Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Safety Tips for Turkey Day

As if Aunt Edna’s giblet stuffing wasn’t enough to worry about on Thanksgiving…then there’s your dog or cat.

Dogs and some cats enjoy the revelry at least as much as we do, with bits of this and that dropping on the floor, and delectable smells wafting around the house. But Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a free-for-all. There are certain items your pets should really avoid.

According to a Petfinder article, veterinarians experience an increased number of office calls due to digestive problems after the holidays. We’ve compiled a list of tips that will help you and your pet get through Thanksgiving safely.

Stuff Your Turkey, Not Your Pet
It's easy to want to give your dog or cat a plate full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and whatever else you think they might enjoy. But that's a bad idea. Overindulging in fatty foods can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. A few bites of skinless turkey on a healthy pet’s normal food is fine, but resist pleading for more.

Keep ‘Em Busy
For dogs, put a bit of his regular food in a Kong, and then stuff a little boneless, skinless turkey, sweet potatoes and gravy in the Kong (very similar to what we offer at Morris Animal Inn for Thanksgiving boarders!). It's not much food, but it will keep him occupied for a long time. For cats, you might consider offering some catnip in a safe, quiet room.

Tire ‘Em Out
A dog who has been on a big walk or fetched the ball a zillion times, or a cat who has played several sessions of bird or mouse catching will be much more likely to run out of energy during the feast than one who's been idle all day. The bottom line: a tired pet is a good pet on Thanksgiving.

No Bones About It
Cooked turkey bones are dangerous to your pets. They're potential choking or digestive hazards, so don't leave plates with bones lying around. Put plates in an unreachable area if you can't dispose of everything properly right away.

Sage Wisdom
Sage and some other herbs used on holidays like Thanksgiving have essential oils that can cause tummy upset and central nervous system depression if a pet eats them in large quantities. The average dog or cat isn't going to gobble down a fistful of sage, but keep herbs out of reach just in case.

Don't Cry Over Onions
Onions are toxic to dogs and cats. They can lead to a dangerous form of anemia that may not be detected for days. Make sure your pets stay away from the pearly whites, yellows, and reds.

Don't Give Her the Raw Deal
Unless your pet is already on a raw diet, we don’t recommend plopping a piece of raw turkey in her bowl (the change from her regular food might cause an upset stomach). But more importantly, keep your pets away from uncooked dough for bread, rolls or pastries. Once raw dough is ingested, it will rise in your pet’s stomach, potentially causing swelling, pain, vomiting and bloating—conditions that may send you and your pet to the ER.

Avoid Yappy Hour
Some pets actually seem to enjoy alcoholic drinks. Walk away from your drink that's set on the coffee table, and Lulu may get lit. Pets and booze are a bad mix. Your pet may not do anything embarrassing she'll regret in the morning, but she could become disoriented and quite ill. Too much alcohol can even lead to a coma and death, so watch where you – and others – put their drinks.

By following a few basic tips, your dog will enjoy a fun, safe Thanksgiving. Now if only you could avoid Aunt Edna's stuffing…

*Sources: Petfinder, Modern Dog Magazine

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's the Remedy...

We've all heard that pets can have a positive effect on our health. But what exactly can they do for us? In this post, we provide you with a list of the most common benefits based on a multitude of research conducted on the subject of pets and people. So here goes...

The interaction between people and pets can:
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce cholesterol levels
  • Raise triglyceride levels
  • Decrease feelings of loneliness
  • Provide opportunities for exercise and outdoor activity
  • Provide opportunities for socialization (both romantic and platonic)
  • Result in milder emotional responses
  • Allow people to recover more quickly from stress
  • Improve mood
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Provide a friend/confidant for children
  • Increase calm and concentration for autistic people
  • Fend off or lessen depression
  • Decrease the risk of developing allergies or asthma if the person had a childhood pet
  • Increase longevity and appetites in Alzheimer’s patients
  • Cause patients to report less pain in hospital settings
And just recently, Mars Petcare announced a new people-pets fitness program called The Power of Pets, for which it has partnered with several YMCAs across the county.

The list goes on and on...with a quick Google search, you'll have a whole day's worth of reading about the wealth of benefits pets can have on our lives!

Sources for this post include: 
The American Journal of Critical Care, The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, The Delta Society,, The New York Times, The American Veterinary Association, and PR Newswire.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cold Weather Grooming

We sometimes find clients fall behind on their grooming regimen the winter months. Many times people think grooming is not necessary because their pet may not be as active...but here are just a few reasons to keep it up:

1) Long coats require extra care. Just because your pet has a built-in sweater doesn't mean you shouldn't watch for matting or tangles during winter months. If you let his or her coat grow out in the winter, you're probably not in the habit of brushing it several times a week to keep it in tip-top shape. To avoid a complete shave-down in the spring, continue regular brushing and/or bring your pet to us every few weeks from November-March. Your pet (cats, too!) will be much more comfortable and less prone to sores and infections.

2) Short coats continue to shed. Colder air makes your pet's skin drier, making short-coated pets' fur tend to shed even more in the winter months. To avoid the furry furniture collection, you should plan to brush a short-haired animal's coat five to six times a week. You might also consider our Shed-Less Treatments. This will also keep your pet's coat shiny, clean and healthy, not to mention giving your pet some precious one-on-one time.

3) Skin gets itchy. As previously mentioned, cold air means dry skin, and dry skin means scratching. Excessive scratching can translate into a dull coat and unsightly lesions. To combat this, consider using a moisturizing shampoo (we use Oxy-Med Medicated Conditioner in our grooming salon), and adding a tablespoon full of flax, olive or canola oil to your dog's meal or about a half tablespoon for a cat.

4) Baths are still needed! If you prefer to bathe your pet at home, continue to do so, but make sure NOT to let him or her go outside in the cold while wet. This will just magnify the itching, matting and shedding. Instead, make sure to blow your pet's coat completely dry on a cool or low setting, and keep the dryer at least six inches from his or her skin to avoid burning.

5) Clothing helps protect skin and fur from the elements. Pet sweaters, coats and booties aren't just for making a statement. They can really help protect your outdoor pet from fur-tangling wind, matting ice and frostbitten toes.

If you need help or simply don't have the time to groom your pet as he or she requires, please give us a call and we will gladly take on the responsibility. Happy almost winter!