Saturday, December 3, 2016

Are Christmas Trees or Plants Poisonous for Dogs and Cats?

Since we’re in the middle of the holiday season, we want to focus on how you can keep your pets safe while still enjoying all of your holiday decor. In our other post on this topic, we touched on safety for electric cords and glass decorations, along with how you can keep pets from getting into any presents that may have a scent before it’s time to open them.

We also provided an explanation of why it’s best to keep pets away from a Christmas tree unless you’re there to supervise. Because there are different types of Christmas trees you can choose to put in your home during this season, we want to dig into this topic a little deeper. Specifically, we’re going to answer the question of whether Christmas trees or any other holiday plants are poisonous to pets.

What You Need to Know About Christmas Trees and Pets

If you’re interested in having a live Christmas tree in your home, you can go with this option and not put your pet in immediate danger. That being said, live Christmas trees are classified as mildly toxic for pets. The reason is they produce fir oils. And if a dog or cat consumes those oils while licking or chewing on the tree, it can irritate the animal’s mouth or stomach. That can result in excessive drooling and/or vomiting. Tree needles can present a variety of risks as well if consumed, ranging from GI irritation to gastrointestinal puncture.

It’s also important to note that artificial trees can be dangerous if a pet consumes a significant amount. That’s because toxins from the material can get released inside a pet or large pieces of the tree that a pet is unable to digest can cause intestinal obstruction.

So, what’s the best approach to take? With both live and artificial trees, the main potential danger is if a pet consumes a large amount. That’s why we continue to recommend choosing a room in your home that you can keep your pet out of whenever you aren’t there to watch out for it.

2 Holiday Plants to Watch Out For

We want to highlight two other popular holiday plants that are best to keep away from your pets. Although poinsettias are many people’s first guess, those plants are classified as non to just mildly toxic for pets. The two holiday plants that can present much more of a threat are mistletoe and holly. Both of these plants can be quite dangerous to dogs and cats. That’s why it’s best to keep these plants out of your home and decorate with other options instead. And if you ever have reason to believe that your pet has consumed mistletoe or holly, you should get to your vet right away.

While it’s important to take the potential toxicity of those plants seriously and to be strategic about where your place your Christmas tree, following the guidelines we covered is the best way to ensure every member of your household has a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Decorating for the Winter Holiday When You Have Pets

As we get closer and closer to Christmas, you probably want to fill your home with lots of holiday cheer. One of the best ways to do that is with spirited decorations. By putting holiday decor throughout your home, you can create a type of atmosphere that gets everyone really excited about all the great aspects of this season.

As a household with pets, it’s normal to want to include them in the holiday festivities whenever possible. While that’s definitely a good plan, one thing to keep in mind is your pets may have different feelings about certain holiday decorations. Instead of simply wanting to look at decorations, your pet may want to play with decorations or even be tempted to eat them. And as you may have guessed, some items can be quite dangerous if consumed.

Since this is an issue that affects countless pet owners, the good news is you don’t have to choose between filling your home with festive decor and keeping your pets safe. Instead, by following a few guidelines, you can find the perfect balance between both. So with that goal in mind, here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe around winter decorations:

1. Christmas Tree

From specific ornaments to the tree itself, there are a number of things about this decoration that may catch the attention of a dog or cat. Keeping pets away from all of these temptations can be a challenge, especially if your pet is young. That’s why we recommend putting your tree in a room your pet can’t access unless you’re also there to supervise.

2. Electric Cords and Glass

Many different types of holiday decorations utilize electric cords. Chewing can be a danger to pets, which is why you’ll want to try keeping cords out of reach and monitor any that are accessible for signs of chewing. And if you have any ornaments or other decorations made from glass, it’s best to put them out of reach of your pet to prevent any breaks and subsequent cuts.

3. Presents

Just like all the other special people in your life, it’s a lot of fun to get presents for your pets and then open them together. If you’re currently trying to find some great gifts, be sure to take a look at our pet treats and pet care products. The one important caveat about any pet present with a smell is even if it’s securely wrapped, your pet may pick up the scent. And once that happens, they’re going to be tempted to get inside.

Because you don’t want to come home to multiple packages that are shredded open, be sure to keep any pet presents that may have a scent in a more secure part of your home until it’s time to actually open them. This is also true if any gifts for other members of your household are food products or other items with a strong smell.

By being strategic about where you place your Christmas tree, using caution with electric cords & glass decorations and securing any presents that your pets may be tempted to get inside, you can keep your pets safe while also enjoying all your holiday decor to the fullest.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Do Dogs Play Favorites?

When couples or families have a dog, it’s common to joke about who the dog likes best. While dogs have big hearts and are more than capable of loving all the people who are part of their pack, this type of joke brings up an interesting question. Specifically, is it common at all for dogs to have a favorite person?

The short answer to that question is yes. To expand on that answer, we’re going to explore the topic of bonding in detail:

Bonding 101

If one member of a household provides a dog with the most care, time and attention, that person may become a dog’s favorite. However, those elements aren’t a requirement for a dog to select its favorite person. A dog can bond with any member of their household. When that happens, the dog will always seem happiest to see that individual. That’s because the dog will view that person as a leader, provider, and companion. A wiggling body, rear in the air and flattened ears are all signs of a dog interacting with its favorite person.

The Why and How of Bonding

The process of bonding that dogs go through with humans is often very similar to the way that people build relationships with each other. In plenty of cases, bonding can be driven by chemistry. Whether it’s a person’s tone of voice, their movements or demeanor, a dog may be drawn to something about that individual.

In addition to the role that type of spark can play in bonding, this process can also be driven by activities that make a dog feel at ease, comfortable and attached. For example, if there are three people in a household and a dog sleeps next to just one individual at night, the likelihood of the dog strongly bonding and playing favorites with that person is quite high.

Because dogs have different personalities and can have varied experiences, those elements can play a significant role in bonding. An unfortunate scenario that demonstrates this well is a dog that comes from a previously abusive situation. It may take a little time for this type of dog to let its guard down. But once it trusts someone enough to do so, the chances of those two deeply bonding are very high.

Although bonding is a very interesting topic, it’s not something that should concern a household member who isn’t instantly picked as the favorite. As we mentioned above, dogs are full of love. So as long as you make a point of consistently providing your dog with lots of attention, you can count on building a strong relationship. And if you ever want to bribe your dog to prove you’re the favorite, our house-made beef jerky pet treats will do the trick!


What If Your Holiday Guests Are Allergic to Pets?

There are a number of reasons why the holidays are such a special time of the year. One of those reasons is getting the opportunity to host guests you enjoy spending time with you in your home. As a host, you want to make your guests feel welcome and ensure they’re able to enjoy their time to the fullest. That’s why you’re probably happy to fulfill any special requests they may have during their stay.

All pet owners are used to dealing with hair throughout their home. But what you may not be as used to thinking about is that hair causing allergies. So if you have a holiday guest coming who happens to be allergic to your pet, you’re going to have to figure out how both of them can exist under the same roof. Although this may not seem like an ideal situation, the good news is there are steps you can take to help your guest.

1. Talk About It in Advance

Since this isn’t an issue that’s going to magically go away, one of the best things you can do is talk openly and honestly with your guest in advance. This will help put their mind at ease knowing you’re taking the issue seriously. It will also remind them of any medication they may need to get or take.

2. Bathe Your Pet

A simple but effective way to reduce how much dander your pet has is to bathe it right before your holiday guest arrives. Giving your pet a good scrub will minimize the skin proteins that are responsible for triggering allergies.

3. Deep Clean

In addition to getting your pet’s skin and coat in tip-top shape, you’ll want to do the same for your house. The ideal time to do a deep clean is 24-48 hours before your guest’s arrival. Mopping and/or vacuuming floors will eliminate a lot of hair. And if your pet spends time on the couch or any other furniture, it’s worth vacuuming those spots as well.

4. Consider a Plug-In Filter

If you really want to be on top of this issue, investing in a HEPA filter and plugging it in where your guest will be sleeping can help keep the night air free of small allergy-triggering particles.

5. Be Aware of Where Your Pet is Hanging Out

Although it’s not necessary to “quarantine” your pet while hosting a holiday visitor, keeping it away from where a guest is sleeping will help a lot. In fact, if you’re able to create a spot in your bedroom or another comfortable area with your pet’s food and other favorite items, you can limit the spread of dander throughout your home.

By talking with your guest about allergies in advance, bathing your pet, deep cleaning your home, considering a plug-in filter and being aware of where your pet is hanging out, you’ll be able to minimize the impact that allergies have during holiday visits.