Winter Pet Safety

Brrr, it’s cold out there! Help your pets remain safe during the colder months by following these simple guidelines.

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.pet-care_cold-weather-tips_main-image
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol; if swallowed in small amounts, it will not hurt pets, wildlife, or your family.
  • winter-carePets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet, a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure they have plenty of water to drink will help keep your pet well-hydrated and their skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Be prepared. Cold weather also brings the risks of severe winter weather and power outages. Have enough food, water and medicine (including any prescription medications as well as heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.

Pet-Friendly Thanksgiving

Be Prepared When Your Pet Comes Begging

With the holidays approaching, your dog or cat will inevitably be begging to partake in the big turkey dinner. While this can be a wonderful way to add lean protein and fresh veggies to your pet’s diet, there are also hidden dangers in holiday fare. This year, before preparing a heaping plateful for your pet, consider these tips to keep Thanksgiving a safe, healthful holiday for your dog or cat.befunky_thanksgiving1

SHARE (in moderation)

White Meat Turkey

Turkey can be a wonderful lean protein to share with your pet. Just be sure to remove any excess skin or fat, stick with white meat, and make sure there are no bones.

Cranberries

Cranberry sauce is just fine for pets but watch the amount of sugar in it. It is probably best to only provide a small helping to your pet’s plate.

Plain Pumpkin

Good for both diarrhea and constipation, canned pumpkin (not raw, not the sugary, spicy pie filling) is loaded with fiber and beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

Plain Yams & Sweet Potatoes

Great source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C for your pup! A good tip is to set aside some cooked sweet potatoes before you add any salt or butter (or marshmallows!) to them, and save those for the dog.

Mashed or Baked Potatoes 

Regular potatoes, while not quite as nutritious as the sweet variety, are also a safe and yummy treat. Again, set aside your pets serving of potatoes before adding butter, garlic, gravy, cheese, etc.

Carrots & Green Beans

Plain green beans are a wonderful treat for pets. Fresh vegetables are a great addition to any diet. If the green beans are included in a green bean casserole though, be conscious of the other ingredients in it.

Apple Slices 

Apples (minus the seeds) are also a great, crunchy treat for dogs. Applesauce is also an acceptable treat for dogs, but stick to the unsweetened variety.

DO NOT SHARE (toxic to pets)

Bones

Turkey bones can become lodged in the throat, stomach, or intestinal tract or break into splinters, causing extensive damage to the stomach and gastro-intestinal tract if swallowed, even puncturing the small intestines.

Spices 

Flavor enhancers can cause all kinds of problems! Seizures, death, stomach discomfort, anemia and even death. Onions, garlic, sage and nutmeg are some of the common seasonings we use during the holidays and these are some of the biggest offenders!

Nuts

Never give your dog walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts! All three are extremely poisonous for pups (a toxin in macadamias can lead to tremors and hind-quarter paralysis).

Grapes

Many people are unaware that grapes, and subsequently raisins, can be toxic to pets. The fruit has been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs.

Chewing Gum and Candy

Many contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause a severe drop in blood glucose in dogs. As soon as 30 minutes after ingestion, dogs can begin to show signs of depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. 

Chocolate

A well-known off limits indulgence for pets. During the holidays, however, chocolate is used in recipes and sometimes forgotten about by the time the dishes hit the table. Make sure this holiday season that your pet does not ingest any chocolate, especially the baking kind.

Beer

Alcohol, especially the hops in beer, can be particularly harmful to dogs, causing intoxication, panting, fever, racing heart, liver damage, even coma, seizures and death.

Dough and Cake Batter

The combination of raw bread dough and the pet’s body heat can cause the dough to rise inside the stomach, resulting in vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating. The batter used in cakes and pies usually contains raw eggs which could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

TIP:

Exercise your dog before guests arrive. A tired dog is less likely to misbehave and look for mischief! If your dog is full of energy, he will be more likely to be underfoot while you are preparing for the feast and entertaining your guests. HappyTails Pet Sitters are available on Thanksgiving Day and would love to help make your holidays less stressful! Book today!

Want to let your fur kid indulge in all the glorious leftovers without the guilt?

Check out this recipe for Turkey Pumpkin treats! PS – it’s cat friendly too.

  • 6 ounces white turkey meat
  • ½ cup cooked carrots/potatoes/pumpkin
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup ground oatmeal (or substitute whole grain, rice, or pea flour)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Blend turkey, cranberries, and carrots in a food processor until smooth, then mix in ground oatmeal. Roll into ½-1 inch balls and cook on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the treats.

Bye-Bye Bad Breath

There are many reasons why good dogs sometimes behave badly. You’ve seen many cases on Cesar Millan’s TV shows where bad behaviors in bye-bye bad breathdogs were caused or triggered by human behavior.

Cesar has dealt with a lot of these cases, including severe aggression, fear, and dominance issues. But what you might not know is that bad behavior, or a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, can be caused by undetected medical problems. For example, if your dog starts chewing on random household objects, he may be experiencing tooth pain that could be helped with regular brushing. For this, Cesar recommends the Petosan Dental Line.
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Pet Obesity: Killing With Kindness

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According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s latest veterinary survey, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of adult cats in the United States — that’s 88.4 million pets — are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians.
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Cat Facts and Tidbits

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Hot Weather Pet Care Tips

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Is Your Pet Ticked Off?

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Summer Paw Care Tips

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Dog Bite Prevention

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