Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Super Bowl Safety Tips for Pets

This Sunday marks Super Bowl XLIX, and while you may be excited to root for your favorite team, the funny commercials and the awesome snacks, your pets may not feel the same way! A lot of strangers to the house, commotion or yelling can be confusing and scary for your pets. An abundance of yummy snacks can cause your pet to think they are also eating the Super Bowl menu, so make sure you and your guests are aware of the different risks to feeding your pets game day food.

Here are some Super Bowl staples that can cause major health problems for your pets:
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin and even small amounts can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coma, or death in pets.
  • Chips and Dip. Most dips contain onions and garlic, which destroy pets’ red blood cells and can result in anemia. Salty foods, such as potato chips, can cause excessive thirst, urination, and sodium poisoning.
  • Guacamole. For dogs and cats, it’s unclear how toxic the persin found in avocados is, but it is recommended that avocados or anything made from them not be fed to your pets. The pit also causes concern for dogs, as it can lead to an intestinal obstruction or can even become lodged in their throats.
  • Ice Cream. Dairy products can upset pets' digestive tracts and cause stomach distress and diarrhea.
  • Nuts. Besides being a choking hazard, certain nuts like macadamias can poison your pets. As few as six can cause your pet to experience muscle tremors, weakness, vomiting, fever and an elevated heart rate. Eating chocolate with nuts can intensify these symptoms.
  • Chocolate. Chocolate contains dairy (see above) and a chemical called theobromine, which can be fatal to pets.
  • Fat Trimmings. Fat trimmed from meats like barbecued ribs can cause pancreatitis in dogs.
  • Bones. While it seems natural to give a dog a bone (or chicken wing), bones can cause obstructions in digestive tracts and also lead to choking. They can also break off and puncture the stomach lining!
  • Caffeinated Beverages. Sugary sodas are a staple at any party, but not for your pets. The caffeine in soda, coffee, tea, and iced tea can be toxic to pets and lead to abnormal heart rhythms, seizure, and death.

Watch the Trash. Super Bowl parties are known to have a lot of food...and that means a lot of trash! Be sure to keep your trash secured so your dog or cat cannot eat or lick off of the disposable plates.

Shy Pets. All the football excitement can very well mean some raised voices and waved arms, not to mention strange people in the house if you’re hosting a party. If your dog or cat is fearful or shy, let them have some quiet time in a place they feel safe and secure. You may want to consider lodging your dog or cat at Morris Animal Inn for the night, just to be sure your pet is being pampered and well cared for, away from the commotion and guests.

Just like any other big gathering, it's important to keep an eye on your pets to make sure they are happy and safe. Whether you're rooting for the Patriots or the Seahawks, we hope your Super Bowl Sunday is filled with fun and delicious snacks! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Pet Introductions

Whether you already have a dog and are considering getting a cat, or vice versa, their first introduction is very important! Setting up an environment for success will help your current pet and your new pet better adjust to having a new furry sibling!

The American Humane Association provides some great tips how to best match your new dog or cat with your current furry friend, and how to introduce them!

Matching Cats and Dogs

It’s essential to consider the personalities of both the dog and cat when you're thinking about adding a new addition to your family.

A new cat isn’t a good idea if your dog:
  • Chases, pins, picks up or has otherwise been rough with any cat in the past
  •  Growls, lunges at or obsessively barks at cats
A new dog isn’t a good idea if your cat
  • Growls, swats at, runs from or hides from dogs
Dogs who like to chase. If a dog loves chasing things, then a fearful, shy cat who runs away probably wouldn’t be the best choice, as it could start a chase! Similarly, an energetic cat who runs and pounces would also fall into this same category. A better match here would be a calm, confident cat who will not run away!

Playful dogs and cats. If a dog plays roughly, it is best to avoid pairing them with kittens or elderly cats who are more fragile. Instead, a playful adult who is interested in play, but is also confident and self-reliant might be a better choice! If a cat is rambunctious or playful, a dog that is playful, but gentle, could be a great option!

Elderly and calm dogs and cats. A calm counterpart would be best. Rambunctious companions may annoy, frighten or otherwise bother your other pet!

The Introduction Process

The American Humane Association provides four steps that can help you ensure a successful meeting:

Step 1: Choose the proper location for the first meeting

If you are adopting, speak with an adoption counselor to find the best place for your pets to meet for the first time. Depending on whether you are introducing a new cat or a new dog, at home may or may not be the best option!

Step 2: Separate your new furry family members

Alternate which pet has freedom and which is limited to a safe place to allow each animal plenty of time to investigate the other’s scent. When your pets are home alone, the dog and cat must always be separated so unsupervised interactions are not possible.

Once both pets are calm, you can proceed to the next step!

Step 3: Make leashed introductions

Allow both the dog and cat to be in the same room at the same time, but keep the dog securely leashed. Continue with this type of introduction until the dog is calm and ignores the cat, and the cat is calm, eating and using the litter box normally.

Continue until both the dog and cat seem happy and relaxed around each other.

Step 4: Allow unsupervised interactions

Unsupervised time together can happen after the cat and dog have been supervised around each other for a significant period of time and you are positive they will not hurt each other!

Remember, stay patient and calm! It may take time for your new pet to adjust, and that's completely normal. If you have any troubles along the way, never hesitate to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January is National Train Your Dog Month

This month marks the fifth celebration of Train Your Dog Month, created by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT). APDT believed it was long overdue to dedicate a month to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training.

This month we would like to invite pet parents to embark on enriching their canine companion’s life and most importantly, understand that training your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience!

As a proud member of APDT, we want to celebrate training your dog with everyday manners. We also wish to stress the importance and benefits of training dogs to become happy and healthy companions. Too many dogs are turned into animal shelters each year for behavior and training issues that could be easily solved with proper socialization and positive and gentle methods of training.

Beyond the month of January, there are so many benefits of training with your dog on a consistent basis:

  •  Strengthen the bond with your pet
  • Create a positive relationship
  •  Gain an understanding of your pets behavior
  •  Increase the safety of your pets, guests, and family
  • Decrease daily stresses
  • Make life with your pup more enjoyable
  •  Fulfill your dog’s need for structure

At Morris Animal Inn, we offer many training options. From Puppy Daycare; to Manners Daycare; to Manners and General Obedience lodging packages; to a two-week Canine Training Camp, there are endless opportunities for your dog of any age! Whether you added a puppy to your family this holiday season or have been blessed with a dog for many years, it's never too early or late to train! 

So...where to begin?  APDT offers many resources to start. Our training offerings may also help pet parents get the ball rolling. Remember, training is supposed to be a fun learning experience for both you and your dog.  It requires patience, love, consistency and lots of treats!

Happy training!

Source: APDT