How to Take Care and Protect Dogs This Winter Season!

Baby, it’s cold outside! If we are feeling the early chill of winter, you can bet our pets are too.  While we can turn up the heat, throw on some extra layers, and break out our waterproof boots, our dogs don’t have that same luxury. Certain northern breeds such as the Akita, Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Keeshond have dense coats and furry feet that help to insulate them from the cold as well as allow them to navigate icy terrain.  A tiny chihuahua or dacshund with their short coats and reduced muscle mass may suffer from exposure much more quickly. How should we care for our dogs, great and small, in cold weather? Let’s start with the outer layers.

Keeping Dogs Warm in Cold Winter Weather

Some dogs can use an extra layer of fluff, just like people. Thin-skinned, delicate breeds such as the Italian Greyhound can use a coat or sweater that protects the belly and torso.  Excessive hair between a dog’s toes can be trimmed to avoid slipping on surfaces and to limit the snowballs that form on the feet.  A well-groomed pooch can also be outfitted with booties for insulation and to provide traction on slippery surfaces. Most dog booties are elastic or have Velcro fasteners and can be laundered. 

If your dog can’t bear to wear boots, consider a paw wax or petroleum jelly massaged into the pads to provide protection from the elements and to prevent cracking.  Pets are more likely to sustain injury walking on ice or salt; to protect your pet in cold weather, always rinse, dry, and carefully examine their feet after returning from the great outdoors. And a good belly rub to remove ice and debris is always appreciated!

Acclimating our dogs to the colder temperatures is best done by limiting outdoor playtime to 5-10 minutes and extending that period gradually.  Caring for senior or young pets when the weather is cold may mean keeping them indoors or providing a warm, padded shelter.  Just like humans, these dogs are less able to regulate body temperature and may suffer from frostbite more easily.  Dogs are more likely to develop frostbite on delicate skin such as the ear tips and tail.  The most noticeable change in affected areas is a color change from pink to white or blue-grey. A good rule of thumb when it comes to dog winter safety is if you are uncomfortable outdoors, so is your pet!  

Remember These Winter Care Tips For Dogs 

Additional winter care tips include being aware of some toxins that may be particularly accessible during the season. Antifreeze ingestion can be lethal and cause a drunken appearance, kidney damage, vomiting, and seizures.  Clean up any spills immediately as it has a sweet taste that is appealing to dogs.  Ethylene glycol is the ingredient that will lead to poisoning; it is possible to buy antifreeze that has propylene glycol as the active ingredient and is less toxic.   Poinsettias, holly, and mistletoe are common plants we may use for winter decorations and will lead to oral irritation, drooling, vomiting or abdominal pain if ingested.  

Leaving a pet in a car that is running increases the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning; while it may seem tempting to run one last errand with your companion, drop them at home first! Likewise, space heaters and electrical cords can cause fire or electrical burns if your dog decides to make them chew toys or knocks them over while playing.  Unlike their cat counterparts, most dogs stay away from the Christmas tree.  BUT, the tree water or edible ornaments can be a great temptation and lead to injury.  Keep the tree, needles, glass decorations, and edibles inaccessible to all your pets. 

Lastly, nutrition and hydration should be carefully considered when the weather is cold.  If your dog is active in the snow or spends time outdoors, they utilize more calories to maintain their body temperature.  To care for your dog in the winter, you might find additional kibble is necessary to maintain body weight and optimal health.  Dehydration is a concern in winter time just as it is in the summer.  Some dogs may drink more water to offset the lack of humidity in the air. Provide ample fresh water, ice cubes to snack on, and heated water bowls if necessary. 

DIY Paw Balm to Protect Dog Paws This Winter

Here is a favorite paw balm recipe to help moisturize and condition your dog’s pads in the winter time. Happy holidays!

21-24 standard lip balm tubes OR 6 1-oz. tins

a small digital kitchen scale, optional

small pot or double boiler

 

Ingredients

2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) olive, sunflower, or sweet almond oil

2 oz. (approx. 2 tbsp.) coconut oil 

1 oz. (approx. 1 tbsp.) shea butter

4 tsp. beeswax 

 

Steps

In a small pot or double boiler over low heat melt the oils, shea butter, and beeswax. Stir continuously until all is melted and well blended.

Carefully pour the mixture into lip balm tubes and/or tins. (buy on amazon)

Let them cool on the counter until hard.

Cap and label.

Keep away from extreme heat.

Apply the balm as a preventive treatment or to help soften dry paw pads or noses. Use within 1 to 2 years.

Pet Safety: Safe Foods Dogs Can Eat On Thanksgiving

Next time you are the pet store picking up a bag of kibble, check out the ingredients in some popular brands of dog food.  The lists read like a veritable Thanksgiving Day menu: sweet potatoes, turkey, peas, white potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and cranberries.  As the lines blur between pet food diets and what we feed our human holiday guests, it is a good idea to clear up some common misconceptions about safe and dangerous Thanksgiving meals for dogs, so they can join the party!

Thanksgiving Table Decorations To Watch Out For

During the holiday preparations, we may overlook the dog in the corner munching on a mum or an amaryllis.  Both plants, as well as macadamia nuts, holly, English ivy, cyclamen, and Christmas rose are all found on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center’s list of toxic plants.  Ingesting modest quantities will generally cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and excessive salivation so it’s best to keep any plants high out of reach of a rogue canine. 

The kitchen! Home to all varieties of delicious smells, tastes, and frenzied activity.  Dough rising in the corner for dinner rolls? Should your dog eat raw dough, be prepared for a host of potential problems including bowel obstruction and bloat as the dough continues to rise and release gases INSIDE your dog’s belly.  As the yeast ferments, ethanol is produced. 

Think an over-served relative is bad news? A drunk dog is no laughing matter; watch for signs of drooling, difficulty walking, weakness, low blood pressure, body temperature, vomiting, and seizures in an intoxicated pet. Raw or under-cooked meat waiting for the deep fryer can also be dangerous to your dog.  In addition to bones which can puncture the esophagus, stomach, intestines, or become lodged in the mouth, Salmonella and E.coli love to live on raw turkey.  Ingesting these bacteria may cause vomiting and diarrhea in your dog which may lead to secondary exposure by unsuspecting guests.

Safe Thanksgiving Foods For Dogs

 

Can your dog eat cooked turkey? For most otherwise healthy dogs with no food allergies or intolerances, the answer is yes! A good rule of thumb is to feed your dog no more than 10% of his daily calories in treat form or suffer the consequences (read: diarrhea).

Skinless, boneless white meat is low in fat and calories and is easy to digest for most dogs.  Likewise, canned or cooked pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling with sugar and spices) is a great source of fiber and Vitamin A; 1-2 Tablespoons can be added to your dog’s dish without leading to excessive gas or loose stools. 

Mashed or cooked white potatoes or sweet potatoes are also a delicious treat; set aside some safe starches before you add butter, salt, milk, cheese, gravy, and especially garlic or onions (both on the naughty list and can cause red blood cell damage!).  And please, no gravy!

Traditional Thanksgiving foods like cranberries can be eaten in very small amounts before being doctored with sugar and other goodness.  And while they may look similar, grapes and raisins are known to cause kidney disease in dogs and are to be avoided.  Plain green beans and peas are tasty and healthy! Add a few to your dog’s Thanksgiving plate.

Sweet Treats Dogs Can and Cannot Eat 

 

No meal is complete without dessert. Chocolate is a definite no-no; the caffeine and theobromine cause nervous system stimulation, gastrointestinal upset, and even death in high enough doses.  All chocolate is not created equal; dark chocolate and baking chocolate, i.e. the “good stuff”, contains more of the “bad stuff” and will cause toxicity in smaller quantities.  Size does matter.  A smaller dog will become ill eating the same amount of chocolate as a larger pet.

Those of you trying to minimize the calorie load in your Thanksgiving meal need to be sure sweeteners containing xylitol aren’t accessible to dogs. The no-calorie sweetener can be found in some peanut butters, gum, mints, pudding snacks, and some baked goods.  Unlike humans, dogs consuming xylitol experience a massive release of insulin which can cause low blood sugar, weakness, seizures, and liver failure.  If you like to spoil your pet, apples, carob chips, and frozen banana bites are safe Thanksgiving indulgences for your dog.  

Most of all, make sure your guests are on the same page when it comes to sharing their Thanksgiving food.  If everyone gives your dog a “tiny” bit of turkey, tummy troubles or even a serious case of pancreatitis could send you to the vet. It’s also important to remember to feed your dog his Thanksgiving dish IN his dish and not from your hand or the table.  Bad behavior can begin or be reinforced during the frenetic holidays. 

Be mindful of these tips and you can be thankful you avoided a Thanksgiving trip to the Animal ER!

10 Christmas Gift Ideas For The Special Pets In Your Life

It's that time of year. What do you get the pet that has everything?  Are you racking your brain trying to figure out what to get Fido or Bella this year?  We have come up with 10 gift ideas that are sure to please your pet!

 

10. Bake-A-Bone Dog Treat Maker

 

The original dog treat maker makes healthy, delicious preservative-free treats in minutes. Perfect for small, medium and large dogs. Bake-A-Bone features allergy-sensitive recipes including wheat-free, corn-free, low-glucose, lactose-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Recipes for every taste: chicken, beef, liver, peanut butter, cheese, vegetarian, vegan organic and much more. Make fun specialty treats also snicker poodles, banana biscotti bones, birthday bones, puppy pot-roast bones. You can also decorate your treats with fun, pet-friendly homemade icings.

amazon.com

 

9. Indoor/Outdoor Heated Bed

 

This one’s water resistant, so your furry friend can use it inside or out.
Small indoor/outdoor heated bed, drfostersmith.com.

 

8. Cat Nap Fleece Hammock

And when it gets to be summer, just flip the hammock over for a lighter cotton side.
Cat hammock with wood stand, catabove.com.

 

 

7. Pez Dog Treat Dispenser

Giant PEZ Dog Treat Dispenser with 6 Treats and 1 Pack of PEZ Refill Dog Treats (1 Set)

amazon.com

 

6. DIY Dog Treats

These might be the best dog biscuits your dog will ever snack on. 

source: Rachel Ray

 

5. Log Bowls

Log Bowls combine the beauty of a tree in its natural state with a high-gloss, vibrant finish. Each bowl is handmade using locally reclaimed trees of all varieties (fallen or cut down due to infrastructure or inclement weather). The trees are hand selected, gathered, turned and finished by Loyal Loot Collective and local artisans. Log Bowls come in a wide variety of colors and are refined by hand with a water-based, furniture grade finish.

Loyalloot

 

4. iFetch

It's playtime. Whether you're at work, at home or on vacation, the iFetch makes everyone happy by bringing a fun, new twist to the familiar game of fetch. Perfect for indoor and outdoor play, the award-winning iFetch launches miniature tennis balls 10, 20, or 30 feet, saving the day (and your arm) when you're too tired (or too busy) to keep playing. Invented by the Hamill family in Austin, Texas, the idea for the iFetch was born when their toy poodle, Prancer, turned out to be a fetching fanatic. After a few prototypes and an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, the iFetch is now a global phenomenon, giving dogs around the world the opportunity to play fetch to their hearts' content. With the iFetch by your side, your fetch-loving dog will never be bored again.

amazon.com

 

3. Cat Dreams DVD

 

It’s an hour and a half of cat awesomeness, basically. (Think mice running through a house, birds chirping, etc.) amazon.com

 

 

2. Litey Leash

Litey Leash in Radical Red is the perfect for pups in the mood for a cool sophisticated nighttime stroll.

LITEY LEASH

 

1. Hyper Tennis Ball Launcher

 

 

 

 

slingshot designed to shoot a tennis ball over 200 feet, hands-free pick up, no more touching slimy balls or throwing your shoulder out

 

We at Pet Butler wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

sources: 27 Wonderful Christmas Gifts To Give Your Cat, 25 howliday gift ideas for your dog

Give a Pet a Gift in Hard Times

 

 

Recently there seems to be an abundance of weather-related catastrophes.  So many of us know someone who has lost their home and/or belongings. We all want to help and sending money, providing meals or clothing is all great ways to meet a need.

Here is another idea that we can provide for our loved one's beloved pets and take some of the stress away.

Chewy.com is just one company who will send pet-friendly care packages. You can order a delivery of pet food, treats, and even a toy. Imagine the smile and relief when a box arrives with much-needed supplies and the joy of seeing Fido with a full belly lying by their side gnawing a chew toy. 

Remember, pets feel the pain of the situation too and knowing Fido is taken care of relieves some of the stress in life's unpredictable events.

 

 

By Carol Curtin

Keeping Your Pets Safe in the Summer Heat

 

Summer time can be dangerous and uncomfortable for your pets. With humidity,  high temperatures and summer storms, your pets can be stressed and become sick. Or even die!

Here are some helpful tools and tips to help your fur babies safe and cool during the hot summer months.

Practice basic summer safety:

NEVER leave your pet in a parked car, EVER.

Even with the windows cracked, temperatures can reach as high as 120°, in 30 minutes, on an 85° day. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage, or die. Not even for a minute should you leave your pets in the car. The pet will suffer terribly if left in a hot car unattended, no one wants that.

Humidity

Humidity is as dangerous for your pet as it is for you. Your pet “pants” to help evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. With high humidity levels, they will be unable to cool themselves and their body temperature will soar to dangerous levels, very quickly.

Signs of heatstroke

Signs of heatstroke include are heavy panting, glazed eyes, rapid heart beat, difficulty breathing, lethargy, vomiting, deep red or purple tongue, and becoming unconscious. Young or older animals are more susceptible to heatstroke, and some breeds with short muzzles will have a harder time breathing in hot weather.

If heat stroke happens, move your pet into the shade or an air conditioned area. Run cool, not cold, water over her/him, and apply ice packs to the neck, head and chest area. Let the pet drink small amounts of water, or lick ice cubes. Take the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Prevention is the best medicine

Always provide ample cold, fresh water and shade for your pets, and the ability for them to get out of the sun if you can’t be home with them. Try and keep them in an air conditioned room if at all possible. Dogs do not respond to fans the same way as humans, because dogs mainly sweat through the paws, so it is not as effective.

Limit exercise on hot days, to early morning or late evening when it is cooler. Try to have a leisurely walk instead of a strenuous work out. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from getting dehydrated.

Just a few commons sense items will keep your fur babies happy, healthy, and cool!

Enjoy the summer!

**The Humane Society of the United States newsletter,

 http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pets_safe_heat_wave.html

 

 

 

5 Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Massage

 

 

 

After receiving a massage dogs can feel the same way as we can. The benefits are numerous for owner’s and pets alike. We can all use more relaxation in our lives. Here are some of the reasons you should be giving your dog a massage:

1. It Reduces Stress- Massage studies have proven this and everyone, even pets, can benefit from this. Since dogs pick up on our stress the can also use some de-stressing as well. If your dog is easily anxious this is a great way to help reduce some of that.

2. It will Improve Circulation- With increased circulation from massage the body can recover after exercise and also help with conditions, such as arthritis. The act of pressuring and releasing muscles creates blood flow which is very healing to the body.

3. It can Strengthen Your Relationship- A wonderful way to build your relationship is through touch. Be sure to ease your dog into it, as it may be new and uncomfortable to them at first. Once your dog realizes the benefits this will be something he will look forward to. It’s not hard to find a reason for your dog to want to be near you. This is one way that you can both feel connected.

4. You can Find Injuries or Problems- It is hard to tell if there is a lump, swelling or weight loss by looking at a dog through their fur. By touching your dog regularly you will be able to find these and also notice any changes that may have happened. This is not the most fun benefit of massaging your dog but it may be a crucial benefit.

5. It is also a way to Relieve Pain- Dogs are usually very active and in being that way sometimes can be in pain. Massage is an excellent pain reliever. Injuries or arthritis can be soothed with massage. Dogs do not enjoy pain any more that we do. To help them with this is part of being a great owner.

Massage is an easy and healthy way to take care of your dog. Your vet probably can show you some methods to use, especially if you are unfamiliar with massage. Continuing to find ways to take care of your pet is being a responsible owner!

Written by Paige Cerulli for iHeartDogs.com

http://iheartdogs.com/5-reasons-you-should-be-giving-your-dog-a-massage/

 

 

Living the Apartment Life With a Dog

The day that I picked my puppy Rocky, from the shelter, I had a large house with a huge fenced backyard where he was able to run and play all day long. I never thought that I would have to re-train my dog, years later, to be an apartment dog. However, with some helpful research the change went fairly smooth. To tell you the truth: I think I had more difficulty than Rocky did with living in an apartment.

Here are ten tips, reposted from the Porch Potty blog, which have been extremely helpful for me and I want to pass them on to those of you have a furry friend, or are considering bringing a dog, in your apartment:

1) If you run or walk on streets, make sure to always bring a plastic bag. You may opt to choose a common grassy area when he can potty and then clean it by using a plastic bag.

 

2) Never leave your dog unleashed. Your dogs should always be tied up on their leash, most especially when you intend to go to common spaces of your apartment. Even if your dog is trained, never risk leaving him unleashed.

 

3) Use a short leash on your dog. Keep him close to you when you go through the pathways and lobby of your condominium.

 

4) Never let your dog have that chance of running up to someone. A lot of people are still not keen to dogs being around them. If there is a person intending to pet your dog, make him sit first before you let your neighbor touch him. Ensure that your dog is in sitting position during the whole meet. Others may just walk straight to your dog without asking permission. By having a short leash, you can easily control your dog’s actions toward the person.

 

5) Whatever the size of your dog, never let him jump on strangers. Train your dog to sit before you pet and praise him. Dogs that are rowdy and jump on people may cause a lot of trouble.

 

6) Train your dog not to growl when you’re in the shared area of your apartment. Dogs are capable of barking very loudly regardless of their size when situated inside any closed building. Unforeseen circumstances may arise causing him to be surprised and bark endlessly.

 

7) Maintain control in any given situation. If you come across a neighbor inside your condo, make the dog’s leash short and close to you. Have him lie or sit down once the other dog pass through – especially if your dog is larger.

 

8 ) It is best that you do not initiate introducing your dog to another dog. If unavoidable, make the bigger dog lie or sit down while the smaller dog comes near. Even if both dogs are sanitized, you still have to be very cautious, especially with two male dogs. There will be a lot of barking and roaring if one of them wants to establish dominance.

 

9) Always stand toward the back when your ride the elevator with your dog. Train your dog to sit next to you and make him keep his eyes on you during the elevator ride. Your dog should only get up and exit the elevator once he gets a signal from you.

(Ten Tips Re-Posted from Porch Potty blog) 

Senior Pet Adoption

Lori Fusaro is a photographer who specializes in pet photography (www.fusarophotography.com). Fusaro never saw herself as someone who would adopt an older dog, but life dramatically changed when her passion for finding families for older dogs grew. Now, she not only adopts older animals, she is on a mission to encourage others to join her in promoting senior pet adoption.

Fusaro started a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book of senior pet portraits in her pursuit of changing our culture’s view of older dogs. She stated, “I always come back to the idea that no dog should have to die alone. Even if [the dogs get] just two months of joyous, happy life, it’s worth it for my heartbreak.”

Here is a powerful interview with Lori, advocating for the adoption of senior dogs:

 

We, at Pet Butler, love all dogs (and agree with Lori) that no dog should have to die alone!