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Pet Poison Prevention Month

61471 PFS12 6663 PFSSML (8)In honor of March being Pet Poison Prevention Month, let’s take a few minutes to think about common threats that could be around your home.

Plants

Plants are a common threat to pets, especially cats, who often try to make a tasty treat out of poisonous houseplants. Before bringing home a new plant, or even putting a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table, take a moment and check whether they might pose a threat to your furry friends. Some of the most common houseplants that can cause issues include aloe plants, asparagus fern, caladium, ivy, lilies and philodendron. However, these are only a few; a complete list can be found at http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/.

People Food

Food that we eat every day can also pose a serious threat to pets. From processed foods to fresh fruits and veggies, here’s what’s safe and what to avoid. Common foods that you want to be sure to keep away from your pet include alcohol, avocado, caffeine, cherries, chocolate, grapes, raisins, mushrooms, onions and salt. This may sound like it doesn’t leave much for you to share, but if you are looking for some healthy options to snack on with your pet, bananas, blueberries, pineapple and strawberries are all good choices.

Household Items

Other hazards that are often overlooked include small everyday household items. It is good to develop a daily habit of checking the floor for small items that can pose a choking hazard for your pet, from coins to LEGOs. Specifically keep an eye out for batteries, breath mints, soaps and mothballs, all of which can poison your pet if ingested.

Human Medication

Both prescription and over the counter human medications are common poisons for pets. Be sure to keep meds up and in closed cabinets. If left out on the counter, cats can knock them down for the dogs to chew on. Also, make sure to keep purses and bags up and closed to prevent your pet from helping themselves to the contents.

Pet Medication and Insecticides

When it comes to pet medication, make sure that you are applying the proper dosage for your pet’s weight. Also, always check with a veterinarian or the product manufacturer when using multiple products at once, or if administering medication to a sick, senior, pregnant or nursing animal.

How To React

If you believe that your pet has gotten into something that they shouldn’t have, call your vet immediately. If they are not available, you can contact a number of pet poison control helplines that will listen to your problem and provide tailored advice on what to do next. Be advised that many helplines do charge a consultation fee. It is best to be proactive and create a plan ahead of time, so if an emergency arises you will be prepared and know who to call.

 

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So it is with poison prevention. Spending a little time each month to make sure your home is safe for your pets may be all it takes to prevent disaster and keep your furry friends happy and healthy for years to come.

If Your Pet Had Thumbs What Would They Do?

Pets are a hot topic for some wacky holidays but If Pets Had Thumbs Day is by far one of my favorites. My pets manage to get themselves in trouble without thumbs so I can’t begin to imagine what they would do if they had thumbs! The result of their thumb filled days would have me hiding under beds in hopes that they showed mercy. Who knows what kind of anger they have built up from years of me not giving them that last piece of cake on my birthday. This holiday is a day where we, as pet owners, can reflect on how truly thankful we are that our pets haven’t miraculously sprouted thumbs. But if they did, here are some things I think they would do.

Hitch Hike to the Park

If you find yourself frequently exhausted from work related activities the odds are that your pets are feeling your pain, too. Now they can hitch a ride to their favorite park! With those cute wide eyes, wagging tails and happy demeanors who wouldn’t pick them up for a quick trip to the park?

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Use a Can Opener

The smells that come from those delicious wet pet food cans are so enticing for your pet. With easily accessible thumbs, forget feeding your pet dry food. They will take matters into their own hands and seek out the good stuff they know you are hiding.

Can Opener

Open the Fridge

Forget the whole only eating three meals a day thing. Those opposable thumbs open up a world of opportunities for eating! No more waiting for food, pets will open the fridge themselves and pick their own food. Better hope your favorite pizza isn’t what will satisfy your pet’s grumbling tummy.

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Use the Computer

Fingers crossed your pets are the best of friends. Otherwise, you just might find the dog discovering EBay and selling the cat.

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Clean Up

Let’s be honest, they won’t, but it would be awfully nice of them wouldn’t it?

Dog Shaming 

Text

I frequently speak for my pets in a voice I feel like they might use. Most of the time it’s way higher pitched than they are probably comfortable with. With thumbs, their personalities could shine through their texts. I imagine I would receive lots of messages about squirrels from the dog. Hopefully she would even include some selfies for me to admire while at work.

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Dogs Playing Poker

All of those pictures of dogs playing poker would finally hold some truth. They could actually hold the cards!

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Thumbs Up

Having the approval of your pets, is there anything better than knowing they think you’re something special, too?

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Drive

Dogs would drive to Starbucks for their pupachino, of course!

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Selfie

Pets love their hoomans just as much, if not more than their hoomans love them. This is why I think our pets would want to take a selfie to commemorate the day of opposable thumbs.

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What do you think your pet would do if they had thumbs?

Show Your Pet Some (Extra) Love

Vday (2)There is nothing better than the look of pure joy your pet gives you when you buy him a new awesome toy, give him an extra of his favorite treat or take some time to cuddle him on the couch. We think Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for showing your pet a little extra love.

Buy The Ridiculously Awesome Toy

We know you probably have a bin full of your pet’s favorite toys and that you get tired of picking the discarded favorite of the day up, but there is nothing like the smile he gets from rooting around in your pet store bags. Brighten up your pet’s day by trying out a new toy he doesn’t have. Here are a couple of our favorites.

  • Dog:
  • Cat:
    • Turbo Scratcher®- The ball will never stop spinning on this toy that doubles as a scratching pad.  
    • Turbo® Catnip Belly Toys- Adorable plush animals that have a hidden pouch of catnip to keep your kitty batting it around for hours.

Fuel Their Love Of Nature

No one loves long walks more than your dog, but sometimes the February weather can keep you a little too cooped up. Take some extra time to show him you haven’t forgotten his love for a good hike through the park. If the weather isn’t cooperating, spend some quality time playing with your pup in front of a toasty fire.

If your cat doesn’t venture outside, you can still show his curiosity for nature some love with the purchase of a cat tower or window perch. These items will provide your cat with a view better than the nature channel.

Spend Some Time On Their Pearly Whites

February is Pet Dental Health Month so there is no better time to give extra attention to your pet’s smile. Your pet’s teeth should be checked once a year by a veterinarian to help prevent and detect periodontal disease. The best prevention is brushing his teeth regularly to remove dental plaque. Taking care of your pet’s pearly whites can help him live a longer, healthier life.

Keep Them Stylin’

Fashion is forever changing and who doesn’t love an updated look? Keep your furry friends rocking the runway with these styles:

  • Dog:
    • K9 Explorer®- Keep your explorer ready for the next great adventure with collars, leashes and harnesses that combine outdoor fashion with reflective safety.
    • Ribbon- The fashionable pattern options will allow your pup to show off his personal style.
  • Cat:
    • Safe Cat® Fashion- More than 20 cute, classy and fun patterns will allow your cat’s personality to shine. 
    • Safe Cat® Glow In The Dark- These fashionable patterns charge during the day to glow all night for added safety.

 No Begging Needed, Give The Extra Treat

Those eyes are just begging for you to reach into the bag and pull out an extra treat. Giving him a bonus snack is sure to reward you with an extra slobbery kiss, or 10 additional minutes of cuddle time.

Dog Training Education Month

Dog _Wlk Rght Diesel 6162XLGFebruary is Dog Training Education Month, making it the perfect time to stop and think about simple ways training can improve life for both you and your pet!

Let’s start with the basics, potty training. With a busy schedule it can be easy to forget the last time you let your furry companion out to do his business. Potty training bells can be a simple solution to this problem because your dog will ring the bell when he needs to go out. This will clear up communication between you and your pet, helping eliminate unhappy accidents.

One of the most important parts of any training session is the reward! While a positive word and a quick pat may be all the reward your dog expects, having some delicious treats with you for when he does an extra good job will be sure to get his attention. Using treats with clicker training can create another positive que to get your pet’s attention. Never used a clicker? The idea is pretty simple, in the beginning, you offer your pet one of his favorite treats every time you make the clicker sound. It will not take long for your furry friend to create a positive association between the sound of the clicker and the reward of getting a tasty treat. Over time you can reduce or eliminate the treat from the equation but the positive association with the clicker will remain.

Is your spirited dog a puller? Both small and large dogs often get excited when it’s time to go on an adventure, from going out in the backyard to a trip to the park. Having a pet who is a strong puller can add a lot of unneeded stress to your experience, worrying about your pet’s safety as well as your own. While there are a lot of terrific walking solutions that can help hold back a strong puller, the Walk Right!® Front-Connect Padded Harness is a great choice. The first thing to do is to fit the harness on your pet nice and snug so that it doesn’t shift around when you start your adventure. Don’t worry, the front padding keeps things comfortable for your pet. Once the harness is properly fitted, connect the leash to the ring on the front of the harness. This front connection guides him by the chest strap and naturally redirects his attention without causing any strain on his neck. This not only improves the experience for you but for your pet as well.

Limited closure nylon training collars can be a great alternative to traditional chain training collars. A variety of options are available to provide a gentle reminder when your pet starts to pull. The Adjustable Check Training Collar™ offers nylon for a gentle touch paired with a chain element that offers an audible que your pet will also pick up on. The No! Slip® Martingale Adjustable collar provides the same gentle reminder. Both are available with a buckle for convenience.

No matter what tools you use to train your pet the most important thing is to stay safe and have fun! Always do your best to keep training a positive experience and remember that all the hard work will make both of your lives easier. It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

Curious as a Cat

Cats seem to have a natural curiosity about them. They’re always sticking their nose in your business and getting into places they don’t belong. You can see them tilt their head and widen their eyes, as if they are about to open up and ask you about life’s greatest mysteries. Sometimes they start meowing and you have to do a double take to make sure they didn’t just speak to you. January 22 is dedicated to taking a second to assess those quizzical looks and answer your cat’s burning questions.

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We’ve brainstormed five questions your cat may have on the tip of his tongue.    

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I know we both like the couch, but I definitely use it more than you do. Why can’t I use my claws on it?

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, including helping to remove the dead outer layer of their claws and to mark their territory. Scratching is natural for your cat and he should be encouraged to do it in designated places. Deter him from furniture and carpets by using tapes and sprays to train him. Encourage him to use scratching posts, scratch pads and toys made for scratching, like the Turbo Scratcher®. Regularly trimming a cat’s nails will help to decrease scratching damage.

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You’re always leaving me alone to suffer from boredom. What am I supposed to do all day while you’re gone?

It can be difficult to leave your cat home alone and you may wonder what trouble he will cause while you’re out. Providing him with a cat tree or perch that looks out a window will help to keep him occupied throughout the day. Bringing a second cat into your home will give him a buddy he can play with. Keeping toys around for him to play with while you’re away will help to keep him entertained. Toys that can easily be played with on his own will keep him engaged longer. The Mega Turbo™ Scratcher will keep him mentally engaged with a scratch pad on one side, an interactive movable ball on the other and a ball he can bat around the outside track. Puzzles and snacks can help to keep him occupied throughout the day. To challenge your cat you can add the Turbo Treat Ball™, which dispenses snacks if he spins it just right. 

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I would really like to play with the ‘toys’ I can see from the windows. Why won’t you let me explore the outdoors?

The outdoors can be dangerous for a cat. There are larger predators, traffic, diseases, parasites and more to worry about. If you choose to take your cat out make sure you take precautionary measures to protect him. Building a catio, an enclosed safe place, allows him to safely explore a limited portion of the outdoors. He could join the family on evening walks with a good, properly fit harness, leash and a little training. If you do take him outside make sure he is up-to-date on his shots to protect him from diseases and parasites.

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That man in the white coat pokes me. Why do you take me to such a cruel person?

Regular veterinary trips are a crucial part of caring for a cat, no matter how much he hates it. A vet provides vaccinations that will protect him from diseases, like feline leukemia and upper respiratory infections. They may also provide treatments to prevent or treat fleas, ticks, mites and worms. A vet can help walk you through any questions or concerns you may have about your cat and give the best advice for his health.  

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You’re always using that cooing voice and trying to squeeze me, sometimes it holds up dinner. I know I’m cute, but what is that about?

It’s called a purrfect love, and sometimes you just need a little kitty cuddle. 

Pet Travel Safety

My dog jumps at even the mention of the word car. Her tail wags, her tongue spills out, and I can instantly hear her nails prancing their way toward the garage door. Once we are in the car it is no better. She jumps from seat to seat, eagerly shoves her head out the window to smell the breeze, and gives relentless kisses to thank us for the ride. Worst of all, since she is a small dog, she has decided that any passenger’s shoulders are her own personal booster seat to see out the front window. She makes vet visits and general car rides a true driving test.

After two car rides with her it was noticeable that she makes driving nearly impossible and unsafe. Her constant movement is distracting and her choice of booster seat is less than convenient. If you have ever considered your dog a hazard on the road, consider these tips on how to make your car ride more enjoyable for both you and your pet:

  • Treat your pet like you would yourself and any other passenger. When you get in the car the first thing you do is buckle up. This should be no different for your pet. Consider an auto harness with a tether so that they are restrained in the event of an accident and are not distracting you while you drive. The Bergan® Dog Auto Harness with Tether is perfect for this scenario as it provides security, confidence and convenience at an affordable price.

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  • All dogs seem to love looking out the window, but it is more difficult for small dogs. If you have a small dog who loves to look out the window but can barely reach, think about a booster seat. This restrains your dog and acts as a booster so your dog doesn’t have to use your legs as a stepping stool. The Bergan® Comfort Sitting Dog Booster is a great option as it is quick to install, easy to adjust and offers a comfortable interior.

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  • If your dog is too big to be a lap dog but still enjoys its car rides consider the Bergan® Auto Travel Dog Barrier. This keeps your dog from being able to jump into the front seat by keeping them safely contained in the back seat. 

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Next time you take your canine companion for a car ride remember to treat them like any other passenger. Buckle them up and/or have them secured to one area of the car so you can focus on the most important thing – arriving to the dog park safely.

Show Your Pooch Some Howliday Love

It’s that time of the year when the air is crisp, clothes are added in layers, and houses contain the sweet aroma of home baked cookies. These mark the beginning of the holiday season. While you are baking cookies and slaving over the stove to prepare the perfect holiday meal for friends and family to enjoy, don’t forget a major part of your family – your dog. We know those begging puppy eyes can be so hard to say no to, so why not make them their own special holiday treat? This is why those of us at Coastal Pet Products have decided to make our pets a part of the holiday tradition. We took the time to create some no-bake howliday treats for our canine companions this season. Follow these simple steps to leave your pets barking for more!

1. Gather your ingredients. All you will need is 1 cup of pumpkin puree, ¼ cup of peanut butter, ¼ cup of milk, and 3 cups old fashioned oats

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 2. In a bowl add the pumpkin puree, peanut butter, milk, and 2 ½ cups of oats (the remaining oats will be used later).  

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3. Mix the ingredients together on high with an electric mixer. The ingredients should be well blended. 

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 4. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, roll the blended mixture into 1 ½ inch balls and roll them in the remaining ½ cup oats. Place finished balls on a cookie sheet.

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5. Cover and place in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour.

6. Give to your dog to enjoy!

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If you would like to reference the original recipe, please go to https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/366033-no-bake-peanut-butter-oat-dog-treats

Why Mixed Breeds Rule: a Reminder for National Mutt Day


December 2 is National Mutt Day, which has been celebrated twice a year on July 31 and December 2 since 2005. According to event founder Colleen Page, this holiday is all about “embracing, saving and celebrating mixed breed dogs.”

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While more than half of all dogs in the USA are mixed breeds, up to 80% of shelters dogs are represented by all-American mutts. So, when thinking of getting a dog, here are some great reasons why you should consider a mutt.

Mixed breed dogs are unique in both looks and personality. They are easy to find and offer endless choices. Mutts tend to be healthier, better behaved and live longer while still performing the same activities as many purebred dogs. In 2014, Westminster Kennel Club began to include mixed breed dogs in its agility competitions. They tend to make better family pets, too, as their breed-centric compulsions are more muted making them easier to handle and often easier to train.

Not only are mixed breeds less costly to acquire than their purebred counterparts, experts have confirmed they tend to be healthier and therefore incur fewer medical expenses. In 2013, a study in The Veterinary Journal found that mixed breed dogs live on average 1.2 years longer than pure breeds.

So, in honor of National Mutt Day, consider visiting a shelter or adopting a mixed breed dog. If you are unable to adopt, you can always volunteer or donate to help mutts find their forever homes. Be sure share pictures of your all-American dogs on social media for #nationalmuttday and encourage others to join in to remind us all why mixed breeds rule.

National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike Day – November 17th

National Take a Hike DayThere is something remarkably rewarding about finding a hidden spot of beauty that is seemingly untouched by man. Stumbling upon a cavernous cave, sparkling blue waterfalls, and trees displayed in a tunnel-like fashion aren’t things you see on your daily walk around the neighborhood. These special places are found when you go on an adventure and challenge yourself to go off the beaten path. This is why I challenge you to go on an adventure on National Take a Hike Day, November 17th.

Some of the best hikes I have been on have been those that I didn’t plan. Instead, I drove to the nearest scenic area and looked for a park pull off or simply decided to ‘get lost’ and see where I ended up. These are the times I have discovered the true beauty of the state in which I live. It’s nice to take in the beauty and silence but finding these places is even better when you have someone to share it with. This is why I often take my trusty canine companion with me.

 It is as much an adventure for me as it is for her. My dog takes in the smells and wildlife while challenging me to go off the beaten path in her pursuit of a squirrel. She is ultimately the reason my simple hike becomes an adventure. It’s almost as if she idolizes the adventures of Loki the Wolfdog and hopes to encourage me to follow in their adventurous spirits. Often times we will find ourselves enjoying the cooler weather for miles.

Before you begin your hike make sure you take into consideration your needs as well as your dog’s. Take into consideration that hiking is more strenuous than walking. If you rarely get out for a neighborhood stroll, the odds are your dog doesn’t either. If you decide to take your dog for an initial two mile hike then you might be carrying them on the stretch back. Make sure you pick a comfortable distance for both you and your pet. 

If you are looking for some starting points for your canine accompanied adventure then please consult this general list of dog friendly state parks in your area but before you run out the door make sure you grab a few essentials:

-        Leash

-        Water

-        Disposable bags

-        Collar (a harness typically does best as it allows the most control and comfort) 

Have fun and go take a hike!

Training your puppy means a happier, healthier life

By Kelly Diehl, DVM, MS
Science Writer and Researcher
Morris Animal Foundation

OBTIf you and your family have chosen to bring a puppy into your life – congratulations! Dogs bring love and joy to their families, but choosing a puppy is the easy part. The real challenge begins when we bring our furry friends home and they start learning how to be a part of the family. Time spent training your dog from the day he or she comes home is an investment in a beautiful relationship that will last a lifetime.

Having a well-trained dog not only is good for your furniture, your neighbors, your mail carrier and your sanity, it also is beneficial for your dog. Both animal behaviorists and human psychologists recognize the benefits of a close human-animal bond, and positive reinforcement training provides a way for dogs and their human companions to strengthen that bond. An additional benefit is the mental and physical stimulation that training provides for dogs. (Training your dog also can save their life in more ways than one. Multiple studies have shown that behavior problems are one of the primary reasons people relinquish their dog to an animal shelter.)

House training a puppy is essential, but even learning some simple commands such as “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” can make a positive difference in how a new puppy (or dog) integrates into a household.  Using positive reinforcement is critical; dogs don’t understand hitting or yelling, and often will become more fearful or aggressive with punishment.

In addition to positive reinforcement, most trainers and veterinarians recommend crate training your puppy. Dogs in the wild naturally seek out dens for shelter and protection. A crate gives your puppy a safe space they can retreat to, and that you can use to aid in house training your pup and preventing destructive behavior.

Keeping a consistent schedule, from feeding times to potty breaks, is important for puppies. When you first get your puppy, they need to be taken out frequently to urinate and defecate. Picking a specific area that becomes the designated bathroom and rewarding your puppy as soon as they eliminate are other helpful tips for training. Trainers recommend that you reward your puppy while still outside; don’t wait until you’re back in the house.

There is no getting around the fact that you will need to purchase new gear for your pup. All dogs need a leash and collar, as well as either ceramic or metal food and water bowls. Puppies have a strong instinct to chew, so providing age and size appropriate materials is important. Toys and other play items designed for dogs enrich their environment and provide welcome diversions.

Avoid giving your puppy old, used household items to chew on or play with; dogs are not good at knowing that the old slipper you gave them to play with is different than your expensive Italian stiletto shoes!

From a safety perspective, a well-trained puppy is a safer puppy, particularly around other dogs and people. But even training can’t prevent every incident. Remember to provide your dog with identification just in case the unthinkable happens and your dog is lost. Implanted microchips are the most high-tech options on the market, but even something as simple as a customized dog tag can provide identification. Identification can mean the difference between bringing your dog home and losing it forever.

The companionship dogs provide us is priceless. Bonding with our furry friends through positive training strengthens and enhances that relationship. For dog-training resources, check with your veterinarian, your local humane organization, or visit American Animal Hospital Association’s Healthy Pet for tips and references.