Category Archives: Blog

Air Travel For Pets Isn’t As Safe As It Once Was

Traveling with pets is no picnic. It has never been simple to bring your furry sidekick along for a long distance trip, and the challenges increase in proportion with the size of the animal. Unfortunately, that has never been truer than it is now. Airlines are really buckling down on the way pets fly, and it’s such a change that you may even find it more appealing to make your next vacation a road trip.  Delta Airlines is the latest company to join this growing trend. Here’s what you need to know:

Size matters.

As of March 2016, you will no longer be able to check your pets as baggage. Nobody would ever argue that checking your family member along with your suitcases was ideal… but the alternative is even worse for those pets who are too large to ride in the cabin. That brings us to our next point.

Animals are cargo.

If your pet is too large to fit into what would be considered acceptable size for a carry-on bag, then he or she will be forced to ride in the cargo area. This poses a significant risk to the health and safety of your pet. In some cases, it’s a necessary evil, but you should really take the time to consider it carefully. Noise and temperature are not controlled in the cargo hold. Imagine if you had to ride there yourself, sometimes on flights with a duration of many hours. It’s a pretty scary thought.

You’ll need to plan ahead.

If you will be flying with your pet, a separate booking is required. You’ll need to make these reservations in advance, but no more than 14 days ahead of your planned departure. Pets will need to be dropped off at least 3 hours before your scheduled boarding time.

Expect to Pay More.

In the past, the fee to check your pets with your baggage was $200. You can expect to pay at least double that amount when your pet is flying with cargo. You’ll be quoted an exact fee at the time of booking, and the price you pay will depend largely on the weight of the animal and the size of the carrier he or she is transported in.

The decision to travel with your pets should not be taken lightly. The risks of flying with pets are significant, especially if they will be flying in the cargo area. That statement really hits home when you take a look at the monthly consumer travel reports that are published by the Department of Transportation. In September 2015 alone, 5 pets suffered reportable injuries and 4 pets died while in the care of an airline.

If you’re considering air travel with a pet, speak with a representative of the airline about your options, and be sure to discuss your pet’s individual concerns with your veterinarian, as well.

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Making the Choice to Say Goodbye

Under any circumstances, saying goodbye to a pet is an extremely difficult thing to go through. So, it only makes sense that the heartache is amplified considerably if you’re in the situation of deciding whether or not euthanasia would be best. Even when all of the end-of-life “signs” are staring you in the face, it’s virtually impossible for a pet owner to choose euthanasia without second-guessing their decision.

If you have found yourself in this terrible position, remember that the doubt you’re experiencing is a very normal part of the process. In many cases, your veterinarian can offer reassurance, but ultimately, you’ll need to make the final call yourself.

Some good indicators that euthanasia may be a good choice for your family include:

  • Chronic pain that has a significant negative impact on your pet’s ability to lead a normal and happy life
  • Definitive diagnosis and progression of a terminal illness
  • Long term inability to eat or chronic gastrointestinal complications that are affecting other systems in the body
  • Loss of limb control or inability to walk
  • Incontinence to the degree that it is causing severe discomfort for the animal (such as sores on the animal’s skin)
  • Sudden acute illness or injury (at any age) that is not easily treated with medication or surgery

Essentially, any symptoms that progress beyond the point of reasonable therapy may cause you to consider the possibility of euthanasia. The “breaking point” is different for every animal and every family, so you shouldn’t judge your own circumstances against what others have gone through.

If your pet’s quality of life has deteriorated so severely that you think euthanasia may be an option for you, speak with your family veterinarian about your options. He or she may be able to suggest other forms of therapy that you may not have considered, or it may end up being the reassurance that you need to make this very difficult decision for your pet.

In the end, the choice to euthanize is one that should be made with your pet’s comfort and happiness in mind. This service is available in veterinary medicine as a means of preventing pain and suffering for pets, and the result is that owners are also spared the heartache of watching their beloved family members endure something that they shouldn’t have to. So, while the choice feels impossibly difficult, remember that it’s simply another way for you to show your pet what a special part of your life he or she has been. This is another opportunity for you to provide love and care for your best friend; it certainly doesn’t negate the lifetime of happiness that you’ve already shared.

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No Rest for the Wicked [Pet Owner]

Pets and sleep are a topic of hot debate, it would seem.  The tender-heart pet owners – we absolutely love them – will tell you that pets are people, too.  They’ll ask you how YOU would like to sleep all alone in a kennel on a cold winter’s night. The answer: not very much at all.  “Exactly my point,” they’ll say.

“…but my dog loves his kennel.  It makes him feel safe.” That’s what the opposite side will say. They’ll tell you that if you’re losing sleep because your pet shares your bed, then you probably deserve every bit of that under-eye baggage you carry around with you.

Then, we have the third group of pet owners.  They’ll balk at the very mention of their pet sharing their bed, and they’ll scoff at the idea that a kennel would ever make a difference, anyway. These are the folks who share their home with the anxiety-ridden border collie who barks at every little creak of the floorboards or the cat who randomly traps a squirrel in the basement at 2am. This crowd is losing sleep, no matter what. If you’re thinking that these accounts are far too detailed to be hypothetical, you would absolutely correct.  It’s easy to relate.

Even if you are the owner of one of the unicorn types that obey every command every time without fail, the fact remains that living things (including humans, border collies, cats, and even squirrels) move in their sleep. Unfortunately, those subtle movements are among the many aspects of your environment that can negatively impact the quality of your sleep, along with temperature, sound, and odors.  Oh, and don’t forget that crowding can also stand in the way of adequate beauty rest, so be sure that you’re giving your border collie enough personal space at night.

The recent study that sparked this train of thought was performed by the Mayo Clinic, and results were just posted in October 2015. More information can be found HERE, but in the spirit of saving time, we’ll go ahead and give you the spoilers:

In the end, researchers decided that they did not have sufficient evidence to say that pets do, in fact, contribute to issues with disrupted sleep. This was largely due to the very small size of this particular study. However, their findings suggest that it’s at least worthwhile for physicians and sleep therapists to speak with their patients about the possibility that their pets are affecting their sleep patterns.

Maybe there is something good on the horizon for sleepless pet owners. If we’re lucky, studies like these will lead to exciting innovation and answers to our questions about where our beloved best friends should sleep. For now, though, get ready to get cozy until spring rolls back around… because how would YOU like to sleep all alone in a kennel on a cold winter’s night?

 

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The Latest in Celebrity Pet Instagram

As pet lovers, there’s no denying that we simply can’t get enough of social media account dedicated to pets. Whether it’s an adorable pet bunny or a pair of irresistibly cute French bulldogs, it just never seems to get old. So, how could it possibly get any better? Answer: when the pet in question belongs to one of your favorite celebrities.

Here are some of our favorite celebrity pet Instagram accounts.  Our advice?  Go follow now.

Dr. Meredith Grey Swift

https://instagram.com/meredithswift/

Dr. Meredith Grey, along with her best pal, Detective Olivia Benson, belongs to the one and only Taylor Swift. We really can’t get enough of the adorable Scottish Fold, who is cute as a button, just like her owner.

I, Dr. Grey, can confirm that I am in fact, allergic to joy.

A photo posted by Meredith Swift (@meredithswift) on

Asia Kinney

Follow: https://instagram.com/missasiakinney/

There is never a dull moment with Miss Asia and her other half, Koji. The two French Bulldogs can be found frolicking in grassy open spaces or gracing the cover Harper’s Bazaar… as it is with their superstar mom, Lady Gaga, you just never what to expect.

#takemeback to my first cover shot with Mommy!! 🐽💖💡📷🎬 #timeflies #luxurypig #harpersbazaar #tbt

A photo posted by Miss Asia Kinney (@missasiakinney) on

Neville Jacobs

Follow: https://instagram.com/nevillejacobs/

Just like his fashion designer dad, Marc Jacobs, Neville is always seen wearing the latest, hottest trends. Even better, he takes to Instagram with a sense of humor.  Case in point:

diet on fleek.

A photo posted by Neville Jacobs (@nevillejacobs) on

…looking for Thelma… (@choochoocharlies)

A photo posted by Neville Jacobs (@nevillejacobs) on

Cecil Delevingne

Follow: https://instagram.com/cecildelevingne/

What bunny WOULDN’T want a super model mom?  Cecil really lucked out.  He gets to ride along in his bunny box to all the coolest A-List events.

Mumma hi ❤️

A photo posted by Cecil Bunny Delevingne (@cecildelevingne) on

☁️

A photo posted by Cecil Bunny Delevingne (@cecildelevingne) on

 

Lifetime Costs of Pet Ownership

This week, on Yahoo Parenting, there was a very entertaining article published, titled Here’s What It Costs to Own All the Pets Your Kid Says They Want.  The article originally appeared on Fatherly (a great site for dads, by the way!), and it was packed with the humor that we’ve come to expect from this blog. The underlying message, however, was extremely relevant to both parenting and pet ownership.

All too often, people dive into adopting a pet without much thought, because let’s face it – pets truly are a joy to have around.  That constant companionship comes at a price, though, and it’s more than monetary overhead. They require your time and energy, more than anything… and when they’re babies, they require an ungodly amount of patience.

Life after pet adoption is entirely different.  You’ll never take a last minute road trip with your best pals again… not unless your pup is welcome to tag along.  Feel like skipping out on housekeeping duties this week?  Give it a shot!  Let’s see how long you can live with that neglected litter box.

The article on Fatherly is absolutely a fun and worthwhile read, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re considering pet adoption, definitely check it out, but use it as a jumping point. Think about the situation from all angles.  Remember that pets will often hang around for more than a decade, so you’ll need to think about where you see yourself in ten years.  If you’re in your early twenties, do you suppose you’ll have children in the next decade?  If so, owning a high maintenance senior pet might conflict with the endless responsibilities that come along with caring for a newborn.  On the other hand, if you’re planning to adopt a puppy for your child who will hopefully be heading off to college at some point during the animal’s lifespan, who will be responsible for the care of the pet when that happens?  These are the types of circumstances that land well-behaved, loving senior pets in shelters across the country.

Every situation is different, but the fact remains that the cost of pet ownership goes way beyond the cost of feeding and semi-annual wellness exams.  Be sure to do your research, consider your own circumstances and plans for the future, and be fair in your decision to adopt your next family member.  Taking a pet home is a lifetime commitment.

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Halloween Safety for Pets

Halloween is such a festive and exciting time of year, but that can mean some entirely different for our pets.  While we enjoy the thrill of dressing up and gathering up all the sweets our bodies can handle, the type of excitement that is experienced by our furry companions is usually more along the lines of anxiety.  In fact, it’s not only stressful… it can be downright dangerous.  Pet ownership comes along with a mile-long list of responsibilities and among them, keeping pets safe on holidays.  Here are some things to keep in mind on the spookiest day of the year:

Keep Outdoor Cats Indoors!

It’s such a sad fact and truly not something that any of us wants to think about, but being unpleasant doesn’t make it untrue.  Cats are extremely vulnerable on Halloween, for a number of reasons.  The most obvious is that they are the target of pranks and cruelty-related incidents.  We don’t need to tell you that black cats are at an even higher risk than others.

Consider the Increase in Traffic

Another thing that makes Halloween particularly dangerous for pets is that there is a significant increase in traffic, both on foot and by vehicle. We already mentioned keeping your outdoor cats inside, but consider doing the same for dogs.  Even if they only go outside for a potty break, be sure to accompany them.  Avoid letting dogs roam freely, and don’t leave them in your yard unattended.

If you absolutely must bring them along with you when you go out, consider using a reflective collar or vest.

Be Selfish With Your Sweets

That is to say that you should not share them with your pets.  It’s seems a bit obvious, but you’d be surprised to know how often pets fall ill because their owner shared something they shouldn’t have.  Also consider that pets are both sneaky and agile. Don’t turn your back on your candy bag.  They’ll snatch it in a heartbeat.

The most common dangers found in Halloween candy are chocolate and artificial sweeteners (such as Xylitol), both of which can have varying degrees of side effects… they may even be fatal if your pet consumes enough.  So, keep an eye on your stash and keep it well out of your pet’s reach.

In addition to these three tips for their physical safety, also remember to safeguard your pet’s emotional and psychological well-being on this super busy day.  Don’t allow your doorbell to ring every few minutes if you know it’s going to torment your dog or cat.  If it bothers him, consider setting up a table and chair out front and away from the door. In extreme cases, your veterinarian may even recommend a prescription medication to help your pet relax.

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Keeping Your Cat Off of Kitchen Counters

Regardless of species, even the most well-mannered pets have a bad habit or two.  However, while it’s true that many bad behaviors in pets are due to natural instincts that are virtually impossible to break, you may not be as helpless as you may think.

Jumping on kitchen counters happens to be one of the most common complaints made by people who share their home with cats. Tons of cat owners will tell you that keeping their cat off the kitchen counter is absolutely impossible.  For most, this simply amounts to a lifetime of shooing the cat away when he or she jumps up.  It’s something that is so common that most cat owners don’t even think about it anymore.

The habit can be attributed to a number of reasons.  Namely, cats are built for jumping and climbing.  Specifically for indoor cats, this satisfies an innate need. The counter is also, quite obviously, where delicious treats and scraps of human food may be found. Finally, it brings your cat to eye level. Have you noticed more of this behavior when your cat is feeling particularly social?  The head butts, extra purring, and outpouring of affection – you’re not imagining that.

While everyone loves a friendly feline, the kitchen counter just isn’t the place for it (think of how those paws move straight from the litter box to the counter… where you prepare food!)  So, here are some suggestions that might help you curb the behavior:

Offer suitable climbing surfaces – A cat tree or wall-mount cat shelves may be the answer.  As we mentioned, your cat loves to slink around the house, jumping from the floor to the counter to the top of the fridge.  Provide a suitable alternative, instead.

Never store treats on the countertop – We totally agree: those countertop cookie jars with the paws all over them are adorable.  However, every time your cat sees you pull a treat from that jar, it reinforces the (mis)understanding that the countertop was make for strutting around on.  Store them in a pantry or lower level cabinet, instead.  Better yet, store them away from the kitchen entirely.

Clean countertops thoroughly after meal preparation – This goes along the same lines as the previous point.  Food left on the countertop makes it even more inviting for your feline friend.  After preparing meals, be sure to wipe counters down thoroughly and stash any leftovers right away.

It’s also worth mentioning that many of the ingredients that you use in your own meals are unsafe for your pets, and the same can be said for most kitchen cleaners. So, generally speaking, your cat’s tendency to hang out on your counters in not a good idea for his health OR yours.

Like any unwanted behavior, it’s best to start discouraging this when they’re still tiny, but it’s never too late. Give it a shot!

 

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Exciting News for Pet Parents on the Go!

If you’re like most of us, you prefer to take your pets with you wherever you go, including long trips out of town. Well, fortunately, car and air travel are no longer your only options! Social media and news stations across the country are buzzing about Amtrak’s latest pilot program, which allows certain pets to travel by train, right along with their owners.

Check out the full story HERE, courtesy of the Washington Post.

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Game Day Recipes Your Dog Will Love!

Whether or not you are a lover of the game, there’s no denying that football season is in full swing.  For a lot of people, this time of year means so much more than staying glued to the television every Sunday. It’s also about the time spent with friends and family who also enjoy the game, and of course, the delicious fall recipes.

This football season, we want to make sure that your best furry friend is also included, and since it’s been so long since we last shared any recipes for pets, we’ve rounded up some great fall recipes for the pups.

Reminder: If your pet has a condition that requires a restricted diet, these recipes are probably not for you.  If are unsure, but would still like to try these recipes, please first speak with your family veterinarian.

Homemade Peanut Butter, Banana, and Bacon Dog Treats

This awesome treat recipe is courtesy of Huffington Post.  If your pup, like most, loves peanut butter, this is just the treat you’ve been looking for!  As an added bonus, the recipe calls for flax seeds, which is perfect for any pooch who could use an extra bit of fiber in his or her diet.

Bananas bring the potassium, and the bacon (cooked until VERY crisp and drained well) makes them irresistible. This is a must-try for healthy dogs on unrestricted diets, and we’re sure that even the pickiest of eaters will love them.  (Caution: Be sure to stick with natural varieties of peanut butter with no artificial sweeteners. Specifically, avoid giving pets any foods that contain Xylitol.)

Get the recipe HERE!

Touchdown Tasties

This recipe was created by Lucy Postins, CEO of The Honest Kitchen in honor of the most competitive time of year.  One look at the list of ingredients, and you’ll probably want to save a few for yourself!  Ham and cheese is the reason that these treats are a tasty winner with your furry sidekick, but the real kicker is the avocadoes.  They add a nice dose of healthy fats and oils, which makes them great for your pet’s skin and hair coat.  (Caution: The flesh of an avocado is perfectly safe and healthy for your pet in reasonable quantities, but you should avoid giving him or her the skin or pit of the fruit.)

Get the recipe HERE!

Super Simple Sweet Potato Dog Treats

This is a great time of year for sweet potatoes, and just like with humans, they just happen to also be a favorite for dogs.  If you’re looking for an extremely simple dog treat recipe with ingredients that you are very likely to already have around the house, give this one a shot.  FOUR ingredients!  That’s it.

Get the recipe HERE!

We hope your pups enjoy these recipes, as well as being included in all of this season’s game day festivities!

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Participate in the Ninth Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey!

According to the 2014 survey taken by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of the cats and dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese.

At first glance, that statement may not seem like anything earth-shattering, but it’s an undeniable fact that obesity shortens lives.  That’s something that applies to your feline or canine best friend just as it would to any human you know.  The explanation for that is most often found in the secondary complications that come about as a result of obesity. Those complications may include any number of ailments, such as:

All of that makes sense, right? It’s easy to see how carrying more weight can place unnecessary demands on the body and all of its organs.

Really, the list of potential complications goes on, but the most important thing to consider is your pet’s quality of life. It’s a terrible thing to watch a pet suffer from something that was entirely preventable, and obesity falls easily into that category. Allowing your pet’s weight to get out of control is an injustice to your companion and your relationship, and it’s your responsibility as a pet owner to keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.

Fortunately, as far as disease prevention goes, keeping your pet’s weight in check is relatively simple. Just as with humans, it’s a matter of burning more calories than are consumed: the classic “eat less, exercise more.”

It can be challenging to figure out how much your pet should be eating, but your family veterinarian can be your most useful resource in determining the best possible diet for your lifestyle. If you prefer to figure it out on your own, though, you can visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website.  There, you’ll find a number of useful tools, like a calculator for determining your pet’s caloric needs, a daily feeding and activity log, and more.

On October 7, 2015, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention will conduct its Ninth Annual Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.  If you or someone you know would like to participate, click HERE to learn more.

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