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At Christmas, the chocolate in your advent calendar can prove disastrous for your waistline, but fatal to your pets. But other foods can be equally dangerous, especially nuts and booze, and several ingredients that go to make up your Christmas Dinner and all the trimmings.

John Cousins BVSc, MRCVS, Director of VioVet, the online pet medications and pet food retailer, says the dangers are multiplied at Christmas when it becomes more difficult to monitor what your pets are eating: “Ingredients such as onions or garlic that go into turkey stuffing or raisins in the Christmas pudding and mince pies can make your pets seriously ill and must be avoided,” he says.

So this Wintertide, make sure your pets avoid the following Christmas treats:

  • Grapes and raisins contain a potent toxin that can damage the liver and kidneys of dogs and cats. Raisins are a key ingredient in mince pies and fruitcake, so make sure these are kept well away from your dog or cat.
  • Nuts and especially a toxin present in macadamia nuts can impede the function of a dog’s digestive, muscle and nervous systems, resulting in weakness and breathlessness, tremors and swollen legs.
  • Nutmeg is also a danger – a favourite ingredient of egg nog, if eaten by a dog, its nervous system will begin to suffer with potentially severe consequences.
  • Alcohol has a far stronger effect on dogs than humans, and even a drop of it or any other stimulant-type drink can cause disorientation, laboured breathing, and even death.
  • Peaches, plums and persimmons have been known to cause digestive complaints in dogs. The pips of these fruits are far more dangerous and pose a choking hazard, but also because of the toxins they contain.

John says that there are many other products and ingredients that can do harm, especially those that containXylitol, a sweetener found in sugared sweets and candy, some dietary foods and baked goods. If a dog consumes even a small amount it could be in serious trouble. His advice is therefore simple:

“Tempting though it is to give your dog or cat a treat from the table, my advice is don’t,” John concludes. “You could, quite literally, be killing with kindness.”

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There may be countless ways to spend your holiday shopping dollar, but few that can directly make the day special for an animal. D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is asking people to give a special present to a rescued dog or cat. Every one of the over 1500 animals at D.E.L.T.A. will receive a personalized stocking full of his favorite treat, thanks to donations earmarked for this special cause.

DELTA Rescue Puppys

Leo Grillo, founder of D.E.L.T.A. Rescue has been filling stockings for the animals at the 115 acre animal sanctuary for 29-years. “Christmas is for kids, and animals are our children too. The joy of seeing a dog smile and then run off with his treat is what giving is all about.”

D.E.L.T.A. Rescue is the world’s largest no-kill, care for life animal sanctuary. Since 1979, it has been a champion for the countless animals who have lived there, as well as for the rights of animals throughout the world. Grlllo says, “Besides donating to our own 1500 animals, you can take treats to your local animal shelter and bring those lonely dogs and cats some Holiday cheer.”

To have your donation go to help pay for these stockings, please visit www.deltarescue.org and click on any “donate” button.

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Tis the season for gift giving, but there is never a good time of year to give a puppy as a surprise present.  The American Kennel Club (AKC®) reminds those considering giving a puppy as a gift to think twice.

“A dog is a serious commitment, and you should never surprise someone with a puppy they aren’t ready to keep for a lifetime,” said AKC Spokesperson Lisa Peterson. “A dog needs to suit your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the energy level, size, coat and temperament of a puppy – as well as your own readiness – before you make a decision.”

Consider wrapping dog supplies such as a leash or bowl to symbolize the gift of a puppy to come – this will give the recipient time to do their research and prepare for the commitment.

During their critical first weeks at home, puppies require a great deal of time, love, and attention. Therefore, every prospective owner should carefully consider their schedule and circumstances before bringing a new pet into their home. This is especially true during the holidays when parties, travel, or out-of-town visitors might adversely affect your ability to give a new puppy all the attention he or she deserves. If your holidays will be hectic, wait until after the hustle and bustle.

The AKC also reminds dog owners of the following tips to keep their four-legged friends safe and happy this holiday season:

– Holiday Dangers Facing Dogs & Puppies – 

  • Avoid using food such as popcorn or cranberry strands as holiday decorations. If eaten, they can cause blockages, which can require surgery to remove. Puppies are notorious chewers when young and will look to get anything they can.
  • Place ornaments, tinsel, glass bulbs, and things that sparkle and catch your dog’s eye higher up on your tree where he can’t reach them. Ornaments can cause major problems for your dog or puppy if ingested.
  • Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe can be poisonous to pets, so keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure your dog doesn’t swallow the pine needles or drink the tree water which can cause stomach irritation, or contain poisonous plant food. Try putting a gate around the tree to keep your dog away, or consider getting an artificial tree.
  • Puppies like to chew and explore, and exposed wires from holiday lights pose a threat to your curious little friend – if he chews on them, he could be electrocuted. Tape indoor wires to the wall and outdoor wires to the side of the house where your dog can’t reach them.
  • Be careful with candles around your house, as a wagging tail can knock them over and cause serious burns or even start a house fire.
  • Common holiday foods such as chocolate, butter, turkey skin, fat, and candy can make your dog very ill. Take care to keep these foods out of reach.

For more information on responsible dog ownership, visit the AKC at www.akc.org.

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To ensure that the 4th of July holiday is a positive experience for everyone, Petco is sharing some simple ways to keep pets safe, drastically reduce their stress and lower their risk of running away.

thundershirt-dogs

ThunderShirt for Dogs

Here’s how you can help keep your pets comfortable during fireworks or other noisy activities:

  • Create a quiet place so pets have a restful room or area to retreat to. Firecrackers, loud party voices and booming music can make pets anxious.
  • Proactively attend Petco’s free Anxiety & Calming Seminar, which takes place at stores nationwide June 28-29, 2014 at 2 p.m. Pet parents will learn how to recognize their dog’s stress signals, learn techniques to help settle pets down and understand the importance of mental and physical exercise as ways to keep dogs calm.
  • Be sure all pets, including indoor cats, wear current ID tags. Clear identification can be a pet’s ticket back home.
  • If you haven’t had your pets microchipped yet, talk to your vet about this important form of identification.
  • Avoid taking pets to see fireworks. Secure all potential escape routes and leave them in a quiet, sheltered area. A television or radio left playing at a normal volume can be reassuring.
  • If it is necessary to be outside with dogs during fireworks, make sure each dog is secure on a leash and harness. Frightened dogs commonly manage to slip out of their collars, and harnesses allow pet parents to stay in full control.
  • Don’t leave dogs outside unattended. Even tethered pups will struggle to get away if startled by noise. Dogs who aren’t tethered may try to dig out of an enclosed yard.
  • Comfort pets with their favorite toy or blanket. Also, Thundershirts will dramatically help reduce the fear dogs and cats may experience. Hire a pet-sitter for the day or evening or ask a friend who knows the pet well to pay a visit.

thundershirt-cats

ThunderShirt for Cats

If bringing pets along for a July 4th road trip, consider the following precautions:

  • Always think safety first. Traveling with an unrestrained pet is not only dangerous for the pet and driver, but for every car on the road. Keep the pet comfortably restrained with an auto safety harness or in a traveling crate at all times. Be sure to secure the crate inside the vehicle to prevent it from tipping over.
  • Don’t allow dogs to stick their head out of open windows while driving.
  • Give smaller dogs a boost up to enjoy a clear view of the journey with the Petco Booster Seat.
  • Keep small animals safe by securing them in the vehicle in a proper carrier. The Caitec Perch N Go Bird Carrier and the Petco Pet Keeper for Small Animals both allow their passengers to be transported safely and comfortably while in the car and also acts as a safe habitat for them while they are out and about with their pet parent.

For more information on creating a safe and fun summer experience, please visit www.petco.com/summer.

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At the American Veterinary Medical Association, we’ve heard the same excuses repeated again and again: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store.” Or, “But I cracked the windows open.” Or, “It wasn’t that warm outside.”

And yet, every year, the AVMA continues to hear the same story, over and over: Dogs left unattended in a car or truck, suffering in the rising temperatures, becoming sick and sometimes dying as a result. Seemingly responsible people do it. Police officers have done it. It makes the news. People are outraged. The story goes away. And it happens again.

It happened again in Phoenix yesterday, when a dog died after being left alone in a vehicle for over an hour while its owner went shopping. The temperature outside was 110 degrees; we can only imagine how hot it was inside the vehicle.

But it doesn’t have to be sweltering outside to make it dangerous to leave dogs inside a vehicle. The temperature inside a vehicle can rise almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30 degrees, and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in a vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside the vehicle.

AVMA Pets in Cars

Even on a day that doesn’t seem hot to you, a vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts pets at risk of serious illness and even death. Cracking the windows makes no difference. Only take your pets with you when it is absolutely necessary, and do not leave them in the vehicle.

The AVMA wants to put an end to these tragic stories. On its website, the AVMA has several resources, including videos, posters, and other information, to educate the public about the dangers of leaving pets unattended in vehicles. The AVMA encourages stores, malls, restaurants, and other businesses to place its posters in their windows to help get the message out: If you love your pets, sometimes it’s best to leave them at home.

Please help the AVMA spread the word that leaving pets in cars is unacceptable, and help prevent similar headlines from happening in the future.

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. More than 85,000 member veterinarians worldwide are engaged in a wide variety of professional activities. Visit www.avma.org for more information.

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The white, trumpet-shaped Easter lily symbolizes Easter and spring for many people, and is a popular decoration in homes at this time of year.

If you have cats, however, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wants to remind you that these particular flowers, as well as Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies, are a safety threat to your feline friends.

lilies-cats

Eating small amounts of plants or grass may be normal for cats. But the entire lily plant (leaf, pollen, and flower) is poisonous to them, according to Melanie McLean, a veterinarian at FDA. Even if they just eat a couple of leaves or lick a few pollen grains off their fur, cats can suffer acute kidney failure within a very short period of time.

McLean says that if your cat has eaten part of a lily, the first thing you’ll see is vomiting soon afterwards. That may gradually lessen over two to four hours. Within 12 to 24 hours, the cat may start to urinate frequently. Then, if kidney failure sets in, the cat will stop urinating because the kidneys stop being able to produce urine. Untreated, she says, a cat will die within four to seven days of eating a lily.

Young cats typically have healthy kidneys, so when a young cat shows signs of acute kidney damage, consumption of a toxic substance is one of the first things veterinarians investigate, McLean says.

Early veterinary treatment is critical. McLean says that even if you just suspect that your cat has eaten a lily, you should call your veterinarian immediately or, if the office is closed, take your cat to an emergency veterinary clinic. The vet may induce vomiting if the cat just ate the lily, and will give the cat intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration and preserve kidney function.

Other lilies, like Calla and Peace lilies, don’t cause fatal kidney failure, but they can irritate your cat’s mouth and esophagus. Lilies of the Valley are toxic to the heart, causing an abnormal heart rhythm. If you think your cat has eaten any type of lily, contact your veterinarian.

Lilies are not a great danger to dogs, McLean says. Dogs may have some gastrointestinal issues if they eat a lily, but nothing considered life-threatening.

Does this mean that you can’t have lilies in your home if you have a cat? Although it’s best not to have them in your home, if you want to enjoy these pretty spring flowers, McLean says to be sure to keep the plant someplace that your high-jumping pet can’t reach.

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Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but they do agree on “Pluto”—how much they love their dogs. Old Mother Hubbard, in honor of its newest line of bakery-inspired dog treats, Gourmet Goodies, conducted a Valentine’s Day “Puppy Love” survey, and it’s no contest—pooches reign supreme over human partners in this lighthearted look at who wins ‘top dog’ in true love.

OLD MOTHER HUBBARD GOURMET GOODIES SURVEY

Gourmet Goodies surveyed 741 dog-owning adults in relationships to determine whether 10 key characteristics vary between human and canine relationships: love at first sight, faithfulness, friendship, unwavering devotion, protection from danger, being eager to please, always happy to see me, easygoing, always makes me feel good and doesn’t talk back or criticize.

  • K-9s a perfect 10:  Fifty-five percent of dog owners in a human relationship strongly agree or agree that all 10 characteristics described their relationship with their dog. Only 32 percent feel the same about their human partner.
  • Instant attraction:  Love at first sight strikes more often with dogs, with 78 percent saying they fell in love with their dogs at first glance, versus only 67 percent for human partners.
  • Doggone devotion: When it comes to unconditional love and being faithful and devoted for life, furry friends are the best. Ninety-three percent of dog owners believe their pooch “loves them without question,” as compared to their human partners at 85 percent. As for fidelity, dogs win paws down once again, as 91 percent voted in favor of the pups, versus 82 percent for their significant others.
  • Fido’s the biggest fan: Dogs rise to the top with their ability to unequivocally support their person. Eighty-four percent of dogs “Don’t talk back or criticize” as compared to 47 percent of humans; they are “eager to please” (84 percent vs. 66 percent); and humans appreciate their “willingness to go anywhere” (86 percent vs. 73 percent).
  • Throwing humans a bone: Alas, relationships haven’t entirely gone to the dogs. Men and women agree, 94 percent and 90 percent respectively, that their human partner slightly edges out Fido in the best friend category…but only by a nose (eight percent and four percent, respectively).

Given the affection humans lavish on their canine companions, it’s no surprise that 33 percent said they plan to buy their dogs Valentine’s Day gifts. And when it comes to selecting a gift, pet parents find that the way to their dogs’ hearts is through their tummies, with the majority of dog owners identifying a “special treat” as the Valentine’s Day gift of choice for their beloved bowser.

“Dogs certainly are easy to please, but that’s what makes pet parents want to go the extra mile to give them something special,” said Chanda Leary-Coutu, marketing communications manager for Old Mother Hubbard. “With Gourmet Goodies, pet parents can let their dogs indulge in artisanal-quality treats that before could only be found in a pet boutique.”

The Old Mother Hubbard Gourmet Goodies line delivers irresistible flavors made with natural ingredients pooches will love. With seven new options to choose from, every day can be a new canine culinary adventure. Old Mother Hubbard Gourmet Goodies are available in 6 oz. re-sealable packages for $5.99(U.S.) in the following varieties:

  • Crispers: Crunchy, cheesy and savory, Crispers are available in Cheddar, Chicken & Rosemary and Parmesan, Bacon & Tomato.
  • Soft Bakes: Moist cookies come in three varieties — Peanut Butter & Carob, Applesauce Oatmeal and Carrot & Pumpkin.
  • Fruit’ins: Two delicious cookie and fruit layers are available in Honey, Oatmeal & Blueberries and Honey, Apple & Bacon.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, from February 10 through 14, Old Mother Hubbard will be offering daily Gourmet Goodies giveaways on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/OMHpetsnacks, as well as highlighting “Puppy Love” survey statistics.

More Survey Results 
Who gives better smooches, your pooch or your mate? And what about public displays of affection? The Gourmet Goodies “Puppy Love” survey found:

  • Maybe it’s doggie breath?:  Men are more affectionate to their human partners – 68 percent would rather smooch their mate than their pup, and 74 percent of men agree that their human partner gives better kisses than their four-legged friend.
  • Women want kiss quality & quantity:  Women, however, are more likely than men to believe their pooch gives the best smooch (24 percent versus 14 percent), which may lead to why women are twice as likely (26 percent versus 12 percent) to kiss their dog more often on a daily basis. But the majority of women (64 percent) do agree that their human partner gives “the best” kisses as compared to their four-legged “true loves.”
  • People vs. pup PDA: Men (58 percent) prefer to hug or kiss their human partner in public, whereas women are more equal opportunity about with whom they show their affection – 36 percent will kiss or hug their partner or their pup in public.

About the Survey
Conducted via Toluna’s Online Omnibus, interviews were completed Jan. 10 – 14, 2014, among a sample of 741 adults who own a dog, and are in a relationship with a partner. The margin of error on this sample is +/- 3%.

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From the Berkshire Humane Society (214 Barker Road, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201)

With winter comes snow, ice, and frigid temperatures. To keep your pets safe and cozy, the Berkshire Humane Society offers the following tips:

1) Bring outdoor pets inside. Cold weather can be deadly for pets, so let them enjoy the comforts of indoor living. Keep them in a cooler spot in the house, away from woodstoves or fireplaces. Otherwise they can suffer from heat exhaustion.

bhs-cold-weather

Image courtesy of the Berkshire Humane Society

2) Offer special TLC. If your outdoor pet can’t tolerate being indoors, please be sure to provide an especially warm shelter that offers protection from the weather as well as extra food and plenty of fresh, unfrozen water!

3) Honk your horn, tap your hood. Cats who live outdoors may seek comfort on frigid winter nights next to a warm car engine. Before starting your car, give them a warning and wait a few seconds so they can escape.

4) Keep walks short. Regular exercise for dogs is important. Extended exposure to the cold, however, can lead to frostbite. Also keep your dog on a leash and clean sand, salt, or other deicers from the paws to prevent burns.

5) Let pets stay home. Cars can quickly become refrigerators in freezing temperatures and endanger pets. Limit travel to necessary trips and don’t leave them unattended in a car.

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As pet parents celebrate the arrival of a New Year, ThunderWorks reminds all pet parents that New Year’s Eve festivities can contribute to increased stress and anxiety in our dogs and cats. Particularly loud noises from celebratory fireworks, banging pots and pans and party poppers can seriously scare household pets, causing them to act destructively, run away and exhibit a myriad of negative behaviors which includes: chewing, clawing, whimpering, and indoor elimination. The ThunderShirt provides a safe, natural and simple solution to anxiety-ridden dogs and cats, and has been recommended for years by veterinarians and trainers nationwide specifically for use during New Year’s Eve fireworks displays.

thundershirt-for-dogs

“The holidays, while fun for humans, can be a major trigger for anxiety in our pets,” said Phil Blizzard, founder of ThunderShirt and CEO of ThunderWorks. “Pets are thrown off of their usual routines which is why a calming tool like the ThunderShirt can truly benefit their overall well-being during the parties, New Year’s Eve countdowns and noise.”

With its patented design, the ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure is proven to dramatically reduce anxiety in 80 percent of dogs. Anxiety experts believe that pressure, similar to the idea of swaddling an infant baby, has a calming effect on the nervous system and releases calming endorphins or oxytocins. The ThunderShirt for Dogs is available in sizes XXS to XXL. Suggested retail is $39.95. The ThunderShirt for Cats is available in sizes S, M and L. Suggested retail is $39.95. Both products can be personalized with custom embroidery for an additional $10 charge online.

In addition to using ThunderShirt, the company offers pet parents an array of proven pet anxiety and stress product solutions. For added distraction, the ThunderToy and ThunderTreat combination work as a thoughtfully designed puzzle-chew toy. Dogs will remain calm and distracted while working through the toy so that it dispenses the ThunderTreat as the reward. The ThunderToy is available in two sizes, small and large, and starts at $12.95. The ThunderTreat is available in a 4oz. bag for $7.95 and an 8oz. bag for $9.95.

The ThunderSpray calms and comforts dogs and cats by mimicking a mother’s natural pheromones and is comprised of soothing fragrances of lavender and chamomile. ThunderSpray can be used in two ways: by spraying a single burst in the area where pets spend time, like a car or bed, or in conjunction with the ThunderShirt and sprayed near the shirt’s collar. The calming pheromones and fragrances will continue to release for an extended period and the liquid will dry stain-free. ThunderSpray is available for both dogs and cats, and retails for $19.95.

In addition to these effective solution products that can be purchased online at http://www.ThunderWorks.com, the company also reminds pet parents this New Year’s Eve to:

  1. Make a safe space for pets. If hosting a New Year’s Eve party, create a private space for a pet to retreat to- should the unfamiliarity of party guests and decorations pique anxiety. This can be a crate or a room in the house where they feel comfortable. Be sure to keep them inside and away from the noise.
  2. Properly ID all Pets. Ensure pets have up-to-date identification in case he/she runs away if startled by New Year’s Eve fireworks or noisemakers. ID can help pets be returned to their owners safely.
  3. Try distraction methods. Puzzle toys, like the ThunderToy can help dogs take their mind off of what is scaring them and focus it on something more productive.
  4. Avoid bringing pets along. Don’t take pets to events that involve fireworks or noisemakers. They are better off being left at home.
  5. Don’t scold a scared pet. This will scare and confuse a dog or can, and reinforces fearful behaviors.

These tips combined with the use of the ThunderShirt and supporting ThunderWorks products if needed can improve your relationship with your pet, eliminating the need for last minute training or medication on this New Year’s Eve.

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From the Frederick County Humane Society (Frederick, Maryland 21701)

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

fchs-holidays2013

The Frederick County Humane Society would like to thank all of you who have supported our work this year!  Volunteers, Sponsors, Members and Financial Supporters, we could not have helped the record number of animals and people that we did this year without you!  We have fed over 1,000 hungry pets, assisted over 450 animals with their medical needs, given over 300 rabies vaccines and assisted with over 1,000 spay/neuter for cats and dogs.

Please think of us as you make your end of year donations.  Help us to continue our work for the animals of Frederick County!

 

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