Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday

With the Holidays upon us, it’s important to not forget about our furry and feathered friends. During the Holidays it can be easy to overlook potential hazards for our pets.For instance, Poinsettias, Holly and Mistletoe are toxic plants if eaten by cats and dogs. Chocolate, artificial sweeteners, grapes and onions are also poisonous for furry companions.

Many people include their pets in their festivities and plans. In doing so, it’s important to understand basic animal body language so you’re better able to read your pet’s mood. Many animals prefer a quiet spot, away from commotion and people they may not know. Give your pets a safe haven that they can retreat to. Provide them with enrichment toys to keep them entertained and stimulated. If they need a distraction, you can give them compounded pet medication if needed. Consult experts from a veterinary clinic before giving them one.

Try to keep to your pet’s normal schedule as much as possible during the Holidays. If your dog is used to being walked daily, continue taking him on his scheduled walk. If your cat normally enjoys some cuddle time in the morning, be sure to allow for those extra few moments with her.

For bird owners, be careful to not use air fresheners, scented candles or potpourri, many of which are dangerously toxic for birds. When heated, many non-stick cooking pots and pans emit toxics into the air that are dangerous for your bird as well. Be sure that your bird is in a separate area of the house when cooking and that your kitchen has been well ventilated before bringing the bird back into the area.

Keep an eye on Holiday decorations. Cats, dogs, bunnies and birds often find shiny decorations to be interesting and fun. Bunnies love to chew through cords, cats enjoy tinsel, dogs and birds like plucking ornaments off the tree and then chewing them into tiny bits that they may or may not ingest.

Lastly, it’s best to not feed your pets many leftovers, if any. Most Holiday dishes are rich in ingredients and contain a lot of sweeteners, sodium and fats, all of which are not healthy for your pets. If you have some lean meat leftover, you could use a small amount of it to stuff a favorite enrichment toy or use cut up bits as training treats. No big meals for Fido or Fluffy though, they could get sick and put a damper on the Holiday fun!

Keep your pets safe this Holiday season and everyone will be  happy!

Happy Holidays.

Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wanted to do a post in honor of the day. I am fortunate to be surrounded by loving companions, both human and non-human. My dogs, cats and parrot provide me with constant companionship, love and laughs. In return, I make sure they are well taken of by providing them with love, food, playtime, comfy beds and awesome collars 🙂

This Thanksgiving don’t forget to be thankful for your animal companions as well. Keep them safe too. If you are having guests over for the Holidays, be sure to provide your animals with a safe, comfortable place to sleep and rest, away from the hustle and bustle of festive activities. Some pets enjoy being right in the middle of it, while others choose to stay clear. Respect the ones who choose to stay clear, don’t force them participate in anything they don’t want to.

If you want to give your pets a Thanksgiving feast of their own, be careful not to overdo it, for a swift change in diet could upset their digestive track. For dogs, you could stuff a Kong with some morsels of Turkey, mashed potatoes and steamed veggies (prep some Kongs with your leftovers and freeze them for future use).  For cats, they would best enjoy small morsels of turkey as well. Cats may pick around other foods offered unless it’s all blended together. Again, moderation is key when offer these rich foods to pets! Avoid using foods that contain a lot of salt or preservatives (such as, pre-prepared Ham). Also, avoid sweets. We all know chocolate isn’t good for pets, but what some people don’t know is that Xylitol, a sweetener and baking ingredient found in many candies, pastries and gum is very toxic for animals too!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the day with whomever you’re spending it with and do not forget to tell and show your pets how much you appreciate them!

Big Dog in a Little Package

Babe continues to grow and develop. She does not think of herself as a small dog.  Often times Babe takes on Emma, our American Pit Bull Terrier, and harasses her to no end.  Emma is way more tolerant than I would be if I had pint sized munchkin hanging from my ears or jowls. Last week marked a shift in the roles between the animals in our household.  Steve, the cat, is not rumbling with Babe as often because Babe has grown by one pound and is testing her baby teeth out more often. We of course have been and will continue to take her to pet dental care as we do with all our pets to ensure her teeth are always as healthy as they can be.

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At the beginning of last week, I introduced Babe to clicker training.  I choose to use a tongue cluck as my marker signal with her. The first session was spent charging the marker signal by pairing the cluck with some freeze dried liver. Babe caught on very quickly, so the next step was to use the marker for behaviors I wanted to capture. Babe started offering sits more regularly when she realized sitting got her attention. I now captured the sits with the marker signal and followed it up with a treat. Ah ha! Now I could use the cue Sit, mark it and reward it. With in minutes Babe understood the word and now does it on cue more than 90 % of the time.  For the second clicker session, I taught Babe to Target onto my hand.

(if you turn up the volume, you’ll hear me tongue clicking Babe and then later giving her the cue “Target”.  You will also hear Jasmine, my parrot in the back ground making noises as well. At one point, early in the video, she says Good Girl)

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