Holiday Safety for Your Pets

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Celebrate with your pets – after all, they are part of the family, too, but make sure you keep them safe this holiday season. Dogs and cats don’t know what they can and cannot eat, and if it’s shiny, they think it must be a toy. Here are some simple holiday pet safety tips so you can safely spend the holidays with your furry friends and not with your vet.

Watch what they eat. We all know that chocolate is a poison to your dog, but what else should they avoid? Grapes and raisins, onions, avocados, macadamia nuts and alcohol are all bad for Fido. Keep him safe by feeding him his food and dog treats but not people food. Even if the food isn’t poisonous to dogs, too many table treats can lead to indigestion and one ill pooch. And never give your dog the bone from your meat. These treats can cause your dog to choke or cause stomach and digestive issues.

Keep them away from candles and breakables. With all the excitement of the holidays, your dog or cat may be extra playful or a more nervous than usual. Make sure lit candles and breakables are away from their paths, so they don’t knock them off of the table and break them or start a fire.

Plants can be poisonous. Mistletoe is poisonous when eaten and can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Holly can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. None of this spells joy this holiday season. And the verdict is still out on the dangers of poinsettias, but better safe than sorry.

Go garland-free if you have a cat. Anyone with a feline has seen the joy in its eyes when it sees something shiny. Tinsel and garland are begging to be eaten by a cat. At best, eating this will cause vomiting. At worst, it can lead to an obstructed digestive tract. Ribbons and yarns can cause the same problems. Entertain your furry friend with safe toys and discard the rest.

Provide your pets with a safe and people-free zone. A bedroom or study with a nice bed and some fresh water gives your pet a place to go to get away from guests and chaos. Dogs and cats like their routines. Keep them relaxed and safe with a room of their own.

By following a few simple “rules,” you and your furry friends will have a much happier holiday season. 

How to Live with Pets AND Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

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Whether your new dog or cat is your first pet or your 50th pet, we can all use some reminders about how to clean up after our pets and keep our homes are clean even with our furry friends living with us. Here are a few pointers for new pet owners and seasoned pet owners, alike.

All pet owners need to have these items in their homes (and in their cars).

Lint Roller: Keep one in the closet, in the bathroom and in your car so you are always ready to roll out the door with fur-free clothes. If you’re in a pinch and have pulled the last piece of sticky goodness off the roller, scotch tape, masking tape or even blue painter’s tape will work. These work like magic on furniture, too.

Dishwashing Gloves: In a hurry to clean some pet hair off furniture, tables or chairs? Put on a pair of dishwashing gloves and sweep your hand over the area your need to remove fur from. It’s quick, inexpensive and works well for small clean ups.

Throw Blankets: You don’t need the fancy, dry clean-only throws. You need the old-fashioned, can-take-a-good-spin-in-the- washer-and-dryer throw blankets. You can put these on Fido’s favorite place on the couch, chair or bed, and quickly toss them aside when company comes. Your furniture is fresh and fur-free, so you can relax with your visitors. When you’re ready to give the house a good cleaning, just take these outside and shake off the loose fur before you put them in the washing machine. And if you’re ready to freshen them up, but you don’t have the time or desire to put them through a full wash, simply pop them in the dryer on “air.”

Throw Rugs: Get some cheap, washable throw rugs for your pets’ favorite places to sleep on the floor, too! Put one where your dogs go in and out to catch some of the paw prints from the floor.

A Shallow Bowl of Water: Keep a towel and shallow container filled one-third of the way with room-temperature water by your door prior to walking out the door. Once the walk is over, dip each of your dog’s paws into the water and dry them off when he comes in the house. This is especially useful during the winter when sidewalks and driveways are often covered with ice-melt.

Place Mats: Place mats slide easily under your pets’ food and water bowls and can be easily removed and wiped down with ease after each mealtime.

Some tips for washing machine washable items

If a pet has an accident on a machine washable item, machine wash as usual, adding a cup of baking soda to your regular detergent. When possible, air dry these items rather than putting them in the dryer. If you can still see the stain or smell the urine, machine wash the item again and add an enzymatic cleaner (available at pet supply stores) that breaks down pet-waste odors. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

Clean any stains as soon as you see them – the sooner the better! Blot fresh stains with a clean, white cloth. After absorbing as much moisture as possible, apply a solution of 1/4 teaspoon clear dish washing liquid mixed with one cup tepid water; blot with another clean, dry towel. Rinse by blotting with a towel dampened with tepid water. Continue alternating with a soapy towel and a clean, damp towel until the stain is gone. For stale stains or persistent odor, call a professional carpet cleaner. Keep enzyme-based pet odor neutralizer on hand to help neutralize odor.

Final tips

Dust and vacuum at least once a week. Pet hair and dirty litter that get tracked around your home all hold odors. The sooner you get rid of it and the more often you clean it up, the less likely your house will absorb any of these odors, and the less of it you’ll see!

Brush your pets on a regular basis. Veterinarians recommend brushing and grooming your pets regularly in order to reduce the amount of hair in the air and on the ground. Perhaps brush your pets a few times a week. If the hair is on the brush, then it’s not on the floor. Always check with your vet to see how often you should groom your dog or cat.

We can all live together harmoniously and relatively free of pet odors by following just a few tips.