Creating a Pet-Safe Garden This Summer

It’s that time of year again to get the yard and garden ready for summer! Warm weather is coming, and soon you and your pooch or kitty will be able to frolic together outside. Nothing is better than getting to hang out and be outside in the fresh air, and if you’re like me, you absolutely love adding beautiful plants to your yard! But before you begin planting this year, it’s very important to ensure that you’re not planting anything that could pose a danger to your pets. There are many plants that may look beautiful but are poisonous to our four-legged friends. So, we’ve compiled a list of some popular plants that are not healthy for pets to come in contact with.

Unsafe plants for cats and dogs:

-Amaryllis

-Autumn Crocus

-Azaleas and Rhododendrons

-Castor Bean

-Chrysanthemum

-Convallaria majalis

-Cyclamen

-Daffodils

-Dieffenbachia

-English Ivy

-Kalanchoe

-Lilies

-Marijuana

-Oleander

-Peace Lily

-Pothos

-Sago Palm

-Spanish thyme

-Tulip and Narcissus bulbs

-Yew

Thankfully, there are also a lot of wonderful plants that you can add to your yard and garden that are not only safe for your pets, but that your pets will love! Here are some ideas:

-Barley grass is safe and may even help an upset stomach.

-Catnip. Although your cat may love it because it’s a stimulant for them, it actually does the opposite for Fido. Catnip makes dogs feel very relaxed, but it’s not harmful to them.

-Chamomile is calming.

-Lavender is a calming and soothing choice as well.

-Mint provides something fun and interesting for your dog to sniff, and they may even enjoy munching on it.

-Rosemary is energizing.

But don’t forget:

Basil

Carrots

Catmint

Cilantro

Flowering Currant

Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, etc)

Marigolds

Radishes

Rosemary

Raspberries

Sage

Thyme

Zucchini

And remember to add some pet safe ornamentals to your outdoor haven! We’ve got some great ideas for you:

African violets

Alyssum

Aster

Black Eyed Susan

Hibiscus

Impatiens

Magnolia Bush

Pansies

Petunias

Snapdragons

Sweet Potato Vine

Zinnia

So, enjoy the outdoors this summer and don’t be afraid to share with your furry loved ones! There are so many wonderful plants to choose from that are perfectly safe for your pets and that they will thoroughly enjoy. Creating an environment that provides stimulation and interest for your dogs and cats is always fantastic. Experiment with different plants to see which ones your pets really enjoy. Just like people, pets also have favorites, so have fun with it!

And lastly, please don’t forget to check the labels of everything that you put in your yard and garden. Not all gardening products are pet safe, so be sure to always read those labels.

Have fun and enjoy the outdoors this summer!

Advertisements

National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day – (Second Saturday of May)

How to Create an Emergency Plan for your Pet

It’s not always pleasant to think about having to go through a natural disaster or an evacuation order. In fact, it’s downright scary to even consider it! But, it’s never a bad idea to have a plan in place for your family just in case a natural disaster were to strike – but does your plan include your pets? Sometimes we forget to include our furry family members in our natural disaster plans and so we’ve compiled a list of important things to have in order for your fur babies!

Keep updated pictures handy. Take regular pictures (Well, hello! Of course!) and keep them in various locations. Keep them on your phone, keep some in your car. And if you have a bug out bag (more about this later!), stash a few in there as well. Should your little guy or gal go missing, having updated pictures of them is so incredibly important and will help you get reunited with them as soon as possible.

Get them microchipped. Just in case you get separated from your pet, having them microchipped is extremely helpful in them getting identified and back to you sooner. It’s a very easy procedure that your vet can do at your next visit and takes almost no time at all.

Have a bug out bag packed. Alright, about those bug out bags. What are they? They are basically handy bags packed with all the supplies you might need in an emergency. There are a lot of supplies you can pack ahead of time, like food bowls, leashes, blankets, bottled water, and freeze-dried food. Another important item is a good first aid kit, one that contains not only things for wound care, but also electrolyte powers, flea and tick treatment and repellent, and antihistamine. Don’t forget an extra collar that has ID tags on it.

Take your pets with you. If you ever suspect you might be needing to evacuate, take your pets with you when you leave. Even if you’re not positive, don’t count on being able to come back for them. Put them in your car, grab as many supplies as you can, and get out of there. If it’s too dangerous for you to stay, it’s certainly too dangerous for your pets to stay.

If you stay, make it as safe as possible. Just as you feel stressed during a disaster, your pets are surely going to be feeling very fearful. Pets are known for running away when they feel frightened, so it is vitally important that you keep your home as secure as possible to ensure they cannot escape. Loud noises, big storms, and the like might make your pooch want to bolt, so be sure to keep a close eye on him and make sure there is no way he can get out. Keep them on a leash and keep food and water close by. And if you’re instructed to barricade yourself against something like a tornado, keep your pets right by your side. If needed, put them in a crate with a warm blanket and their favorite toy to keep them calm. And remember, even when the storm is over, pets are likely to be on edge for a while, so be sure to keep them leashed and close to you.

Should You Make Your Own Cat Food?

There are actually a lot of great reasons to make your cat’s food at home! A lot of us have had that unsettling moment in the middle of the cat food aisle, reading label after label, trying to decipher what’s on the ingredient list and deciding whether you want to feed it to Socks or not. It can be confusing and sometimes you just can’t be certain which brands truly have the best ingredients. Taking the guesswork out by creating the meals at home is an excellent way to ensure that your kitty is getting all the essential nutrients and the best quality possible.

There is a debate amongst cat foodies about whether or not you should cook the food. Many people believe that cats are designed, of course, for consuming raw meat and that cooking it, will hinder the essential nutrients. But, if your cat has been accustomed to eating kibble her whole life, it wouldn’t hurt to slowly transition her to raw meat, if that’s your goal – that way it gives her tummy a little time to get used to the new kind of food. Still, some people still prefer to slightly heat the food, just enough to kill off bacteria, yet not thoroughly cook it through. Either way you go, your kitty is sure to love you for it.

The cost of making cat food at home can vary significantly depending on the foods you choose. If you’re choosing expensive meats like filet mignon or lamb, the costs might be quite a bit more than if you went with chicken. However, variety is always a great choice and you’ll likely be able to keep the costs down by purchasing certain meats when they’re on sale.

Cats are carnivores. This means that they need meat to survive. One problem with store-bought cat food is that some companies will fudge by saying they’re “high in protein” but their protein sources are from things like legumes. This simply isn’t sufficient or right for a cat. They absolutely require meat in their diet to be healthy. Meat contains specific nutrients like the amino acid taurine that must come from her diet, as her body cannot produce it on its own. In the wild, cats would also gnaw or even consume bone material as well which provides calcium, magnesium, and other minerals. Animal fat is another crucial nutrient that is derived from animal products. Omega 6 is essential for cats and will be used for energy; Omega 3 is an important fat that is found in foods like salmon and sardines. Beef and pork also contain fat so a variety of foods will give her everything she needs.

Recipes don’t have to be complicated. A lot of times you can probably just wing it, see what’s available and throw whatever you have together. But we’ve compiled a few example recipes just to get you started on the right track. And remember, it’s always a good idea to talk with your vet before feeding your cat new food or giving her any supplements.

Easy Raw Chicken Meal

3 lbs. raw chicken – includes meat, organs, skin, and bones.

2 whole eggs (or just the yolks is preferred)

1 cooked carrot

1 cup water

Put everything in a blender powerful enough to deal with the bones or a meat grinder. Grind it all up until it’s nice and smooth. Be sure to freeze any extra you have that won’t be consumed within a couple days so that it will stay fresh.

Seafood Delight

1 can salmon or sardines or mackerel

⅓ cup cooked old fashioned oatmeal

1 tablespoon cooked peas

Mix it all together and store in an airtight container.

Hope this helps get you started on your journey to homemade cat food! Enjoy!

 

 

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

Many of us have experienced the financial burden and sometimes even hardships associated with the medical care of our pets – especially after they get sick or injured. Medical procedures and surgeries for your pet can easily cost thousands of dollars. So, it’s no surprise that the popularity of pet insurance has skyrocketed in recent years. With the promise of more affordable lifetime care for your pet, it’s pretty much irresistible. I mean, if humans need health insurance, then why not your pet? It’s just the responsible thing to do, right?

But is pet insurance actually worth it? Just like people health insurance, pet insurance premiums will likely fluctuate throughout your pet’s life. Starting off less expensive when they’re young and healthy, and then increase as your pet ages. Depending on the breed of your dog and the plan you’re signed up with, monthly premiums could start at under $50 a month, and by the time your dog is 12, the cost might jump to upwards of $150 a month. That’s a pretty significant increase. For a lot of people, the cost just doesn’t seem justified. Especially for those who are lucky enough to have pets who are overall in good health, the cost of the pet insurance will likely outweigh the actual medical costs. But then again, when something catastrophic does happen to your pet, it is typically unforeseen, and you may be very glad that you had signed up for health insurance. If you’re facing a ten thousand dollar back surgery for your dog, a thousand dollar yearly premium may not seem so bad after all.

For many of us, if you add up your typical yearly vet bills, it’s well under $100 dollars. And if your monthly pet insurance premium is $50 per month, that adds up to $600 per year. For many, insurance just doesn’t seem worth having just for the possibility of an unfortunate incident occurring. However, for someone who owns a breed of dog that tends to have a lot of health complications as they go throughout life, having an insurance policy may be a smart investment.

If you do choose to look into pet insurance, make sure you shop around and do your research. Get quotes from multiple companies and ask how the premiums will change as your pet ages. Also, get a detailed report on what exactly is covered under the plan and what is not. It would be a terrible waste to purchase a plan only to find out what you really needed covered is not. Also, if your pet is currently sick or being treated for an illness, the policy is likely not to cover any of that care, so double check. Likewise, if your pet does suffer from a preexisting condition, check to see whether or not it will be covered as many companies will reject these claims.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of pet insurance, so make sure to weigh all your options and do all your homework to find out what’s best for your family.

February is National Spay/Neuter Awareness Month

February is not only the time of year where you shower your human loved ones with affection, but also the four-legged members of your family. And there’s no better way to show Fido or Mr. Whiskers how much you love them than by being a responsible pet owner and making sure they are spayed or neutered. The overpopulation of pets is a big issue all over the country. Shelters across the nation are packed to capacity with dogs and cats that are in desperate need of a forever home, and sadly, over half of these precious animals are euthanized. Although a portion of the puppies and kittens dropped off at shelters come from strays, a lot are actually a result of unintentional breeding of beloved family pets.

But there is one surefire way to ensure that you don’t end up with unintended offspring – spay or neuter your pet. It is truly the only 100% effective form of birth control and it’s one of the very best things you can do for your kitty or pooch. And the process is probably even easier and cheaper than you think. Because getting your pets fixed is so important, most veterinary offices and animals shelters offer the service for a reasonable price, and some even offer special programs for lower income families. They work to make it as affordable as possible for all pet owners. Make sure to ask what options are available for you.

Not only is fixing your pet a smart decision for preventing unwanted pregnancies, but it also helps them to live longer and healthier lives than their counterparts. The changes that come with spaying and neutering helps reduce their urge to roam which could lead to their getting lost or injured as pets that wander away from their home are more likely to be hit by cars or attacked by wild animals. Spaying and neutering also lessens their chance of getting certain types of cancers and typically reduces behavioral issues such as aggression or desire to seek out a mate.

A lot of people worry about putting their beloved furry friends through a painful and traumatic experience. But rest assured, it’s a simple and easy procedure, and often you’ll be able to take your pet home the very same day. It’s a quick surgery, usually lasting less than 30 minutes, after which your pet will spend a few hours recovering from the anesthesia before being ready to go home. After your pet comes home, you’ll just need to keep them safe and comfortable while they recover. They’ll probably be feeling groggy and not themselves for a little while, but have no fear, after some rest, they’ll be back to normal in no time. Most times, even by the next day they’ll start feeling much better.

It truly is one of the most responsible and loving things you can do for your pet. So, if you have questions or are feeling unsure about this important decision, please talk to your vet today!

7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy

  1. Keep your pet active. No matter if you’ve got a brand new pup who is full of energy to burn, or you’ve got an older dog that’s slowing down, exercise is vital for a healthy animal. Even a little walk around the block is an excellent way to keep them active and happy. And exercise isn’t just for dogs! Take a little time each day to play with your cats and other indoor fur babies!
  2. Spay or neuter. We just cannot stress this one enough. Getting your pet fixed is one of the best things you can do! Getting this simple procedure done can help avoid serious health issues in the future, such as uterine infections and breast tumors in female dogs, and prostate problems and testicular tumors in male dogs. But it’s also an incredibly responsible thing to do as a pet owner! Getting your pet spayed or neutered makes you part of the solution for the overpopulation problem and overcrowding of shelters.
  3. Take your pet to the vet regularly. Making sure your pet gets their regular checkup is vital for their health and well-being. Vets are specially trained to evaluate your pet’s health, make sure they’re healthy and detect problems early on.
  4. Feed your pets a healthy and balanced diet. Now, Fido may look cuter than cute batting those big brown eyes at you as you’re finishing your meal, but that doesn’t mean you should always share! Giving your pet a treat every now and again is probably okay, but it’s important to make sure they’re getting a well-balanced diet to keep their bodies in tip-top shape.
  5. Get your pets vaccinated. One of the best ways to help your pet avoid terrible illnesses is to get them vaccinated. Vaccinations help protect against disease like parvo, distemper, and rabies. Talk to your vet about what you need to do to keep your pet up to date on their vaccinations.
  6. Keep your pet’s weight healthy. Just like it’s not too healthy for humans to be overweight, it’s not healthy for your pet, either. All that extra weight is hard on their joints and organs and slows them down overall. Help them stay healthy and full of energy by monitoring what and how much they eat and keep them active. Talk to your vet to get started.
  7. Start a supplement routine. Dogs and cats can benefit from supplements just like people do! There are countless numbers of different types available on the market, so you’ll be able to find just the right ones for your pet. Multivitamins offer a great foundation, but there are also other supplements available like fish oil, which is great for their coats and joints.

The Benefits of Owning a Pet Door

A lot of pet owners consider getting a pet door for their home but are unsure about whether or not it would be a good investment for their family. We at Hale Pet Door have spent the last 33 years manufacturing the best pet door on the market and we’re proud to say that they make an outstanding addition to your home. Here are just a few of the reasons why owning a pet door might be one of the most beneficial home improvements you’ll ever make!

Safety – Having a pet door in your home allows your pet access to both inside and outside. This cannot be any more important than if there was an emergency at home and you were not there to help your pet(s) escape. And of course, we all know how very dangerous it could be to leave a pet outside to deal with the elements. Giving them the ability to come inside anytime they need to is important.

Health – Ask any veterinarian and they will tell you that making your dog hold its bladder and not be able to use the bathroom for extended periods of time is very unhealthy. Not only is it quite uncomfortable for your pooch, but it can cause urinary tract problems, including but not limited to infections and urinary stones. Could you imagine having to hold your bladder for 8+ hours every day? Of course not – and your pet shouldn’t have to, either! Not to mention giving your dog the ability to run and play every day will help keep their weight in check and their cardiovascular system strong and healthy. Having a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for any of us.

Helps with Boredom – Being home all day alone waiting for you to come home, pets often get bored or antsy which can lead to behavioral problems such as destruction or anxiety. Allowing your pet the freedom to go outside at their leisure to explore and play breaks up the monotony of the day and maintains activity and mental stimulation.

Greatly Reduces Accidents – Even the most well-behaved dogs are bound to have an accident inside every once in a while. While many dogs do their best to hold it until you get home, sometimes they just can’t wait that long. Having the freedom to go outside gives them the ability to relieve themselves anytime needed without risking an accident inside your home.

Pet Doors Aren’t Just for Dogs – Did you know that cats love pet doors, too? These days, catios (outdoor enclosures for cats) are gaining popularity. Imagine if you could give your cat the independence of going outside as often as they would like to watch the birds and bugs without fearing for their safety or security. Just like dog runs, catios come in all shapes and sizes and can be completely customizable to your home. Trust us, your cat will love it!

And Let’s Not Forget What Might Be The Most Important Reason – Not having to let your dog in and out of the house 100x a day! I think we all can agree that is definitely one of the best benefits to owning a pet door!

For more information about pet doors in general or to see our line of high-quality pet doors and related products like ramps and security barriers, visit our website at www.halepetdoor.com.

 

 

Healthy Thanksgiving Treats for Pets

Thanksgiving is a special time of year where people prepare delicious foods to share with their loved ones, but a lot of these dishes are not safe or appropriate to feed to your pets. Surprising to many of us, there are quite a few human foods that are very dangerous for pets to consume. You may already be aware of some of the harmful foods such as chocolate and items containing caffeine, but did you know that citrus is also dangerous for pets? The fruit, stem, and seeds contain citric acid which can cause damage to their nervous system in large amounts. Even smaller quantities can cause an upset stomach. Also, grapes and raisins can be quite toxic to pets and can even cause kidney failure. But one of the most concerning substances is something called xylitol. It can cause liver failure and is very serious if consumed even in smaller amounts. One of the reasons this particular ingredient is so dangerous is that it is in so many products like gum, candy, and toothpaste. It’s even in some peanut butters – a food that is often given to dogs. So, make sure that you always, always double check food labels before sharing anything with your pets.

Thankfully, there are tons of foods that are very healthy and beneficial for your pets, so you don’t have to leave Rufus out of the holiday food fun. Foods high in protein like chicken and eggs are an excellent addition to their diet. Treats made of peanut butter or cheese are also great choices. A lot of dogs love to eat veggies like carrots and green beans, and most cats will go bonkers for a little salmon in their bowl. Your pets will be so thrilled with these tasty treats, that they’ll have no idea that they’re so healthy! And you’ll be thrilled with their healthy coats and teeth.

Check out this quick and easy recipe that you can share with confidence this Thanksgiving with your fur-babies!

Sweet Potato Peanut Butter Dog Cookies

Sweet potatoes are a classic dish on the Thanksgiving table and as it turns out, they’re also amazing for Fido! Rich in vitamin A and fiber, they’re a great addition to their diet.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Large Sweet Potato

2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour

½ Cup Old Fashioned Oatmeal

¼ Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

2 Eggs

¼ Cup Natural Peanut Butter

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Stab sweet potato several times with a fork or sharp knife to make numerous holes.

2. Place sweet potato in microwave on high for approximates 5-7 minutes until fork tender. Carefully peel the skin off sweet potato (potato will be extremely hot, so please use caution!). Then, mash the sweet potato and place about 1 cup in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the large mixing bowl and combine until a dough forms. Place dough onto a floured surface and roll dough out to about ½” thick.

4. You can use a knife or pizza cutter to cut dough into treat-sized pieces, or you can use fun cookie cutters. Small biscuit cutters work well also. Arrange treats on an ungreased baking sheet.

5. Bake until nice and crisp, about 35-45 minutes. Allow treats to remain on the pan for 10 minutes after baking before moving them to a wire rack to cool.

These cookies are sure to be a hit in your home this holiday season. Keep them in a sealed container like a cookie or mason jar and they’ll keep well for weeks. They’re full of beneficial nutrients for your dog and are also nice and crunchy so they’re great for their teeth. Plus, it takes almost no effort to throw a batch together. These also make a wonderful gift! Simply place them in a clear jar and tie a festive ribbon around it – voila! Enjoy!

Keep Your Furry Friends Safe this Halloween

While Halloween festivities can be fun for humans, they can be stressful and even dangerous for our four-legged friends. Follow these safety tips to have a fun and safe Halloween for everyone in your household.

  • Do not let pets eat trick or treat candies. They can be toxic to animals.
  • Kids and others in costumes can be stressful for pets so keep them away from the door when trick-or-treaters call. The loud noises of doorbells constantly ringing, kids screaming and more can set off the calmest dog. And people in costumes can be disorienting and frightening for any animal. If possible, shut them in a quiet room away from the action to keep them calm and prevent them from running away or possibly being aggressive towards one of your callers.
  • Don’t leave your pet out in the yard on Haloween. You wouldn’t want them to be the victim of a “trick”. Be especially careful if your pet is a black cat.
  • Be wary of keeping Halloween decorations out of reach of your pets. Pumpkins and corn can be dangerous especially if eaten uncooked or if moldy. Lit candles can burn your pets or get knocked over and cause a fire. Glow sticks can make a dog sick if chewed on. Electric cords to decorations can be chewed on causing a fire hazard or electric shock danger. Batteries from decorations can be swallowed.
  • Pets in costumes look cute but they don’t all love it. Make sure you try any costumes before the big night to get your pet used to it. Also, make sure your pet actually isn’t upset or annoyed with the costume or any part of it. Look for pieces of a costume that might restrict the animal’s movement, hearing, eyesight or breathing and remove them. Watch out for skin problems caused by the costume and remove immediately if any develop.
  • Most importantly for Halloween and every day: Make sure your pet has proper identification with the proper information on it. Collars and tags are a good start but these can fall off and get lost. Microchip your pet to make sure they can be identified if they do get separated from you.

Community Cats Need Our Help

Misinformation costs millions of community cats (also known as feral cats) their lives every year. When a person sees a cat living outdoors, the urge is to assume that it needs our help, and that help often comes in the form of delivering said cat to the overcrowded local shelters. Sadly, because feral cats are not socialized to humans, this well-meant action is most likely to be a death sentence for a cat who could otherwise have lived a natural life outdoors.

Cats living outdoors is a hard pill to swallow for many animal lovers, especially since we are told over and over that it is so much safer for our pet cats to live indoors. This information is real and good, considering that an outdoor cat is more likely to be hit by a car, contract a disease, or get into a fight – but it doesn’t apply to community cats quite the same way. Why? Because feral cats are closer to wild animals than pet cats. They, like millions upon millions of cats who came before them over many thousands of years, were born and have made their homes outside, in nature – just like squirrels and rabbits. Contrary to popular belief, feral cats can live long and healthy lives in the wild. While we might want to “save” them, most feral cats typically avoid contact with humans, are even frightened of them, and would be unhappy if made to live in a human home.

Alley Cat Allies is an organization that helps educate the public about community cats, and combat the misinformation that leads to the deaths of so many of them. Among many efforts, they work with officials to create T-N-R (Trap, Neuter, Release) programs for community cats that help to combat overpopulation, while allowing cats to continue living where they are happy and thriving. Humanely controlling the feral cat population in this way, as well as working to inform the public as to the nature and needs of community cats, also helps to save the lives of stray or pet cats – overcrowded shelters all too often result in their deaths, as well.

It may be difficult for a concerned cat lover to tell the difference between a stray cat who might need help and a community cat who just needs to be left alone. Alley Cat Allies has an amazing guide to help us figure this out. We urge you to peruse their website, which contains a wealth of information to help the average animal advocate to learn how to help their own community cats, including what to do when we find feral kittens, how to help educate others on the truths about feral cats (are they really bad for wildlife?), and how to get involved in T-N-R.

Like us, we know you want to do what you can to help your neighborhood cats. For Global Cat Day, we hope you use this information and these resources to kick off a community cat education initiative in your own neighborhood.