Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 8

There's No Place Like Home... Or Is There???

Keep a close eye on your pets to make sure that they don't bolt or wander out while visitors come in and out of your house. If you have a cat or dog that is easily frightened, overly rambunctious or potentially aggressive, it is best to put him in his favorite room and close the door so he feels safe and secure. Be sure to put a sign on the door that restricts entry and to verbally explain the situation in advance to all guests.

Great Alternative Idea!
For those especially hustly-bustly situations... like this weekend's home-based holiday fetes... treat your fuzzy-faced kids to some respite at a facility that specializes in caring for "their type". In the greater Phoenix area, I HIGHLY recommend Villa La Paws... they provide fully supervised cage-free daycare and overnight slumber parties that will delight your dog with tons o' fun and interaction with 4-leggeds AND 2-leggeds alike in a fabulously spacious and doggy-friendly indoor/outdoor setting. My K-9 Kids LOVE it there, especially Tracey who visits a minimum of 2X/week all the year through! (Hey, every day's a holiday for her!!!). And good news for you feline fanciers... they also have Kitty Casitas to pamper your pussycat!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 7

The Point About Poinsettias

Although they are beautiful adornments of the Yuletide season, poinsettias, mistletoe, ivy, and holly berries can all be poisonous... even fatal… to animals. If you suspect your dog has ingested any these, induce vomiting by administering 1-2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 6

More From Santa's Gift Bag

Still not sure about what to bestow upon your beloved Bow-Wow for the holidays? Here are a few more ideas and guidelines, straight from the Top Dog's mouth (and with Santa's blessings)!

  • Avoid toys that contain a noisemaking device if your dog feels it is his right and duty to perform “squeakectomies”. Ditto for stuffed toys which may contain hard-to-digest fillings such as nutshells or polystyrene beads, and tennis balls which are easily “peeled”.
  • Remove string, ribbon, rubber bands, tags and labels from all toys before turning them over to your dog. Discard toys that start to break into pieces or have pieces torn off.
  • Very hard rubber toys, such as Nylabones, are virtually indestructible, are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are fun for both chewing and carrying around. Kong-type toys are great for fetching and, when filled with broken-up treats or peanut butter, can keep a dog busy for hours.
  • "Busy-box" toys also offer long term fun and foster problem solving skills.
Okay, only a few days to go before the holidays are upon us. If you have an idea about what the fur kids will find below the Christmas Tree or Hanukkah bush... or still need some last minute direction... take a moment to check out/respond to the survey in the left column. (Undecided poochy parents will appreciate it!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Top 10 Howliday Safety Tips: Day 5


Just because a product is sold in a pet supply store does NOT mean it is necessarily safe or suitable for your dog. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some great tips for making your fur kid’s holiday doggone delightful!

  • Provide your pet with a variety of toys that fulfill many different purposes; for example, one to carry, one to roll, and one to "baby."

  • Keep your dog’s age, size and activity level in mind when purchasing toys. Anything too small or light-duty can easily be swallowed or destroyed.

  • Rawhide, hooves, and pig's ears are a high source of protein and can cause significant weight gain when ingested in large quantities or on a frequent basis. Furthermore, they can easily break off into small pieces and lodge in your pet’s throat or intestines. Imported rawhide is commonly preserved with carcinogenic preservatives such as formaldehyde; while American-made rawhide is more expensive and difficult to find, it is a safer product and well worth the extra cost and time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


When you think of tastes associated with the holiday season, Pumpkin is probably one of the first that comes to mind! But did you know that pumpkin is also a great source of anti-oxidents? For you AND your dog! And great for digestion, too!

With these nutritious, easy-to-make holiday treats, as you dive into your pumpkin pie dessert, your fur friends can feel part of the party while partaking of the health benefits and "yummy for the tummy" that pumpkin provides!

Pumpkin Patch Dog Biscuits
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
4 tbsp. butter-flavored Crisco
1 tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, beaten
½ cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°. Combine all dry ingredients and cut in shortening. Mix egg with milk and pumpkin, then combine with flour mixture. Stir until soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool before serving. Store in airtight container.

Your fellow fido fanatics would LOVE to hear about your favorite pooch-pleasing recipes... post away!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Top Ten HOWLiday Safety Tips: Day 3

TIP #3: Food Frights
Despite your dog’s willingness --- or should I say insistence? --- about pulling up a chair to join you for your annual holiday meal, think twice about sharing… especially if they don't regularly get table scraps during the rest of the year. Most traditional holiday foods are far too rich and spicy for pets, triggering gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, and bouts of diarrhea.

Even stripped-down bones should be off limits. Poultry and ham bones can easily splinter and lodge in the throat, gums or the roof of the mouth; they can also cause extensive damage to the stomach and GI tract, puncturing the small intestines and creating a life-threatening or fatal situation. A good rule to follow is: "If in doubt, throw it out"!

The same caveats apply to desserts and snacks. It’s not just an “old wives’ tale” that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. In fact, depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, it can be toxic or even fatal. Semisweet, also known as "baker’s” chocolate, contains extremely high levels of caffeine and theobromine; as little as ½ ounce per pound of body weight can stimulate your pet’s heart and nervous system with lethal results. And while milk chocolate is less toxic to pets, its high fat content can lead to unpleasant attacks of pancreatitis.

A satisfying portion of his regular food served just before your feasting begins should reduce your dog’s inclination to beg for food. Be sure to reinforce the “no people food” rule to your family and friends; don’t give in no matter how cute, hungry or deprived your pet looks… or how “mean” you feel!

Lest you be called "Grinch" by your pooch and his pals, invite your festive Fido to participate in the holiday food fantasy and feeding frenzy by patronizing your town’s local pet bakeries or boutiques for special, pet-safe holiday treats. And for those "do-it-yourselfers", log in tomorrow for a quick & easy holiday biscuit recipe that is sure to delight even the most discriminating doggy's palate!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Top Ten HOWLiday Safety Tips: Day 2

TIP #2: Ornaments & Decorations
Bright and shiny holiday decorations are quite intriguing to pets and, therefore, bring their own set of considerations.

Tinsel is not considered toxic, however it can cause potentially life-threatening gastrointestinal blockage or strangulation, internal cuts and abrasions if swallowed.

Because hanging ornaments have a tendency to pique canine and kitty curiosity, cur”tail” temptation by hanging them as high up on the tree as possible, using ribbon or yarn instead of metal hooks. This is especially important for those made of glass because in addition to paw pad injuries, your pet’s internal organs can be severely damaged if the remnants of a broken ornament are ingested.

Other seemingly innocent but potentially dangerous holiday decorations include:
- Bubbling lights, which contain methylene chloride that can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested.
- Snow sprays and snow flock, which can cause respiratory reactions when inhaled.
- Water in snow scenes, which may contain toxic organisms such as Salmonella.

- Candles are another major safety hazard (especially for cats since they don't have much instinctive fear of fire). Make sure to place your Christmas and Hanukkah candles in places where your pets can't overturn them, possibly burning themselves and causing damage to your home. And of course, never leave lighted candles unattended.