with a rescue animal, know that at some point, your dog may have had to fight for food or water. It takes time to break this habit; it requires a patient process of training to build trust between you and your dog. Resource guarding can also be a sign of insecurity. You can prevent resource guarding by establishing yourself as the leader in your pack. If your dog growls over food, water or toys, be cautious and do not allow children to handle these items around him to prevent bites.
Counter Surfing for Human Food
Even the most well-behaved dog can’t resist the scent of human food on tables and counters, but many human foods can cause health problems for your dog, while some can be deadly. The best course of action to prevent counter surfing is to eliminate access to tempting items. Dogs are opportunists, and if they can reach it, chances are that they will eat it, so keep your snacks and food securely put away in cabinets and pantries. Don’t forget to stow potentially dangerous chip bags away, either; dogs can get their heads stuck inside and suffocate in a matter of minutes.
Chewing Shoes and Furniture
Chewing is another prevalent issue for pet owners. If your dog has taken to using your favorite new shoes or chair for a chew toy, it can be stressful for you and dangerous for your dog. In the case of shoes, putting them away is your best option. Keeping your dog away from furniture can be a lot harder. For many pet owners, crate training is a good option for keeping dogs out of trouble while humans are out of the house. With positive training, most dogs find crates to be comforting. Just be sure to never use the crate as a place of punishment. It’s also important to get to the bottom of the issue. Puppies frequently chew due to teething, but adult dogs that chew random items could be displaying signs of stress or anxiety.
Preventing these common doggy disasters can protect your sanity, but more importantly, it can protect your dog’s safety. Take these steps to curb bad behavior and build a better bond between you and your dog.
Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/
Image courtesy of Pexels
Guest Post by Victoria Nelson
The usual wood, chain link, or plastic fences used to contain dogs are often difficult to put up and maintain and can be an eyesore. Is an invisible fence, or electronic dog fence, a reasonable alternative?
How the Invisible Dog Fence Works
Unlike a visible physical barrier, an invisible fence is a barrier that cannot be seen by humans but is learned by dogs. An invisible fence has the potential to keep your dog from wandering off or from bolting during a storm and getting lost.
The invisible fence is an electronic wireless “fence” that is installed underground and is controlled by and with a special collar preventing the dog from crossing the boundary of the fence. An invisible fence unit contains the basic unit, small flags for a visual boundary until your dog learns the boundaries of the fence, and the collar for your dog. The high-end systems also include a pet door so that your dog can get inside when it needs to. Only a dog wearing the collar can get in the pet door.
Most invisible fence systems include installation and training. Put the collar on your dog, plant the flags around your property where you want your dog to stay, and turn on the system. Your dog should need minimal training to learn the concept of the invisible fence. It is typically very easy. Most systems offer coverage of a little over a hundred feet in every direction up to three quarters of an acre.
It should be said that the invisible fence system should not be used with dogs that weigh less than five pounds. Make sure the company you buy from has customer service at the appropriate time. The special collar will give your dog a small buzz to distract him if he tries to cross the boundary, or you can just use an audible alert. Most systems have multiple levels of the jolt but even the highest is not harmful to your dog. It is designed not to hurt your dog but rather to just surprise him and train him not to pass the flags.
Pros and Cons of an Invisible Fence
- Invisible fencing will withstand the rigors of climate and weather, as well as natural events such as floods.
- Will protect your dog from getting lost for any reason, especially when other non-resident dog lovers are walking or hiking with their canines.
- Invisible fencing is often less expensive in areas where traditional fencing is more difficult to install due to terrain.
- Invisible fencing is more adaptable to wooded, hilly or continuously wet terrain. This adaptability extends to the configuration of the fenced area. It can be any shape you want with an electric dog fence.
- Your dog cannot jump or climb over or dig under an invisible fence.
- You and your dog will need to be trained.
- Some dogs will occasionally break through the electronic barrier.
- Unless you buy a system with a pet door that allows only your dog with collar to use it, other animals can enter the fenced area and your dog cannot get out. It’s worth any extra expense to protect your dog from attacks with a pet door.
Given the terrain, weather conditions, and presence of so many outside dogs, the invisible dog fence appears to be an excellent solution for keeping your dog safe while allowing him freedom on his own territory.
I'm Victoria Nelson, article author and owner of PetsHotSpot website. I have always been passionate about animals. I really enjoy writing about pets, especially when my articles can help people to understand animals better. I hope that you find a lot of useful information and it is been a pleasure for you to read it.
"Finding Rover" is a new technology that uses facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs and cats with their families, allowing anyone with computer access to be a superhero.
If you FIND a stray dog or cat, all you need to do is click ‘I Found a Pet’, snap a picture on your phone, and upload to www.findingrover.com. From there the magic of Finding Rover will match that photo with photos of pets that have been reported missing.
If you have LOST a dog or cat, click ‘I Lost a Pet’, upload your pet’s picture, and Finding Rover will search found reports which will include animals in our care. A partnership with Asheville Humane Society, who operate the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, automatically updates all of the pets at the shelter on Asheville Humane's Finding Rover page!
Wondering why you should use this new technology? Here are the top five reasons:
1. It’s easy! Anyone with a smartphone or computer can upload a lost or found dog or cat instantly.
2. It’s FREE! Although millions of dollars have been invested into this technology, it doesn’t cost you a penny.
3. It helps find pets homes! It’s not just about helping lost pets. Dogs and cats that are Available for Adoption are also on Finding Rover!
4. It’s not just for dogs! Dogs aren’t the only pets that get out. Finding Rover is optimized to work for feline friends as well.
5. It saves lives! At your shelter the number one goal is to keep pets safe before they even reach your doors. Using this tool, we can all become superheroes and help keep our shelter empty.
For more information or to upload a photo of your pet, visit: https://www.findingrover.com/
Guest Post by Jennifer Scott
Winter is a magical time, but it can produce quite a few potential dangers for our dogs. From exposure to the cold to toxic chocolate treats, there is much to be vigilant against. Here are five tips to keep your pooch safe during the winter months.
1. Warning Signs
Even in winter, your dog needs to be taken outside. One way to protect them is by being attentive to any physical and behavioral warning signs. Are they shivering or showing that they’re upset by barking or whimpering? Behaviors like these could be interpreted differently during the warmer months, but they can be indicators of distress in winter. Check their ears to see if they are cold, and watch out for lethargy. Your dog may just be discouraged by the cold, but reduced energy could suggest more serious issues. This is a time to be observant, as your dog will let you know if they are in trouble.
The cold takes a toll on our dog's paws. There are hazards concealed by snow, and ice can form between their toes, especially when nails are long. While you could avoid snowy areas, even sidewalks and roads have their own dangers due to increased chemical use. Salt and other deicers are toxic to dogs, and your neighbors may be unaware of that. Take precautions after each outing by wiping your pup's paws with warm water to remove salt and ice buildup. Your best option may be to buy booties, as they are comfortable and can keep them safe from harm and dry skin. This alone can keep their winter fun and free of ill-health.
Even when they grow a heavier coat for winter, dogs can still feel the cold. This can make heading out onerous for them, yet they need to remain active for their own well-being. You can help keep your canines stay warm in dropping temperatures by adding a sweater to their natural buffer. What materials you choose will depend on the size of your pet and the thickness of their fur. Dog clothing can also be modified to deal with darker days. Your walks may happen in poor visibility, so consider attachable safety lights and high-visibility gear to give you peace of mind.
Winter is a festive time, but cold weather foods can be harmful to dogs. Many wintery foods contain chocolate, but these treats can cause severe toxic reactions when ingested by our canines. Rich “people foods” can also cause problems, so avoid indulging your furry friends, as their health is more important than allowing occasional tableside begging. Especially dangerous in the garage is antifreeze which can poison pooches. Dogs are curious, but it's essential that you stop them from investigating anything that could be dangerous.
5. Keep Dogs Indoors
Bring your pooch inside during cold weather. Outdoor kennels are not safe places in winter, so don't rely on them. Your pooch may already have a special place to sleep when indoors. If not, choose an area for their bed away from cold flooring, like hardwood or tile, or anywhere that is drafty. Ideally, it should be well-heated, but you can supplement this with a hot water bottle or electric bed. However, take care that they do not become overheated, as this could cause restlessness. Aside from walks, keep your dog's outings to a minimum. That includes washing them indoors. It may sound messy, but a wet coat can be a recipe for hypothermia.
Our dogs deserve nothing but safety. Plan out how you can protect your canine from outdoor hazards and cooler temperatures, and be aware of physical warning signs. Winter should be a time to frolic, so make this season a happy one for your pooch.
Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/
Image courtesy of Pexels
The following information from the ASPCA is valuable for all pet owners during the holidays. It is provided as a public service.
The holiday season is upon us, and many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. As you gear up for the holidays, it is important to try to keep your pet's eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. Also, please be sure to steer pets clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.
Be Careful with Seasonal Plants and Decorations
- Oh, Christmas Tree: Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn't tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
- Avoid Mistletoe & Holly: Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.
- Tinsel-less Town: Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching "toy" that's easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It's best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.
- That Holiday Glow: Don't leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!
- Wired Up: Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws' reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet's mouth and digestive tract.
Avoid Holiday Food Dangers
- Skip the Sweets: By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising pet will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.
- Leave the Leftovers: Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won't lead to costly medical bills.
- Careful with Cocktails: If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.
- Selecting Special Treats: Looking to stuff your pet's stockings? Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible. Long, stringy things are a feline's dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that's too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer.
Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
Plan a Pet-Safe Holiday Gathering
- House Rules: If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you're busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.
- Put the Meds Away: Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.
- A Room of Their Own: Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.
- New Year's Noise: As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat's intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears. And remember that many pets are also scared of fireworks, so be sure to secure them in a safe, escape-proof area as midnight approaches.
Image: Theeradech Sanin, freedigitalphotos.net
Guest Post by Rachel Burns
Do dogs really need clothes in winter? We did some digging on this, taking note of all the myths and as well as the facts. Read on to find out why you should get some coats for small dogs such as Chihuahuas during cold seasons, and much more!
It's that time of the year again when the weather is cold and even dogs will need some warm clothes. It is not uncommon to visit a store during winter and see greyhounds in big dog sweatshirts and puppies in cute little coats trudging behind their owners. And that got us wondering, do dogs really need clothes in winter? We did some digging on this, taking note of all the myths and misconceptions as well as the facts.
Different Dogs, Different Needs
When we asked a couple of our vet friends and several pet parents whether they recommend dressing up our furry friends during winter, the answers we got were mixed. One vet suggested that dogs have innate protection from the cold in the form of their fur coats. As a matter of fact, we found out that dogs are actually better suited to cold weather than the summer heat.
But then again, just like humans, different dogs process cold in different ways. Generally, dogs with thicker fur coats, such as Terriers, Maltese, Afghan Hound, and Huskies, don't need clothes in winter. However, it makes sense to provide coats for small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and Poodles, during the winter months or else they will fall ill. Also, some bigger dog breeds, including some Pit Bulls and Greyhounds, have relatively thin coats and hence would appreciate the extra protection from clothes. Other types of dogs, such as Labradors and German Shepherds, don't necessarily need to be covered up, but it won't hurt if you do.
Not Every Dog is Comfortable with Clothes
There is a misconception, especially among first-time pet parents, that all they have to do is throw on some warm coat with fur hood and their pet will be alright. Well, that's not exactly a myth, but it is somewhat untrue. Dogs are highly curious animals (puppies especially) and are just as naturally reluctant to accept change as human beings. The first time you put a piece of clothing on your dog's back, chances are he won't be responsive, and he will most likely "freeze" in place. As such, it may makes sense to gradually introduce your dog to clothes by making him wear something for a minute or so every day.
Type Does Matter
Another misconception about winter dog wear is that all types of clothes will work fine in keeping your pet warm. But really, a knitted dog sweater with buttons can't protect your dog from the dew on the grass at the park. For the wet season, invest in waterproof attire, preferably with fur or fleece internal lining to not only keep your pet dry but also maintain a level of comfort.
Buying Coats for Small Dogs
When it comes to buying winter clothes for dogs, it is important to buy those that perfectly fit your dog's size. Buy clothes that are too loose, and they won't guarantee warmth and comfort, or worse still, they could get torn as he plays.
Best Winter Jacket Brands
Your pet is your best friend, and you should aspire to dress him up nicely, not just to keep warm, but to also look great. As far as warmth, comfort and class go, the best winter jacket brands for dogs are:
- EzyDog, and
All of these brands are available in major pet shops as well as Amazon.
One of the guys in the office wore a brown dog costume for Halloween and ironically, his dog had on a plaid jacket, usually the type worn by humans. It was a funny scene, but in hindsight, a clear depiction of the historically great relationship between man and dog. Hopefully, you have better fashion plans for your dogs this winter!
Thanks for reading. We’d love to know what you think about winter clothes for dogs, so feel free to comment on this post.
Rachel Burns is a creative writer of https://allpetsexpert.com/. She knows that there are millions of pet owners looking for the right kind of information online. And here is her expertise lies. Rachel writes about pet care health.
After Hurricane Florence made landfall in North Carolina in September, dozens of people had died, hundreds of homes had been flooded, and countless of properties had been destroyed. The tragedy had been compounded by the fact that many animals were trapped in their flooded homes. Some pet owners had decided to save themselves, leaving their precious companions behind. As a result, there had been over a hundred pets rescued by volunteers in North Carolina alone days after the hurricane.
Pets trapped and left behind is a truly heartbreaking and distressing scene. But in case of powerful natural disasters, humans are often forced to choose between saving themselves and taking everything—including their pets—with them.
We hope we never, ever have to make that choice. We can’t prevent natural disasters, but we can prepare so that our beloved pets are taken care of always, even if we can’t be with them during an emergency.
That's why every pet owner should have a pet emergency plan, no matter how unlikely they think their pets could encounter natural disasters. We can’t physically be there with them all the time, but we can ensure that no harm would come to them.
Check out this great infographic that explains step-by-step how to create your own pet emergency plan: