Learn what supplies you’ll need to keep your cat, dog, or other pet safe and healthy

Everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand.

Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you in your car if you are traveling with your pet.

One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it.

You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items on our lists below.

Pet-specific supplies

–  Pet first-aid book

–  Phone numbers: your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!), and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435)

–  Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records, and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)

–  Nylon leash

–  Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)

– Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don’t use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing, or otherwise having difficulty breathing)

Basic first-aid supplies

–  Absorbent gauze pads

–  Adhesive tape

–  Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray

–  Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)

–  Cotton balls or swabs

–  Gauze rolls

–  Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)

–  Ice pack

–  Non-latex disposable gloves

–  Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)

–  Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)

–  Scissors (with blunt ends)

–  Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages

–  Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)

–  Tweezers

–  A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment

–  A pet carrier

Other useful items

–  Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet’s size.

–  Ear-cleaning solution

–  Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers

–  Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)

–  Nail clippers

–  Non-prescription antibiotic ointment

–  Penlight or flashlight

–  Plastic eyedropper or syringe

–  Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer

–  Splints and tongue depressors

–  Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)

–  Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel)

–  Towels

–  Needle-nosed pliers

Common-sense advice

In addition to the items listed above, include anything your veterinarian has recommended specifically for your pet.

Check the supplies in your pet’s first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.

For your family’s safety, keep all medical supplies and medications out of the reach of children and pets.

Article found at:

https://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html#.UwYC0fldWSo

Getting a new kitten is one of the best things in the world. They’re cute, soft as down, and as cuddly as, well, kittens. Nearly irresistible, kittens melt even the toughest of hearts; even Attila the Hun was thought to have several dozen kittens around at any given time (never verified, but he was a soft-on-the-inside kind of guy, so who’s to say?).

It’s good to get things started off on the right paw, and the food and care you choose can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your growing kitten. Here are 10 starter tips for you and your “mew” companion.

1. Continue feeding your kitten its “normal” diet, but slowly introduce high quality kitten food (i.e., high in protein and taurine, and low in fillers and carbs) into the mix; consult your veterinarian as to what best serves your cat. After it has adjusted, feed it the high quality food exclusively.

2. Feed your kitten at least three times a day from a shallow plate. Remember, they’re tiny things and so they need easy access to their food. Snacks, especially during the growing stage, should also be included. Small amounts of high-protein foods like cooked egg yolk, boneless fish, and cooked or raw liver will be a great treat, and will help build strong bones.

3. That said, it’s alright to feed your kitten frequently while it is growing (under six months old), even several times a day. If your kitten prefers grazing or eats modestly, keep a small amount of dry kibble available in a dish for it throughout the day.

4. Dry or wet? Many owners find a happy balance between the two. Perhaps wet food in the evening and dry in the day.

5. Always have fresh water available and check it throughout the day for cleanliness. Keep in mind that water is enough, no other liquid needs to be given. In fact, cow milk can cause quite a tummy ache and should be avoided. Yes, cats like the taste of milk and will drink it if you give it to them in a bowl. But that’s not saying much, seeing as they also like the taste of antifreeze. Leave cow milk to small calves — and people.

6. When you first bring your kitten home, it’s a good idea to keep your kitten in the same room with the litter box for a few days so that it may get used to it. Kittens don’t need much in the way of training. Often, just knowing where the box is is enough of an incentive to use it; cats naturally prefer to bury their waste.

7. Keep a close eye on your kitten. They’re small, curious, and can get into trouble. It is all too easy for a small animal to get caught between furniture and appliances, fall into a toilet, or be stepped on. Until it learns self safety, you will be your kitten’s best line of defense.

8. Take your kitten for a checkup and all appropriate immunizations.

9. Getting your kitten spayed or neutered makes for a healthier and happier cat, and thus a happier you. Fixed cats don’t go into heat or get pregnant and are less likely to get into fights or spray urine. Neutering is usually done around six months, but most younger kittens handle this small surgery very well, and can have it done anytime after two months, but your vet will be the best judge of this. Make the appointment in advance, based on your vet’s advice.

10. Play with your kitten. A piece of string, crumpled paper, or a toy from pet store —almost anything can be a toy. Kittens (and cats) love to play. The bond you begin now, through play and unconditional love, will be unshakable for many years to come.

Love your kitten and treat it well. Soon, your kitten will grow into a beautiful, faithful, and loving cat.

Original article: https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/evr_ct_new_kitten_tips

 

We hope you are and your pets are staying home warm and dry during this Winter snow storm. We wanted to share some tips from the Oregon Humane Society on how to keep your pets winterized during this cold weather.

Winterizing your Pet

Original Article: https://www.oregonhumane.org/pet_training/winterizing.asp#.UvUO_vldWSo

When the temperature begins to fall, pets need extra care. The Oregon Humane Society offers these tips to keep pets safe and healthy during cold weather.

If the weather becomes too severe, please bring all pets indoors. OHS also urges you to remember the wildlife by putting out easy-to-reach food and keeping fresh, thawed water available for them.

Pets are Best Kept Inside

  1. Bring pets indoors when temperature reaches 30 degrees with or without the wind-chill.
  2. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose, and feet if left outside.
  3. Chemicals used to melt snow on sidewalks can irritate pets’ paws.
  4. Indoor pets get less exercise in the cold months, so feed them less.

If Your Pet Must be Kept Outside

  1. An outdoor dog needs a dry, elevated house with clean, dry bedding and a flap over the opening to keep drafts out.
  2. Consider adding a dog door to the garage with a soft cushion in the warmest corner.
  3. Make sure water in bowls is not frozen. Check periodically throughout the day.
  4. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick to cold metal.
  5. Give outdoor pets more food. Outdoor dogs and cats need more calories in the winter to produce body heat, so increase the amount fed to these pets.

For Both Indoor and Outdoor Pets

  1. Before starting your car: make sure a cat hasn’t crawled underneath seeking shelter and warmth near the engine. Open the car hood or slap it noisily before starting the engine to awaken any animal sleeping there.
  2. Vehicle safety: try using “pet friendly” antifreeze products and thoroughly cleaning up any spills.
  3. During walks: keep your dog on leash and under control during walks in the winter weather, especially during a snowstorm – dogs can lose scent in this weather and become lost. More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
  4. Post-walk: wipe pets’ paws when they come back into the house because they can ingest road salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking his paws, and paw pads may also be cut by snow or encrusted ice.
  5. Cold cars: never leave your dog or cat alone in a vehicle during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator, causing the animal to develop hypothermia or freeze to death.
  6. Emergency numbers: keep the local emergency veterinarian’s or family veterinarian’s telephone number handy in your car and your home; possibly in your wallet.

You may be surprised to learn that cats have a much higher incidence of arthritis than we ever knew. A recent study showed that up to 60-90 percent of all cats (young and old) exhibited radiographic changes consistent with osteoarthritis. The most telling signs of arthritis in cats are behavioral changes.

They may sleep in different locations, be reluctant to jump onto or off of objects, not use stairs, play less, have “accidents” outside the litter box (especially if they have to go to a different level in the house or if the box has high sides), groom excessively (e.g., licking the area around a joint), and act grumpy when touched.

Cats are a conundrum when it comes to arthritis. Bony changes may be seen on radiographs (X-rays) that look like arthritis, but the pet may not have any signs of lameness or pain in the joint. Conversely, the cat may show symptoms of arthritis, but there may be no obvious radiographic abnormalities seen. This is why it is so important to watch for subtle signs of pain in cats.

One of the main contributors to pain in an arthritic joint is excess weight. Carrying extra pounds around causes more stress on arthritic joints. Since 58 percent of all cats (that’s 43 million cats) are overweight, and 22 percent are obese, weight losscould be helpful in many arthritic cats. In one study, obesity led to a four times greater risk of clinically-relevant lameness. Research also shows that a healthy body weight can help prevent arthritis from developing in predisposed individuals.

How can you help your cat shed that excess weight? Let’s first look at what predisposes our kitties to obesity. Contrary to popular belief, genes are only partially (a quarter to a third) responsible. This is proven in humans and the situation is likely similar in cats. Therefore, an individual’s weight is two-thirds to three-fourths dependent on outside factors, like how much food is eaten. One big contributor is neutering. We know that metabolism slows down by about 30 percent after pets are neutered, so you need to feed less or they will gain weight.

In order to lose weight, you have to reduce your cat’s calorie intake. But this must be done slowly. The optimum amount of weight loss in cats is about one half pound per month. Therefore, if your cat is six pounds overweight, it will take 9-12 months for the excess weight to come off.

It’s best to feed your cat a weight loss diet because these products are formulated to contain the right nutrient levels. If you feed a smaller portion of a regular maintenance diet, your cat is likely not on an optimal plane of nutrition. Canned food is great because it is lower in fat and carbohydrates and higher in protein. Each can also contains an exact number of calories, which helps when you are calculating the amount you need to feed. Precisely measuring dry food can be difficult. For example, if you feed just ten extra kibbles per day for one year, your cat will gain a whole pound.

The best way to make sure you are feeding your cat the right amount of the right diet is to make an appointment for an examination and consultation with your veterinarian.

Dr. Jennifer Coates

References

Mark E. Epstein. Managing Chronic Pain in Dogs & Cats. Part 1: The Two Most Important Tools in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis. Today’s Veterinary Practice. November/December 2013; 3(6): 20-23.

Ward, E. (2013, October). Fat Cats and the Fat Gap: Convincing Cat Owners to Begin a Weight Loss Program. VIN/AAFP Rounds presentation. Accessed on VIN January 14, 2014

Original article from www.petmd.com/blogs/nutritionnuggets

They’re creepy, they’re crawly…and they can carry diseases. Fleas and ticks are not just a nuisance, but pose animal and human health risks. They suck your pet’s blood, they suck human blood, and can transmit diseases.  Some of the diseases that fleas and ticks can transmit from animals to humans (zoonotic diseases) include plague, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, bartonellosis and others.  That’s why it’s critical to protect your pets from these pesky parasites and keep the creepy crawlies out of your home.

Fortunately, there are many effective flea and tick preventives on the market to help control the pests and prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Knowing what kind of product to use, and how to use it, is critical to the health and safety of your pet.Many are spot-on (topical) products that are applied directly to your pet’s skin, but there are some that are given orally (by mouth). Although medicines and pesticides must meet U.S. government-required safety standards before they can be sold, it is still critical that pet owners carefully consider their flea and tick preventive options (and closely read the label) before they treat their pets with one of these products.

Consult your veterinarian about your options and what’s best for your pet. Some questions you can ask include:

– What parasites does this product protect against?
– How often should I use/apply the product?
– How long will it take for the product to work?
– If I see a flea or tick, does that mean it’s not working?
– What should I do if my pet has a reaction to the product?
– Is there a need for more than one product?
– How would I apply or use multiple products on my pet?

Parasite protection is not “one-size-fits-all.” Certain factors affect the type and dose of the product that can be used, including the age, species, breed, life style and health status of your pet, as well as any medications your pet is receiving.  Caution is advised when considering flea/tick treatment of very young and very old pets. Use a flea comb on puppies and kittens that are too young for flea/tick products. Some products should not be used on very old pets.  Some breeds are sensitive to certain ingredients that can make them extremely ill. Flea and tick preventives and some medications can interfere with each other, resulting in unwanted side effects, toxicities, or even ineffective doses; it’s important that your veterinarian is aware of all of your pet’s medications when considering the optimal flea and tick preventive for your pet.

To keep your pets safe, we recommend the following:

  1. Discuss the use of preventive products, including over-the-counter products, with your veterinarian to determine the safest and most effective choice for each pet.
  2. Always talk to your veterinarian before applying any spot-on products, especially if your dog or cat is very young, old, pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
  3. Only purchase EPA-registered pesticides or FDA-approved medicines.
  4. Read the entire label before you use/apply the product.
  5. Always follow label directions! Apply or give the product as and when directed. Never apply more or less than the recommended dose.
  6. Cats are not small dogs. Products labeled for use only for dogs should only be used for dogs, and never for cats. Never.
  7. Make sure that the weight range listed on the label is correct for your pet because weight matters.  Giving a smaller dog a dose designed for a larger dog could harm the pet.

One pet may react differently to a product than another pet. When using these products, monitor your pet for any signs of an adverse reaction, including anxiousness, excessive itching or scratching, skin redness or swelling, vomiting, or any abnormal behavior. If you see any of these signs, contact your veterinarian. And most importantly, report these incidents to your veterinarian and the manufacturer of the product so adverse event reports can be filed.

Be aware that certain flea and tick preventives are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while others are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  It can seem confusing at first to figure out which agency regulates the product you’re using, but it’s actually pretty straightforward: if the product is regulated by the EPA, there’s an EPA number clearly listed on the package. If it’s regulated by the FDA, there should be a NADA or ANADA number clearly listed on the package. Check the label for either an EPA or an FDA approval statement and number.  If you see neither, check with your veterinarian before purchasing and especially before using the product.

Original article from www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/Safe-use-of-flea-and-tick-preventive-products.aspx

 

Cats  like to scratch. They scratch during play. They scratch while stretching. They scratch to mark territory or as a threatening signal other cats. And because cats’ claws need regular sharpening, cats scratch on things to remove frayed, worn outer claws and expose new, sharper claws. Unfortunately, all this scratching can cause a lot of damage to furniture, drapes and carpeting!

What to Do About Your Cat’s Scratching Habits

The best tactic when dealing with scratching is not to try to stop your cat from scratching, but instead to teach her where and what to scratch. An excellent approach is to provide her with appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch, such as scratching posts. The following steps will help you encourage your cat to scratch where you want her to.

– Provide a variety of scratching posts with different qualities and surfaces. Try giving your cat posts made of cardboard, carpeting, wood, sisal and upholstery. Some cats prefer horizontal posts. Others like vertical posts or slanted posts. Some prefer a vertical grain for raking, while others favor a horizontal grain for picking. Once you figure out your cat’s preference for scratching, provide additional posts of that kind in various locations. Keep in mind that all cats want a sturdy post that won’t shift or collapse when used. Most cats also like a post that’s tall enough that they can stretch fully. (This may be why cats seem to like drapes so much!)

– Encourage your cat to investigate her posts by scenting them with catnip, hanging toys on them and placing them in areas where she’ll be inclined to climb on them.

– Discourage inappropriate scratching by removing or covering other desirable objects. Turn speakers toward the wall. Put plastic, double-sided sticky tape, sandpaper or upside-down vinyl carpet runner (knobby parts up) on furniture or on the floor where your cat would stand to scratch your furniture. Place scratching posts next to these objects, as “legal” alternatives.

– Clip your cat’s nails regularly. To learn how, please see our article, Trimming Your Cat’s Claws.

– Consider putting plastic caps on your cat’s claws (Soft Claws®) so that he’ll do no damage if he scratches on something in your home. These special caps attach to claws with an adhesive. They’re temporary, lasting four to six weeks.

– If you catch your cat in the act of scratching an inappropriate object, you can try startling him by clapping your hands or squirting him with water. Use this procedure only as a last resort, because your cat may associate you with the startling event (clapping or squirting) and learn to fear you.

Article from https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cat-scratching

 

Every year, millions of unwanted dogs and cats, including puppies and kittens, are needlessly euthanized. The good news is that every pet owner can help make a difference. By having your dog or cat surgically sterilized so it cannot reproduce, you will do your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies and kittens and can enhance your pet’s health and quality of life.

Spaying and neutering not only prevent unwanted litters and may reduce many behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct (e.g, marking territory, humping, roaming), but also reduce or eliminate the risk of conditions such as testicular cancer, prostatic hyperplasia, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and uterine infection. Reducing roaming may lower the risks of your dog being hit by a car, fighting, or biting people or other dogs.

Spaying and neutering are major surgical procedures and are the most common surgeries performed by veterinarians on cats and dogs. Your pet is given a thorough physical examination to ensure that it is in good health prior to the procedure. General anesthesia is administered during the surgery and efforts, including provision of pain-relieving medications, are usually made to minimize pain. You will need to keep your pet calm and quiet for a few days after surgery as the incision heals.

Like any surgical procedure, sterilization is associated with some anesthetic and surgical risk, but the overall incidence of complications is very low. Because changes in concentrations of reproductive hormones may affect your pet’s risk of developing certain diseases and conditions in the future, your veterinarian will advise you on both the benefits and risks of the sterilization procedure.

Consult with your veterinarian about the most appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet based upon its breed, age and physical condition.

Article found at https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/spay-neuter.aspx

empty leashIt’s every pet parent’s nightmare: Your beloved dog or cat has gotten loose, and you don’t know where he or she is. Don’t panic—there are many steps you can take to locate your little one. Swift action, coupled with major neighborhood networking, will increase the odds of having your furry friend back in your arms! The key is to get the information out to as many people and places as you can, so enlist the help of friends and make sure to involve your entire family in the search effort.

IDs, Please

It’s a good idea for all of your animal companions—even indoors-only pets—to always wear a collar with an ID tag. The ID tag should have your name and a current phone number. If you’ve chosen to microchip your pet as a means of permanent identification, keep in mind that microchips are only as good as the information provided to the chip’s company. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number since registering your pet’s chip and forgot to submit an update, please do so as soon as you can.

Hide and Seek

As soon as you notice that your pet is missing, talk to your family members or housemates and ask when they last saw your pet. It’s a good idea to search your home carefully—under beds, in closets, dark places, small places, behind bulky furniture—in case your pet may be hiding or sleeping somewhere. Shaking a food dish, treat jar or favorite toy will sometimes lure animals out of a hiding place.

If you are sure your pet is not in or around the home, take a slow ride or walk around the neighborhood. Ask friends or neighbors if they’ve seen your animal companion; be sure to bring along a recent photo to show them. Check under porches and shrubs, and ask neighbors to check in sheds and garages just in case your pet was accidentally locked in.

Work the Phones

Your first calls should be to all the animal control agencies, shelters (both municipal and private) and rescue groups in your area; one of them could have your pet in custody already. Check in with the bigger shelters daily—and pay your visits in person, if possible.

If there are no shelters close to your home, contact the police.

News Flash

Your next task? Creating a “lost pet” flyer. We recommend sticking with one design, as repeated viewings of a consistent message are more likely to stick in people’s minds. You’ll need to include a lot of info on your flyer, so use your limited space wisely:
– Start with a big, bold headline that people can read from a distance: “LOST DOG” or “MISSING CAT” is fine.
– Under the headline, a photo of your pet would be ideal. Make sure he’s still well-represented after the picture’s been photocopied or printed. List his breed, sex, color, age, weight, distinguishing features, and where and when he was last seen. It is very important that your pet is described accurately.
– Provide your name and two phone numbers; yours, of course, and a friend or family member’s in case you cannot be reached.

Blanket the Neighborhood

With your flyers in hand (and hopefully, a crew of supportive helpers), it’s time to hit the streets. Good places to post your flyers may include:
– Dog runs and parks
– Pet supply stores and pet grooming shops
– Veterinary offices
– Various commercial establishments, such as grocery and convenience stores, gas stations, Laundromats, bars, cafes and restaurants.
– Lampposts and trees. Cover extra heavily the areas where you think your pet was lost, as well as busy commercial and pedestrian sections of your town.
– Around schools, at kids’-eye level. Children can be more observant than adults, especially when it comes to animals.

Note, be sure to ask permission before posting your flyers!

Hit the ‘Net

The Internet was made for networking. Send descriptive emails about your lost pet to your local friends, colleagues and family members, and ask them to pass on the info to anyone they can. Post messages to animal forums and message boards run by groups based in your area—lots of parks and dog runs have online communities.

Don’t Give Up!

This one’s important! And remember that many lost animals have found their way back home.

Original Article https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/finding-lost-pet

The holidays have arrived, and if you are one of the fortunate ones with friends and family that you like to spend time with, the holidays mean parties, dinners, gift exchanges and get-togethers. Whether you will be the host of one of these fetes, or whether you’ll be packing up the family and pet for a cross-town trip to visit family and/or friends, know before you go how you are going to keep everyone calm and comfortable, so that everyone has a good time.

Visiting … Visitors

If you are the “visitee,” you will want to do a little preparation before the guests arrive. Many of us consider our pets to be members of the family, and we enjoy having them with us in as we celebrate good times. But, when our pets are not used to have more than a few people around, they can get overly excited, and things can stop being fun. The jumping, the grabbing food from hands and tables, the barking … all of these things can lead to some embarrassing situations, and can even frighten some guests who are not accustomed to having animals around. In the weeks before the event, take some time to work on your pet’s manners and reinforce obedience training. You might try some small gatherings with some pet friendly people who can help you to reinforce your pet’s manners, so that when the bigger party night comes, your pet will already be prepared.

If, on the other hand, you know that your pet will not be able to hold back his exuberance, set aside a safe room where he can stay for the duration of the event. Make the space comfortable with a bed or rug, water, toys, and maybe some treats. Close this area off to the guests so that you can be sure that your pet, and your guests, are safe. Remember to either tell your guests that your pet should be left alone, tape a sign to the door saying “do not open,” or place a hook and eye lock on the door so that people know that it is not to be opened. The last thing you want is for a very excited pet to dash through the house, and possibly out the door to the outside of the house.

Traveling With Your Pet

Leaving the familiarity of home can provoke anxiety in people and animals. If you are traveling by car, be sure to bring along some of your pet’s favorite toys, a blanket or pillow bed, and his regular food. If your pet is used to sleeping in a crate, bring it along so he can sleep in his familiar space.

We advise keeping pets in a travel safe crate so that the animal is not able to move freely though the car. This covers a few bases. Keeping animals in travel crates prevents them from getting underfoot or on your lap while you are driving — an obvious hazard — it prevents them from being thrown from the car should an accident occur, and it prevents them from getting free/running away during rest stops or after minor accidents have occurred. We can tell you that these unhappy events do occur and are reported in the news frequently enough to make them worth noting. If you cannot fit a crate into your car, you can use a pet approved safety belt/harness to keep your pet in her seat, where she belongs.

On that note, make sure your pet is wearing identification at all times, and pack an emergency first aid kit for pets in case of an emergency. And don’t forget to take frequent breaks to allow for rest and relief.

If You Leave Your Pet Behind — Boarding

Before choosing a boarding facility for your pet, take a quick tour of the facility to check out the accommodations. You will want to be sure that it is clean and well kept, and that there is ample space given for the animals to exercise daily.

Have your questions ready before you go. Things you may want to know are: how many animals are kept together in one space; can you bring your pet’s food so that his digestive system will not be upset by an abrupt change in food; will you be able to bring along toys and other familiar comfort objects from home?

If you do not feel comfortable with a boarding facility, whether for your pet’s emotional comfort or because of health concerns, and you do not have the option of taking your pet along with you, give yourself plenty of time to ask around the neighborhood for someone to pet-sit in your home or theirs, or do some research into local pet-sitters that will come to your home to check in and care for your pet, or will take your pet into their home. The better prepared you are, the less stress there will be for you and your pet, and the better your holiday celebrations will be.

Keep to a Routine

One of the best things you can do throughout it all is to stay to a familiar schedule. This means taking walks at the same time that you always do, and feeding at the same time as usual. It might help to create an alarm system on your mobile phone to remind you of your pet’s daily routine. Also, don’t forget to take time to play and show affection, so that your pet does not feel thrown off balance by all of the activity and distractions.

Original article found at https://www.petmd.com/dog/seasonal/evr_multi_dealing_with_holiday_stress#.UrjWDvRDuSo

Follow our tips to keep pets safe and comfortable

From the Humane Society Website https://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/protect_pets_winter.html

In many areas, winter is a season of bitter cold and numbing wetness. Extra precautions during winter months will make sure your four-footed family members stay safe and warm.

Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines:

Keep pets indoors and warm

Don’t leave dogs or cats outdoors when the temperature drops. Most dogs, and all cats, are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. No matter what the temperature, wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Regardless of the season, shorthaired, very young, or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Short-coated dogs may feel more comfortable wearing a sweater during walks.

The best way to keep your pets safe (and happy) is to keep them with you

Take precautions if your dog spends a lot of time outside

A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The house should be turned to face away from the wind, and the doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic.

Help neighborhood outdoor cats

If there are outdoor cats, either owned pets or community cats (ferals, who are scared of people, and strays, who are lost or abandoned pets) in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. It’s easy to give them a hand.

Give your pets plenty of water

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet’s water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal.

Be careful with cats, wildlife, and cars

Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring any hidden animals, bang on your car’s hood to scare them away before starting your engine.

Protect paws from salt

The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet’s feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth.

Avoid antifreeze poisoning

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a sweet taste that may attract animals and children. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Coolants and antifreeze made with propylene glycol are less toxic to pets, wildlife, and family. Read more about pets and antifreeze »

The best tip of all: keep your pets with you

Probably the best prescription for winter’s woes is to keep your dog or cat inside with you and your family. The happiest dogs are those who are taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time.

Dogs and cats are social animals who crave human companionship. Your animal companions deserve to live indoors with you and your family.