Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving, A time to be thankful and a time to be careful!

Turkey is a great ting for us, but can cause some stomach troubles in our pets! (Image Source)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! With this comes great food, time with family and friends and the excitement of entering the holiday season!
There are many creative ways to show your pet your are thankful for them without giving them table food! (Image Source)

While this is such a fun and happy time for us, it is important that to remember that it can be a stressful or hazardous time for our pets! There are a few things to keep in mind to keep your holiday happy and fun!
This is a trip to the vet's office waiting to happen! (Image Source)

If you are expecting company, remember to keep your pets collar and identification on and up to date. Every time the door opens that is an opportunity for your pet to slip out! You should also pay attention to your pet's activity and body language when you have visitors. Many pets are very excited and happy to see company, however some can become stressed. It is a good idea to have a place they can go to feel safe and quiet and relax for a little while away from the buzz of activity.
Definitely not a good idea for your pet! (Image Source)

Food is usually one of the main focuses of Thanksgiving! It is a way we can all come together and celebrate. Many of the foods we will be preparing may prove to be VERY tempting even for the best behaved pet. When cooking it is a good idea to keep pets away from the kitchen. Those delicious smells could prove to be just too tempting for them! Many of the foods we are preparing could be WAY too rich for our pets leading to stomach upset. This would include the skin from turkey or of the other meats and their seasonings. Although they may give you the saddest eyes, stay strong and resist the temptation to give them table scraps! It is also VERY important to NEVER give your pets bones of ANY meat. Poultry bones are especially bad as they can splinter easily. Nothing will ruin the holiday festivities like a trip the Animal Emergency Room.
This cat will not be happy if he eats this! (Image Source)

Other foods to be careful about your pet getting into include raisins and grapes. No one know exactly why or how much of these fruits it requires, but ingestion of grapes or raisins, can lead to kidney disease very quickly in some of our pets. Another hazard is chocolate. It is the time of year where sweets are becoming very popular! Be sure to keep them away from your pets! Again, it is better for our pets to just stick with their normal diet and not make any changes, especially around the holidays.
Keep all food safely away from your pet! (Image Source)

There are many foods that can cause upset stomach or other more serious issues in our pets. We would recommend sticking with their normal diet and treats ESPECIALLY during the stressful holiday season. If you pet does accidentally get into something they are not supposed to it is best to contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA poison control  hotline.
(Image Source)

We hope you and your pets have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Winter Activities with Your Pet!

It is starting to get a little chilly out there, so we need to get creative to entertain our pets! (Image Source)

Well the weather is starting to shift into a colder time of year for us here! Although the temperatures are dropping, our pets need for exercise do not change. We just may have to get a little creative about how they get their daily activity!
Running or walking outside may not be a good option for year round exercise, so we may have to look into options inside! (Image Source)

As a general rule of thumb our pets need about a minute of exercise per pound per day. This can vary in some animals, my dog for instances needs a little more than that each day. These activities can be spread throughout the day so they do not have to happen all at once.
This dog is all ready for the colder weather! He could continue to exercise outside for quite some time! (Image Source)

For dogs walking outside is a great exercise! However if it is too cold, icy or dark (or all of the above), we may have to think of alternatives. While in the summer, we used to walk after dark when it was cooler, in the winter, we try to walk more at noon, when it will be the most warm and the safest. If you do have to walk early in the morning or late at night make sure you and your dog are taking every safety precaution and are in a well lit area with lights on yourself.  Also remember to watch for ice as this can be harmful if you fall, but can also cause some damage to your pet's pads. You may need to consider purchasing boots for their feet or covering their pads with some petroleum jelly to protect them.
There are many options to help keep you and your pet visible during dark walks, these can include lighted leashes and collars, flash lights, blinking lights. Whatever it takes to keep you and your furry friend safe. (Image Source)

If the outside is just not going to be a viable option, there are some activities to play inside with your dog, and many of these can be adapted to your cat as well! One of our favorite games is hide and seek. We make our dog sit in one room, then we go hide and give him his release word. He has to search every room until he finds us. Then we have a couple rounds of chase in the hall way, then start over. He loves it and we are both getting a little exercise! A variation of this would be to hide a portion of their kibble or yummy treats throughout the house and have them find it! If you do have a food motivated pet, they may like food puzzle type toys. This will give them both mental and sometimes physical exercise!
You can use hallways to your advantage to get a little indoor exercise. (Image Source)

If you have a straight hallway or larger area you could also take a portion of their meals and roll or toss the kibble down the hall way so they have to run and get the kibble. Then call them back to you and start again.
Winter may be a good time to take advantage of doggy daycares or training facilities in your area. (Image Source)

Another option may be to look into training facilities to see what winter classes or open gym times may be available. This offers a lot of exercise but sheltered from the elements. If your dog is used to the dog park, they may do well in a doggy daycare situation one day a week. Or arrange a playdate with some other pets. This may work best in a home that has an unfinished basement or a large area with few breakables!
Food puzzles aren't just for dogs! Cats can find a lot of entertainment with them as well! (Image source)

I will sometimes take my dog into a store that allows pets just to get some exercise. We are very blessed to have several options in our town. We can walk up and down the aisles and stretch our legs without worrying about the weather outside.
Cat trees do not have to be elaborate, they can be home made and still offer exercise for your cat! They love the different levels as an option. A quick google search can show you a variety of different plans/ options to build your own! (Image Source)

These are just a few suggestions, there are many options and lots of them don't have to cost anything. This website gives some ideas for exercising your dog indoors.
This website has GREAT ideas for homemade food puzzles for cats!!

Let us know if you have any recommendations for indoor activities with pets!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Emmett is a 2 year old Great Pyrenees, and he is tall enough to get to anything unattended.  This can be a pet owner’s worse nightmare.  When you have a curious puppy or young dog, there are all kinds of household hazards you need to constantly be aware of, so we are going to use Emmett’s constant escapades to help our pet owner’s navigate through the tricky health concerns of all puppies and young dogs.

Episode #5 Bones, rawhides, and deer antlers, and even sticks; oh my!

Bones and dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly, cookies, and milk, or ham and cheese?? But do they?? Actually, no, bones in most cases are not ideal to give your dog, as they can causes several concerns that you may not be aware of.
The encounter

Scenario:   You finish your buffalo chicken wings, and toss your dog the bones to chew on, you pick up your favorite pooch a large rawhide at the petstore, your pet goes dumpster diving, and picks out some choice rib bones from the garbage; the scenarios are endless.

The scoop:
There are several main concerns with feeding these types of items to your loving canine friend.  The most common concern is that if your bet is eating chicken or rib bones, these “real” bones can splinter and cause punctures or abrasions to your pet’s stomach and intestines.  This could lead to bleeding in the Gastrointestinal tract, and also be quite painful. 
The next main concern is that if there is some meat left on the bones, or flavoring, this can cause upset stomach, and cause your pet to break out with vomiting, diarrhea or both.  Sometimes, your pet can even fracture a tooth chewing on bones, antlers or rawhides.
Dogs that eat the rawhide type bones too fast, before they really get softened up with saliva, could swallow a chunk that is just too big to pass through there digestive tract causing a life-threatening obstruction, needing emergency surgery.  This can happen with squares, but is more common with the round ends of the dog rawhide “bones”.

Pets often present urgently to the veterinary clinic after chewing on sticks with owner’s complaining of pawing at the mouth, crying/vocalizing, chewing motions, or even breathing issues.  Often, the doctor finds a stick lodge somewhere in between the teeth, or stuck on the roof of the mouth, and potentially even puncturing the tissues in the roof of the mouth or cheeks.

The plan:
Obviously all of these circumstances can require different medical plans to manage.  Teeth fractures caused by chewing hard bones and antlers almost always will require the tooth be extracted.  The tooth is painful to your pet, and is very likely to get a dental infection if left in too long.  Upset tummy can require diet changes, medications, or sometimes a hospital stay depending on how sensitive your pet’s digestive system is.  Obstructions and GI bleeds are rare from obstructing or splintering bones, but often this will require a surgery where your veterinarian can go in and remove these pieces to prevent further harm happening to your pet’s stomach.   

Alternatives for chewing include kong or other rubber toys, rope toys, and stuffed animals depending on the size of your pet.  
Join us for the next episode of #stuffemmetteats