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!

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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.

Be Prepared to Care for Your Pets in a Disaster – National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day is May 12

85018767_l cropPrior to 2005, not much official consideration had been given to the needs of pets in a disaster situation. But when more than 150,000 pets perished in Hurricane Katrina, largely as a result of there being no provisions for the rescue of animals, this critical concern was brought to national awareness. In addition to legal measures being passed to protect the rights of animals to be rescued by officials in disasters, National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day was established to help educate the public on the needs of animals in these situations.

Your pets are a part of your family, and just like any other family member, planning and preparation for unexpected situations is important. Here are some ways you can prepare to care for your pet in a disaster:

Be Aware

  • While you can’t predict every potential problem, it is important to know what the most likely dangers are for your geographic area, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, etc.
  • Know what the local disaster evacuation plans and routes are for your area.

Find Safe Havens

  • Never leave your pet behind if you have to evacuate, as they will be unable to fend for themselves in a disaster situation. However,
  • It is important to have a Rescue Alert Sticker on your windows to alert rescuers to the presence of your pets, in the event that you were separated at the time of evacuation. If you evacuate with your pets, and there is time, write “Evacuated” on the stickers to let rescuers know that you are all out.
  • Some evacuation shelters do not accept pets, so it is very important to research where your pet could board in a disaster.
  • Know which hotels in the area would accept you and your pets together in a disaster.
  • Designate a trusted friend, neighbor or family member that can come into your home and help your pets if you are away in a disaster.

Pack an Emergency Kit

  • Make or purchase a first aid kit for your pet. If you make your own, ask your vet for advice on what to include for your pet to meet their individual needs.
  • Keep a 7 day supply of food (both canned and dry) and water for your pet in waterproof and airtight containers that are easy to transport. Rotate these every two months.
  • Make sure your pet’s tags are up to date and secure to their collar, and consider microchipping. It is also a good idea to include a recent photo of you with your pet for visual identification in case of separation.
  • Include a copy of recent health and immunization records in a sealed plastic bag.
  • Pack an extra leash and collar, along with their carrier. Dogs will need crate liners, and cats will need a disposable litter tray and a supply of cat litter.
  • Pack a few comfort items – blankets, a couple of toys.

Add to this list anything that is individual for your own situation, as you best know your own pets and their personal needs. For more information on how to keep your furry family members safe in a disaster, please see these helpful articles on the ASPCA and the Red Cross websites.

 

 

 

Responsible Animal Guardian Month

With Responsible Animal Guardian Month, Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Chip Your Pet Month, the month of May is here to remind you to be more aware of your pet’s health, surroundings and happiness. And it is also to help people understand that we are not just “owners” of our pets but rather “guardians” of another life. We would never want to treat pets simply like property to be treated however we want and discarded when we tire of them. When you are a Guardian, you have compassion, responsibility, consideration and love for your pet.

For their health, check them over for lumps, bumps, sores or anything unusual. Our pets are just as susceptible to cancer as we are, they are exposed to the same environmental risks as us. See the vet if you find something. Be sure to feed them a good quality food in the correct amount for them. Always have clean water available for them. Get lots of playtime in, both physical and mind challenging. Remember all of their needs: both physical and emotional.

Do proactive things too for your pet and your community.

  • Microchip your dog or cat. This tiny chip has a unique ID number that can make the difference between your pet finding their way home or being lost forever. Microchips are no bigger than a grain of rice, implanted under the skin at the shoulder blades. Almost all shelters and veterinarians have scanners.
  • Start or participate in a Trap – Neuter – Release program in your neighborhood. This helps keep stray cats healthy and helps to prevent the number from growing.
  • Encourage other pet parents to spay/neuter their pets.
  • Donate funds, supplies or your time to a local shelter.
  • Know the early warning signs of cancer, Learn the 10 L’s

There is so much wonderful information and ideas available that we couldn’t begin to share it all. But here are just a few links with more information:

https://www.puppyup.org/its-responsible-animal-guardian-month/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-traits-of-truly-loving-companion-animal-guardian/

https://www.idausa.org/campaign/guardian-initiative/latest-news/animal-guardian-month/

https://www.puppyup.org/canine-cancer/about-cancer/

https://positivelywoof.com/pet-calendar-may-is-national-chip-your-pet-month/

Don’t forget to consider a Hale Pet Door to give your furry companions a way to get outside for more playtime.

Winter Pet Safety: Top 7 Tips

80346687 - shih tzu dog in blue knitted sweater winter outdoors portrait

1. Get an energy efficient Hale Pet Door

When it’s cold and snowy outside, you may be tempted to leave your dog indoors where you know he’ll be safe from the tempestuous winter weather when you’re away from home. But it’s important that your dog has access to the outdoors to answer nature’s call when necessary. Having to ‘hold it’ can cause urinary tract and digestive issues that can result in much discomfort for your dog and extensive veterinarian bills for you.

2. Don’t leave your pet in a parked car

Your parked car can be a freezer – trapping the cold air inside. It can be just as dangerous to leave your pet in your unattended car in the winter as in the hot months.

3. Give your pet a warm bed

Just as you like a warm comfortable place to sleep, so does your cat or dog. Provide a bed – off the floor if possible – in an area away from drafts. A blanket can help trap your pet’s body heat, so she gets a good night’s sleep for optimal health and wellness.

4. Keep common poisons out of pets’ reach

All medications, antifreeze (just a few licks can cause death), rodent baits and poisons, and some houseplants can make your pets sick. Use only pet-friendly ice melting products that won’t irritate your pets when they lick their paws and stomachs.

5. Prevent hypothermia and frostbite

Let your dog’s coat grow longer for the winter months. If your dog has a short coat, get him a coat or sweater that covers him from the base of his head to his tail and around his belly. If your pet gets too cold and shows signs of hypothermia: disoriented, shivering, lethargic or hair standing on end, get her to the vet immediately. Frostbite can affect the tips of the ears, extremities and reproductive organs turning the skin bright red, pale or black.

6. Avoid electrocution and fire hazards

Chewing on heating pads wires can cause electrocution or shock. Heating pads’ iron oxide pads can cause poisoning. Portable heaters can be both a shock and fire hazard, so don’t leave your pet unattended with one in the room.

7. Bang on the hood

Feral cats and wildlife seek the warmth of vehicle engines. Give them a chance to escape by knocking on the hood before starting your car or truck.

Keep yourself and your best friends safe this winter season.

Want Your Dog to Go Out the Pet Door, But Keep Your Cat In?

Lab and Cat

Dogs and cats can be great friends, but you may have different ideas about who should use the dog door.

 There’s no doubt that cats are safer as inside cats. Cats like to roam and hunt, and they can climb the fences that keep your dog contained.When you want to keep your cat inside, yet allow your dog free access to the yard, you can train your cat to avoid the dog door with aversion or avoidance training.

This is easiest to accomplish with kittens or cats that have never enjoyed the great outdoors.

The objective is to make the area near the dog door an uncomfortable place for your cat. You can accomplish this by taking these steps:

  • Put your dog in another room, so she doesn’t inadvertently get ‘trained’ to avoid the dog door.
  • Have a helper with a noise maker like a metal garbage can lid and hammer stay quietly outside the dog door, out of sight from inside the house, close to the pet door.
  • Bring the cat to the area inside the house near the pet door. You may want to use a rug right inside the pet door for your dog to ‘wipe his feet’. When the cat walks near the pet door or on the rug, silently or quietly signal to your helper to make loud noises. Your cat will probably run away.
  • If your cat is bold, you may want to repeat the performance until the cat no longer wants to go near the pet door.

When your cat gives the dog door a wide berth in his daily wanderings, you’ll know that he won’t be in danger of going outside.

People often ask me about electronic pet doors where the dog wears a collar with a transmitter to open the pet door only when the dog approaches the door. Unfortunately, the electronics that I’ve experimented with are not reliable. The door sometimes fails to open when the dog comes to the door, and the door would open when someone walked by with a pocket full of change or keys. Also, if your cat and dog are best friends, the cat can run out the door on the heels of the dog, then not be able to get back in. These doors can also open when the dog is resting near the door, making feline escape a possibility.

Use aversion training to keep your cat away from your pet door so your cat is safe inside your home while your dog can get out to answer ‘nature’s call’ whenever necessary.

You can choose the right size, energy efficient, attractive Hale Pet Door for your dog here

 

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Golden Retriever with Christmas Tree

Enjoy the holidays with your pets by keeping them safe

The holiday season is officially here! It’s time to celebrate with family and friends with decorations, gifts and luscious foods. It’s tempting to give in to the soulful looks of your furry friends when you’re enjoying exotic foods, it’s important to know that some of your favorite foods and decorations can be toxic or dangerous to your pets.

Foods that Can be Toxic to Your Pet

  •  Alcohol in beer, wine, mixed drinks
  • Caffeine in coffee, tea, soft drinks, cold medications and pain killers
  • Chocolate in candies, cakes and cocoa
  • Yeast Dough before baking
  • Raw Eggs
  • Fat Trimmings and Bones
  • Grapes, Raisins and Currants
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Milk and Dairy Foods
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Persimmon, Peach and Plum pits contain cyanide
  • Raw Meat and Fish
  • Salty Foods
  • Sugary Drinks and Desserts
  • Xylitol sweetened candy, toothpaste, gum, baked goods and diet foods

Be Careful with Your Holiday Decorations

The following holiday decorations have been known to be hazardous to pets:

  • Pointsettias, Lilies, Mistletoe and Holly Berries
  • Tinsel and Garland if ingested
  • Candles can cause burns or become a fire hazard
  • Electrical Cords if chewed
  • Flocking or Imitation Snow
  • Preservatives in Live Christmas Tree Water
  • Snow Globes and Bubble Lights can contain toxic chemicals
  • Edible Ornaments can have toxic components
  • Potpourri can contain Essential Oils that can be toxic to cats: Cinnamon Bark Oil, Lavender Oil, Lemon Oil,  Melaleuca/Tea Tree Oil, Peppermint Oil, Thyme Oil or Wintergreen Oil

Plan Your Festivities to Avoid Your Pets’ Anxiety

You love sharing your home with family and friends, but make sure to consider your pets when entertaining – what’s fun for you may be stressful for your furry family members.

While your Labrador can be comfortable in the midst of the party, your cat may not be as social. Know your pet, if you think your cat or shy dog might be freaked out by so many strangers in the house, give them safe haven in a closed bedroom, their crate, or bed in a quiet corner.

Be sure to caution your guests about approaching your pets while they are in their “safe spots”. When your pets feel that they’re safe, they’ll come out of hiding to mingle, but don’t be surprised if they don’t appreciate your party.

Get a Hale Pet Door and Take the Stress Out of the Holidays

 Your pets’ safe haven may be their fenced backyard. When you have an energy efficient Hale Pet Door, your pets can come and go to the party as they please.

If you’re going to be away for the holidays, your pet sitter will appreciate the convenience your dog door brings to her schedule and your dog’s well being because he won’t have to wait for someone to come and let him out.

When you’re out visiting friends and relatives, the time can fly by – but with a durable Hale Pet Door, you won’t have to worry about getting home to let your dog out because she’ll be able to go out when she needs to.

There are dog doors for every location in your home. Check them out at Hale Pet Door and order yours today!