two small dogs in rain jackets under umbrella

Tips for Handling Dog Events on a Rainy Day

Published May 15th, 2015 by Dallas Dog Life

If you’ve had a tough week, never fear! There are so many fun events going on this weekend where you can have an adult beverage, hang out with your dog (or not), and just relax and enjoy yourself.

But what about all this rain, you may ask? Yes, it does put a damper on things but there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy the dog-friendly events on the schedule.

Here are some tips to help you navigate a dog event when rain is in the forecast:

 

 

Be prepared. We all know it’s going to rain this weekend; we just don’t know exactly when or where. So, make sure to wear sensible shoes and a raincoat and bring an umbrella, a few towels, and some baby wipes so you can clean off a bit before you and your dog get back in your car. And just accept that you’re going to get a little wet and muddy and may need to change clothes when you’re done partying it up with your pets.

Wet hair, don’t care? Awesome! If you don’t mind a little mud and rain, then it’s a great time to let your dogs let loose and get dirty. (Like this girl.) Just remember, not everyone is cool with muddy paws so make sure Fido doesn’t get so excited that he forgets his manners and jumps up on another event guest.

 

Leave your dog at home and take the party inside! If muddy paws or shoes, frizzy hair, or general humidity make you want to just stay home and binge on Netflix (also not a bad idea), look for an indoor event to enjoy. The Want Ink? fundraiser and Paint Your Pet event are both indoors. And you can still donate at all the Yappy Hours and enjoy your beverage inside – just remember that most bars don’t allow dogs indoors. (Except Lakewood Growler on Mockingbird Lane – since they don’t serve food, dogs are allowed inside!) (These events apply to those of you in Dallas, but there are pet-friendly events going on in most cities over the summer!)If your dog is scared of thunderstorms, please leave him at home. I have a rain-phobic dog who is legit scared of thunder, and it would terrify him to be outside when a downpour hits. Better to just leave him at home, turn the TV or radio up, and leave a few of your t-shirts near his bed to help keep him calm.

 

 

 

 

No leaving the dog in the car. The heat and humidity in a car can still reach deadly temperatures, even if it’s raining. Most people will want to roll their windows all the way up in the rain so it’s not a good place for your dog to wait while you’re enjoying yourself indoors.

There are some amazing events happening this weekend – Strut Your Mutt, Wine on the Roof, and Lone Star Bark – so if a little rain doesn’t faze you, go out and enjoy!

two dogs in cage sniff hand

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Spring is in the air, and it’s beautiful outside! While we’re all getting out into the sunshine with our best furry friends, let’s not forget about the neglected and abused animals that don’t have wonderful people in their lives. April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. If you want to help, here are some things you can do:

Support Your Local No-Kill Shelters and Rescue Groups

Our local shelters and rescue groups work very hard to keep animals in our communities safe, to heal and train them, and to adopt them out to good homes. They can use the support of the community through donations of food, toys, litter, blankets, and many other items as well as monetary donations. They can use foster families, dog-walkers, and people to play with and pet cats. They need your help to keep up their good work!

Adopt, Don’t Shop

 

It is so important to adopt your new dog from a shelter or rescue group. DO NOT support puppy mills and backyard breeders. These are often filthy places where animals are crammed into cages their whole lives. And who wants to pay hundreds and even thousands of dollars to support these places when you can adopt the perfect pet for a very low cost from your local shelter?

Speak Up

When you see an animal being mistreated, such as physical abuse, lack of veterinary care with obvious wounds, being left outside in freezing temperatures with no shelter, being left in a hot car, or chained up outside for days without water, then report it! Many people will see this and not do anything, so it is up to you to help these animals. You can make a report to your local police department. There are laws against animal cruelty. If you don’t get a good response, look into your local animal advocacy groups for help.

Spread the Word!

Talk to your friends, co-workers, family and neighbors about animal cruelty and how they can make a difference. Encourage them to adopt and volunteer at their local animal shelter. It is really a very fulfilling thing to do, and many teenagers are looking for volunteer opportunities anyway!

How do you plan to help and spread awareness about animal cruelty this month? What is your favorite way to volunteer or help out animals in your community?

woman hugs golden retriever with 5 kittens in lap

3 Incredible Benefits of Pet Ownership

You know how on those really bad days, you can come home at the end of them to your dog’s wiggling bottom, and you just can’t help but smile? Well, it’s not just in our heads. Our pets really can make us feel better when we’re down. Besides that, being a pet owner has so many other benefits as well!

Here is a fun, short video from CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The pet population has quadrupled since the 1960s, to over 160 million pets in the US now! I know that my life is full of friends, family and co-workers with pets. There are families with children, single workaholic adults, empty nesters, and college students who are all pet owners. Humans and animals have been living together for thousands of years, so it only makes sense that we would have developed a close bond with each other. Here are three big ways that pets can improve your health:

#1- Improved Physical Health

 

  • If you get a dog, then you should be taking her for walks regularly-the activity will add up and make you healthier in the long run. Also try trips to the dog park and try to keep up with your dog, or take your dog on a bike ride with you!
  • Being a pet owner lowers your cholesterol level, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
  • Service dogs can be trained on a variety of issues so they can help people lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. An example would be diabetic alert dogs, who notice small changes in their owners’ body chemistry when blood sugar begins to drop, and notify their owner, thus keeping her safe.
  • Pets can help keep you young! Being more active leads to overall cardiovascular improvements over time as well as improvements in mobility, flexibility, strength, longevity and independence.

#2- Improved Mental Health

 

  • Pets can help us connect with others by sparking up conversations at the dog park, or by helping us talk to a coworker who we don’t usually speak with about our common interest: our cats.
  • Pets can help build self-esteem by letting us talk to them without judging us and helping us talk to others by breaking the ice. I find that pets are an easy conversation topic for me, personally.
  • Pets can help with depression and PTSD by lifting the mood of and having a calming effect on people. Try petting your dog or cat the next time you feel stressed or sad and see if you don’t start to feel better.
  • Pet owners have lower cortisol overall. Cortisol is the so-called “stress hormone”.
  • Dogs are almost always happy to see us and in a good mood when we come home! Cats are…well, they’re glad you’re home by dinner time. It makes me feel good to walk into a house full of wagging tails and meows.
  • Pets can be great companions for the elderly or people who may live alone or not leave home very much. Just be sure that you can physically care for a pet before adopting! They can also increase self-reliance in the elderly.
  • Pets have a calming effect on children with Autism and on elderly Alzheimer’s patients.

#3- Pets are Good for Kids and Families

 

  • Children who grow up in homes with pets present are less likely to develop asthma, eczema, and allergies and tend to have very robust immune systems compared to children who grow up in homes without pets.
  • Children who grow up with pets can learn more responsibility and empathy than children without pets by learning to help care for the pet on a schedule, and by learning that their dog can feel hunger if he is not fed one morning, or pain if his hair is pulled.
  • Children with pets grow up with more confidence and with better social skills. Pets are great for children to talk to, helping with conversational skills, and speech shyness.
  • Families as a whole benefit from having pets because they are a shared joy and should also be a shared responsibility. Your pet is a companion your family will talk to each other about on a daily basis! You can also do fun things with your pet as a family such as going on walks, going to dog parks, and letting the dog ride in the car on drive-through errands (Remember to never leave a dog in a hot car!).

For more information and research on how pets are beneficial to our lives visit The Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation. It is, “a non-profit research and education organization that is gathering, funding and sharing the scientific research that demonstrates the positive health impacts of animals on people. The growing body of scientific evidence that proves the specific health benefits of the human-animal bond can be used by everyone – from doctors to policymakers – to make informed decisions that improve both human and animal health.” www.habri.org

How do pets enrich your life and health and the life of your family? Let us know in the comment section below!

woman at home with headphones holds kitten

5 Undeniable Reasons to Adopt a Cat

As a child, my family pet was a cat named Scooter. My parents found her and took her in as a kitten before I was born, so she was always a part of my life and I loved her very much. Thus, I have a special place in my heart for cats. Even though many of my blogs tend to focus on dogs, I did not become a dog person until I was an adult and adopted Skeeter, my lab mix. They are just so much more demanding of your time, energy and attention, aren’t they?

I am going to get back to my roots today and focus on cats in light of June being Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Cats really are remarkable animals, are full of personality, and they are also great cuddlers. Here are some reasons to adopt a cat and some ways you can help your local shelters.

#1- You Are Saving a Life

  • Adopting a pet means SAVING A LIFE! Every 8 seconds, an animal is euthanized in the United States. This adds up to about 2.7 million each year. Shelters are at their limits all over the United States due to pet overpopulation, and lack of spaying/neutering of pets.
  • Adoption means that you are not supporting kitty or puppy mills! Puppy mills operate simply for profit, and not for the welfare of their animals. The animals are often housed in terrible conditions and forced to breed repeatedly for years. The animals are not properly cared for and their offspring are often sick, timid and usually not socialized, or they have compromised immune systems and other problems that will present later in their lives. The breeding animals will be killed when they are no longer useful. Their offspring will be sold in pet stores, newspapers, or online. By choosing to adopt from a shelter or rescue group, you are sure that you will not be supporting puppy mills.

#2- Less Expensive

  • Shelter cats are less expensive than cats purchased in a pet store and are usually ready to come home right away, with all care they have received included in the minimal adoption fee (usually under $100 in my experience, and often quite lower).
  • Most shelters run special events and adoptions throughout the year providing animals at no cost or with very reduced fees.
  • Animals from shelters have already been spayed or neutered (part of the adoption fee), and they are microchipped, vaccinated, and usually litter box trained. This means less that you have to do!

#3- Low Maintenance

  • Cats are a low maintenance pet! Feeding twice a day, and scooping a litter box regularly are really the only regular care involved. My cats don’t really bother anything in my house because I have learned their habits. Adopted adult cats will quickly settle into a routine and be very predictable to you. At my house, all houseplants are out of reach, I leave a certain cabinet door cracked open at all times so Fender can get inside (otherwise there will be scratch marks on it), and I keep a spray bottle filled with water always within arms’ reach (a great deterrent for furniture scratching).
  • Cats are independent, and once out of their kitten stage, they can be left alone for long periods of time as long as they have enough food and water, and access to a litter box. There are no problems with your cat if you have to work late some nights. He will just be waiting for you next to his food bowl in the kitchen meowing when you get home. A dog may panic, think you are never coming home, chew up your sofa cushion, and pee by the backdoor if you are late one night.
  • There are lots of fun toy options on the market for your cat-Hollywood Feed has a great selection (catnip is a MUST)-but more often than not, you’ll find that your cat enjoys a balled up piece of paper, laser pointer, or simply a cardboard box just as well. My cat, Ecco, loves to chew on the green tops of vegetables, like carrots. Cats can easily entertain themselves for long periods of time.

#4- A Cat for Any Lifestyle

  • There are all kinds of cats at shelters! There are kittens with lots of energy, there are older, calmer cats who want to cuddle, and there are all ages and personalities in between. You can definitely find the cat to suit your lifestyle, and the staff at the shelter can help you pick out the perfect fit.
  • Cats from shelters are usually well-socialized due to being around other cats and many humans, and being handled regularly. If a cat is not ready to come with you, shelter staff will not let you take him home! The shelter staff can let you know if your potential new cat will get along with any other cats you have at home.
  • Cats are great for seniors or others who would have trouble caring for a rambunctious, dirty dog. Cats are lower maintenance than a dog. They clean themselves, and will be pretty predictable about using their litter box, which will need to be scooped regularly. They need fresh water to be changed out daily, and should be fed twice a day. Cats will also never jump on you and knock you to the ground like a dog and much less training is required-you just have to show a cat where her litter box is.

#5- Increased Happiness and Quality of Life

  • Cats are the most popular pets in the world-because they are so awesome.
  • Adopting a cat adds value to your life. Petting a cat is great for stress relief, and it will lower your blood pressure and help with depression.
  • You will be happy to find your cat waiting for you eagerly each day when you return home from work. You will love to feel a cat resting in your lap and purring contentedly. Plus, you will never feel lonely with a cat around to talk to! Cats really are wonderful, loving creatures and adopting one will increase your overall happiness in life.

How Can I Help Shelter Cats?

  • Adopt your next cat (or dog) from your local shelter or rescue group!
  • ADOPT RESPONSIBLY! When you adopt a cat, make sure that you are ready for the responsibility. Many cats are in shelters because their previous human did not want to care for them. Don’t contribute to the problem!
  • ALWAYS spay and neuter your pets.
  • There are animal shelters out there that need your support! Donate time, money or supplies to your local shelters and rescue groups.

Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups Near Me

puppy and kitten cuddle on white background

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer is a pervasive illness that affects all people. Everyone has a friend, relative, or pet who has battled cancer. May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and now is the time for you to become informed about the causes of cancer, warning signs, and ways you can help prevent cancer in your pets.

Both dogs and cats are susceptible to cancer, but it occurs about twice as often in dogs as it does in cats. Diagnosis in cats can be more difficult, though, due to their ability to hide warning signs. This means that cancer in cats is usually detected later than in dogs when it can be more difficult to treat. There are also certain dog breeds that can be more likely to have inherited a susceptibility to cancer, such as Boxers, Boston Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards.

Cancer Affects Everyone

 

  • 4-8 million dogs are touched by cancer each year
  • 1 in 4 dogs and cats will be diagnosed with cancer
  • Cancer is the number one killer of dogs over 2 years old
  • It accounts for 50% of all disease-related pet deaths
  • Cancer is the number one disease killer of children
  • 16,000 companion animals are diagnosed with cancer daily
  • 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with cancer
  • 46,000 people are diagnosed with cancer daily
  • 46 children are diagnosed with cancer daily
  • One out of 330 people will develop cancer before the age of 20

Early Warning Signs of Cancer

Here are ten early warning signs, or the “Ten L’s” of canine cancer of which you need to be aware:

  • Lumps
  • Lesions
  • Lameness
  • Appetite Loss
  • Lethargy
  • Weight Loss
  • Loud Odor
  • Loss of Normal Body Functions
  • Loss of Blood or Bloody Discharge
  • Labored Breathing

What Causes Cancer?

Cancer can have several different causes.

  • Naturally occurring. Plants naturally produce chemicals they use to fight off predators, and they can affect you or your pet negatively as well, by causing mutations in your DNA.

 

  • Man-made chemicals. Pesticides, herbicides, chemical food additives and preservatives, cleaning products, and second-hand smoke are a few examples of man-made chemicals.
  • Irradiation (exposure to the sun). Skin cancer is a big worry for people, but is not as common in household pets, although white or partially white animals with low pigmentation are at a higher risk.
  • Inherited susceptibility. An abnormal gene can be inherited from a parent, and that may make a pet or person more likely to develop cancer at some point in the future, but does not automatically mean cancer will develop.
  • Vaccinations. There is evidence that some healthy dogs have developed cancer and other health issues as a result of vaccinations, and dogs with cancer should not receive vaccinations as they can negatively affect the immune system. Fibrosarcoma, or soft tissue sarcoma, is a type of cancer associated with injections and vaccinations (also called injection-site sarcoma). Read more about vaccinations and cancer here.

Treatment Options

If your pet does get the dreaded diagnosis, there are treatment options available to you:

 

  • Surgery -This is a good option if the cancer is localized and has not spread to other areas of the body, or if it is not in a dangerous place for surgery to be performed.
  • Chemotherapy -This puts toxic chemicals in the body that will kill cancer cells-however it will kill normal cells as well, thus making people and pets very sick as they go through the process.
  • Radiation Treatment -This involves a beam of radiation being directed at cancerous cells while avoiding normal cells. This works only when the cancer is localized to one area.
  • Immunotherapy –Stimulating the immune system to fight off cancer on its own by attacking cancer cells.
  • A combination of treatments
  • No Treatment -Some pet owners will choose not to treat their pet’s cancer depending on budgetary restrictions and prognosis. In these cases pain relief will be the main goal of treatment, and the pet’s continued quality of life should be considered.

If your pet receives a cancer diagnosis and treatment recommendation from your vet, then I recommend that you seek a second opinion, and see if there is a veterinary oncologist near you. Different veterinarians have different opinions on the best course of treatment, and you owe it to your pet to hear all of the options available!

What Can I Do?

The quality of life you provide for your pet can work with, or work against, whatever genes he was dealt! Make sure you do your part to prevent cancer.

 

  • Use green cleaning products and don’t expose your pet, or yourself, for that matter, to harsh chemicals.
  • Feed your dogs and cats good quality food. READ THE LABEL!!! Cheap grocery store brands contain chemical additives and preservatives and they are harmful to your pet, just like eating only processed foods, chips and ice cream every day would be harmful to you.
  • Some dogs can benefit from sunscreen, especially if they are white, short-haired, and spend a lot of time outdoors.
  • Make sure to neuter/spay at 6 months! This will prevent the possibility of testicular cancer in males, and greatly reduce the instances of breast cancer in females.
  • Do your research about vaccinations and see if you think the pros outweigh the cons. There are vaccines that are approved to last 7 years, instead of going to the vet every single year.
  • Watching your dog’s weight and getting plenty of exercise together will also be helpful. People who have a positive outlook and are able to move around and enjoy their lives have been shown to do much better at holding disease at bay, so why wouldn’t this be true for your dog?

If you do these things, you will, at least, be one step ahead of the game! Share your stories about pets and cancer in the comment section below.

woman holds pomeranian on sofa

Bringing a New Pet Home

Adopting a new dog, cat or puppy is very exciting, but there are also many things to think about and consider leading up to the adoption and preparing to introduce your new dog to your home and any other dogs you already love.

First, you need to prepare by getting some supplies. Even if you already have dogs or cats at home, you will need some supplies that are just for your new puppy or kitty to make him feel at home.

New Dog 1st Day Necessities

  • Well-balanced and nutritious food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • ID tag
  • Crate and crate mat
  • Bed
  • Poop bags
  • Treats
  • Chews: like rawhides, bones, nylabones, stuffable Kongs
  • Toys: a few to get him started and see how he likes to play best

Training Supplies

  • Training treats
  • Clicker
  • Poochie Bells (for housebreaking)
  • Training collar if you want to train this way
  • You may want to consider finding a trainer, but spending 30 minutes a day training your new dog yourself will do wonders!

Grooming Supplies

  • Brush (if your dog is a shedder, you may want a Furminator to use monthly and a Kong Mit for daily/weekly use)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Nail clippers and styptic powder
  • Toothbrush and/or dental chews
  • Ear cleaner

Appointments and Medical Needs

  • Schedule a check-up with your vet
  • Schedule a microchipping
  • Get a flea and tick product

Items to Keep Your Home and Car Clean

  • Simple Solution
  • Non-toxic cleaning products
  • Kurgo car covers/hammock
  • Dirty Dog Mat
  • Tall Tails Pocket Towel
  • Towels and paper towels

Other Things to Consider

  • Pet gate
  • Food bin for storage/freshness
  • Outdoor shelter
  • Travel crate
  • Jacket or sweater if your dog gets cold easily

New Puppy 1st Day Necessities

  • Well-balanced and nutritious food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • ID tag
  • Crate and crate mat
  • Bed
  • Poop bags
  • Treats
  • Chews: like rawhides, bones, nylabones, stuffable Kongs
  • Toys: a few to get him started and see how he likes to play best

Training Supplies

  • Training treats
  • Clicker
  • Poochie Bells (for housebreaking)
  • Pee pads
  • You may want to consider finding a trainer, but spending 30 minutes a day training your new puppy yourself will do wonders!

Grooming Supplies

  • Brush (if your dog is a shedder, you may want a Furminator to use monthly and a Kong Mit for daily/weekly use)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Nail clippers and styptic powder
  • Toothbrush and/or dental chews
  • Ear cleaner

Appointments and Medical Needs

  • Schedule a check-up with your vet
  • Schedule a microchipping
  • Get a flea and tick product
  • Schedule/plan for spay or neuter around 6 months old

Items to Keep Your Home and Car Clean

  • Simple Solution
  • Non-toxic cleaning products
  • Kurgo car covers/hammock
  • Dirty Dog Mat
  • Tall Tails Pocket Towel
  • Towels and paper towels

Other Things to Consider

  • Pet gate
  • Food bin for storage/freshness
  • Outdoor shelter
  • Travel crate
  • Jacket or sweater if your puppy gets cold easily

New Cat or Kitten 1st Day Necessities

  • Well-balanced and nutritious food
  • Food and water bowls
  • Collar
  • ID tag
  • Litter box and scooper
  • Litter
  • Treats (cats like treats, too!)
  • Toys: Cat Dancer Wand for exercise and health (my cats also like to chase laser pointers!)

Grooming Supplies

  • Brush (if needed a Kong Mitt would be a great option)
  • Nail clippers and styptic powder
  • Scratch pad (good for nails/saves your furniture)
  • Toothbrush and/or dental chews
  • Ear cleaner

Appointments and Medical Needs

  • Schedule a check-up with your vet
  • Schedule a microchipping
  • Get a flea and tick product
  • Schedule/plan for spay or neuter around 6 months old

Items to Keep Your Home Clean

  • Simple Solution
  • Non-toxic cleaning products

Other Things to Consider

  • Cat door
  • Food bin for storage/freshness
  • Outdoor shelter (if indoor/outdoor cat)
  • Travel crate
  • Bed (some cats like them, and some cats like the back of the sofa or the top of your computer)
  • Catnip!

Here are some guidelines to follow when you bring your new dog or puppy home for the first time. Remember to be patient, and remember that consistency in training is key!!

In the First Days After Adopting Your New Dog:

  • Your new dog is coming into an unfamiliar environment. He may not automatically realize what a wonderful home you have for him…so be patient (even if he forgets his housebreaking training once or twice).
  • Get all of your new dog supplies before bringing your dog home-especially a leash, collar, and ID tag. Your new pup may try to dart if he is a little scared or skittish.
  • Give your dog a space that is all his own, a crate, bed, or a gated off room at first, and praise him when he uses it.
  • Dog-proof your home! If you are bringing home a puppy, he will probably chew on things…and even older dogs may be chewers-you won’t know at first. So remove all cords, plants, cleaning products, rugs, and anything else that he may chew on or knock over in the area you designate as his space.
  • Plan to slowly transition your dog to a nutritionally sound food. Find out what he was eating at his previous home/shelter, and ask your local Hollywood Feed associate how to transition him to the food of your choice.
  • Show him where he will be using the bathroom immediately and praise him every time he does. Go outside with him for the first few days to reinforce this behavior.
  • Give attention and positive praise for good behaviors, and immediately stop or ignore bad behaviors (stop him from chewing, jumping, etc., but ignore whining and do not give in. That will only reinforce that behavior).
  • Put your new dog on a schedule right away. This should include regular feedings at least twice a day (don’t leave bowls of food out all the time), playtime, bathroom time, and nap time (which can be crate training time!).
  • It’s okay if your new pup doesn’t seem interested in food for the first day or two-he will eat when his hunger overrides any anxiety or nerves. If he doesn’t eat for more than 3 days, then take him to the vet for a check-up.
  • Work on training daily for about 10-30 minutes, depending on your dog’s attention span.
  • Bring in a trainer or ask Hollywood Feed store associates for training and nutrition tips!
  • If you have kids, make sure they know how to behave around a new dog-this is a necessary life lesson!

You will also need to make plans to introduce your new dog to your other fur babies. Making these plans in advance can make a very big difference in your new dog settling in comfortably and happily, and your dogs accepting a new sibling.

Introducing Your Dog/s To a New Dog Sibling:

  • Introduce any new dog to your dogs in a neutral place. Your dogs may feel possessive of your house or yard and may want to defend it.
  • Have a second adult there to help in case there are any problems.
  • If you know one of the dogs is not great at meeting new friends, exercise them separately beforehand so they’re too tired to have bad behavior.
  • Use leashes, but don’t pull tightly. Instead, hold them loosely only as a precaution.
  • Look for signs of tension or aggression and distract/diffuse the situation early (some signs can be: stiff body, teeth showing, intense focus, or growling-see this website on canine body language from the ASPCA to get more information.
  • Give positive praise as the dogs sniff each other, or even if they ignore each other with no tension.
  • Once all the pups appear to be getting along and are relaxed, then take them back home. Think about using two cars, or kennel them separately in your car so no fighting occurs while you are driving.
  • Pick up all treats/bones/toys before you bring your new dog home and when they are not being supervised. These are things dogs feel possessive about and may lead to fighting.
  • You may want the dogs to get used to each other through a pet gate/barrier for a few hours or days once you are inside your home.
  • Once home, separate and supervise at feeding times, with any treats or toys, and around beds. Watch the dogs closely for the first few days while your dogs are getting used to their space being invaded by their new sibling.
  • Do not leave the house and leave the dogs alone together, you will want to utilize crates or put them in separate rooms for a while when you are gone.
  • Praise good behaviors all the time!
  • If there are any problem behaviors such as growling or baring teeth, separate the dogs without yelling or acting stressed, and then after a few seconds, let the dogs interact again. They will get over any disagreements very quickly and frequently it is our stress that will set our dogs off or prolong negative behaviors.
close-up of tabby cat on back

Learning About Litter

When you are buying litter for the first time, here are a few things to consider. First of all, know that the most important determining factor in which litter you choose will end up being whether your cat likes it or not! If your cat will not use the litter, try a different style until you find one that he does like. One of my cats, Fender, is very picky and will only use Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract. Second, know all of your options and choose the litter that works best for your lifestyle and your cat!

  • Clay Litter-First litters made for indoor use. Dried clay that absorbs urine and allows burying of feces. Can be messy and you will have to clean up clay dust from around the house. Can be more inexpensive than other styles of litter.
  • Grain Litter-Natural, biodegradable litter made out of grains like corn, wheat and pine, wood chips, and even citrus peels! Less mess tracked out of the litter box than with other styles.
  • Crystal Litter-Silicone based pellets that absorb urine, the moisture from feces, and odors. You can use less of this than other litters because it is super-absorbent. Usually more expensive than other styles of litter.
  • Paper Litter-Biodegradable litter made of recycled paper. Very absorbent and good at odor control.
  • Odor Control Litter-Uses a scent, baking soda, enzymes, or some other means to attempt to neutralize or overwhelm any odors. There is no substitute, however, for cleaning your litter box often.
  • Clumping Litter-Causes urine to clump together so that it can be scooped out easily, vs. non-clumping litter where the urine is simply absorbed into pellets and the whole box will be dumped after some amount of time.

No matter which type of litter you and your cat decide on, the secret to being odor-free and cat-approved is to clean your litter box often. That’s the only foolproof method to success!

Picking a Litter Box

When choosing a litter box, remember that you need at least one litter box per cat. Make sure the box is big enough for your cat to use comfortably.

Be prepared to clean your litter boxes anywhere from every other day to twice a day depending on how many cats you have and to keep down odors to your liking.

You may also like to use a litter mat to help catch any excess pellets or dust on your cat’s paws when exiting the litter box.

Your cat’s litter box should be placed in area that is safe and the cat ALWAYS has access to without fear of dogs, children, or stressful noises.

You can have something as simple as a large rectangular pan that’s a few inches deep as your litter box, to a domed litter box that will give your cat more privacy, or even a self-cleaning litter box. My husband and I felt that a custom litter box works best for us! My husband installed a cat door on the wall leading from our office to our garage. Inside the garage, he built a box around the cat door that houses our litter pans. The top of the box can be lifted for easy access while cleaning.

A Few More Considerations

If you are switching your cat from one litter to a new type, do so gradually. Replace part of his old litter with new litter, and increase the amount every few days until he is using only the new litter. Some cats may have a difficult time adjusting to a new litter and you may find messes outside the litter box. You can try a different litter, you can try to be patient and see if your cat comes around, or you can go back to the litter you know works.

If you have not made any changes to litter, your box is cleaned regularly, and your cat starts to have problems using the litter box, you should go to your vet as there may be a health concern.

You may want to consider using a natural litter with young kittens as they are prone to eat litter. A natural litter would also be safer for a cat who gets litter stuck in his feet and then swallows the pellets when grooming.

Which cat litter and litter box style have you found to work best in your home?

bernese mountain dog next to first aid kit with ice pack on head

Pet First Aid Necessities

Imagine playing at the dog park with your furry best friend when all of the sudden he collapses and doesn’t appear to be breathing…Would you know what to do? Many people wouldn’t have any idea, except to try to make it to the vet before it’s too late. Take the time to make sure you know what to do if your dog or cat comes into any harm, make sure you have all emergency phone numbers posted in your home and saved in your phone, and put together a basic first aid kit for your pet.

Always make sure that you are careful of your own safety when you are helping your injured animals. You will want to consider using a muzzle for many injuries because your pet may be scared or disoriented and attempt to bite you.

Some of the most common issues that pets run into are:

POISONING: Signs of your pet being poisoned can include drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures, strange behavior or mental state, and bleeding internally or externally. Some common causes of pet poisonings are cleaning products, fertilizers, plants, chemicals, antifreeze, xylitol, pest poisons, medications, and some common foods (see my previous blog on poison prevention for more information). Read the product label for anything that your pet has gotten into and follow the instructions for human poisoning (i.e. wash your pet with soap and water at exposed area, or flush eyes with water, depending on the instructions) and collect any vomit to take to your vet.

CHOKING: Symptoms of choking include difficulty breathing or pawing at face/mouth, choking noises, and blue lips/tongue. Your pet may bite out of fear while choking, so be careful and keep your face out of danger. Try to spot a foreign object in your pet’s mouth or throat and try to pull it out, but do not push it further in. If you can’t get the object out quickly, rush straight to your vet-there is no time to lose. You can also attempt a pet Heimlich maneuver by lying your pet on his side and applying firm quick pressure to the side of your pet’s rib cage with both hands to cause air to sharply push out of the lungs and dislodge the object blocking the airway. You can also pick your pet up and hold him upside down with his back to you, clasp your hands just below his rib cage and thrust sharply four or five times.

NOT BREATHING: Have someone call a vet while you attempt pet CPR. Pull your pet’s tongue out of his mouth to open his airway and check for any foreign objects (see above). Hold your pet’s mouth closed and put your mouth over his nose and complete rescue breaths until you see his chest rising. Do this every 5 seconds. After this, you can start chest compressions. Lay your pet on his right side on the ground so you can access the heart on the lower left, behind the elbow of the front left leg. Press down firmly about 1 inch for medium dogs, more for larger dogs, and less for smaller dogs. For cats, compress the chest by squeezing it between your thumb and fingers with your thumb on the left side of their chest. Do the compressions 80-120 times for larger animals and 100-150 times for smaller animals. Alternate between the rescue breathing and chest compressions. Continue this until your pet starts breathing on his own or you reach the vet and they can take over.

SEIZURE: Try not to restrain your pet and keep hands away from his mouth. Time the seizure. Afterward, keep him warm and quiet until you are able to talk to your vet.

CUTS/BLEEDING: Apply pressure to bleeding site with gauze or a towel for three minutes at a time until blood starts to clot. If blood does not clot quickly, you can apply a tourniquet and get your pet to the vet immediately as excessive bleeding can be life threatening.

BURNS: Flush burned area with large quantities of water, then apply ice compact to the burned area. You may want to muzzle your dog for your own protection.

FRACTURES/BREAKS: Try to stabilize your pet on a board/cot or use a towel or rug to carry him. You may want to muzzle your pet, and get him to a vet to set any bones.

HEAT STROKE/HEAT EXHAUSTION: Symptoms of overheating include your pet collapsing, body temperature of 104 or higher, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, wobbling, excessive panting/difficulty breathing, redness in mucus membranes, and increased salivation. DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CAR ON WARM DAYS!! It quickly gets hot in a car, faster than you think. Move your pet to a cool or shaded area immediately. Put a cool, wet towel around his neck and keep it wet with cool water. Pour cold water over his body and sweep it off with your hands over and over. Take your dog to the vet. Read more about the effects of heat exhaustion in dogs here.

You should definitely consider building a basic first aid kit for your pets. You can add in anything that you want, but here are a few basics to start with:

A wound spray like Zymox topical spray, which is what I use. This will come in very handy for cuts and scrapes. Zymox is non-toxic and even safe if licked. It will also clean the wound and speed up healing.

Bandages that self-cling, gauze and bandage scissors.

Eye and ear rinse and dropper to help flush out any contaminants.

E-collar to prevent licking and biting at wounded area.

Muzzle and leash-because your dog may be acting extra cranky when injured and in pain, or extra skittish and try to bolt.

Hydrogen peroxide is good to keep on hand to induce vomiting. Don’t do this unless you have been advised by your vet or an emergency poison control hotline to do so. Some poisons cause more harm if they are regurgitated.

Finally, you should keep your regular veterinarian’s as well as your local 24/7 emergency veterinarian’s phone numbers posted on your refrigerator and saved in your phone. Also, keep the Pet Poison Helpline number handy: 855-764-7661. They are available 24/7, but will charge you a $49 fee. This fee will cover follow-ups and multiple phone calls. Find more information at petpoisonhelpline.com. You can also look for the Pet First Aid App by the Red Cross to download to your smartphone.

Credits: American Red Cross, www.peta.org, https://www.cesarsway.com/?s=first+aid

Please note: This article is for informational purposes only. This is not intended to prevent, diagnose or cure any disease or injury.

man cuddling two dogs outdoors

The Prevention Post: Say No to Fleas & Ticks

Fleas and ticks are no fun for you or your dog, and they can potentially be very harmful for your pet. It’s important to stop before venturing out into the beautiful weather and remember that protection against these pests is imperative.

What are Your Options?

There are all kinds of products on the market for flea prevention. Once-a-month topicals, sprays, collars, shampoos, dips, and flea combs; enough to make your head spin and leave you asking, “Where do I start?” Here’s some information on the many different types of flea and tick preventatives available to you, and which are our favorites.

Topical prevention is one of the more common options. Products such as Advantage, Advantage Multi, and Advantix use an ingredient that employs the natural oils on your dog’s skin and coat to spread the active ingredients, covering your dog’s entire body. These products are applied to a small area on your pet’s neck once a month. There are many topicals on the market, but we’ve found that most aren’t as effective as Bayer products. One of the many reasons we recommend Bayer products is that they not only kill pests, but also repel them. Other topicals and ingestibles require the flea or tick bite the dog before they die.

BayerDVM offers a wide array of options including:

  • Advantix II – protects against ticks, all flea life stages, mosquitos, biting flies, and lice, not the safest choice for use around cats because of active ingredient, permethrin
  • Advantage II for dogs – kills fleas, flea larvae, flea eggs, and lice, safe for use around cats
  • Advantage II for cats – kills fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs
  • Advantage Multi for dogs – only by vet Rx, protects against heartworms, fleas, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworm microfilaria, and sarcoptic mange
  • Advantage Multi for cats – only by vet Rx, protects against heartworms, fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and ear

Flea collars are another option but 90% of the products on the market are not effective. The only flea collar we at Hollywood Feed trust is the Seresto collar by Bayer. This collar has active ingredients infused into the plastic during production. Others are dipped or powdered on the collar and don’t protect the entire pet or last very long. The Seresto collar is effective for up to 8 months and uses the same ingredient as topicals to spread protection across your dog’s entire body. Most other flea collars on the market only protect within three inches of the collar.

Ingestibles do not repel pests. Your pet must ingest the product, which then travels through their bloodstream, making their blood poisonous to fleas and ticks. A flea or tick must bite the dog to die. In the case of a sudden flea infestation, Bayer Advantus is a good option. One pill is effective for 24 hours and starts to kill any fleas that are currently on your pet within one hour.

Flea sprays are another option but can be time consuming. The sprays should be sprayed directly onto your dog, and while you don’t have to soak him, you do need to thoroughly cover your entire dog with spray and rub it in for it to be effective. Sprays usually last for 24-48 hours. Wondercide makes all natural sprays (made with cedar oil) for your pets, as well as sprays for your home and yard that help in ridding your living space of pesky fleas. If your dog has fleas, his bed and living space definitely have fleas and flea larvae and eggs. It’s important to treat the dog’s bed, the area around the dog’s living space, your couches, rugs, curtains, etc. to rid your home of fleas and flea eggs and prevent the infestation from occurring again. There are also options for your pet, home, and yard that aren’t all natural, such as Advantage or Petlock.

Shampoos are often effective at removing fleas and ticks that a dog currently has on him, but usually have no residual effects past 24-48 hours. Work the shampoo into a lather over your dog’s entire body, using caution around his eyes and ears, and leave on for the recommended amount of time before rinsing.

How Do You Know What’s Right for Your Pet?

1. Does your dog enjoy a daily frolic in the water? Do you have a dog that loves to swim on a daily basis? While topical flea preventatives like Advantix are said to be waterproof, constant exposure to water will decrease the efficacy throughout the month. A better option might be a Seresto collar. These collars protect against fleas and ticks for up to 8 months. They are indeed water-resistant so your pup can continue to wear them on their daily swims. If your dog is in the water daily, the protection will decrease in length to about five or six months. This still offers protection for a much longer period of time than topical preventatives. For those of you with hunting dogs that don’t work in collars, you might be concerned the collar could get snagged on something. Bayer considered this when designing these collars and included break/release safeguards.

2. Does your dog play with small children often? With topical solutions, a child can get the liquid on them, and ultimately in their eyes and mouth as the solution takes a few days to dry. It’s important to keep your pup away from children for a few days after application. Seresto collars are a great alternative. The collar is very safe because it secretes lower doses of active ingredients over a longer period of time. Bayer even says a dog can ingest the collar without any major issues.

3. Does your dog live indoors in a city and rarely venture outside? Or do you live in an arid desert environment with few ticks? Ticks aren’t usually problematic in the city so a form of flea preventative such as Advantage might work well.

4. Do you always remember to apply preventative on the first of every month? Do you apply flea and tick preventative consistently every month? Most people have the best intentions and try to apply on the first of every month, but most forget and apply a few days late, if not more. Sadly, a few days is all it takes for one bite to send your pet’s life in a different, not-so-good direction. If consistency is an issue for you, Bayer’s Seresto collar might be the answer. Put it on your dog and eight months later, put a new one on! No one can argue with the ease of this preventative!

5. Do you have cats and dogs living together in your home? Permethrin is toxic to cats and just the exposure from playing together within 48 hours of application can cause harm to the feline members of your family. Advantage is a great option for protecting against fleas with active ingredients that are safe for cats.

A Few Things to Note about Flea and Tick Preventative:

1. Our favorite way for our dogs to wear their Seresto collars at Hollywood Feed is to hide it from sight under our favorite Mississippi Made dog collar. Simply place the Seresto collar under the dog’s regular collar and affix it with ponytail holders so it’s hidden underneath the regular collar.

2. Advantage and Advantage Multi vs. Advantix:

  • Advantage II is a topical flea preventative that comes in formulas for cats and dogs. It protects against fleas, their larvae and eggs, and lice. It is safe for use around cats. Advantage does NOT protect against ticks. If they are prevalent in your area you will need to choose a different preventative, or add tick protection.
  • Advantage Multi is only available through your veterinarian. It protects against heartworms, fleas, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, heartworm microfilaria, and sarcoptic mange. Advantage Multi does NOT protect against ticks. If they are prevalent in your area you will need to choose a different preventative, or add tick protection.
  • Advantix II using the ingredient, permethrin. It repels and kills ticks, all flea life stages, mosquitos, biting flies, and lice. If you use Advantage Multi for heartworm protection you can also use Advantix II for tick protection as long as they are applied at least seven days apart. A simple way to remember to apply them is to apply one on the first of the month, and one on the fifteenth.

3. Permethrin, an ingredient in many topicals that repels and kills ticks on dogs, is extremely toxic to cats as they don’t metabolize the ingredient. Dogs can metabolize permethrin, therefore it’s a safe product for use on your canine companions. Cats can be exposed through close contact with a dog that has been treated within the past 48 hours or an accidental application on your part (if you have dogs and cats always double check which product you’re applying to your cat BEFORE you place it on him). Cats also enjoy grooming their furry family members’ fur. If they groom them after application they can be exposed to the ingredient.

If you notice your cat behaving differently, appearing depressed, experiencing a loss of coordination, drooling excessively, vomiting, twitching (even if it’s just the tips of their ears), having seizures, or refusing to eat, seek veterinarian treatment immediately. Symptoms can show up within a few hours or up to three days after their exposure to permethrin.

If you share your home with dogs and cats, restrict your cat’s access to your dog for at least 48 hours after application. You might also consider using a different flea and tick preventative. Seresto collars and natural flea sprays are great options.

4. Trifexis, since 2013, has long been a suspect of major health issues and even death in many dogs. Sadly, many people are not aware of this issue. Our personal stance and statement is: Below is the research we have available from credible sources. Please do your own research as well. We have concerns for the health of all of our customers’ pets, and this raised too many red flags to not share.

Do also please note that this product is also a heartworm preventative. If you stop using Trifexis, you will need to get on a heartworm preventative AND something like Advantix II for fleas and ticks.


Whole Dog Journal – December 23, 2013 – http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/blog/-20898-1.html
Vital Animal.com – April 13, 2014 – http://vitalanimal.com/trifexis-hoax/

white poodle sits under work desk in office with ball

4 Questions to Ask Yourself before Bringing Your Dog to Work

Our dogs are going to work with us every morning here in America. Employees at thousands of companies have found relaxation and creativity in their offices flourish with the arrival of our furry friends next to us at our desks. There are scientifically proven health benefits to spending time with our pets, and they are definitely a source of stress-relief daily. These health benefits extend from the home to the office, and can have a positive impact on work output as well as job satisfaction! Read more about the amazing health benefits of owning a pet here.

Now, I know that all pet parents out there would love to bring their dog to work with them, but it really does take advanced preparation on our part. Besides good basic training, there are some specific skills every working dog should have to get the job done smoothly. In honor of Take Your Dog to Work Week this week, here are some questions you should be asking yourself to help prepare your pooch for the daily grind.

#1- Is My Dog Well-Behaved? Dogs that are aggressive toward people or other dogs should not come to work.

This is a question that we all need to really be honest with ourselves about. Will my dog sit and stay? Will he remain calm for hours at a time? Does he bark at new people or mark when there are new scents around? Does he come when called?

Now, I don’t mean to say that your dog must be perfect all the time – I know that’s unreasonable. Dogs will be excited to see their office friends in the morning and get some attention. They will bark occasionally, they will run, and they may have an accident.

But after the morning’s initial excitement, can your dog calm down and chill out? An occasional bark is one thing, but does your dog bark all day? An occasional accident happens in a new place, but does your dog pee on the floor at home, too, or is he really housebroken? (If you need to freshen up your housebreaking skills, read more here.)

Make sure that you know all of the rules for office dogs at your workplace and that your dog will be able to abide by them.

You will need to practice and refresh your dog’s recall training. You cannot allow your dog to get out of control at work and not come back to you when called. When you say, “Fido, come.” Fido should come back over to you, perhaps looking a little ashamed about his behavior, immediately.

You will probably find that exercising your dog every morning before work will do wonders for his ability to remain calm and concentrate on your commands.

Dogs that are aggressive toward people or other dogs should not come to work.

#2- Am I Really Ready for this Responsibility?

Forget if your dog is ready to come to work. Are you ready to bring your dog to work? Keep in mind that you will need to decide in advance if your daily work schedule can accommodate regular walks which will include picking up poop and possibly having a change of shoes at the office for said walks.

Leash training will be a must unless your office has a gated pet area, you will have to take your dog outside multiple times every day on a leash. You will not want to be pulled around outside your office windows by a barking dog choking himself on a leash three times a day, right?

You will also have to be prepared to provide constant supervision to your dog. Are you in an office with a door that can contain your dog, or are you in a cubicle? Will you be able to keep your dog from wandering the building, and from eating out of people’s trash cans and off their lunch plates?

Are you prepared to clean up any messes your dog makes? “Leave it” and “No” are good commands to teach for work.

#3- Will There Be A Space for My Dog?

Give your dog his own place at work and make him use it! Your dog should have an office just like you, probably a crate or bed/mat right next to your desk. You stay in your office and work all day, and so should your dog (with regular potty breaks).

You must teach your dog how to sit and stay before bringing him to work, and a mat or crate work great for this purpose. Here are some blogs that will help you place train: http://hollywoodfeed.staging.wpengine.com/a-place-for-everyone-place-training-your-dog/, and crate train: http://hollywoodfeed.staging.wpengine.com/crate-training-guide-guide-getting-dog-acquainted-new-crate/ your dog for work.

Make sure your dog’s work space is quiet and comfortable and that he always has access to water.

If there is no room for your dog at your work area, and there is no doggy daycare room at your office, you probably shouldn’t bring your dog to work.

#4- Will My Co-Workers Still Like Me?

Make sure to be a considerate coworker when bringing your dog to work with you! Just because you think the snoring noise your precious puppy makes when sleeping is adorable, does not mean that your coworkers feel the same way. Especially when it goes on for 6 hours out of the day.

Bring everything your dog will need to work with you! Stain/odor remover, dog bed, crate, bowls, food/treats/toys, leash, id tags, poop bags, etc. will all be necessary and you should be able to store these items neatly.

Consider coworker allergies and sensitive noses. Make sure your dog is clean and healthy.

Make sure that your dog is used to being around other people and dogs before bringing him to work! Practice with friends and family first, and at an off-leash dog park, and make sure your dog does not display any aggressive behaviors.

No toys, treats or food should be left on the ground at the office around other dogs until you know how they get along, and then only under supervision. No noisy toys at work!

 

Now that you have made sure your dog is ready for the workplace, make sure that you are consistent with your dog as he learns the new rules at work, and you should be off to a great co-working experience! #TakeYourDogToWorkWeek