Deck the Halls with Safety: Pet-Proofing Tips

Dog and cat lies near the Christmas tree

Thanksgiving is over, and the hustle and bustle of Christmas is full-on. During this season of holiday festivities, any experienced pet owner can appreciate how important it is to pet-proof your Christmas tree and other indoor and outdoor decorations. December brings cooler temperatures and beautifully decorated homes—and dangers for Fido!

One of the first signs that Christmas is coming is the tradition of decking the halls with boughs of holly and such. It is important to remember that some of the trappings of Christmas can cause your pet harm, so it’s up to you to take adequate pet-proofing precautions.

Pets instinctively want to explore and taste all these new bobbles and bits of trimmings that seem to have invaded their home.

And perspective changes everything, so physically get down to your pet’s view level and look around—see things from your pet’s perspective. You will get a better idea of how your pet views all these new items and the upcoming exploration-of-every-single-item-waiting-to-get-pet-approved.

Pet-Proofing Christmas Plants

Whether your Christmas plants are placed indoors or outdoors, some plants require precautions be taken so that pets are not harmed.

For cats, most types of lilies are quite deadly. In certain lilies’ species, for example, a single leaf or a trace of pollen can result in sudden kidney failure.

The popular Christmas cactus, which blooms in December, and festive holly (English) are known for causing significant damage to the intestinal tract and the stomachs of both cats and dogs. While not fatal to Fido, these plants should be placed out of reach of your pet. Should your pet consume even small amounts of either plant, call a veterinarian immediately.

An urban legend is that both mistletoe and poinsettias are highly toxic to pets. Not true. They will, however, cause minor discomfort. The tiny crystals on poinsettias can cause irritation to pets’ mouths or skin, but fatal poisoning is extremely rare. And while European mistletoe is highly toxic, American mistletoe is likely only to cause minor stomach upset.

Pet-Proofing the Christmas Tree

Christmas tree ornaments and decorations provide irresistible temptations to your pets. The blinking lights, shiny tinsel, and dangling ornaments bring out the curiosity in all pets.

Any cherished or heirloom ornaments should always be placed in the top half of the tree where they will be safe from Fido’s wagging tail and Fifi’s batting paws.

You may want to re-think the shiny tinsel and skip it altogether. Dogs and cats both love to eat it! While not poisonous, they can get tied up in your pet’s stomach and cause serious problems. Do not attempt to pull out tinsel or ribbon from either end of your pet as serious cuts can occur. Contact your veterinarian, as the only treatment is surgery.

If you have a live Christmas tree, be sure your pets don’t drink the water especially if you have used additives to keep the tree alive longer.

And don’t forget about those beautifully wrapped presents. As curious animals, both dogs and cats can wreak havoc on them overnight, leaving everything wet with slobber.

We all know how great a dog’s sense of smell is. Know that your dog can smell food and candy through wrapping paper, so never tempt your dog by placing these within reach of Fido.  Most types of Christmas foods are dangerous to your pet.

From the raisins and currants to the alcohol soaking, fruitcakes and other traditional holiday cakes, cookies and breads are highly problematic to pets. Pets absorb alcohol into the bloodstream rapidly, which can cause drops in blood pressure, blood sugar and body temperature.

Ideal Pet-Proofing Tool

You can always play it safe by screening off decorated areas or Christmas trees with a pet gate. There are many types that will protect your tree while also looking stylish and decorative. As an added bonus, a good pet gate also keeps toddlers a safe distance away from these same dangers.

For more information on how a pet gate works, please visit our Learning Center.

It only takes a short time to walk through your home and yard and pet-proof your pets’ Christmas.

Let us know if you have a pet-proofing tip to share. Pet Super Store wants to hear about your pet-proofing ideas!

Think Twice Before Gifting a Pet for the Holidays

newborn puppy

We at the Pet Super Store will be the first to admit that there’s nothing cuter than thinking about a furry puppy or kitten popping out of a big, bow-tied box. But if you’re thinking of gifting a pet for the holidays, we’ll be the first to tell you to think twice.

While gifting a pet for the holidays is an extremely warm and fuzzy picture, the reality is that the holidays are one of the worst times to receive a pet. Many dogs and cats end up in shelters a month or two after the holiday rush is over.

Here are some important points to think about if you’re considering gifting a pet for the holidays:

Is the person ready for the commitment of a pet? It may seem like a silly question, but committing yourself to a pet is different than wanting a pet. While your beloved may want a dog, are they really in a position to make a 10-year or more commitment? Do they have the time and resources to train and care for the dog or cat? Make sure if you’re gifting a pet to someone that they’re serious in their commitment to raise a pet for better or worse.

When it comes to kids, are you ready for a pet? As a parent, you may think that you’ll wow your kids with a pet this holiday season and teach them some responsibility about caring for pets in the long run. But children shouldn’t be ultimately responsible for animal care. While they may be able to take part in the care, when it comes to training a dog or making medical decisions about a sick cat, the responsibility falls on you.

Even if you think you’re ready for a pet, many rescue shelters require dogs to meet with a family before an adoption for a reason: you should make sure that a dog or cat is a good fit for your family before bringing them home.  Your future pet and your kids deserve the ability to meet each other before moving in together.

Does your holiday season allow for a pet? Your relationship with your pet starts the minute you bring it home. A puppy’s training needs start right away and older dogs need time to get acclimated to your home and boundaries. Even cats require extra attention when they first get in the door.

Do you have this kind of time during the holidays? Is your house pet ready; free of potential dangers like wrapping paper and bows a dog might eat or a Christmas tree for your cat to climb? Take these factors into consideration before gifting a pet.

If you really think that a gifted pet is the right option this holiday season, the ASPCA recommends wrapping up a box of essential supplies such as a leash, collar, and bowl, along with a certificate promising adoption of a new pet in lieu of the real thing.

A certificate allows future pet owners some participation in picking out their future companion, as well as some extra time to ensure their commitment to their pet.  Pet Super Store offers a wide range of essentials for any future pet owner, including dog gates, anti-bark collars, dog beds, and much more.

And while pet supplies are easily returnable, dogs and cats are not.

5 of the Best Gifts for your Best Pet

Small dog sitting by Christmas treeYour dog is no doubt an honored member of your family. And while your dog will love you no matter what, it only seems right to share the holiday spirit with your beloved four legged friend by presenting him with a little gift or two this holiday season.

If you’re running behind on your Christmas shopping list, here are five fabulous gifts any pooch will appreciate:

1) Donut Dog Bed

If you want your dog to have the ultimate sleeping spot (that’s not your bed), consider gifting the Donut Dog Bed. The core and bolster of this top-rated dog bed are made out of 100% high memory foam polyester. While this bed will please any dog, the bolstered design of the bed is particularly pleasing to puppies and supportive for older dogs. With over seventy different patterns to choose for the removable, washable cover, there’s a lot for both you and your pet to love about these beds.

2) Pet Bed Warmer

If your dog already has a comfy dog bed, you might want to consider an electric pet bed warmer. This unit inserts into a pet bed to keep your dog toasty all night long. A pet bed warmer would be a particularly welcome gift for older dogs, particularly ones suffering from arthritis, as well as smaller breeds who may have a harder time regulating their body temperature.

3) Kong Genius

If you’re looking for the best kind of stocking stuffer for your furry friend, consider the Kong Genius. The Genius is a fun spin on the average chew toy. It is a treat-dispensing toy that challenges your dog’s problem solving skills to get to the treat inside. Several of these toys can be interlocked together like puzzle pieces to increase the challenge for your dog. The Genius comes in several different sizes and is made in the US from durable, dishwasher-safe food grade rubber.

4) DogTek Eyenimal Pet Video Camera

Okay, so this present might actually be more for you than the dog. This 1.2 ounce camera securely attaches to your dog (or cat’s) collar. From there, it will take up to 2 1/2 hours of video from your pet’s point of view. It even includes a built-in microphone so you can get the full experience of a day in the life of your dog! The camera has a durable, water-resistant casing to keep it generally safe; just remember it’s not waterproof and won’t stand up to a dip in the nearest pond.

5) Big Montana Dog Blanket

Really, who doesn’t love a fuzzy new blanket? The Big Montana is the ultimate in dog comfort, mixing a faux suede side with a cozy fleece one. The blanket is an ideal companion for your dog while riding in the car or sitting next to you on the couch. Your dog will be comfy while your furniture and car stay free of dog hair and the occasional nap drool. It is machine washable and comes in three different sizes to fit any size dog.

Regardless of your taste or budget, Pet Super Store has a wide variety of quality products to choose from this holiday season. If you have any questions about sizing or shipping dates, don’t hesitate to contact our customer service department for help.

4 Tips for Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving With Your Dog

Dog (not in focus) licks itself and sitting in front of big tast

Thanksgiving holds a lot of temptations. Not only may you be tempted to eat that second piece of pumpkin pie, you may also be tempted to give a nibble to your furry friend who is making puppy eyes at you from under the table. And there are so many leftovers that it just seems fair to share some with your dog.

But is sharing the feast with your dog a good idea?

The ASPCA and Pet MD both agree that it’s okay to celebrate with your pet as long as you practice moderation and follow a few practical safety tips:

1) Know what foods could kill your dog: Thanksgiving or not, you should know the foods that your dog should absolutely never eat because they can be toxic and deadly. These foods include chocolate, vegetables in the allium family (onions, leeks, garlic, and shallots) and the artificial sweetener xylitol.

2) Don’t feed your dog anything you wouldn’t eat yourself: Raw eggs, undercooked turkey, and bones can all be dangerous to your dog, just like they can be dangerous for you.

3) Stick to what’s simple and fresh: Turkey is okay to feed your dog, but try to stick to white meat with the skin removed. Other simple dishes such as cranberry sauce, steamed carrots, or a potato mashed without dairy additives are good choices.

4) Practice moderation: Just remember if you give your dog too many rich foods, they’ll have a stomachache, just like you. And even if there are a lot of leftovers, remember that your dog isn’t a garbage disposal. If you want them around for a long time, be mindful of their diet. The ASPCA recommends that one way you can stretch out treat food is to stuff a Kong Genius  or other treat toy with acceptable Thanksgiving treats to keep them occupied and happy.

Smelling a turkey all day without getting to eat some is a test of patience for any dog. You can keep your canine happy by making sure you provide some distraction during day including a safe nylabone and a good walk.

If you have a lot of company over, make sure that your dog has some time to himself so he’s not overwhelmed by so many people – putting up your dog gate and keeping them contained in a certain room is one way to keep your pooch out of trouble.

Whatever your Thanksgiving feast involves, we at Pet Super Store wish you and your dog a happy one!

Winter Pet Woes

woes

Winter is fast approaching. As temperatures begin to drop, it’s time to re-examine our pet’s outdoor area for any needed insulation for our beloved friends.

While dogs and cats have fur coats, which grow longer during the winter season to protect them from the cold, that’s not enough to keep them safe and happy. There are some simple steps you can take to ensure Fido’s comfort during the upcoming winter.

Outdoor Shelter

Providing proper outdoor shelter for our furry friends is an absolute necessity. Several factors to consider include:

  • The size of the shelter should be large enough to lie down, but not so large that body heat is wasted.
  • The shelter should be facing away from the wind.
  • The floor should be raised by 3 inches or more, and should be covered with straw or wood shavings (cedar is best).
  • The entrance needs to be covered with something heavy and waterproof like burlap or plastic.

Food & Water

It’s important to remember our beloved pets need a little extra food during the winter months. It takes a lot of energy for our pets to stay warm. Animals, just like their human companions, convert food into energy. Because they use more energy during the colder months, they need more food.

Avoid using metal of glass food dishes since their tongues can stick to these frozen surfaces. Also, check the water bowl frequently to make sure it hasn’t frozen over.

Driveway Salt

Salt and other products used to melt icy sidewalks and driveways can cause discomfort for your pets’ paws—especially if they then stick their foot in their mouth.  If your dog won’t wear dog shoes, you will need to wipe their paws to remove the salt or chemical.

Antifreeze

Antifreeze is deadly for your pets, but it has a sweet flavor that attracts them. Make sure you wipe up any spills right away, and consult the label for proper storage instructions also.

Of course, our pets are happiest when kept indoors mostly, and taken outside a few times a day for a walk and exercise. A warm dog sweater is great for those outdoor walks in the brisk cold.

Pet Super Store carries several heating pads for your dog bed(s) to help keep them warm, as well as blankets and crate pads. Orders of $75 or more are shipped free.