A Merry Furry Christmas!

The holidays are in the air and our pets can catch the excitement from us if we don't get frazzled.  We need to be mindful of them at all times to keep them safe. 

When packages start arriving in the mail let the empty boxes become a new toy for your dog or cat.  Kitties, especially have great fun playing for hours. 

If you find the opportunity, plan one special day for your best furry friends with you just having fun and being together.  Buy them presents for your special day and watch them tear up the paper.  Dress them up in little Santa coats or antlers and catch some great photos. 

Take a long walk with your best bud and enjoy nature.  It will be refreshing for both of you.  Give them a good rubdown and brushing afterwards. 

Stay with their normal feeding routine.  No chocolate, spicy or fatty foods and definitely no bones.  Do give them a special treat while you have dinner. 

Buy a new, soft throw, curl up on the couch with your furry friends, watch a Christmas movie and cuddle.  What bliss!!  It will be the one special day you will always remember.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us what your special day with your furbaby will be! 

ABC, Learn from Me!

You may have noticed just watching our pets interact with daily life is a learning experience. 

The ASPCA has a list that will help both you and your furry friend stay healthy and enjoy each day. 

  • Walk every day! (Even if just around the block when it rains.) 
  • Drink water!  LOTS! 
  • Groom yourself.  You feel so much better! 
  • Stretch often.  Help those stiff achy joints stay limber 
  • Live in the moment (put worry aside) but it helps to stick to a daily routine to give structure to the day. 
  • Cultivate friendship.  Wag! Smile! Play! 
  • Don't hold a grudge. (Notice our pets are way better at forgiveness.) 
  • If you love someone, show it!  The power of touch works wonders. 

Stay in tune and your pet can teach you many important life lessons!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us what your pet has taught you! 

Pumpkin Time!

Autumn brings to mind pumpkin patches, jack-o-lanterns and pumpkin pie.  Did you know pumpkin is also very beneficial to your pet’s health?  It is high in fiber, low in fats and loaded with beta-carotene and other vitamins. 

The PetMD on-line says the natural canned pumpkin, (not the spicy kind used for pies), added to your pets wet food also improves digestion and they enjoy the taste too. Talk to your veterinarian about how much pumpkin to safely give your pet since it will vary depending on your pet’s size and current diet. It definitely is good for upset tummies and for preventing hairball formation that causes kitty much distress. It is also 90% water and even promotes shiny coats. 

It can be a great natural and healthy food additive for our furry friend's diet.  Have a pet-safe, pumpkin-filled season!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Smile! September is Pet Smile Month!

As responsible pet owners we take good care of our furry friends; however, their teeth tend to be neglected because we don't know what to do.  It's never too late to start dental care. 

Using a toothpaste made specifically for pets (NEVER use human toothpaste), try brushing their teeth with a small, soft bristled brush, or even your finger. Even three days a week can make a difference. More important, have your vet examine teeth and provide info on a balanced diet. 

According to the ASPCA dogs can show gum disease before they are four years old.  Smelly breath is often the first sign that something is wrong.  Drooling and loss of appetite are other symptoms.  Without brushing, plaque builds up leading to other serious health issues.  Gums should be pink and firm, no loose teeth.  Good, non-toxic chew toys are good for massaging gums.  Kibble is good for kitties teeth. 

Most of us know the pain of a toothache or the yuckiness of unbrushed teeth.  Do all you can to keep your pet healthy and brush those toofers!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Finicky Furballs

Got a fussy eater at your house?  Some breeds, like Yorkies or Siberian Huskies can be more finicky than others.

#1 – See your vet to rule out any health or dental problems.

#2 – A change in food may help.  With this approach, take care to follow guidelines — an abrupt dietary change can be harmful.

Otherwise, veterinary professionals offer these tips:

  • Make mealtime positive and quiet, away from kids and other animals.  Stay close if it helps.  Sometimes a bite offered from your hand will help get them started. 
  • Try smaller, more frequent portions at different times of day.
  • Mix a little wet food with kibble for more flavor. Warming wet food 6-9 seconds in the microwave can also help (many kitties like this).
  • Finally, EXERCISE! to help stimulate the appetite. Reduce treats, and do not give treats in place of food.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

A Forever Home

Thinking of adopting a dog or cat? A few things to consider…

-          Your household, new schedules and responsibilities. Routines will change.

-          If you have a pet now, research good mixes — shelters and rescues help with this too. Factor in future veterinary expenses.

-          Be prepared: provide a comfy bed, food, toys, food/water bowls, and a secure carrier. 

-          A litter box and scratching post for kitties are a must.

-          If possible, take everyone in the family to meet the pet, including pets already in the home.

-          Give your new pet time to acclimate to the his/her surroundings. The shelter/rescue will provide guidelines.

-          Most of all, give them time to adjust, and when they’re ready, provide them with lots of time, attention, quality food and exercise/play. They'll thank you with years of happy tails and purrs!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Happy Tail Waggin' New Year!

You’ll probably make resolutions that you will struggle with after the first week. So, how about making some for your furry friends that will be a cinch to keep and they’ll be happy, healthy and safe throughout the year.  What is more important than that? The Humane Society of the United States has some good suggestions. 

  • Toss out those old toys with the stuffing hanging out and replace them with new ones.
  • Have you checked their treats lately?  Toss any that are over three months old.
  • Turn off the TV and get down and play more.  Good exercise for both of you.  Take more walks!
  • Take your dog on a day trip.  Just running on the beach or playing in the snow can be exhilarating.
  • Try new games.  Mental exercise like playing hide and seek can stimulate them to learn new things.
  • Have a heart-to-heart talk with your pet while snuggling.   Just hearing our voice is soothing and makes them feel good.
  • Socialize your dog. Meeting other dogs and people keeps their brain happy. If you have guests over, a dog that likes people is fun to be around.
  • Make sure vaccinations are up-to-date to prevent illness. And update identification on both tags and microchips to ensure a safe return should they become lost.

Most of all, spend more time with them.  This resolution should be number one on your list!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Take the OH NO! out of your Holiday Ho-Ho-Ho!

The festivities of Christmas will be a happy time if we stay ever mindful of our pets.  They like getting in on the fun, but there are dangers lurking too.

The American Humane Assn. gives good advice for the season.  Make sure Christmas trees have sturdy stands and are anchored securely so they won't fall over if kitty decides to climb.  Pine needles are toxic if chewed or eaten and can cause choking.  Be sure to change tree water daily and don't let your pets drink from it.  There may still be chemicals from preservatives in it.  Don't put breakable ornaments on bottom branches and hide tree lights and wires.

Plants such as Poinsettias, Holly, Lilies and Mistletoe can cause tummy upset if chewed - or worse - a trip to the emergency vet.

With so many electronic gadgets requiring batteries, be sure your pet won't find any lying around to chew on. If punctured they can cause severe burns to mouth and throat.

It can be hard to resist a furry little begging face but resist giving pets anything from your holiday table.. Even in small doses, the rich, fatty foods that their digestive systems aren’t used to can cause severe stomach upset and pancreatitis. Keep them on their regular feeding schedule and just say NO to bones and chocolate.

Holidays can bring out the stress in all of us and your pets are no exception.  With all the hustle and bustle, keep pets indoors and provide a safe, quiet, escape-free room if you will be having guests over. Take your dog for an extra walk – it’ll help both of you relieve some holiday stress.  Most importantly, don’t forget the snuggles!  Give your furry best friends extra love and attention to let them know they are not forgotten during the busy season.  Have a woofy and meowy holiday Have a bark and meowy Christmas!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Halloween

The spooks and goblins will be out soon.  Halloween is fun for children and adults, but we need to be aware it can be stressful and scary for pets.  Frequent knocking on the door and strange creatures in scary costumes may cause such fright your dog could bolt out the open door.  According to the North Shore Animal League, the two top hazards are escaping and being poisoned.  All the candy is enticing, but don't share with your dog.  Chocolate and even sugar free candy is toxic to pets.  Kitty may like the rustle of candy wrappers, but it could cause choking.  Keep lighted pumpkins outside and provide a safe, quiet room or area in your house for animals.  Practice safety and have a happy Halloween!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Fall Changes

The warm days of summer are over and the cooler temps are back. As we prepare for winter we need to be ever mindful of our pets.

The ASPCA says beware of toxins like in compost piles, mushrooms and pesticides to get rid of rodents. And there can't be enough said about car engine coolant with it's sweet taste. Any spillage must be wiped up immediately or it is deadly to animals.

Cats seek shelter under car hoods or tops of tires when it's cold.  A knock on the hood should scare kitty away.  If you take Fido out for a walk after dark wear reflective gear -  both of you!  Stay safe and enjoy!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Bird Alert!

During summer it’s important to remember the special needs of our indoor feathered friends. Birds like warmth, but cages shouldn’t be in direct sun, as they can suffer heatstroke. The National Audobon Society say symptoms of avian heatstroke include panting, loss of balance, holding wings outward, or sitting on the floor of the cage for extended periods.

Likewise, be cool about keeping them cool – keep birds away from direct AC airflow, as they can become chilled. If you let your friends roam, beware of open windows and fans  (especially ceiling fans) which can cause severe injury.

Use a plant mister to gently spray Tweetie several times daily. This protects their respiratory systems, and they like it!  Provide fresh, separate water for drinking and bathing, and a diet fresh in nuts, grains and fruit.

Please remember outdoor birds too! Provide fresh water daily, even if just a bowl set on a table. This can be a lifesaver!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Toasty Temps!

This summer is a real toaster and for animals with fur coats it definitely can be a hazard.  Dehydration and even heat stroke can happen fast when temps are high.  Always be aware of your pets special needs.  Keep bowls of cold water handy inside and out and change them frequently. throughout the day.  Keep pets inside with the AC on or fans running.  If they must be outside, be sure they have a shady area all day, preferably with grass since it stays cooler.  Put out a kiddie size pool of water near for them to jump in and cool off.  Run a sprinkler and let them drink from a hose.  Wrap kitties in cool, wet towels to cool skin.  Forget walks until temps go down or in the early morning hours.  If you don't have an animal, leave bowls of water outside anyway.  The neighborhood wildlife or any strays will thank you.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Those scary sky sounds

Most of the time our pets love summer, but a scary thing is a storm.  Loud claps of thunder send them into anxiety mode just like 4th of July firecrackers.  Dogs, especially, read us so well that if we're startled they tend to be more so.  Keep them indoors, turn the volume up on the TV or put on some music to soothe nerves.  Provide them a comfy place away from windows where they can go to feel safe. Besides staying calm yourself, try distracting them with highly valued chew toys or food.  Try out a new game or give an easy command to sit and stay and give them a meaty treat.  By being rewarded each time their association to storms may change to positive. 

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Get Gardening!

Spring is here!  Getting things in shape for the season is exciting, and keeping a few simple things in mind will help ensure a safe and enjoyable season for you and your furry best friends. 

Along with gardening come plant pests and certain risks for pets.  While controlling pests is a must for a lush, healthy lawn and garden, pet-friendly products are essential to protecting your pets.  Happily there are many from which to choose, just be sure to read the labels.  If you're still not sure, just ask a friendly Bi-Mart associate – they're knowledgeable and happy to help. 

When mowing or treating the lawn and garden, it's best to keep pets inside.  Safety first.  Here's to your best ever backyard season!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Happy Easter!

Easter is a time of family, fun, goodies and egg hunts.  Pets love the fun too, but some Easter goodies can be harmful.  These quick tips can keep pets happy and healthy during the celebration. 

Chocolate is harmful to dogs and cats.  While some pet owners report their dog ingesting it without ill effect, its toxicity is cumulative – so while an incident may not cause apparent harm, it can cause damage over time or heighten the risk should your pet get into chocolate again. 

Shiny Easter grass, especially appealing to cats, can cause choking and intestinal obstruction.  And what would Easter be without an egg hunt?  Keep count of any PLASTIC EGGS you hide to ensure they're all collected.  Broken plastic can be harmful when chewed. 

Just like children, our pets need supervision.  Take care and enjoy a very happy holiday!

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

 

Cord Hazard!

Who doesn't have numerous electrical cords within our pets’ reach in many rooms of our homes?  Our pets, especially puppies, kittens and bunnies, love to bite and chew, making risk of harm to our furry friends or fire is a real concern. 

Hiding cords behind furniture doesn't always work.  Binding them with twist-ties or encasing them in PVC pipe is recommended by Web Med.  Bitter sprays may also help.  

Window blinds are unsafe for playful cats and kittens, who can get tangled and choke, so keep cords short and out of reach. 

Keeping our furry friends busy with toys and play is also great prevention.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Take care with candles

We all love candles for the ambiance and lovely scents they leave behind.  Take precautions when lighting candles if you own pets.  They are attracted to the flames.  Watch those wagging and fluffy tails.  A dog's tail can knock over a candle and kitty's may get singed.  Always put candles out of reach and monitor your pets.  Never leave a pet alone with a lit candle. 

Some scented candles, typically the paraffin-based wax candles emit harmful chemicals.  If they are unsafe for you, you can be sure they are detrimental for your pet.  And if you have feathered friends sharing your home, any scented candle should be avoided.  Birds have very different and delicate respiratory systems, and fumes from the compounds creating the pleasing scents for you can irritate their lungs causing serious health problems that could result in death.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Diggity Dog!

It can be infuriating to look out the window and see your dog digging a nice, big hole in the yard.  Let’s face it, some dogs just have a thing for digging holes, especially in the loose soil of gardens or flower beds.  Many do this to cool off or stay warm. The Humane Society of the United States says this may be a sign of boredom.  To make digging less desirable, they suggest placing flat rocks around plants and/or spraying the area with a mixture of water and lemon juice.  Most dogs dislike citrus scents.  And remember if you see your dog doing appropriate things in the yard (chewing on a toy, sunning himself), don’t forget to praise him!  This increases the chances of him doing those behaviors instead of the unwanted ones.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Easing 4th of July Fears

People love ‘em, but many pets are terrified of fireworks.  In fact, it’s the biggest day of the year for new arrivals at animal shelters.  Fearful dogs do everything from shake and cower to breaking through windows or screens and running blindly in an attempt to escape the perceived threat.  Fireworks start before the 4th, so preventive care should, too.  Around the holiday, keep pets indoors, close windows and shades, and keep music or TVs running low – any distractions can help.  Medicinal remedies can help take the edge off before, during and after the 4th – ask your vet or your friendly Bi-Mart pharmacist.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips! 

Feathered Friends

Birds are very busy now, building nests and hatching babies — and they appreciate help when they're hungry.  If you have back yard bird feeders and outside cats (or strays) there may be problems.  The National Audubon Society says it's a must to have a feeding station difficult for cats to reach away from trees or fences.  Clean dropped seeds on the ground daily.  Deter kitty sneak attacks by placing a small bell on her collar . . . or best of all, keep her indoors — it’s safer for everyone.

Like Spot on Facebook, post a photo, and tell us your tips!