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Tips for Traveling with Your Pet During the Holidays

Christmas is just around the corner, which for many families, means traveling! If you’ve decided to bring your pet along with you on the family trip, there are some important considerations and preparations to make first. Travel can be even more stressful for pets than it is for humans, and it also poses some risks. Always check ahead to determine where animals are welcome and what rules apply so you don’t become stuck in a difficult position.

Consider the following suggestions to ensure you and your pet have a good experiencing while traveling:

  • Bring your pet in to see the veterinarian prior to travel. Get the all-clear at the checkup and see to it that all vaccinations are current. Have your veterinarian provide documentation of the visit, affirming your pet’s good health and up-to-date vaccinations. Some airlines, travel companies, hotels, campgrounds, and other places require such documentation. Don’t forget to bring your veterinarian’s phone number with you on your trip.

 

  • If you’re traveling on a plane, train, bus, or other form of public transportation, inquire ahead with the company about whether you can bring your pet onboard. Make sure you find out specifically about your pet’s species and size, as well as about your exact dates of travel (for example, some airlines don’t allow pets during winter months).

 

  • Find out when you’re initially making your lodging plans whether you can bring your pet. More and more hotels and motels are becoming pet-friendly these days. However, many have size and breed restrictions. It’s easiest with cats and small dogs. Even if you’re staying in someone’s home, make sure you confirm that your pet is welcome.

 

  •  Securely affix an ID tag to your pet before leaving home. It should include your name, address, and phone number. A microchip is a smart idea, as it significantly increases the chances of being reunited with a lost pet.

 

  • Invest in a travel crate for your pet. Choose a spacious, comfortable product with a leak-proof bottom. Make frequent pet pit stops if you’re traveling by car. Let your pet exercise at rest stops.

 

  • Take along an adequate supply of your pet’s normal food and treats, especially if your cat or dog is a picky eater. Familiarity helps reduce the stress of travel. It’s also a good idea to have some bottled water for drinking on hand.

 

  •  Speak with your veterinarian about when and how often to feed your pet before and during travel. While you don’t want to travel with a hungry animal, feeding your pet right before you depart may result in nausea or vomiting.

 

  • Be a respectful guest and clean up after your pet, wherever you’re staying. Not only is this common courtesy, it helps ensure pets will continue to be welcome where you stay.
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Your Dog Will Love These Festive Treats

Feeling extra festive and wanting to do something special for your pooch? Look no further! Why not whip up some easy to make home made treats for your sweet pal? It will get you both in the holiday spirit and make your home smell amazing. Not only will your pooch love the taste of the following recipes, but you’ll love the way the treats make their breath smell minty fresh!

MINT APPLE TREATS

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 2 tablespoons dry milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry baking yeast
  • 2 tablespoons chopped spearmint leaves
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 7/8 cup water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix well until fully incorporated.
  3. Roll dough 1/4” thick on a flat surface with a rolling pin. Use cookie cutter of your choice to cut dough into shapes. Place onto a non-stick cookie sheet 1″ apart.
  4. Bake for 45-60 minutes checking periodically to ensure they don’t over brown.
  5. Allow treats to cool and enjoy! Treats will keep for 3 months in an airtight container at room temperature.

PEPPERMINTY COOKIES

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons xylitol free peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, molasses, peanut butter, water, olive oil, and peppermint until smooth.
  3. Roll dough 1/4” thick on a floured surface. Cut dough with cookie cutters of your choice and place on a non-stick cookie sheet 1” apart.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool treats on wire rack and serve! Treats will keep for 1 month in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

If you’re not up for baking any treats for your fur baby, that’s okay. Check out these doggy approved treats!

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Keeping Your Pet Active During Winter

As we head into the end of the year the weather begins to become cold. Like many pet owners, your pet may love this snuggly weather. There’s nothing better than cuddling your sweet pet on a cold day. However, this weather also may make it difficult for your pet to get the adequate exercise they need. Daily exercise is important for your pet in order to keep them healthy but can be difficult to achieve when the weather is too cold to go outside for exercise. Consider the following tips to keep your pet active during cold weather:

  • If you live in an area where the outdoor temperature and weather is favorable, taking your pet out for a walk is a great way to get them exercise. A 15 minute walk in the morning, afternoon, or evening is a great way to get your pets daily exercise in. However, this is not feasible for many of us during this time of year. Instead, if the weather is not optimal to take a walk outside and you happen to live in a building with an indoor hallway, consider taking your pet for a walk that way. If your home has steps in it have your pet walk up and down the steps with you.

 

  • Does your dog love to fetch? Play fetch with your dog inside the house for 15 minutes. Even though this round of fetch may not be their usual outdoor activity they’re used to, they will still love it and get the exercise they need.

 

  • Break out your pet’s toys. Get on the floor with your pet and their favorite toys for some good ole fashioned play time. Your pet will get their exercise and they will love the special time spent bonding with you. An activity ball with a hidden treat inside of it is a great way for your pet to get in some additional exercise as well.

 

  • Do your friends have pets? Why not host a play date! Your pet will love having all their pals come over for some play time. You’ll also get to socialize with your friends while your pet gets some much needed exercise in.
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6 Facts About Chinchillas

They Can Overheat Very Easily – This is an important thing to understand if you are a Chinchilla owner, because their sensitivity to heat and humidity can prove to be fatal – even if you don’t think they are in danger. These little cuties are originally from the Andes mountains, where it is cold and dry, so to have them in an environment that is hot and humid is not something that their body can physically withstand or adapt to. Because of this, many Chinchilla owners keep slabs of marble (or other stone) in the freezer, and put them on the cage’s floor in order to give the little Chin a way to cool off and maintain a healthy body temperature. Obviously there should be enough slabs so that when the ones in the cage aren’t cold anymore, that they can be switched out for the newly cold ones in the freezer. That way, there is never a chance that overheating can occur.

They Can’t Get Wet – This may be surprising to you, especially because all creatures are bound to get wet at some point (especially in the wild) – but for Chinchillas, it can prove extremely problematic. Due to their extremely dense and soft fur, it is very difficult for them to dry off – actually nearly impossible. While humans have about 2-3 hairs per follicle, Chinchillas have anywhere from 50-80 per follicle! Unable to dry off properly, a sensitive little Chinchilla can have a host of health issues ranging from hypothermia to fungal skin infections. Just imagine not being able to ever dry off, and how horrible that would feel, especially if you got sick from it!

They Take Dust Baths – This is usually the only information people know about Chinchillas, but just in case you didn’t know, they take baths in dust in order to remove the oils/dirt from their skin and fur. They do this in the wild in the natural dusty environment that they live in, and if you have a little dust bath container in your Chinchilla’s habitat, they will gladly use it. It’s similar to a human using dry shampoo, except way more adorable because it’s a furry little creature rolling around and being cute.

They Have Poor Eyesight – Even though they have giant eyes, they actually aren’t very effective for seeing – funny how nature works, isn’t it? Instead, they rely on their cute little whiskers in order to “see” or sense their surroundings. Many other creatures use their whiskers for this purpose, including cats, who use them to gauge distance and spatial capacities to make sure they can hop and squeeze into places without hurting themselves. Chinchillas use their whiskers in conjunction with their poor eyesight to achieve their maneuvers and hops safely!

Their Teeth Never Stop Growing – Similar to other small animals who require lots of chewing materials to combat their forever growing incisors, Chinchillas also need to chew constantly due to the fact that their teeth are growing absurdly fast. It is estimated that a Chinchilla’s teeth grows about 12 inches a year, which may seem excessive. As far as advantageous evolutionary traits go, perhaps this is nature’s way of making sure that they always have teeth, which are not only extremely important for eating, but for defense as well against predators. Regardless of the reason, you must have plenty of chew toys and treats in their cage so that they can chew because they are basically teething 24/7. Also, beware of letting them have free reign of your house or room, because they can and they will chew everything in sight! Among their favorite things to chew are electric cables, wall moldings and base boards, as well as any wooden furniture.

They Are Nocturnal – There are many other small animals that are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. In the Chinchilla’s case it definitely makes a lot of sense, seeing as they are so sensitive to the heat and humidity. At night, it is ideally cool and crisp weather for them to move around and not worry about overheating. Their cage or habitat should be kept in a semi-dark place that is relatively quiet during the day so they can get some slumber. If you don’t want them to keep you up at night with their wheel-running, chewing, playing, and other shenanigans, then their cage should be put somewhere that you aren’t sleeping.

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10 Fun Facts About Cats

Cats are fascinating creatures and any cat owner can tell you that they definitely have minds of their own. Below are 10 fun facts about cats that are as interesting as their personalities:

  1. All kittens are born with blue eyes
  2. The print of a cat’s nose is totally unique, much like a human finger print
  3. While awake, cats spend 30% of their time grooming themselves
  4. Cats very rarely meow at other cats
  5. There are 33 different cat breeds
  6. A group of kittens is called a “kindle”
  7. A group of adult cats is referred to as a “clowder”
  8. One female cat can produce up to 100 kittens in her lifetime
  9. Cats are only able to sweat through their paws
  10. Cats can make more than 100 different vocal sounds (dogs can only make about 10)
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Pets and the Holidays

Thanksgiving may officially be over but the howliday season is in full swing! Along with this magical time comes lots of eating… and over-eating. However, this is something that shouldn’t apply to our pets.

The problem is that at this time of the year, with parties and friends coming and going, it’s often difficult to monitor the food and snacks put out for guests and, if you turn your back, pets might be tempted to help themselves!

It’s not only chocolate that is toxic to pets, but many other things from grapes to onions and more. If you are preparing a spread, it’s a good idea to cover everything with a net cloth or keep each individual dish wrapped until needed to deter food snatching.

The same applies when you have cleared the table after a feast. Pets have to be kept out of the kitchen or again, the leftovers have to be protected. Corncobs and bones if swallowed can be fatal. In addition, just simply over-eating can cause tummy upsets and depending what has been consumed, can also cause diarrhea.

If your pets are prone to attempting to help themselves, and succeed in snatching, it’s a good idea to have medications on hand in your home just in case. There are a lot of different products to choose from such as Anti-Diarrheals and many more.

At the same time, there is no reason your pet can’t enjoy a special treat of their own in moderation. Treats make a great gift for four-legged family members who don’t want to miss out on this special time of year.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is this week! The day is a great holiday for families to come together, put aside their drama, and enjoy delicious food. Whether you are hosting the Thanksgiving get-together or will be attending it elsewhere, you probably want to include your furry family member(s) in the festivities as well. With all of the traveling, people, and food around, it could potentially be a chaotic environment that may stress out your pet(s). To ensure that no accidents or mishaps occur due to the hectic nature of the holiday, just follow these simple guidelines:

Travel Safely – Thanksgiving is already a very stressful time to travel, whether you are flying into a packed airport, taking a long bus/train ride, or dealing with awful traffic in your own car. If you are taking a plane, train, or bus, make sure that you have chosen a company that allows pets, and that you have the proper pet carrier that they require. Although more travel companies are allowing pets than ever before, most of them only allow small to medium-sized dogs on board if they are in a travel crate. Although you may miss them terribly for the days you’re gone, perhaps it’s better if you hire a pet-sitter to care for your beloved while you are gone. If you are driving your own car to the Thanksgiving gathering, try to plan your trip using highways and/or straight roads, with minimal stops and turns that will help prevent carsick dogs. Keep the car temperature cool, and open the windows to make sure fresh air is circulated. Dogs should be confined with doggie seatbelts or crates, and cats, ferrets and house bunnies should all be in crates. Pets that get anxious in the car may benefit from natural remedies for anxiety such as Travel Anxiety Drops for dogs and cats.

Prepare Your Pet – Be sure to pack everything you need for your pet, including its food, medication, treats, chews, and even water from home. A few familiar toys and a crate or gate for confinement in the home you’re visiting are good ideas as well. Talk to the person who will be hosting you and make sure that your pet is not only welcome, but that there is a quiet area for them to hang out while everyone is eating. It may be a good idea to give your pet a bath or have it groomed before you take it anywhere, especially if their nails are getting a bit long! If you are hosting the Thanksgiving function, then you are obviously free to let your pet go wherever it wants, but be aware that it may be a bit “on edge” due to all of the people coming over. Some pets become excited for all of the attention, but others can get stressed out and paranoid because of the unusual amount of people. Especially if your dog barks every time someone rings the doorbell or knocks, then you may just want to simply put a sign on the door that says, “Please let yourself in!” If your dog (or cat) gets too excited and jumps on the guests, then perhaps you may want to sequester them into the backyard or their own room until everyone is all settled. If your pet has a problem with slipping out of the door when you aren’t looking (cats love to do this), you should keep them somewhere safe just in case!

Prepare Your Guests – Even if you stay home and celebrate Thanksgiving in your own home, there are precautions to take if you have guests coming over. Remember that not all people enjoy having pets around, and not all people are on high-alert for possible pet-related accidents! Be sure to tell everyone any quirks or behaviors your pet has; for instance, if they enjoy chewing shoes, tell everyone to put their shoes in a designated area where they will be safe from destruction. If your pet enjoys begging at the table but you don’t want them to be rewarded for it, tell everyone not to give any table scraps to them during dinner. If your pet enjoys bolting out of the house whenever someone opens the door,  make it very clear to everyone which doors to leave closed at all times, and which doors to be extra careful about opening. Also make sure that no one leaves out any medication or small items that could cause your pet to choke or become poisoned. Last but not least, try to keep loud noises minimal, and let your guests know your pets’ fears and traumas so they don’t accidentally trigger them and cause a panic episode.

Ensure Food Safety – Thanksgiving is synonymous with food of course, but you don’t have to feel bad that your pet is missing out on the feast. Your pet truly does not need to sample Aunt Margaret’s sweet potato and marshmallow pie. Your pet will do best if you stick to his or her regular diet, with a few small pieces of turkey breast or other pet-safe food as a special treat. While your family may be trained not to feed your dog or cat from the table, your company may not be so well trained, so let them know not to give your pet food unless they ask for permission first! Confine your pets away from the dinner table if possible, and tell your guests not to leave any food laying around where your pets can reach them. Remember that turkey bones are NOT safe for dogs to chew on because they can splinter easily and cause choking. After dinner it’s common for everyone to retreat to the living room and watch football, talk, or nap. Be sure all leftovers are carefully cleaned up and put away before you leave the kitchen area. More than one clever dog has ended up at the veterinary emergency clinic with a partial turkey carcass in his stomach!

Remember to enjoy this special day surrounded with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Celebrating Thanksgiving with Your Pet

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with those you love, so it’s natural to want to include your four-legged companions in on the celebration. As hard as it is not to let your pet partake in your Thanksgiving feast, it’s probably best to keep the furry family members out of the room at mealtime. This ensures pets won’t have access to potentially dangerous handouts or scraps that have fallen on the floor.

If you absolutely have to share some of the big meal with Fido or Fluffy, check out the safe options listed below as well as those to avoid:

Safe:

  • Turkey: As long as you keep the portions small, remove the skin, and remove the bones, turkey is typically a safe choice for pets.
  • Sweet Potatoes: If they’re not drowning in brown sugar and marshmallows, natural sweet potatoes are a great snack for pets because they’re full of fiber, vitamin A, and iron.
  • Green beans: Before dressed with butter, garlic, or that traditional fried onion topping, sharing a green bean or two with your pet is a healthy choice with plenty of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Not Safe:

  • Stuffing: This Thanksgiving staple almost always contains several toxic ingredients like onions, garlic, leeks, and raisins. Stay on the side of caution and keep this side away from pets.
  • Gravy: This turkey topper is full of fat, which can lead to stomach upset and even pancreatitis in pets.
  • Dessert: From the high sugar content, to the possibility of dangerous ingredients like chocolate and macadamia nuts, dessert should be off-limits for pets. Opt for a healthy pet treat or homemade treat instead.
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Traveling Safely with Pets This Thanksgiving

If you’re considering hitting the road with your pet this Thanksgiving, it’s important to keep safety in mind. Here are a few recommendations for pet owners who want to include their furry friends in their holiday road trip.

•Make sure your pet is equipped with a collar and updated ID tag before hitting the open road. Bring any necessary pet supplies including a leash, your pet’s regular food and treats, water, and a water dish.

•Pets should always ride in the backseat of a car and should be properly restrained with a harness, carrier, pet car seat, or vehicle barrier. Dogs should never ride in the back of a pickup truck because they can easily leap out or be thrown. To keep your pup safe, keep him securely inside the vehicle at all times.

•It’s widely believed that dogs love sticking their head out of the car window and feeling the wind in their fur, but the possibility of flying debris makes this a dangerous scenario. Keep your dog’s eyes safe from injury by keeping those car windows closed.

•To avoid a case of doggy carsickness, try to feed your pet a few hours prior to your trip. This gives your dog some time to digest before the motion begins.

•Make sure to stop every so often so your dog can stretch his legs and take a bathroom break. Also, make sure your pup’s leash is fastened before opening the car door to prevent your dog from making a run for it.

•Never leave your pet in a parked car to avoid exposure to the wintry temperatures of this time of year.

•Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you may be inclined to share some holiday goodies with your pet, but remember that not all people foods are safe for animals. All desserts containing chocolate are dangerous for canines. Foods with onions and garlic are also toxic for both cats and dogs, so it’s best for your pet to chow down on his own food.

 

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Treat Your Dog to a Homemade Oat Snack

For a homemade, no-bake treat for your dog, try this recipe! The yummy combination of peanut butter, wholesome oats, honey, and dried fruit makes a really special snack for your dog. Since these treats don’t require any time in the oven, this is also a great recipe for kids to help with!

Note: Some manufacturers have started using xylitol as a sugar substitute in their peanut butter. Xylitol is dangerous for dogs and will cause great harm. Ensure any peanut butter you give your pooch is Xylitol free.

Ingredients:

1 cup oats
¾ cup peanut butter
1 ¼ tablespoons honey
½ cup dried cranberries

Directions: 

Be sure to wash your hands before you get started. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands. Spoon the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate the treats until they’re set.

If you’re looking for more great pet treat recipes, be sure to order VetDepot’s Favorite Dog & Cat Treat Recipes! It’s available in paperback as well as for download on your Nook or Kindle.

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