20110327

Helping Your Pet Adjust to New Situations (Entry #3 - Getting Along Like Cats & Dogs)

March 27, 2011

Even for the friendliest of animals, introducing another pet into your home can cause stress. Questions of who ranks where in the pack can induce unwanted behaviors from both pets. But with a little patience and dedication on your part, even dogs and cats can become the best of pals. Just keep the following in mind when introducing another pet into your home:
  • If introducing dogs, make sure the first meeting takes place on neutral territory, rather than in the home or on the property. Then, bring both dogs into the home together.
  • Always supervise pets until you know how they will get along.
  • Keep pets - including those of the same species - on opposite sides of a closed door to allow them to sniff each other without coming into full contact. Once they are comfortable with each others' scents, use a baby gate to visually introduce them to one another.
  • Keep dogs leashed to maintain control during introductions to new people and pets.
  • For new cats, consider creating a "refuge room" to which they can safely and comfortably retreat.
  • Separate pets when leaving home. Provide each with necessities such as fresh water, food, bed, toys, litter box, etc.

* Information provided by VPI Pet Insurance
(
www.vetpethealth.com / 866-vet-pets)

20110320

Puppy Proofing Your Home

March 20, 2011

Today is the first day of spring. This means that puppy season is here. Shelters and rescues across the country are already inundated with an abundance of homeless baby puppies. With all of these puppies available, you may be thinking about bringing one (or a few) of these youngsters into your home. If so, be vigilant! A puppy's natural curiosity can turn disastrous if he gets into the wrong thing. Watch out for these top trouble spots (as reported by Dog Fancy magazine):

IN THE HOME:
  • Electrical cords
  • Garbage
  • People food (especially chocolate, raisins, grapes, and any type of gum)
  • Animal bones
  • Any chemicals, including household cleaners
  • Socks or other items made from fabric or string
  • Medication / vitamins

IN THE YARD:

  • Antifreeze
  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendron
  • Oleander
  • Calla Lilies
  • Hydrangea
  • Broken Fencing
  • Cocoa Mulch

Consider creating a "safe zone" inside your home or yard for times when your puppy must stay home alone. Use an exercise pen or baby gate to secure his special spot, and fill it with safe chew toys and other safe toys to keep him busy - and safe - while you're away.

20110313

Helping Your Pet Adjust to New Situations (Entry #2 - The Moving Blues)

March 13, 2011

Moving to a new home can be a stressful time for pets. An unfamiliar place filled with box upon unpacked box can be overwhelming, but you can help your pet acclimate quickly and safely with a few simple steps.

Microchip
Be sure to microchip dogs and cats or update your microchip contact information in case your pet accidentally wanders off and gets lost.

Refuge
For dogs, consider boarding or daycare during your move. For cats, try confining them to a "refuge room" while packing and unpacking. Play soft music or other white noise to distract your cat from the commotion of moving.

Welcome
Unpack familiar pet items first such as beds, bowls, and toys to help your pet feel more at home.

Ready to Go
If possible, bring your pet into your new home with everything already unpacked and arranged. Having familiar furniture in place helps things feel less hectic and more settled.

Explore
If you have a dog, spend extra time walking around your new neighborhood together so that he can identify the new smells and begin learning where his new home is located.

Be Prepared
Find the 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital nearest your home and create an emergency plan.

*Information provided by VPI Pet Insurance
(VetPetHealth.com / 866-Vet-Pets)

20110306

Meat-lover's Biscuits

March 6, 2011

Ingredients:
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 3 cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix together the beef and eggs in a bowl, using your hands, if necessary, to mix completely. In a separate bowl, mix the flour with the oats; then gradually mix in the beef-egg mixture, again using your hands, until mixed thoroughly. Add the water to form a sticky dough.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 3 minutes. Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes with a cookie cutter. Use a greased cookie sheet, and bake for 80 minutes. Allow to cool in oven for several hours, and then store at room temperature for up to four weeks.

(Recipe yields 6 dozen)

* Recipe reprinted from Dr. Khalsa's Natural Dog (available at www.shopanimalnetwork.com)