Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Travel with Pets This Holiday Season

If you’re a pet owner and are planning to travel this holiday season, you may be trying to decide whether or not your pet should come with you. While some pets have health or other issues that make options like staying with someone you trust or boarding a better choice than traveling, plenty of pets can travel just fine.

When it comes to doing any type of travel with pets during the holidays, planning is one of the things that can make a huge difference between a very stressful experience and one that goes quite smoothly. Since you obviously want the travel experience you have with your pet to fall into the latter category, we want to share our best tips about what you need to know to have a great experience:

Hitting the Road

Unless your pet hates driving, this form of traveling is generally quite simple. The main thing is to create a space in your car that’s both safe and comfortable for your pet. Depending on the size and temperament of your pet, some owners prefer using a carrier for the majority of their time on the road, while others prefer to utilize a barrier that gives a pet more freedom in the back but prevents them from jumping to the front. It’s also helpful to pack a small bag with everything from pet food to any medication your pet may need during the duration of the trip.

Flying with Your Pet

Before we share our tips for flying with a dog or cat, we want to mention that the US Humane Society states that air travel can be risky for pets and recommends you weigh all the risks when deciding whether to transport your pet by airplane. Much of this stance stems from tragic experiences that occur when larger pets are placed in the cargo area. The risk of that type of air travel is part of why airlines like Southwest only accept in-cabin pets for travel.

If you have a dog or cat under 20 pounds, most airlines will allow you to fly with them in the cabin. The average one-way price for bringing a pet with you on a flight is $100. Some airlines require you to pay in advance, while others ask you to make a reservation but will only accept payment when you check-in for your flight.

One topic that comes as a surprise of many dog owners is the lack of easily accessible areas for dogs to relieve themselves at airports. Many airports require you to leave and then go back through security if you want to take your dog outside to the bathroom. So if you have a connecting flight and are only going to be at an airport for a short period of time, your best bet is to bring a potty pad and find a discreet spot inside the airport for your dog to relieve itself.

If you’ve previously traveled with your pet during the holidays and have other helpful tips, we’d love for you to share them with us through Facebook or Twitter!

Which Holiday Plants Are Toxic to Cats?

Although the holidays can be a very special time of the year, it’s important to be aware that all the increased activity can be a bit stressful for cats. In addition to keeping a closer eye on your pet’s temperament during the holidays, cat owners need to know about the holiday plants that can be toxic to their animals. While most people already know that antifreeze is highly toxic to cats (and dogs for that matter), there are a handful of fairly common plants that may not be as obvious as risks. So with that in mind, here are the three plants you need to know about:

1. Mistletoe

Before we cover why mistletoe is a plant that you should keep away from your cat, we want to clear up a very common misconception about a specific holiday plant. That plant is the poinsettia. Even though there’s a widespread belief that this plant can be harmful to both cats and dogs, animal experts agree that poinsettias are non to mildly toxic and don’t deserve their bad reputation. While many pets don’t have any symptoms upon exposure, the worst are generally slight gastrointestinal discomfort after eating this plant or a mild rash if skin contact is made.

So even though poinsettias are actually safe to display around your home, a common holiday plant that isn’t such a good idea is mistletoe. In addition to experiencing more significant gastrointestinal upset, ingesting mistletoe can cause signs of positioning that include a low heart rate, change in mental function or difficulty breathing.

2. Holly

Another popular holiday plant that can be quite dangerous for cats is holly. Because it’s poisonous for cats to eat, symptoms of consumption include decreased energy, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you have any reason to believe your cat has eaten this plant or the others we’re covering, get in touch with your vet right away.

3. Lilies

Even though they’re most common during the Easter season, plenty of people like to incorporate lilies into their Thanksgiving or Christmas decor. Of the three plants we’ve covered, these may be the most toxic to cats. If a cat eats any part of this plant, it can cause kidney failure. Signs of lily ingestion include depression, loss of appetite or vomiting.

By keeping your cat away from mistletoe, holly and lilies during this holiday season, you can take a big step towards protecting it. And on the subject of the holidays, if you have any concerns about your cat gaining excess weight during this colder season of the year, our lean cat formula provides all the nutrients your cat needs while also keeping calories at an optimal maintenance level.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Keeping Your Dog Calm During Holiday Craziness

The holiday season is officially here, which means a number of different things. Not only is it a special time of the year when you get to be with the people who matter to you most, but all the different things going on which need to get done can lead to very busy days. Between getting everything ready for holiday events and potentially hosting guests at your home, you’ll likely find yourself worn out at the end of many days.

While you know exactly why things are suddenly more hectic in your life, the same isn’t true for your dog. But your dog will notice all of these changes, which is why it’s important to be proactive about helping your pooch combat stress. If you’re wondering what you can do to help out, we’ve put together five proven tips for you:

1. Be Consistent with Your Dog’s Routine

When things get really busy, it’s easy to let the structure of your normal schedule slide. However, that’s only going to trigger more anxiety in your dog, which is why it’s best if you can stick to doing things like feeding your pet its dog food at the exact same times each day.

2. Amp Up Exercise

On the subject of routine, going outside is a common daily activity. Between the busy nature of the holidays and colder temperatures, dogs often get less exercise during this time of the year. The problem is that excess energy can contribute to a dog feeling anxious, which is why trying to wear your dog out on a daily basis can help it stay relaxed.

3. Create a Comfortable and Secure Space

Whether holiday guests are coming over for a dinner or to stay with you for a few days, your dog will probably enjoy interacting with them. But that doesn’t mean your dog will want to be around them all the time. You can give your dog the space it needs to feel relaxed by creating a comfortable and secure area in part of your home that’s away from all the holiday activity.

4. Pay Attention to Holiday Hazards

Although you should feel free to enjoy decorating your home with holiday cheer, just be aware of any items that may create a temptation for your dog to snatch and chew. Keeping those types of items out of reach of your dog will prevent any stressful holiday mishaps.

5. Make Your Dog Feel Included

A big part of what makes this time of year so special is coming together with loved ones. That’s why you can definitely include your dog in your celebrations. There are plenty of tasty but still healthy dog treats that you can surprise your pet with throughout different times of this season.

By being consistent with your dog’s routine, amping up exercise, creating a comfortable & secure space, paying attention to holiday hazards and making your dog feel special, you can help your dog enjoy this season by keeping its stress to a minimum.


The Many Things a Dog's Nose Can Tell You About Them

There’s a fairly common belief that if a dog’s nose is wet and cold, it automatically means the dog is in good health. To understand why that may not always be the case, it’s important to understand the role a dog’s nose plays in its overall body functions. While humans have sweat glands to help us regulate our body temperature, dogs actually use their nose and the pads on their feet.

So, if a dog is properly hydrated, there’s a good chance its nose will be moist. On the other hand, if a condition is preventing a dog from being able to adequately hydrate, its nose may be noticeably dry. In the event you do notice your dog’s nose is dry for an extended period of time, it’s worth bringing this issue to your vet’s attention.

Because that’s just one example of what you can learn about your dog from its nose, we want to cover several more notable signals that this part of a dog’s body can send:

Body Temperature

As with humans, a dog’s internal temperature can go higher or lower. It’s worth noting that dogs run a little warmer than people. 101 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the normal range for them. If you notice your dog’s nose is quite hot or much colder than normal, you should look deeper into what’s causing this change.

Runny Nose

Dogs can get nasal discharge. There are actually a few different forms this type of discharge can take. The first is clear. In addition to small amounts of clear discharge being completely normal, irritants like pollen or air freshener can cause a temporary increase in how much comes out. Thick opaque mucus is the next type of discharge. This generally means there’s a severe irritation or infection and signals that your dog needs professional medical attention from a vet. The same is true if your dog has a bloody nose or any amount of blood in its nasal discharge.

Changes in Pigment or Texture

If you periodically look at your dog’s nose, you’ll notice that it appears uniform in size and lacks textural or pigmentary changes. What happens if there are changes? It’s generally a sign of underlying health issues. A common example is nasal hyperkeratosis, which is often seen in older dogs and certain breeds, including Labrador retrievers. Since it can be a sign of other conditions like KCS, you’ll want to bring it up with your vet.

Even though gauging your dog’s condition is a little more complex than simply checking if its nose is wet and cold, given all the useful information a dog can signal with its nose, you’ll probably find that paying attention to this part of your dog is helpful in allowing you to take great care of it.