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10 Plants to Avoid With Your Pets

 

Many people have homes filled with plants toxic to dogs and cats.  Because these plants commonly sold at the garden center, they are assumed to be safe. Many people never have an issue with a toxic plant and their pets. These issues tend to occur if the animal is bored or stressed and finds the plants to chew on. Here is a list of ten plants to avoid with your pets, or put out of reach of your pet.

  1. Aloe: aloe and its sap are both toxic to dogs and cats
  2. Lilies: they are very toxic even in small doses and can cause kidney problems
  3. Marijuana: this is pretty intuitive but Colorado has seen a rise in marijuana related pet poisoning in the recent years
  4. Amaryllis: ingestion can cause vomiting,GI distress and tremors
  5. Sago Plant: all parts of the prickly tree are poisonous but the seeds are the most toxic
  6. Tulip: the bulb is the most toxic portion of the plant, this poison can cause cardiac issues
  7. English Ivy: all parts of this plant are poisonous, and can cause GI issues
  8. Pathos: this common houseplant causes swelling on the mouth and tongue
  9. Chrysanthemum: these pretty flowers can skin issues if your pet comes in contact with it and its sap, and can cause vomiting if eaten
  10. Fruit trees: some part of the fruit tree can harm your pet (this includes citrus, apple seeds, and grapes)

 

What to do if you suspect poisoning?

Most toxic plants cause gastrointestinal issues when ingested. Be on the look out for any vomiting, diarrhea or not wanting to eat in your pet. Also check to see if your pet has chewed the plant or there is other evidence your pet got into the plant.

The ASPCA has a free pet poison control line.This line is open 24/7 and can advise on any type of poison. They will generally direct you to the vet once you figure out if what your pet ate is poisonous. Get to the vet as quickly as possible.

Poison control line (888) 426-4435 

What can I do to prevent pet poisoning? 

The best thing you can do is be aware. Be on the look out for signs your pet is interested in the plant, like sniffing and licking it. Also be aware of your pet’s mood. Many poisoning issues occur when your pet is bored or stressed.

If you have a particularly adventurous pet who likes to eat new things, try to avoid these plants in general.Choose plants that are pet safe, like most mint plants.

 

Pet poisoning turns fatally when treatment is not received quickly. Unfortunately it takes many owners too long to notice the symptoms and suspect poisoning, so it is too late by the time they seek treatment for their pet. Always be aware of the poison risks in your house and look for signs of plant ingestion if your animal is acting odd.

Homemade Dog Treats Recipe

 

Most dogs love treats, but if you have a picky dog finding the right treat can be a challenge. This recipe is for some delicious homemade dog treats. You can make this recipe as is, or add in flavors your dog likes.

So here is the basic recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Water or Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Baking powder
  • Flour

* Make sure the peanut butter is dog safe ( does not contain xylitol)

*For a lower fat option use water or skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and grease a baking sheet
  2. Mix 1 cup liquid and 1 cup peanut butter in a bowl until it is well combined
  3. In another bowl mix a tablespoon of baking powder with 2 cups of flour
  4. Add the powder to the liquid mix, and mix it together
  5. Take a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball
  6. Place the dough ball on the baking sheet
  7. Bake the treats for 10-15 minutes

So this is the basic recipe but you can add things in to vary the treats and to suit your dog’s taste

Possible add-ins:

  • Herbs (mint, parsley, rosemary, oregano)
  • Veggies (carrots, broccoli, green beans, peas)
  • Fruit (blueberries, banana, apple)
  • Pre-cooked meat (hot dog bits, chicken shreds)

For add-ins, cut them so that each piece is less than a 1/4 inch in length

*Add-ins should all be dog-safe foods

Try lots of variations on this recipe to find the one that your dog likes best. With a few add-ins and some experimentation, these homemade dog treats should suite the even the most discerning canine palette.

How to Choose A Dog Food

 

Choosing a brand and type of dog food can be really overwhelming. There are hundreds of types on the market, all with various claims.

First, think about what you need. 

-Does your dog need grain free, or specific allergy food?

-What type of lifestyle does your dog have? Is he very active or does he loaf around all day? Ask your vet about this.

-Does your dog need a certain life-stage food?Is your dog a puppy,or an older adult dog? Puppies need higher calorie diets while they grow. An adult on puppy food will gain a lot of weight.

Some things to look for when looking at dog foods:

Single ingredient:This means that the food contains 95% or more of that ingredient.Anything else means that the food only needs to contain 25% of the advertised meat.

Ingredients list:Dog food ingredients are listed by weight.So if the first ingredient is chicken, then there is more chicken(by weight) than any other ingredient.Keep in mind some of the things you want more of may be farther down the list.Foods are weighed after the water is removed.

Grain Free: While some dogs have grain/gluten allergies, most can metabolize them. Grain free foods are often higher in protein, so this may be a better option for dogs who need a high protein diet.

Price point:Depending of what type and how many dogs you have, you could be buying 2 or more bags of food a month.Do not choose a food that you cannot afford to feed your dog long term. There are many high quality foods on the market that will not break the bank.

While choosing a dog food can be very confusing, doing your research and considering what your dog needs will make it much easier.Always consult your vet on diet changes, and transition foods slowly.

Pupsicles: Cool Dog Treat Recipes

When the warm weather is here it is a challenge to find fun activities for you and your dogs while staying cool. So what can you do to help cool your pup down and keep him entertained? Make him a Pupsicle of course!

What is a Pupsicle?

A Pupsicle is a popsicle made specifically for your dog. It has a dog friendly ingredients, and you can make it at home. There is no need to spend a bunch of money, just use items you already have at home and have fun experimenting!

1. Pick Out Your Container

Your container can be anything that fits in your freezer. You can use a cup, a bowl, or popsicle mold. It will be easier to take your Pupsicle out if the inside of the container is smooth. Ideally this will be multiple small containers so you can make a bunch of Pupsicles all at one time!

2. Add Your Base

This is the liquid part of the Pupsicle and medium that you will be freezing all the other bits in. This can be any dog friendly liquid.

Some liquids you can use as a base:

  • Water
  • Dog safe chicken or beef stock
  • Milk (some dogs are sensitive to milk so be careful)

Fill your container 2/3 of the way with base.

3. Add Your Bits

Your “bits” are the pieces of food you add to the Pupsicle. Bits can be anything your dog likes to eat, just make sure it is dog friendly food. The best bits are ones that will not break apart in water.

Some examples of bits:

  • Fruit: blueberries, apples,watermelon and other dog safe fruit
  • Vegetables: broccoli,carrots,peas and other dog safe veggies
  • Meat: (all meat should be pre-cooked) chicken chunks, hot dog pieces, pieces of wet dog food
  • Treats: use treats that are soft, so that they do not get soggy while they freeze

4. Pick Your Stick

The stick is the part of the pupsicle that sticks out of the container. You can use the stick to pull the frozen pupsicle out of the container. The stick should be rigid and fairly sturdy.

Some examples of a stick:

  • Long, chewable dog toy
  • Dog bone
  • Carrot, or other long veggie or fruit

Place your stick into the middle of your pupsicle.

5. Freeze and Remove

Put the container into the freezer. I know that this will be hard for you and your dog, but wait a few hours until the Pupsicle is frozen solid. To remove the Pupsicle from the container, grasp the stick and lightly pull while running the outside of the container under warm water.

6. Give Your Pup a Cool Treat and Enjoy!

While the Pupsicle melts, it’s going to make a big mess. Give the Pupsicle to your dog outside, or somewhere you don’t mind getting very wet. Always supervise your dog when you give him something new to try.

Pupsicles are a great way to cool your dog down and provide some fun for him! Have you made a Pupsicle for your dog? Show us pictures on social media and share the recipes with a friend!

 

 

4 Ways You Can Help Animals In Shelters

 

According to the ASPCA, there are about 7.6 million dogs and cats in United States shelters each year. As much as you and I may want to, we can’t take home 7.6 million dogs and cats. So what can you do to help animals in shelters and the community?

1.Walk

If you walk your dog(or any dog) frequently you can earn credits(which turn into monetary donations) for a local shelter of your choice using a smartphone app called “Walk for a Dog”. You can use this app to log miles walked with your pooch, and share it with other walkers to increase the amount of credit earned for your shelter.

Check out the website here: http://www.wooftrax.com/

2.Donate

In addition to monetary donations, shelters always need supplies like bleach, paper towels, and other odds and ends.Most shelters have a wish list on their website of items they need donated. I generally make these donations after I go shopping at big box stores(like Costco). I usually buy more paper towels than I can keep in my house, so I donate half to a local shelter.

The Fort Collins Cat Rescue also has a kibble supply program. This program gives food donated by local pet stores and individuals to low income pet owners in the community. The rescue takes donations of both kibble and wet dog and cat food. They will take partially opened bags in original packaging. This is a great use for the rest of that bag of food your kitty does not like. Call the Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic for more information.

Here are some wish lists for shelters in the Fort Collins area:

Fort Collins Cat Rescue and Spay Neuter Clinic: https://www.fccrsnc.org/Donate_MoneyandItems.php

Larimer Humane Society:http://www.larimerhumane.org/donate/wish-list

Animal House:http://www.animalhousehelp.org/wishlist.php

3. Shop for a cause

Amazon has a program called Amazonsmile, which donates 0.5% of your purchase for most items to a charitable organization of your choice. If you shop on amazon a lot that 0.5% of each purchase can really make a difference.

4. Projects at home

These are really fun projects and are great if you have a group of animal loving kids(or adults) to entertain. The United Way of Larimer County has directions for items you can make at home and donate to animal shelters. These projects are simple, low in cost and can make a big difference. Contact the shelter of your choice to see if they will take what you make or have similar projects.

Fleece dog toys:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Fleece-Rope-Dog-Toy.pdf

Cat Blankets:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Cat-Blankets.pdf

Kitty Forts:http://uwaylc.org/wp-content/uploads/wordpress/Service-to-go-Kitty-Forts.pdf

So, while we can’t take every animal in a shelter home, these activities are a great way to help. Also consider volunteering or fostering for a local shelter if you can. Small things make a big diffrence in the life of shelter pets.

 

 

Tips to Break Up a Dog Fight

 

Recently, one of the scariest things that can happen to a dog owner happened to me: my dog got into a fight. This fight was quickly broken up, but I realized that few people know the safe way to break up a dog fight.

 

So what do you do to safely break up a fight between dogs?

Well first take a deep breath. Your nervousness will be sensed by the dogs and may rile them up more.

Also, do not try and grab your dog by the collar, he may turn around and bite you. Even the sweetest dog will bite their owner if they are in the middle of a fight.

There are a few methods you can use to break up a fight between dogs quickly and with the minimal amount of risk for yourself.

 

Distract the dogs from each other 

This method relies on distracting your dog from the fight so that you can safely separate the dogs. You can do this with a loud noise, water, or something physical.

1. Noise

You can clap your hands or bang pots to startle the dogs, they usually will look up and freeze. Take this time separate the dogs. If you are concerned about fights happening while out on walks, carry a whistle.

2.Water

Most of use do not keep filled up water guns around, however wetting your dog is a great option to distract him from a fight. If you are seriously concerned about your dogs fighting in the house, keep a water gun around in case a dog fight breaks out. You can also use a hose or glass of water, if you have that available.

3. Physical 

While the dogs are fighting do not try and grab or touch them with your hands, this really increases your risk of being bitten or hurt.  The physical distraction method typically involves covering the dog’s head. The goal of this is that the dog becomes disoriented and stops fighting. This can really be anything, a blanket, shirt or other fabric, but most people use a towel. Just be sure to move quickly before the dogs can reorient themselves.

 

What to do after the fight has stopped 

If the fight happens in your home

-Separate the dogs as much as possible and give them time to cool down.

-Check the dogs for wounds or injuries, and perform first aid or call the vet as needed.

-Think about why the fight began,was it over food, a toy or something else. Take steps to prevent the dogs from fighting over this in the future.

-After a fight between two dogs who live together, supervise interactions between the dogs until you can learn how to prevent them from fighting in the future.

The majority of fights between dogs who live with each other tend to be related to resource (food,toys or other things) guarding. An experienced dog trainer will be able to help you and your dogs with this issue and prevent future fights.

 

If the fight happens on a walk or in a park 

-Put as much distance between your dog and the other dog as possible.

-Check the dogs for wounds or injuries, and perform first aid or call the vet as needed.

-Get contact information from the other dog’s owner and check that the other dog is current on shots.

 

Breaking up a dog fight can be very scary as a dog owner, however if done safely and quickly both you and your dog will remain safe.

 

4 Tips for Keeping your Cat Entertained

 

If you are away from home for a few hours or a few weeks, your cat is bound to notice. Even laid back, lazy cats need something to keep them entertained. Bored cats will often develop “problem behaviors” to keep themselves entertained, like scratching inappropriately. So short of playing with your cat 24/7 what can you do to keep your cat entertained?

1. Cat TV

Most cat owners know the fascination their kitty has with the small animals outside the window, you can easily capitalize on that and keep your kitty entertained for hours. Pick a window you don’t mind turning into your cat’s zone and place a bird feeder within sight, and very close to the window. Fill the bird feeder with seeds and other foods to attract wildlife. Put a cat tree or other area for your cat to sit and watch the bird show.

Just keep an eye on this if you live in an area with free roaming outdoor cats, because they may come to see your kitty and upset her.

2. New Objects 

Most pet parents and human parents are familiar with this situation: you buy an expensive, cool new toy and your pet (or kid) plays with the box. While this can be disappointing, seize this opportunity to find new ways to entertain your cat.

Cardboard Boxes

Give your cat cardboard boxes, newspaper or non-glossy paper and paper bags. For cardboard boxes, be sure to remove any staples, or other dangerous objects of the box including loose tape. I generally like to use food boxes because they have lots of interesting smells in them too, just make sure there is no actual human food left in the box.

Paper

You can give your cat newspaper or other types of non-glossy paper. Most newspaper ink is soy based and is safe for use around animals. You can try leaving the paper on the ground for your cat to step on (it makes a cool noise) or crinkling it into balls for you cat to bat around. 

Paper Bags 

Paper bags can be very fun toys for cats, they can hide in them, bat them around and sit on them. You can use the paper bags from the grocery store (just rip the handles off so your cat cannot get caught in them) or the smaller paper lunch sacks.

3. Hiding food 

Wild cats spend most of their time hunting and looking for food. Domestic cats, not so much.One way to keep your cat entertained is to make getting her food a bit hard then just finding the bowl.  There are lots of toys on the market for cats that can be used to make your cat work for her food ( think the cat version of a kong). These are a great option. You can also hide food in the boxes, paper and paper bags from above. Use dry food or treats, as wet food can be messy outside of a bowl. I recommend letting your cat watch you hide the food the first few times so that she gets the idea and make the food easy to get to (leave the box open). You can also you strong smelling treats to help your cat find the food more easily.

4. New Smells 

Cats, as territorial animals, are very interested in new smells of any kind. The key thing with introducing new scents is making sure that they are not toxic if your cat licks the scented area. Keep in mind that your cat may spray urine on the scented spot to mark over the new smell. If he does this then scents are not a good enrichment option. You can use a variety of smells, food and natural. Something I find works really well is microwaving a hot dog in a paper towel, the hot dog juices will get on the paper towel and you can wipe this on the surface you want to scent, like a cardboard box. You can use a similar method for most types of meat, or use the juice in wet cat food. Herbs are also an option. Most types of mint, like catnip, are safe for cats and some other herbs and flowers are.

This is an incomplete list of some safe plants:

  • Lemongrass
  • Parsley
  • Zinnias
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

For herbs, you can either rub them on surfaces or place them in satchels (just make sure your cat does not try to eat the satchel).

5. Hire a Cat Sitter!

Just like a dog walker, you can have a cat sitter come to your home and play with your kitties when you are out of town or just busy. Our sitters are experts at making friends with new cats and devising ways to keep them entertained, including bringing fresh catnip that we grow just for our clients. Contact Us to discuss some options that work well for your cat!

Keeping Your Dog Fit

 

Even more so than human beings, dogs require regular exercise to remain healthy, happy and out of mischief. Not only does a playful romp tire him out – making him less inclined to destructive behavior – but it also increases his serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that helps prevent depression and anxiety, as well as control appetite. When beginning a new exercise routine with your pooch, take it slow and take frequent breaks to allow him to drink fresh water (it’s a good idea to encourage him to drink water prior to an activity to maintain hydration).

How how can you make sure your are keeping your dog fit? Here are some tips from your Fort Collins pet sitter:

Go for walks 

Begin with short walks, then increase the duration as your dog seems more comfortable

Take your dog on a hike 

Most trails in Larimer county allow dogs on the trails ( a few don’t so be sure to look up the trail you are headed to), take your dog with you. Start with a short flat hike, then you can increase length and incline as your dog gets more in shape.

Play fetch

This one seems pretty intuitive but all that toy chasing burns a lot of calories. Try a few different toys to see which one your dog likes to fetch best, then get out and play. Start with a ten minute session then increase the time by five minutes each time you play or until your pup gets too tired. And don’t worry if your dog does not bring the toy back as long as he chases it, he is burning calories.

Almost every activity that gets your dog up and moving is good exercise for him. Be sure to try a few different activities and find one that both you and your dog enjoy.

 

Colorado Heartworm Cases on the Rise

 

Local veterinarians in Colorado have begun routinely testing their pet patients for heartworms, due to an increase of the parasites found in our beloved pets.

Although still relatively uncommon in our state, over 75 percent of vets in Colorado have seen cases of heartworm disease in the pets they treat. The escalation has been linked to adopted “imports” of dogs and cats originating from the Caribbean and U.S. states with a high mosquito population.  For example, in the Bahamas, nearly 90 percent of the street dogs are infected.  When an infected animal is rescued and relocated, the disease can be introduced to the local mosquito population, boosting the odds of then-infected mosquitos biting a local animal and injecting the infected blood. From there, heartworms – which can reach up to one foot in length – can develop and, left untreated, will continue to grow within the animal’s heart and lungs, resulting in a fatal infestation.

A simple test can detect the presence of heartworms, which can be treated with a series of injections that kill the worms in dogs; unfortunately, there is no treatment for infected cats. However, since cats aren’t typical hosts for the parasites, most of the worms in a cat won’t survive to adulthood. Be that as it may, the key for keeping your pets healthy is prevention.

Have your pet tested annually, ideally during the spring season, and speak with your vet about which heartworm preventative is best for your cuddly companion.  The preventatives also combat roundworms and hookworms.

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter Header

The Dangers of Xylitol in Peanut Butter

Recently, there has been a post going around Facebook telling dog parents not to give their dogs peanut butter. If you look further into why peanut butter can be deadly to your pup, you will find xylitol to blame.

So what the heck is it? Xylitol is a food additive that is used to replace sugar in many foods. It is found in hundreds of food and health products, such as gum, human toothpaste, vitamins, and now peanut butter. While xylitol is perfectly safe for humans it is extremely toxic to dogs. Potentially more toxic than chocolate.

When minimal amounts of xylitol is used are used  (like doggie mouth wash) it is perfectly safe for your dog. However, the concentrations of the sweetener in most human food is very dangerous to your dog and can cause poisoning.

Dog being fed peanut butter

What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs?

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Left untreated poisoning can lead to liver damage. These symptoms typically show up 10-60 minutes after eating it.

What should you do?

1. Always read the labels of any product you giver your pooch and look for potentially poisonous things. Only some brands of peanut butter have this type of deadly sweetener in them.
2. Do not leave gum or toothpaste where your dog can get to them.
3. If your dog does eat xylitol, call your vet right away.

With veterinary care arriving quickly, your dog will hopefully be able to have a full recovery.

What peanut butter is safe?

Many brands don’t contain xylitol but if you want to be extra cautious you should purchase a dog-safe peanut butter. Here are a few brands on the market that all fit different pet owners needs.

Pawnut Butter

Green Coast Pet Pawnut Butter @ $9.99

Super Snouts Nutty Dog CBD Spread @ $29.99

Natural Peanut Butter For Dogs | Woof Butter – woofbutter.com

woof butter Natural Peanut Butter @ £3.99

What about birch sugar?

Did you know another name for xylitol in peanut butter is birch sugar? With more companies being aware of consumers hesitancy towards purchasing products containing xylitol they have come up with other ways to label xylitol-containing products.

Birch Sugar is another name for Xylitol

Once you’ve checked your peanut butter labels, why not try our Peanut Butter Molasses Dog Treats. Did we miss something? Let us know in the comments or @WetNosesPetSitting.