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Interactive Puzzle Games For Cats and Dogs

Interactive Puzzle Games For Cats and Dogs

You may have heard of interactive puzzle games for cats and dogs before. Puzzle games are a great way to mentally stimulate your pets. They also can help slow down fast eaters to prevent scarf and barf. Here are a few puzzle toys for pets that are sure to keep your pet entertained!

A few things to note when picking out a toy:

  • Make sure the toy is the appropriate size: A Great Dane might not be able to figure out the puzzle, but they surely can pick it up and drop it. Effectively rendering the puzzle toy concept useless.
  • Start at a lower difficulty: If your pet has done puzzle toys in the past it’s okay to start with a higher difficulty toy. If your pet is new to puzzle toys, start off with an easier toy.
  • Experiment with what is in the toy: Some pets go nuts for puzzle toys when a specific treat is inside. Others may only use it if dry food is inside. Try different rewards and see which ones your pet likes the most.
  • Supervise when giving a new toy: It’s important to see how your pet interacts with a toy. Supervise them to make sure they are using the toy properly and to give them a helping paw if they seem to be getting frustrated.
  • Show them how to do it: Putting a puzzle toy in front of a pet may work but often times with more complicated toys, you may have to show your pet how they work.

1. Outward Hound

Outward Hound makes quality dog and cat puzzle games. Developed by Nina Ottosson these toys are designed to stimulate your pet mentally and give you a well deserved break. Outward Hound interactive puzzle games come in four different difficulties. Perfect for beginners!

Dog Tornado

Outward Hound Dog Tornado @ $24.99

2. Catit

Catit makes fun interactive puzzle games and feeders for cats. I have a few of these and have found varying success. The Senses 2.0 Digger is my cats least favorite while the Senses 2.0 Food Tree is their favorite.

43010-treat-puzzle

Catit Play Treat Puzzle @ $21.99

Want more things your cat can’t live without? Check out our 5 products every cat needs in their life blog.

3. KONG

You’ve heard of this one! KONG toys are a simple puzzle game and a classic option for any dogs toy box. Did you know they also make KONGs for cats? KONG usually goes on sale during Black Friday. If you’re looking to pick up a bunch of these for a great deal keep an eye out.

KONG Classic on Amazon, Starting @ $7.49

4. LickiMat

While not as interactive as some of the other games, LickiMats provide stimulation for your pet and help them slow down when eating. Great for pets that do a lot of canned food since not all puzzle toys are designed for wet food.

LickiMat Slomo on Amazon @ $13.95

You can see more LickiMat’s here.

5. Snuffle Mats

What is a snuffle mat? A snuffle mat is designed to help mimic your dogs natural instinct to put their nose to the ground, sniff out food, and to dig. There’s loads of snuffle mats on the market so experiment with different ones.

I don’t recommend snuffle mats for larger dogs. They often can pick the mat up by an edge and shake out the kibble. While this still gets them working for the food (running around a room), it’s messy and defeats the purpose of the snuffle mat.

PAW5 Wooly Snuffle Mat on Amazon @ $39.50

 

What’s your dogs favorite puzzle toy? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting.

How To Keep Your House Smelling Fresh When You Have Pets

How To Keep Your House Smelling Fresh When You Have Pets

If you have pets, you probably have pet odor. But fear not! Keeping your house smelling fresh when you have pets is easier than you think. Following these handy tips will help banish pet odor for good.

Absorb the smell, don’t cover it up

Most of us just cover up pet odor with a quick spray of Febreze but this can actually make a pet odor problem worse. Covering up odors doesn’t solve the underlying issue. You need to absorb the odors to eliminate them, not just cover them up.

Use an air purifier or pet odor candle

Air purifier’s are a great way to keep the air in your home smelling fresh. You’ll have to remember to change the filter regularly but these can be a quick way to help manage pet odor. Not a fan of an air purifier? One Fur All makes a pet odor eliminator candle to help freshen the air in your home.

Embrace baking soda to absorb smell

Baking soda has been used for years to help absorb fridge odors but it can also be used to help absorb pet odors.

Maintain the litter box

The one thing all cat owners hate, besides being woken up at 2AM to the sound of barfing, is scooping the litter box. But it’s an important task that should be done daily. Not only will the litter box be more hygienic, it’ll help reduce the amount of pet odor in your home. Some people rave about the Litter Genie, instead of using a plastic bag from the store you simply dispose of the litter into the litter genie and only take it out when it’s full.

Check out our list of products every cat needs in their life for more recommendations to make litter scooping easier.

Vacuum at least once a week

Even if you don’t have carpets, vacuuming is important to help keep the “tumbleweeds” of hair at bay. If you do have carpet, vacuuming at least once a week will help remove pet odor that comes from fur, dandruff, and whatever may have been on their paws.

Open the windows

Fresh air is good for you and your pets! Opening the windows can help reduce odor by bringing in fresh, not stale, air. This is the easiest way to keep your house smelling fresh with pets.

Change those furnace filters

It’s something you might not think about but the more pets and the more humans you have in your home, the more often you need to change those furnace filters. We change ours about once a month to help keep dust down and other pet odors.

Wash pet bedding

Bedding is great at absorbing odors. You should aim to wash your pets bedding at least once a week depending on how soiled it gets. If your pet sleeps with you, you should also wash your bedding to help reduce odor further.

Groom your pet regularly

Dandruff, dead skin cells, and extra fur can all contribute to pet odor. They also contribute to the dust in your home and clog up furnace filters. Grooming your pet regularly will help to reduce the amount of dandruff, dead skin cells, and extra fur in your home.

Invest in an enzyme cleaner

Enzymatic cleaners are a life saver. They do more than help clean up a mess. They actually break down the biological elements of pet accidents to help reduce the smell. Nomos is a personal favorite, but it’s hard to find. Nature’s Miracle is another good option that may be easier to find.

Did you also know you can use some plants to purify the air in your home? That’s right! But make sure they aren’t on our list of toxic plants to cats first. Let us know in the comments if you found any of these tips helpful.

Dog Friendly Ice Cream Recipes

Dog Friendly Ice Cream Recipes

When it gets hot outside we all like to cool down with a refreshing treat and dogs are no exception. Here are a few of our favorite ice cream recipes to try and home with your dog.

1.Dog Friendly Strawberry Ice Cream

A classic strawberry ice cream recipe – for dogs! If you can use local honey that’s even better.

Ingredients:

  • 1c of plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
  • ½c of frozen strawberries
  • 2tbsp honey

Directions:

  1. Pureé all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a silicone mold.
  3. Let freeze for 2-4 hours or until solid before serving.

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

Did you like this recipe? See the main blog page for more strawberry inspired recipes.

2. Dog Friendly Peanut Butter “Banana” Ice Cream

I love this recipe because it really isn’t ice cream which is great if your pet is lactose intolerant. Plus it’s super versatile with what you can top it with. It’s a perfect base for a dog friendly ice cream sundae.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Frozen Bananas
  • 1tbsp Coconut Milk (or water or raw goat milk)
  • 1tbsp Xylitol-Free Peanut Butter

Instructions:

  1. Thaw bananas for 10 minutes.
  2. Put all ingredients into a food processor, process until an ice-cream like consistency.
  3. Serve!

Tip: You can also add freeze-dried strawberries, shredded coconut, or blueberries as a topping.

Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream" Recipe

Don’t feel like making ice cream? Why not try some of our easy Thanksgiving treats or our Homemade Peanut Butter cookies.

Did you make any of these? Let us know @WetNosesPetSitting or #WetNosesPetSitting. We’d love to see your pictures!

Cat Travel Safety Tips

Cat Travel Safety Tips

We know our canine companions often love to go for car rides, but what our our feline friends? Yes! Cats can enjoy car rides too. When traveling with a cat there are a few things you need to keep in mind that are different than traveling with a dog. Here are 7 cat travel safety tips you need to know.

1. Do not let cats wander in the car.

A kitty on the dashboard, your lap, or loose in the car is a safety hazard to you and your pet. Your cat should be contained at all times in the vehicle. You can contain your cat in a hard carrier to help keep them as safe as possible.

2. Do not strap a hard carrier in with a seat belt.

During an impact the seat belt may cause the carrier to open which can result in your cat being ejected from the carrier. Do not strap a hard carrier in with a seat belt unless it is designed to be.

3. There is no safe way to seat belt a cat carrier in if it is not designed that way.

There are cat carriers on the market that are designed to be used with a seat belt. Do not not use a seat belt with the carrier if it is not designed to be used with one.

4. Place kitty behind the passenger seat on the floor.

Placing the carrier on the floor behind the passenger seat is a safer option instead of in the passenger seat or on the backseat.

5. Check if your cat carrier is crash test rated.

There are cat carriers on the market that have been crash tested and rated. A majority of crash tested carriers are designed to be used with seat belts. These seat belt approved carriers are the only ones you should be securing with a seat belt.

6. Do not use broken carriers.

Cat carriers can last many years if taken proper care of. If you notice your carrier is starting to crack, missing screws, or the lid doesn’t seem to fit quite right anymore you should purchase a new carrier as the structural integrity of the carrier has decreased.

7. Manage stress and distractions.

A vocal kitty can be a distraction and we want you to travel with your cat as safely as possible. If you know your cat gets anxious and vocal in the car, consider talking with your vet about a light sedative to help keep them calm to and from your destination.

Cat Travel Safety Tips

Have you gone on a road trip with kitty? Let us know your travel experience in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting

10 Household Items That Are Poisonous To Pets

10 Household Items That Are Poisonous To Pets

It’s one of every pet parents worst nightmares. Your pet has gotten into something they shouldn’t have and it might be poisonous. So which household items are toxic to pets? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) maintains a comprehensive online list but here are some items you probably have around your house.

1. Medications

One of the top household items that are poisonous to pets. Make sure to keep medications in an out-of-reach place and locked up to avoid curious pets (especially cats) getting into cabinets. If you can, keep the pills in their original container with a child safety lock.

2. Cleaning Products

Most household chemical-based cleaners are poisonous if ingested but some all-natural products can be poisonous as well. Products that contain essential oils such as lavender can be toxic to our feline companions.

3. Rodenticides

This one is self-explanatory. Rodenticides are usually poison designed to kill rodents.

4. Insecticides

Additionally, this one is also self-explanatory. Insecticides are often chemical-based and can cause harm if ingested.

5. Antifreeze

Antifreeze is toxic to ALL animals. If you see any spilled antifreeze make sure to clean it up and dispose of it properly. Antifreeze should be kept in an out-of-reach place and locked up.

6. Pool and Spa Chemicals

Chemicals can be poisonous if you pet ingests them. Make sure pool and spa chemicals are kept away from anywhere you pets may get into.

7. Fertilizer

Fertilizer provides nutrients for plants, but they often contain chemicals that are harmful to pets. It’s one of the more common household items that are poisonous to pets. Fertilizer poisoning often happens because of accidental ingestion when a pet cleans themself after playing outside.

8. Lead Paint Chips

Lead is known to be toxic to humans, as well as pets. If you are doing some DIY are dealing with lead paint (we recommend hiring a professional however), make sure pets are not in the room and make sure you dispose of any lead paint chips.

9. Some Plants

There are a lot of household plants that are poisonous to pets. Here is a list of common household plants that are toxic to pets. Did you know that some mushrooms are also toxic? Keep an eye out for any of these when on walks.

10. Yeast Dough

From the AKC: “When a dog eats bread dough, the yeast in the dough continues to make the dough rise, distending his stomach and releasing toxic levels of ethanol into the dog’s bloodstream. The pressure of the rising dough can mimic and cause bloat, but the real danger is from the alcohol toxicosis.” This one is the biggest shock for me on the list as I had no idea, but it makes sense when you think about it.

Common Household Items Poisonous to Pets

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned contact the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 and seek veterinary help immediately.

Contact Pet Poison Helpline | Pet Poison Helpline

Did any of these common household items that are poisonous to pets on this list shock you? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting

What To Do If You Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

What To Do If You Think Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

It’s every pet parents worst nightmare. Your pet got into something they shouldn’t have. Sometimes, this is fine. But what if they got into the medicine cabinet or under the sink? What about one of your plants? Here are steps to take if you think your pet has been poisoned.

  • Make a note of the toxin’s name and strength;
  • Make a note of the amount of toxin your pet has consumed or been exposed to;
  • Get your pet to fresh air if the poisoning is primarily from fumes or gas;
  • Remove topical substances with gloves if the poisoning is primarily from contact;
  • Use paper towels or old rags to clean up liquids;
  • Do not attempt to remove the poison with water, solvents, or anything else unless instructed to by your vet;
  • Never induce vomiting unless instructed to by your vet

Pet Poison Steps

If you suspect your pet has been poisoned contact the Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680 and seek veterinary help immediately.

Contact Pet Poison Helpline | Pet Poison Helpline

If your pet needs veterinary treatment and you don’t have pet insurance, consider getting pet insurance. Pet insurance can lower the cost of unexpected veterinary expenses if you pet gets into anything again.

Did you know some plants that are poisonous to cats aren’t poisonous to dogs? Also check out our What Mushrooms are Toxic to Pets blog.

What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing: Tips & Resources

What to do if your pet goes missing tips and resources header

What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing: Tips & Resources

Loosing a pet can be extremely scary, especially if you do not know where to start looking. We have guides specific to Larimer County, but what if you’re not from the area? Here are some general missing pet tips and resources to keep in mind if your pet goes missing.

1. The Basics If Your Pet Goes Missing

For the first few minutes after a pet goes missing, you want to start with the basics.

  • Do a patrol of the area to see if you find any evidence of Fluffy.
  • Talk to the neighbors, especially anyone working outside, to see if they noticed Fluffy going by.
  • If Fluffy is a dog, swing by her favorite places to walk or any place for play dates to see if she went there.
  • Read up on How to Catch a Loose Dog for some tips if you do see her running free.

How to Find a Lost Pet Infographic

2. Who to Contact First About a Missing Pet

You have done the basic search and turned up nothing. This is typically 15-30 minutes after you have realized Fluffy is missing. Now it is time to reach out for help.

  • Call your local humane society and animal shelter – let them know you have lost your pet. Some will let you submit a lost pet report online, others you have to submit in person. Call to find out more information.
  • If Fluffy has a microchip, contact the company to let them know she is missing and how to reach you, just in case your information is not up to date.
  • Contact any veterinarians, groomers and pet supply stores in your immediate area (around a mile from where she went missing), in case someone picks her up and brings her in.

3. Social Media is Your Best Resource

Getting on social media is the best missing pet tip and resource you have at your disposal. Your friends and complete strangers are going to be happy to help you search for any news of Fluffy.

  • Post on all of your personal social media networks. Include a recent picture, where and when she went missing and any directions you want people to follow, such as how to contact you, not to chase Fluffy, Fluffy is afraid of men, etc. Specifically ask people to share the post. If you know any people in the animal world, such as your normal dog walker or groomer, ask them to share since they have such a large reach.
  • Post on these pages. There are many pages specifically dedicated to helping reunite missing pets with their people. Post on as many as you can, but start with Facebook. That is where we have had the most luck in recent years.
    • Any local Facebook Lost and Found pet groups.
    • Nextdoor – This is a newish system for people to coordinate with their neighborhoods on various subject. When you post it can be seen by those directly in your area.
    • Post on Craigslist in the Community -> Pets section as well as Community -> Lost+Found. There is no charge to do so.
    • Helping Lost Pets – You have to fill out their online form, which gives you a flyer you can use and their website has a ton of helpful tips. Once you fill out the form, they will post it in their Facebook group.
    • PawBoost – You can pay for upgraded service, but they list your pet for free on Facebook and in their database.
    • LostMyDoggie – They post on Facebook but they also alert local shelters and rescues.
    • PetKey – A smaller page, but everything helps!
  • Head out and continue looking for Fluffy. Make sure you are able to answer the phone if someone calls! Ask your neighbors to check their garages, sheds and yards to make sure she is not hiding there.

4. What is the Next Step?

If you are approaching evening, there are a few steps you can take, especially if Fluffy is shy and still might be in the area.

  1. Double check with any neighbors coming home to make sure they did not see her earlier in the day.
  2. Consider leaving your door open so Fluffy can come in at night, if she was lost from your home.
  3. If Fluffy is a cat, place her litter box outside where she can smell it.

5. The Next Day

You have done all of the fast, easy options and Fluffy has not been found. Now is time to dig in and spread the word that Fluffy is missing.

  • File a lost pet report if you haven’t already with your local humane society and animal shelter.
  • Contact local breed rescues that relate to Fluffy. For instance, if she is a Golden Retriever, contact the local Golden rescue. There are too many for me to list here, and they change regularly, so search online for one. You can also contact All Breed Rescue Network at (888) 440-6467. They keep a running list of breed rescues in the Colorado area. Sometimes breed rescues will be able to offer more suggestions or help specific to your breed.
  • Print off flyers from one of the sources you used yesterday. Post flyers in veterinary hospitals, groomers, trainers, pet supply stores, the dog park and anywhere animal related. Many local businesses also have community boards. Start with businesses near you and increase the distance the longer Fluffy is missing. Posting flyers on mailboxes and phone poles is illegal, although many people do it.
  • Continue to update posts online. People will be wondering if you found Fluffy and you want to keep them searching. Ask for help again and for people to keep sharing your posts.
  • Talk to people in the neighborhood where Fluffy went missing. Offer a reward for any information leading to finding her.
  • If you hear of people spotting her, go to that area and search. Shy animals can be very hard to catch, especially during active times of the day when there are a lot of people around. If you believe she might be in the area, go out during quiet times in the evening or morning when she is more likely to appear. You can also look at renting a humane trap if you are sure she is there but cannot catch her.

6. DO NOT Give Up Hope of Finding Your Missing Pet

The longer you search the more discouraged you become. Keep looking! Here are a few searches I have helped with over the years for people I know:

  • A small, very shy dog went missing. We tracked her to a neighborhood where kids had spotted her (we paid them to keep an eye out for her). After a few days we were not able to find her until a kid came forward. A woman in the neighborhood had picked her up and had given her to a family member in Colorado Springs. Once confronted we were able to get her back.
  • A dog ran out his front door. The neighbors a few houses down saw him, but not not the people at the end of the block. He vanished! His owners continued searching and found him late that night being walked by a nice couple who lived down the street. They had been leaving earlier when they saw him run by, so they put him in the garage and then left for a few hours and had just returned home.
  • A woman’s dog had been missing for months. She sent out flyers to shelters across the country and he showed up here, in Larimer County. Turned out a trucker had picked her up and driven her across 3 states before dropping her off at the local shelter!

We regularly hear stories of animals being reunited years after going missing due to their microchips. Keep that information up-to-date and continue your search!

7. Once you Find Your Missing Pet

Congratulations! I am so excited for you and you must feel so relieved!

  • Take the moment and enjoy it. Do not scold Fluffy, she is just happy to see you!
  • Plan a trip to the vet if your pet was gone for awhile or appears to be injured.
  • Go back and take down those flyers, lost pet reports and postings online so that everyone knows you found your fur kid.
  • Return the favor and share information about missing pets for other people!

If you have a missing pet tip or resource that is not listed, Please Let Us Know so we can get it added!

 

Jerky Treats Your Dog and Cat Will Love

Jerky Treats Your Dog and Cat Will Love Header

One Ingredient Chicken Jerky

These yummy chicken jerky treats make special and healthy snacks for your cat and dog.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb deboned, chicken breasts

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175-180℉ or the lowest temperature setting.
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a slight edge. You can use parchment paper to help with cleanup.
  3. Slice chicken breasts into ¼-inch thick strips.
  4. Place sliced chicken breasts onto the prepared baking sheet leaving about ½-inch between slices.
  5. Bake for two hours. If the slices are not dry, continue baking until they appear very dry.
  6. Remove and let cool on a cooling rack. To store, refrigerate in an airtight container once cool.

If the slices are too long for your cat you can break them into smaller pieces. You can also slice the jerky treats for smaller dogs as well. This means the jerky will last even longer!

One Ingredient Chicken Jerky Recipe Card

Chicken Jerky

Here is another version of the above chicken jerky treats for cats and dogs. Try both and see which one you like the most!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Wash the chicken breasts with water and slice into 1/4 inch strips.
  3. Place the chicken strips in an single, even layer on a baking sheet, leave a small amount of space between each strip.
  4. Bake until the chicken strips are dehydrated, about 2 hours.

Check that the strips are done by cutting one open. There should be no uncooked parts and there should not be any moisture inside. Store the jerky in sealed containers for about a week or longer in the refrigerator.

Christmas Chicken Jerky Recipe Card

Did you try this recipe? Let us know @WetNosesPetSitting or #WetNosesPetSitting and while you’re at it, try another one of our cat treat recipes or how about our peanut butter molasses dog treats?

Why ID Tags Are So Important For Your Pets

Why ID Tags are so Important for your Pets Header

Why ID Tags Are So Important For Your Pets

Does you pet wear a collar? Are they microchipped? What about tattooed? All three are ways to help ID your pet in case they get lost. Did you know that one in three pets will get lost during their lifetime? And that only 22% of animals that enter animal shelters are reunited with their families? Let’s help increase that number! If you’ve moved, here’s your reminder to make sure your pets ID information is up-to-date.

 

Should My Pet Wear ID? Infographic

Did you know Fourth of July is when most pets are lost? Learn how to keep you and your pet safe this Fourth of July on our blog.

What type of ID does your pet have? Do they have multiple kinds? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting.

Pet Fire Safety Tips

Pet Fire Safety Tips

Experiencing a house fire can be devastating. While we can’t prevent every fire from happening there are ways we can pet-proof our home and steps we can take to ensure our pets safety. Here’s 10 pet fire safety tips:

  1. Don’t leave an open flame unattended.
  2. Avoid candles or invest in flameless candles.
  3. Secure your fireplace and electrical cords.
  4. Remove stove knobs or secure them to keep pets from turning them on.
  5. Make note of where your pet likes to hide or nap.
  6. Keep leashes and collars near the door.
  7. Pet-proof rooms for younger pets.
  8. Have a fire evacuation plan in place. If you’re not sure how to make one see this resource from the National Fire Protection Association.
  9. Consider installing monitored smoke detectors.
  10. Use fire alert window decals.

Pet Fire Safety Tips

There’s plenty of other dangers out there, including plants and ice melt. Make sure you know how to keep you and your pet safe!

Did we miss any pet fire safety tips? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting or #WetNosesPetSitting. We’d love to add it!