‘Tis another holiday weekend and family and friends are still visiting! What a fun filled time of year! As presents were opened and holiday meals and deserts eaten, it still seems never ending. As gifts were shared, pets also received treats from Santa. There are so many treat options for our canine and feline friends and nowhere is that more evident than in the treat isles at our local pet store. Selecting treats is no longer as simple as is grabbing a bag from the shelf. It’s so easy to get caught up on the cute packaging and snowman shaped treats. Don’t get tricked into buying junk treats with fillers for Fluffy. It’s not worth it. We have options for soft, chewy or crunchy treats as well as raw, natural, organic and specialized. So how do we choose? Take into account your pets health, age and weight. Talk to your veterinarian to ensure its ok to give your pet treats. Your doctor will be able to talk to you about what to look out for, the latest treats on the market and what would be best for your pet.
When purchasing treats for your pets, look at the categories that is best suited for your special friend. Start off with puppy, adult or senior treats. Take it to the next level of small breed or large. You are off to a good start! Giving a different protein may not sit well with your lovable companion. It would be best to give your pet edible treats according to the same protein they get at his or her meal time. For example, if your pet is on a chicken base diet, give them treats that are chicken base as well. There is lots of protein to choose from! There is Chicken, Lamb, Beef, Fish, Liver, Duck, Buffalo and the list goes on! The size, texture and amount of treats are also very important. Don’t overload your pet on treats. There are lots of calories which we don’t want to add weight onto your pal. Be very careful with hard treats such as bones, antlers, hooves, etc. These types of treats can be dangerous. Bone can break into sharp shards. No matter what you give your pets to chew on, always be certain that you supervise them. Treats should be easy on their teeth. Yearly dental cleaning will make it possible for your pets to get the treats they love and maintain healthy teeth! Next would be the type of treats you want to give your pet. From weight control to hip & joint needs, sensitive stomach, food allergies, limited ingredients, hairball formula treats, natural treats, raw treats, freeze dried protein, fresh nutrition and the list goes on. Whatever you choose for your pets, keep it safe and in moderation! If you inspect the ingredients panel carefully and dispense the treats judicially, you should find yourself with a happy, healthy pet! They will love you and Santa for it!
The first day of winter is right around the corner. When the temperature drops and the weather becomes unbearable, remember that pets just like us humans, want to feel warm also. It’s our job as responsible pet parents to make sure that our pets do not suffer the effects of the cold weather. Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. Some characteristics that may affect your dog’s ability to tolerate the cold include coat density, your pet’s age, size and health status. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s paws, skin and general health, the following are some important tips to follow:
- Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat can cause itchy, flaking skin – thus the scratching begins. Talk to your Vet as soon as you see your furry one display discomfort. Insistent scratching can lead to hot spots or other skin irritations. Medication can help relieve itchy skin and your pet’s uneasiness.
- Take shorter walks with your dogs. Short frequent walks are preferable to extended walks during this cold time of year. Once back inside, make sure to wipe off any snow, ice or water from between their toes. Sore cracked paws can cause a lot of pain if not taken care of properly. If you notice any redness, swelling and/or cracked pads, visit your Vet as soon as possible
- Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your Doctor to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse. Brushing your pet regularly not only gets rid of dead hair, but also stimulates blood circulation. If your pet has long hair, trim some of the long strands so that they don’t pick up leaves and debris. Sanitary trims are also helpful.
- The most obvious sign when your pet is cold is shivering or shaking, which is the body’s way of generating heat. Look for behavioral changes – your pet may look uncomfortable or seem anxious. Instead of running around outside joyfully, your pet may stand around, try to turn back home or seek shelter. Listen for verbal clues such as whining or barking.
- Don’t leave your pet in your parked car. During the winter it can act as an icebox and trap cold air inside. This rule is also important during the summer heat.
- Consider using pet sweaters, jackets or booties on your pet. Although all dogs are at risk in the cold weather, some are better equipped to handle it than others. Huskies and other breeds from cold climates are certainly going to be more comfortable than other dogs when outside. Make sure sweaters are not too tight and booties fit just right and have a good grip. Once you come back from the outside, make sure sweaters and booties get dry. Also, wash and keep these items clean as well.
- Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime and sometimes can become dehydrated. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather and making sure they have plenty of water to drink will help them keep well-hydrated, and their skin less dry.
- Energetic pup? Look into indoor doggie daycares for your energetic playful pup. Make sure your pet is updated on vaccinations and on their intestinal parasite exams. Socializing with other dogs will keep your pet in shape and they will less likely be bored.
Talk to your veterinarian about cold weather protection. Some medical conditions can intensify when it gets colder outside. This is especially true of arthritis. Cold weather can cause increased stiffness for our older pets as well as pets that have joint issues. Laser therapy relieves pain and increases mobility without medications. The treatment cost is very reasonable. Pacific Animal Hospital offers Laser Therapy and this may be an option to help your pet! Remember, if the weather is too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. Animal companions should remain indoors as much as possible during rainy, cold weather. Remember that having your pet checked every six months by your veterinarian ensures health problems are caught early when they are most treatable. We wish both you and your pets a safe and happy winter!
For our pets, the holidays are a time of excitement, new smells, strange house guests, and holiday decorations. As we all know, there is always a lot of food during the holiday season and a new fresh tree in your beautiful home. We all have heard stories about pets eating something they shouldn’t have or stories about the kitty and the Christmas tree. Most of the time, these mishaps result in funny anecdotes that we recount fondly with our families. However, sometimes they can have serious consequences.
The following foods are dangerous to pets that eat them:
- Fatty Foods
- Alcohol – careful where you place your glass!
- Onions & Garlic
- Bread and cookie dough
Make sure these foods are out of reach, especially if your pet is a notorious counter-jumper.
Ask your guests to avoid feeding any food to your pets without checking with you first. Sure,
your pets will give them the “help me I am starving” look, but please tell your guests right away
what is off limits for your furry ones!
Dangers of Holiday Decorations for Pets:
Tinsel & Ribbon: Cats tongues are covered with little hook like structures and can hold on to the tinsel or ribbons making ingestion and obstruction a common holiday occurrence.
Plants: Poinsettias, Holly and Mistletoe: There are many beautiful artificial silk plants if you want to be festive. These popular holiday plants are poisonous to cats and dogs.
Sharp objects, toys, decorations: Keep an eye on your decorations. Pets are curious and will mistake your decorative elf with bells and buttons for their fleece toy.
Dressing up your pet: We all love to dress up our pets! Santa hats, elf vests, reindeer ears and the list goes on. Keep a close eye on their new clothing attire. They can easily start chewing or ripping up their new clothes and possibly ingest it. If you notice that your pet doesn’t like to wear the item, be safe and take it off. Instead, take a quick selfie picture with your pet and new holiday wear. As they say, a picture lasts a lifetime.
A house full of family, friends and excited children can be overwhelming for anyone, but
especially for pets. Create a safe place for your pet that is off limits to visitors so they can
escape when they need the space. Also, never force your pet to socialize when they are already
stressed out and fearful.
Wishing you a safe and fun filled holiday season for you and your pet!