Be careful with antifreeze

At this time a year pet owners need to watch out for antifreeze spills. Antifreeze for cars is based on ethylene glycol, which is quite toxic and leads to many pet deaths every year. If a pet laps it up and isn’t treated immediately, severe damage to kidneys and nervous system will follow.

In the past all antifreeze solutions had a sweet smell and taste, nowadays some manufacturers have changed the formula to make them less appealing to pets, and some manufacturers make “pet safe” antifreeze. Using the pet safe products helps – they are less toxic than traditional products, but can still be dangerous.

If you see a puddle on the ground when you’re walking your dog, don’t let your pet drink from it or walk through it. If it gets on the paws, odds are the pet will lick it off later to clean itself.

Keep this type of product off the ground and out of reach for pets. If there’s a spill, clean it immediately and rinse the area with lots of water.

If you think your pet has ingested antifreeze – even a small amount – call your veterinarian or the closest pet ER at once.

Keep your pets safe over the New Year holiday

The New Year holiday is just around the corner, and many Americans will celebrate the birth of the new year with fireworks, firecrackers, and even gunshots. While you and your neighbors celebrate, keep your pets in mind.

Cats, dogs, and other pets generally don’t like these loud noises, and the bright flashes of fireworks can add to their terror. Even dogs and cats that are normally calm can panic and run in an attempt to find safety from the perceived threat.

Keep your pets inside. If they choose to seek out a dark corner or hide under the bed, let them be. Never underestimate a frightened pet’s ability to flee. If you have visitors coming and going it’s a good idea to keep the pets separated so they can’t get out the front door.

If your family falls into the category that fires actual guns to celebrate the new year – fire into the ground, never up in the air. What goes up must come down, and bullets fired up in the air have been known to cause injury and even death on their return to the ground.

Make sure your pets have ID badges on their collars, and that they’re microchipped. Naturally, if you go to watch a fireworks display, leave your pets at home. Don’t leave them in the car.

Have a happy and safe New Year’s holiday!

Four important things dogs don’t like

Some human behaviors translate poorly into the world of dogs, and they often cause accidents or bites. Here are four things we humans tend to do that dogs in general don’t like.

1. Misreading the dog’s signals

A vast majority of dog bites, especially when children are involved, happen because humans misread a dog’s body language. Parents can think something is cute, but the dog just wants to get away, even if it knows the child. The follow signs should be put in context, of course, and each sign below is usually accompanied by other signs of stress.

  • Licking nose and lips
    A stressed dog licking nose and lips looks very different than when you feed your dog a treat.
  • Yawning
    A stressed dog often yawns repeatedly, with intensity. Some dogs even yawn when they need to go out.
  • Panting
    Of course dogs pant to cool off, but it is also a common sign of stress.

Other common signs include looking away, turning away, pinning back the ears with a tense facial expression, low body posture, leaning backward, and tension.

2. Hugging

Hugging is a human phenomenon. Many dogs get used to being hugged by their family members and can even learn to appreciate it, but there are also dogs that never get used to it.

Hugging a dog can make them feel threatened or challenged.

There are countless news stories where a child has been bit by the neighbor’s dog – or even the family’s own dog – and the parents say, “It came out of the blue. She was just hugging the dog.” This misunderstanding between the species ends with a traumatized child and euthanized dog.

3. Patting on top of the head

While most dogs love to be petted, that’s not the same as going up to a dog and patting them on the top of the head or on the face. Teach your children not to do this – especially not to dogs they don’t know. While most dogs tolerate it, they might not like it, and some perceive it as a threat. They don’t like a hand coming at them from above any more than a human would.

When you meet a dog, crouch and turn away a little – this means that you’re not a threat. When the dog comes up to you, pet it on the side.

4. Staring into a dog’s eyes

Most dogs are okay with gazing into their owner’s eyes. However, don’t approach a dog you don’t know and stare into their eyes – this is a challenge in doggie language.

Holiday decoration safety tips for pets

Puppy santaHoliday decorations are a big part of the season, and lights and cheerful colors spread joy in the winter darkness. Everything new in the house brings new dangers to pets as well, and here are some safety tips for little things that can make a big difference.

The tree

Whether you use an artificial tree or a reason, make sure it’s securely anchored so your pets can’t knock it over. Especially cats are tempted to climb into the tree. Also clean up any tree needles regularly – they’re sharp and can get stuck in your pet’s throat or paws.


Pets love to play with and eat tinsel and ribbons. These can cause a lot of damage if swallowed, and even require surgery. Keep tinsel and ribbons off the floor.


Many pets, particularly cats, see baubles as irresistible play things. Try to use decorations that won’t shatter if they hit the floor, and that aren’t too small. You don’t want your pet to accidentally swallow a decoration.

Power cords

Protect cords so your pet can’t play with them or chew on them.

New house plants

Many of the season’s house plants are poisonous. Most people think the poinsettia is very dangerous, but it is only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. Pets shouldn’t be encouraged to eat it of course, but the poinsettia’s reputation is quite exaggerated. Mistletoe, rosemary, and holly can be dangerous to cats and dogs. Keep them out of reach, and contact a veterinarian if you think your pet has ingested any type of holly.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The big eating holiday is finally here, and odds are tempting smells are pulling both humans and pets towards the kitchen. Yesterday we shared some tips of Thanksgiving foods that are okay for dogs and cats to eat, and some they shouldn’t have.

If you really want to share the holiday spirit and make your furry friends something special, we have a couple of ideas.

Pumpkin Smoothie for dogs

This is really easy to make, and most dogs love it. Mix equal parts plain nonfat yogurt and canned pumpkin puree. (Make sure it’s not pie filling – the cans look quiet similar.) Serve as  a liquid, or freeze for handy, cool treats.

Turkey Meatballs for dogs

  • 6 ounces ground turkey
  • 0.5 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 0.5 cup quinoa or oatmeal
  • A pinch of kelp powder

Place the carrots and turkey in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add quinoa/oatmeal and the kelp powder and blend some more. Roll into meatballs (it’s easier if you wet your hands with cold water) and bake in 400 F on a non-stick cookie sheet. They need around 15 minutes in the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving for dogs and cats

Pet feeding tips for Thanksgiving

contestThis is a great season for family get-togethers, and everyone enjoys the Thanksgiving dinner table. Make sure the holiday flows smoothly and safely for the pets too with our handy tips.

Dogs and cats can nibble on some boneless and well cooked turkey. They shouldn’t have raw turkey, undercooked turkey, skin, or bones. It is also okay to share some unsalted and unbuttered vegetables.

Dogs and cats cannot eat onions, garlic, leeks, or scallions. They also shouldn’t have grapes or raisins.

A taste of mashed potatoes is fine. Just consider that mashed potatoes can contain other ingredients than just potatoes. If your pet is lactose intolerant, cheese, butter, and milk in mashed potatoes can cause problems.

A taste of macaroni and cheese is also fine, if your pet can handle dairy.

Cranberry sauce is fine for pets, but there can be a lot of sugar in it, so limit the amount.

Some other things to watch out for are xylitol, sage (common in stuffing), and raw bread dough. The bread dough seems harmless, but it will continue to expand when eaten, and this can be very dangerous

Fruits and berries for dogs?

Dogs are natural scavengers and tend to eat what comes in their way. That doesn’t mean that all dogs like everything, or that everything they eat is good for them, but fruits and berries are nature’s treats, and most dogs love them. 

Not all fruits and berries are good for dogs. Here is a list with the most common ones, and whether your can let your furry friend share. Remember that everything should be given with moderation – you don’t want to give your pet a whole bowl of berries, because his or her digestive system won’t be used to it.

  • Apples
    Dogs shouldn’t eat the seeds, because they can be toxic to dogs, but the fruit is fine. Most dogs won’t care for the skin of the apple, but will happily gobble down a nice slice.
  • Bananas
    Some dogs don’t like the consistency of banana, and others love it. If your dog likes peeled banana it’s a great snack.
  • Blueberries
    Blueberries are fine, and rich in antioxidants. Many dog foods and treats contain blueberries.
  • Coconut
    Dogs can eat both coconut meat and milk.
  • Grapes
    No. Dogs should not eat grapes or raisins. Not all dogs react adversely to them, but those who do can die from kidney failure. Don’t take the risk.
  • Mango
    Mango has a large pit that the dog shouldn’t have. Dogs can have a piece of mango flesh without the peel and pit.
  • Oranges
    Peeled and de-seeded citrus fruits are fine for dogs. Just make sure to remove the seeds.
  • Peaches
    Peaches are tricky, because the pit contains cyanide, and this is deadly to everyone, not just dogs. If you absolutely want to give your dog peach, make sure to only give the outer layers of the fruit, because cyanide can seep out from the pit into the meat close to the center. It’s not enough to harm a human, but it can be enough to harm a dog.
  • Pears
    Dogs can eat pears, as long as you remove the seeds and cores.
  • Pineapple
    Pineapple meat is fine for dogs. They shouldn’t have the prickly husk, of course, but the meat is fine.
  • Plums
    Avoid giving your dog plums, for the same reason they shouldn’t have peaches. The pit is dangerous, and there isn’t enough meat on a plum to find a layer where you can be absolutely sure it’s safe.
  • Raspberries
    Raspberries are fine, and many dogs love them. Some dogs have been known to eat raspberries directly off the bushes!
  • Strawberries
    Sure, but you should remove the leaves and any stem. You want the dog to eat the berry, not the greenery.
  • Watermelon
    Yes, dogs can eat watermelon, but you should remove the seeds.

Dog with vegetables

Keep your cat safe today

Black catHalloween is a favorite holiday for many humans, but it also brings a number of dangers for pets. Here are five tips for keeping your cats safe:

1. Keep black cats indoors.

This is a time of the year when superstition runs high. Some people are outright cruel to black cats, and others are just thoughtless. This has escalated to a point where some shelters won’t adopt out black cats during the month of October. It also happens that people take black cats indoors as a neat decoration, not giving a second thought to the cat’s wellbeing or home. Keep your black cat indoors until the holiday is over.

It is also wise to confine cats. Ringing doorbells, people shouting “trick or treat” and the front door repeatedly opening and closing can be scary to a cat. It’s better to keep kitty locked in a back room than a panicked cat rushing through the door.

2. Hang decorations high

Candy wrappers, tinsel, and decoration are irresistible to cats. Keep decorations out of reach and throw all candy wrappers away at once. Cats might not immediately want to eat wrappers, but if they play with them they might accidentally ingest one anyway. Wrappers and tinsel can cause intestinal blockage and require surgery.

3. Keep human candy out of reach

Human candy is bad for cats and dogs. Chocolate, xylitol, and other substances that we enjoy are highly toxic to pets. Also watch out with the carved pumpkin. Unsweetened canned pumpkin is great for pets, but the carved pumpkin that’s been on the porch for days can be rife with bacteria.

4. Be careful with candles

There are many fun and cute Halloween candles. Don’t keep lit candles in the same room as the cat – cats and fire make a recipe for disaster.

5. Watch out for electric cords

Many halloween decorations come with lights, and electric cords can seem like a lot of fun to a cat. Chewing on cords can cause electrocution and burns. Also keep batteries out of reach and sight. Cats love to swat batteries around, but that game can get really dangerous if they bite they battery.

Stay safe, and Happy Halloween!

Keep Halloween candy away from the dog

Joy!Halloween is just a week away, and while dogs may dress up and go trick or treating, we have to be cautious with what we feed them. Many children want to share, and this is a kind side that should be rewarded, but pets should not eat human candy – or decorations. 

If you will have plenty of candy and/or children in your house, or take your dog trick or treating, it’s a good idea to bring some safe dog treats.

The four most common hazards around Halloween are:

1. Chocolate

By now most people know that chocolate is dangerous to pets. It holds a strong allure and many dogs will go to great lengths to get to chocolate, so keep it safely out of reach.

2. Overindulging in treats and candy

Human candy in general isn’t good for pets – it contains too much sugar and artificial substances. Sugar-free candies often contain Xylitol, which is potentially lethal to pets.

3. Raisins

Raisins and grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Treat raisins like chocolate and keep them in a safe place.

4. Wrappers

Wrappers smell and taste like candy. Eating cellophane and foil can obstruct the bowel and require surgery. Get rid of all wrappers at once so they don’t pose a temptation.


Did your dog eat something he shouldn’t?

There are many stories about dogs eating everything from stuffed toys to gravel. Some dogs never get into trouble, and others eat everything they can get a hold of. If your best friend falls into the latter category it’s wise to dog-proof your home. If doggie can’t get to something, he won’t eat it.

If your dog still manages to eat the remote control or something from the laundry pile, go see a vet. If your normal vet is closed, call the nearest emergency animal clinic and tell them what happened. Some objects will pass on their own, but others can create great damage.

Many pet owners are tempted to wait and hope for the best – even if the dog ate something toxic – but it’s not a wise course of action. Call a veterinarian. The more time that passes, the costlier it will be to fix the problem – and the more dangerous to your pet.

Common signs that your dog ate something he shouldn’t have include vomiting, gagging, stomach pain, lethargy, loss of appetite, changes in bowels, and changes in behavior.


Did you know there’s a rattlesnake vaccine for dogs?

Every year, around 300,000 dogs and cats are bitten by venomous snakes in the USA. While many dog owners may know they live in an area with rattlesnakes, they might not know there’s a vaccine available for dogs.

The vaccine has been developed to provide protection against the Western Diamondback Rattlesnake’s venom. While it is most effective against bites from this particular snake, it also gives some protection against similar venoms through generating protective antibodies that can neutralize the venom.

Dogs with the antibodies experience less pain and have less risk of permanent injury from a bite. Vaccinated dogs typically have less swelling, less tissue damage, and recover quicker. If the dog is bit it should still see a veterinarian.

How often the dog should be vaccinated depends on how big the risk is, how big the dog is, and other factors.

If your dog is bitten by a rattlesnake or other snake, it is always an emergency. Even a vaccinated dog needs to see a veterinarian for evaluation – the dose of venom can be more than the immunity from the vaccine can handle. Bites from non venomous snakes are also serious, because they can lead to infections, and the dog might need antibiotics. If your dog is bit by a snake, time is of the essence. Go see at vet at once.

To learn more about rattlesnake vaccine, click here to visit Red Rock Biologics.

Nearly half of states have laws saving pets from abusive relationships

Nearly half of the US states have laws saving pets from abusive relationships in cases of domestic violence. The laws allow courts to order the protection of pets using the same statutes that protect the pet’s owner with restraining orders and similar.

That means that if a dog’s owner is the victim of domestic violence and gets an order of protection against the abuser, the pet is safeguarded under the same order.

Many pets get stuck in the middle of abusive relationships where the abuser use their victims’ dogs and cats as pawns – often killing them in the process. 70 percent of victims of domestic violence report that their abusive partner has threatened to hurt or kill a pet.

Some women’s shelters in the USA allow women to bring pets when fleeing an abusive situation, but many cannot offer this service, and nearly 50 percent of women in an abusive relationship  stay to protect their pet.

Without these laws, the abuser can keep the pet or try to take it. The abuser can also try to get visitation rights. With the law, pets can be placed in safe foster homes until their owner gets settled.

Examples of good dog toys

Dog toysThere is a plethora of dog toys available, and which to choose largely depends on the dog. Some dogs tear through everything but the most chew-resistant in minutes, and others carry the same soft squeaky duck around for years.

Most dogs like a good thinking game. Many dogs are alone while their humans spend time at work or school. We’re tired when we come home after a full day, but the dog is bored and has been napping most of the day. Handing out a “thinking” toy can be a great solution – you need to be around to make sure nothing happens, but it will keep your friend occupied for a while.

Examples of thinking games include “boxes” with hiding spots for treats. The dog must move parts around with the nose, or remove them, to get to the treats. Others are shaped as balls or cubes that must roll a certain way to dispense treats.

Kong-type toys frozen with a mix of broken-up treats or kibble along with some peanut butter or soft food can keep dogs occupied for hours.

Many dogs love toys meant for chewing or carryinglike Nylabones, Kong Wubbas, and similar. Rope toys are great as long as your dog doesn’t manage to untie the knots and eat the threads, and many dogs love tennis balls. Make sure you use balls of an appropriate size, so the dog can’t choke on them.

Some dogs love soft, stuffed toys. Make sure you get one with pet-safe stuffing. If your dog likes to carry the toy around it needs to be small enough to carry, yet large enough to prevent accidental swallowing. If your dog wants to shake and “kill” the toy, it needs to be sturdy enough to survive the attacks.

Many dogs who spend many hours alone love to have a piece of dirty laundry, like an old T-shirt, towel, or blanket. Something that smells like you can be very comforting to a dog. Pick something that doesn’t break easily, and that you won’t mourn if it’s destroyed by carrying, bedding, and nosing.

Are dog toys important?

Dog with toyWhen it comes to humans, many say that we never stop buying toys – they just become more expensive with age. Toys are important to us, and they’re important to pets as well. To dogs, they’re even necessary.

Toys can:

  • Keep boredom at bay
  • Provide comfort
  • Prevent a pet from developing behavioral problems

Cats are generally picky about what toys they approve, but dogs tend to love everything they can get their paws on, and it’s wise to choose toys for them before they find something on their own.

What toys are safe?

The answer to that depends on many factors, such as the dog’s size, preferences, and activity level. A toy that can be perfectly safe to a small dog not interested in chewing can be dangerous to a large and energetic dog. Use common sense, and try to see it from the dog’s point of view.

Make sure the toy is appropriate for your dog’s size. Balls and other toys that are too small can be swallowed, or choke your dog. Not all dog toys for sale are safe or even appropriate. Remove any ribbons, strings, and other parts that can be chewed off and swallowed. If the toy is torn and falling apart it’s time to remove it.

Some toys, like rope toys that are braided with knotted ends, are great when they are new, but it is important to replace them once they’re worn and chewed, so the dog doesn’t eat any of the strings in the rope.

Always supervise play with squeaker toys. Many dogs feel the need to tear the toy apart and destroy the squeaker, and squeakers should not be eaten.

As a general rule, soft toys made for children should not be used by pets – the filling is dangerous and can in severe cases kill a dog. Not even “pet-safe” fillings are meant to be eaten. Dog-proof your home. Make sure your furry friend can’t get to strings, rubber bands, ribbons, children’s toys, pantyhose, and similar things that can be swallowed.

Dogs can need sunscreen too

Summer is officially over, but parts of the country are still hot and sunny. Did you know that dogs can get sunburned and get skin cancer just like humans? You shouldn’t use human sunscreen on pets, but there are pet safe versions created to fit their skin, and to be safe in case the pooch would lick it off.

Areas extra sensitive to the sun include the tip of the ears, the nose, the belly, and the groin – areas that typically have less hair coverage as well as thinner skin.

New findings show that humans should wear sunscreen every day around year – even on rainy days, during winter, and up north – and that UV rays can reach us even through windows and cloud covers. Knowing that, it makes sense to protect our furry friends at least when they’re romping about in the sun.

Dogs love their outside time, but they don’t know when enough is enough, and we need to control their time in the sun and heat. Even if the weather has cooled down a little it’s wise to watch for signs of heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, drooling, lethargy, fever, vomiting, and collapse. Breeds with short noses, senior dogs, and puppies are  more susceptible to heat.

If you think your dog might have heatstroke, do your best to cool it down, and call the vet at once!