Thanksgiving Tips for Pet Parents

Thanksgiving is nearly here and it’s time to prepare for the big day. Hale Pet Door has some tips to help make it a stress-free holiday for you and your pets.

  • Prepare a dish just for your pet to enjoy during the festivities

Many foods that we eat as humans are toxic to dogs and cats. Fatty foods are hard to digest, chocolate and grapes are toxic, and bird bones are terribly dangerous. It’s a good idea to plan ahead about the foods you will allow your best buddy to eat. It’s ok to let your dog have some fun foods without compromising his health. You may want to put aside some foods that you know are safe and flavorful, while you are cooking, for you to share during dinner. For dogs, things like fully cooked turkey cubes, pumpkin, small amounts of potatoes, sweet potatoes and veggies, or carrot bites can be perfect. Skip turkey skin, meat with bones still in it and stuffing. For your cat, pumpkin, turkey cubes and squash are great choices.

  • Plan a safe drive if your heading out of town

If your plans include a long drive with your pet, plan ahead to keep you and your buddy safe and stress free. Think about pet car-harnesses or crates, it’s important to keep them safe and comfortable while you’re driving. It’s nice to give them a blanket for cuddling and a toy or chew to keep next to them while on the road. Plan for frequent potty breaks at pet friendly rest stops and always offer fresh water to your pets during breaks. As always, make sure that your pet is up to date on vaccinations, has its tags and is microchipped in case of emergency.

  • Keep your pet safe from running away when friends and family come in and out.

It’s important to remember that having family and friends around that are not used to your household door routines can put your pets at risk. Some pets may be scared of strangers and make it easier to panic and run; other pets are always waiting for the opportunity to take off. If you use pet gates it’s important to have them up and secure. It is also ok to keep your dog on a leash even in your house. Just make sure that someone responsible is always in charge of your pooch. As always make sure that your pets are up to date on vaccinations, have their ID tags on and are microchipped in case of escape.

  • Protect your pets from getting into someone’s luggage

When there are friends and family over it usually involves bags and cluttered guest rooms. Please remind each guest to keep their purses and bags out of the reach of your pets. There are many things that can be very harmful to animals in personal belongings; medicine, gum, candy and choking hazards are all accidents waiting to happen if a pet finds their way into it.

  • Animal proof your garbage cans

Pets are masters at waiting until they have the perfect opportunity to get into the trash. Not only is this super annoying, but it’s really dangerous. Anytime of year it is a hazard, but during the holidays the risk multiplies. Turkey bones, turkey skin, raw dough and raw food are all potentially deadly items that will likely be in the garbage. Be sure that your kitchen bin has a secure lid and that it is emptied regularly before it overflows. Remember to not leave your pets alone with a full trash container and don’t neglect to secure the outdoor bin as well.

  • Protect pets from potentially dangerous decorative plants

Whether you are visiting family or they are visiting you, it’s likely that there will be some festive plants around. Many of these can be toxic, such as: amaryllis, Baby’s Breath, hydrangeas, Sweet William, some ferns and more. Be sure to keep these out of reach of your pets, even if it’s in the flower beds outside.

    • Keep anxious pets comfortable when strangers are around

We all have those loud and exuberant friends and relatives; while they are the life of our party, they may be terrifying to you pet. If you know your best friend is nervous in social situations, then make sure they have a comfortable and safe place to retreat to. It’s a nice idea to have a comfortable blanket and favorite toy in their safe place. This way they can enjoy the festivities when they feel comfortable or be happily alone if needed.

HALE PET DOOR wants you and your family to have a wonderful holiday! Please be safe, hug the people and animals that you love and remember to take those treasured photos!

HALE PET DOOR offers pet doors for all doors and windows and is always a beautiful addition to your home and your pets’ life. Find out more at www.halepetdoor.com

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Tips for a Happy (and safe) Halloween for you and your pet

1. Only dress up your pets if you know they like it

Many pet parents love to dress up their pooch or kitty to join in with the festivities. If this is you, make sure that your pet is onboard with this idea. If your pet is happy to adorn a costume, skip the mask and make sure that the costume is not constricting or unsafe. Be sure that your pet can see and move unrestricted, as well as the costume is appropriate for the temperature.

2. Keep dogs and cats safe when opening the door

If you’re going to be opening the door to trick-or-treaters, keep any unsocial pets in a separate room and any “runner” personalities on a leash even in the house. It is just too easy for our little ones to run out of the door during the festivities creating a potential disaster. It may be best to designate one person to be responsible for the pet during trick-or-treat arrivals and make that person aware every time the door is opened.

3. Don’t leave you pets in the yard on the evening of Halloween

There can be pranksters that may tease or scare your furry kids, as well as noise and antics going on in the neighborhood that can be a stressor for them. Best to keep them indoors if you are away, in a place that is familiar and comforting.

4. Keep lit pumpkins out of reach

This one is a no-brainer but easy to overlook. Be extra careful with any lit jack-o-lanterns. This can be tempting for dogs and curious cats. It is too easy for them to knock it over and get burned or start a fire. If you have a dog it’s best to keep them out of reach and for cats the best placement may be outside.

5. Be sure your pets do not get into the candy

Keep your candy stashes away from your dog or cat. Chocolate is poisonous to many animals and the wrappers can be harmful if swallowed. Make sure that your kids and guests know where the appropriate place for their stash is and where to dispose of the wrappers. If you’re worried about your pets missing out, it may be nice to keep a treat that is designated just for them. If you like, you can allow your kids or guests to offer this to your little guy too.

6. Plan ahead before you take your pet trick-or-treating

If you’re taking your dog trick-or-treating make sure that you have doggie baggies for cleanup and plenty of fresh water to drink with a travel bowl for the walk. Be sure to have up to date tags on your pooch and a person that is always dedicated to minding the leash. If your dog is tiny or elderly it may be a good idea to take a stroller, carrier or wagon with you. This way when your little guy putters out he can ride in style and enjoy the festivities from a comfortable spot.

7. Stay safe

This year comes with concerns that many of us haven’t had to deal with before. Just as you will likely need to talk to your kids about safe practice and social distancing, it is important to make a plan to avoid unnecessary contact through your pet. Prepare to politely ask that others do not handle or pet your dog to avoid raising the risk of COVID-19 exposure. While the jury is out about transmission to animals, there is a risk of contamination through touch transfer.

We hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday with your families, both the human members and the furry variety!

Pet Poison Awareness Month

Did you know that March is Pet Poison Awareness Month? It may not always be obvious, but potentially harmful, even fatal, poisons could be lurking around your home or yard without you even realizing it. It only takes one accident for a tragic outcome. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common, but not always thought of, poisons that could be in or around your home.

Human Foods

Most of us are probably guilty of occasionally sneaking a little treat of human food to our pets. We all know that it’s really not that great of a thing to do, but darn it, sometimes it’s hard to resist those big eyes! And while, yes, human food is really not that great for the waistline of our dogs and cats, sometimes it can truly be dangerous. Chocolate is famously dangerous for dogs and it can easily be fatal. It contains something called theobromine, which is related to caffeine. But have you heard of how deadly Xylitol is? It’s a sugar substitute that is in lots of things. This is seriously one you need to watch out for. It’s found in gums, drinks, candies, snack foods, and plenty of other prepacked foods. Not to mention a lot of us keep bags of the stuff in the pantry to use in our baking. So, make sure to check your cupboards and if you find anything containing this sweetener, please keep it well out of reach of your pooch! There are also produce items that can be harmful such as onions, and garlic, that can cause anemia in both dogs and cats. So before you decide to make any homemade foods for your dog or cat, please research the ingredients to ensure that they are healthy for them.

Rodenticides

We cannot stress enough how much we recommend using a different method to control rodents than rodenticide. Obviously, most users would be very responsible in keeping this stuff well out of reach of both pets and children, but it doesn’t end there. Have you ever considered what happens to the target animal after it ingests the poison? Sometimes they wander away and end up dying somewhere where your dog, cat, or even a wild animal such as a hawk, can find it. Unfortunately, when an animal eats another animal that has ingested rodenticide, it can very easily become quite severe, even fatal. This type of poison causes internal bleeding, kidney failure, and seizures. It is truly nasty stuff and for the sake of your pets, the pets living near your home, and the wildlife, we strongly suggest using other methods to control the population of rodents if you’re having issues with them.

Human Medications

This is one of those ones that a lot of people may not immediately think of! But just as you keep medications out of reach of kids, you’re definitely going to want to keep them out of reach of pets, too. There are tons of different medications that can have various harmful effects on both dogs and cats, even over the counter medications, so just don’t risk it by keeping anything out in reach. Always keep them locked up in a medicine cabinet, or you can purchase a small medication lockbox in many pharmacies and online.

Household Plants

Many houseplants are perfectly safe for cats and dogs, but there are a few that you need to look out for. Some common plants are Lillies, Aloe, Elephant Ears, Asparagus Fern, and Sago Palm, just to name a few. Before you purchase your plant from the nursery, look it up and double-check to make sure it is safe to have in your home. And remember, often times the tag from the nursery will not say if it is poisonous or not, but typically a quick internet search will help you determine it.

This list was just a few possibilities of poisonous items you could have around your home. If you’re ever questioning, it’s always best to double-check! And if you’re concerned that your pet has ingested something poisonous, don’t wait! Call the Animal Poison Helpline right away at (855) 764-7661 (FYI, there is usually a fee involved for consultations), or contact your veterinarian. Remember, when it comes to poison, time is of the essence and it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Protect Your Pets During Independence Day Celebrations

While the Fourth of July brings fond traditions like picnics, barbecues, concerts, and fireworks, it isn’t such a fun holiday for the four-legged members of the family.

Photo from Friends of the GCARC via Facebook

Many animals are extremely frightened by the noise from firecrackers and can even be stressed by the sight of fireworks. This leads to a 30-60% increase in lost pets every year between July 4 and July 6. July 5th is typically the busiest day of the year in humane societies and shelters across the country as people try to find their lost and scared pets. But don’t forget that fireworks and firecrackers don’t just happen on July 4th. They are already happening as people build up to the big celebration.

So what can you do to make things less stressful for your pets?

  • Make a safe space for them in your home where they can retreat and hide but where they can’t easily escape. Even the most mild-mannered dog might panic and claw their way out of a crate or run through a glass window or a fence in their panicked state and can run away and be lost or hit by cars.
  • Playing calming music in the area can help block out some of the noise from outside and keeping curtains closed helps block out the flashes of light from fireworks.
  • If your dog or cat is pacing, cowering, hiding, or displaying nervous behavior, try to distract them with a favorite bone or toy but don’t distress them further.
  • Consider skipping leaving home to go to the big celebration and stay home with your pets to protect and comfort them during this traumatic time.
  • Above all else, make sure that if something does happen you have the best shot of getting your pet returned to you by following these suggestions:
    • Make sure your pets are wearing their collars and that they are secure and have up-to-date ID tags on them with your name and contact info readable.
    • Add a GPS tracker to your pet’s collar to make it easier to track and reunite with your pet if they should escape.
    • For extra security, get your pet microchipped. Pets are little magicians and can get out of their collars on the best of days much less when they are panicked or stressed by the sights and sounds of fireworks. Getting your pet microchipped gives an added layer of protection that if they escape and make it to a shelter, they can be scanned and reunited with you. Make sure your contact information for the microchip registration is up to date.

There’s a reason that July is considered “Pet Loss Prevention Month” and by using a few common sense tips you can keep your pets happier and safer during this and other holidays.

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!

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.