The Paw Print Blog Has Moved!

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The PetSafe Paw Print Blog has a new home on PetSafe.net: www.petsafe.net/learn.

We’ll be posting all of our new articles on PetSafe.net. We’ve redesigned our articles so it’s easier to browse topics and content. We’ve also added tons of new content. We tapped our network of pet experts, vets, and trainers to give you the best pet care, training, and health advice.

We’re still unpacking after our move. We’ll keep the old blog archives up temporarily on this site until we can move everything over to PetSafe.net. You’ll have all of your favorite and new articles in one place soon.

Check out the new articles now.

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Participate in the PetSafe Fit 15 Challange and Win!

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The PetSafe Fit 15 Challenge is our way of encouraging active pet parents and building bonds with pets and people. Each day in January, a different challenge will be given that involves 15 minutes of exercise with your pet. Should you decide to participate and keep up with the challenge, we would like to give you and your dog a treat!

Follow this link to sign up for our Fit 15 Sweepstakes! We will draw winners each Friday for an active prize for your pup. You can enter the sweepstakes each day this month, and the winners will be chosen from all entries.

The first drawing is today, so hurry and sign up!

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The PetSafe® Fit15 Sweepstakes

Official Sweepstakes Rules

By entering the Sweepstakes you accept and agree to be bound by these Official Sweepstakes Rules.

  1. No Purchase Necessary:

No purchase necessary to enter. A purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Void where prohibited by law.

  1. Sponsor:

The PetSafe® Fit15 Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by Radio Systems Corporation having a principal place of business at 10427 PetSafe Way, Knoxville, TN 37932 (the “Sponsor”).

  1. Prize Description: 

At the conclusion of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor will award a total of four (4) Prizes of various PetSafe products (each a “Prize” and collectively, the “Prizes”) in accordance with these Official Sweepstakes Rules. The total value of each Prize to be awarded is less than one hundred dollars ($100.00).

  1. Eligibility:

The Sweepstakes is open only to legal residents of the contiguous United States who have reached the age of majority at the time of entry.  Employees, officers, directors, affiliates, licensees, distributors and fulfillment agencies of the Sponsor, and respective immediate family members (a spouse, sibling, parent, child or grandparent and the spouses of such persons) and other persons living in their same households are not eligible to participate in the Sweepstakes.

  1. Sweepstakes Period:

The Sweepstakes begins at 8:00am ET on January 1, 2015 and ends at 12:00pm (noon) ET on January 30, 2015.

  1. How to Play / Description of Sweepstakes:

                         A. Entry and Requirements

To enter the Sweepstakes, an Entrant must visit the Sponsor’s designated website and complete an entry by filling out an Entry form and answering any questions contained therein (an “Entry”).

One Entry is allowed per person per day. A day is defined as a 24-hour period beginning at 12:00am ET and ending at 11:59pm ET. Entrants may not enter the Sweepstakes using multiple addresses, emails or identities nor may entrants use any other device or artifice to register multiple times or as multiple parties. Any Entrant who attempts to enter with multiple identities or uses any device, false identity or artifice to enter multiple times each day will automatically be disqualified from the Sweepstakes.

All Entries must be received by the Sponsor before 12:00pm (noon) ET on January 30, 2015. Any Entry that is illegible, inaccurate, incomplete, late or does not otherwise conform with these Official Sweepstakes Rules will be disqualified.

                              B. Winner Selection

Winners of the Sweepstakes will be selected by a random drawing by the Sponsor, or an authorized agent of the Sponsor, held on January 9, 16, 23, and 30.  The prize drawing will be made from all eligible entries received as of 12:00pm (noon) ET on the drawing date. Odds of becoming a winner depend on the number of eligible entries received in the Sweepstakes. Sponsor will notify winners of the Sweepstakes by email or phone, at the discretion of Sponsor, within 24 hours of the drawing.  If the Winner fails to comply with these Official Sweepstakes Rules, or is ineligible to receive a Prize, the Prize will be awarded to an alternate party selected by a second random drawing conducted in accordance with these Official Sweepstakes Rules. The Sponsor shall not be responsible or liable for failure to contact a potential prizewinner who provides incorrect or incomplete contact information or does not respond within one (1) week from the notification date. All Winners may be required to submit valid identification to the Sponsor to claim a Prize.

                            C. Award of Prizes.

Prizes will be awarded within thirty (30) days following verification of eligibility and compliance with the terms of these Official Sweepstakes Rules.  If required by Sponsor, all prize winners must sign and return a release of liability form and declaration of eligibility to receive the prize. The Sponsor’s decisions regarding the selection of winners and all other aspects of the Sweepstakes shall be final and binding in all respects.  The Sponsor will not be responsible for typographical, printing or other inadvertent errors in these Official Sweepstakes Rules or in other materials related to the Sweepstakes.

  1. Advertising and Promotion:

The Sponsor and each of its respective affiliates, distributors, licensees, suppliers and advertising/promotion agencies (collectively, the “Sponsor Affiliates”) shall, except to the extent prohibited by law, have the right and permission to use each winner’s name, voice, photograph and/or likeness, city/state of residence, for advertising, promotion, trade and/or any other lawful purpose in any media or format now or hereafter known without further compensation, permission or notification.

  1. Privacy:

Personally identifiable information on individual entrants will not be sold or otherwise transferred to unaffiliated third parties but may be used by the Sponsor to contact entrants in the future with offers and announcements that the Sponsor feel may be of interest. If an entrant does not wish to be contacted by the Sponsor, the entrant should opt-out of such contact by sending written notice to: PetSafe Marketing – Opt Out; 10427 PetSafe Way; Knoxville, TN 37932.

  1. Limitation of Liability:

The Sponsor, and the Sponsor Affiliates and all of their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives, agents and affiliates  expressly disclaim and shall have no liability and will be held harmless from and against any liability, loss, injury or death to entrant or any other party, including without limitation damage to personal or real property, due in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, by reason of the acceptance, possession, use or misuse of any prize (including any travel or prize activity related thereto) or such party’s participation in this Sweepstakes. Entrants further acknowledge that neither the Sponsor or Sponsor’s affiliates, nor any of their respective officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents, has made or is in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation or guarantee, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, relative to any right or prize, including, but not limited to, the value, quality, condition or fitness of any prize.  All prizes are provided “as is” and Sponsor disclaims all warranties, whether express or implied with respect thereto.

General:

 a) Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the prize winner.

b) No substitution or transfer of prizes permitted.

c) ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT TO DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS AND SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE,  THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES FROM SUCH ENTRANT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

d) Sponsor reserves the right, without prior notice and at any time, to terminate the Sweepstakes, in whole or in part, or modify or suspend the Sweepstakes in any way, if it determines, in its sole discretion, that the Sweepstakes is impaired or corrupted or that fraud or technical problems, failures or malfunctions have destroyed or undermined the proper play, integrity, and/or feasibility of the Sweepstakes.

e) All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Sweepstakes Rules or the rights and obligations of the participant or Sponsor in connection with the Sweepstakes shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Tennessee without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of any other state, provincial or federal laws. Any action arising out of the Sweepstakes shall be filed in the United States District Court of record for Knox County, Tennessee the parties hereby submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of such courts for all purposes in connection with these Official Sweepstakes Rules and the Sweepstakes.

11. Winners List:

To receive the names of the official prize winners, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: PetSafe Fit15 Winners, 10427 PetSafe Way, Knoxville, TN 37932, postmarked no later than February 28, 2015

© 2014 Radio Systems Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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Easy Street to Teaching “Leave It”

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Written by PetSafe Trainer, Mike Shafer.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were walking down the street with your dog and he stops to investigate something inappropriate? Ever try to eat a sandwich while watching TV, look away for a split second, and your dog ends up enjoying your snack? We’ve all been there! The best way to make sure you don’t go through that again and again is to teach your dog the Leave It command.

Your dog needs boundaries and self-control for you to have a healthy relationship. You can teach your dog Leave It in a relatively short amount of time. When you’re ready to begin, start with one of the following methods.

Option 1: Favorite Toys

1. Place something that has your dog’s attention, like his favorite toy, 2-3 feet in front of him.

2. If he moves toward the item, immediately take it away and get him to Sit.step 1

3. Place the object in front of him again at the same distance as before. Repeat the above steps until he no longer tries to get the object.

4. When he is just sitting there looking at the object, say “Leave It”. Immediately reward him with a treat.

5. Continue this process and slowly move the object closer to your dog. Wait for him to Leave It for longer periods of time before rewarding him.

6. Never allow him to actually get the object he is supposed to stay away from.

7. Practice with a variety of objects and varying distances. Practice Leave It with a ball before playing fetch or with your dog’s dish before each meal. Over a few days and repetitions, you’ll be able to put something more valuable to your dog very close and have him ignore it pretty reliably.

Option 2: Favorite Treats

1. Start with your dog sitting. Place a treat in your open hand.

2. Show your dog the treat. If he attempts to grab it, close your hand tightly.

3. Wait until  he backs off and have him Sit again. Open your hand and show him the treat again.step 6

4. Repeat these steps until he no longer attempts to take the treat and just sits there looking at it.

5. At this point, give the Leave It command as you show him the treat. After a few seconds, reward him with the treat.

6. Continue this and make him leave the treat for longer periods before you reward him.

7. Practice with a variety of objects and varying distances. Practice Leave It with a ball before playing fetch or with your dog’s dish before each meal. Over a few days and repetitions, you’ll be able to put something more valuable to your dog very close and have him ignore it pretty reliably.

These two options are great ways to communicate to your dog that leaving something alone will pay off for him. Start this training soon. Be patient during training sessions and keep it fun and exciting. As long as you stay consistent and continue to practice, you should get great results. Over time, you’ll be able to give this command with new things in new situations and your dog will listen. If you have trouble with this command, you can always consult a local, trusted trainer who can give more hands-on help.

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Are you up for a challenge?

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The PetSafe Fit 15 Challenge just began, and there is still time to join! This personal and puppy challenge was designed to get you and your dog exercising and spending quality time together. Each day we have a different, fun task designed to get you moving with your pet. All it takes is 15 minutes, and you can be on your way to a fit lifestyle your pet will love! Check out our challenge, print out your calendar and get fit in 2015!

January Calendar

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Introducing the PetSafe Fit 15 Challenge

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Looking for a New Year’s Resolution you won’t quit in a day? Wish you could get motivated to go to the gym or spend more time with your dog? Join the PetSafe Fit15 Challenge! We’re challenging dog owners participate in activities with their dogs every day for 15 minutes in January. You and your dog can get more fit in 15 minutes and enjoy quality bonding time.

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Benefits for You

  • Getting regular exercise is the best way to stay healthy.
  • Walking together is a great way to bond with your dog!
  • Save money by walking your dog. When your dog is your workout partner, you don’t need a gym membership or expensive home gym equipment.
  • Make it a family bonding activity. You’ll get a chance to relax and catch up with everyone’s news from the day.
  • It takes about 30-60 days to make something a habit. Now’s the perfect time to get into a good habit!

Benefits for Your Dog 

  • About 50% of the pet population is overweight. Could your dog stand to lose a few pounds?
  • Dogs need new experiences to stay mentally challenged and keep them from getting bored. Let them enjoy new smells, people, and dogs on your walk.
  • Your dog wants to spend as much time as possible with you.

PetSafe-Dec 2012-066-_MG_1000How to Stay Motivated

Start with a small goal you know you can accomplish. 15 minutes is a good starting point, but you can aim for 5 or 10 minutes a day instead. If you already walk your dog every day, make a goal to add an extra walk or walk for longer periods.

Plan how you’ll achieve your goal. Decide when to carve out your walking time each day. Come up with a backup plan in case something comes up. If you have a dentist appointment during your normal walk time, you could walk during lunch or make a casserole for dinner that night so you can walk while it’s baking.

Make sure you don’t forget walk time! Use a calendar reminder, sticky notes on the fridge, or a friend to remind you.

How to Join the Challenge

  •  Pledge to yourself and your dog that you’ll walk together for 15 minutes each day in January.
  • Keep up with your progress and post on Facebook or Twitter using the tag #PetSafeFit15.
  • We’ll share motivational tips and fun ideas for your daily dog walk. You’ll also be entered to win cool prizes each week when you tag posts with #PetSafeFit15! Read the full contest rules.

Are you going to join the challenge? Let us know in the comments below!

January Calendar

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Jack and Lil: Happy Howlidays!

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If your pets are anything like mine, they are spoiled during the holidays! Santa Paws was especially generous to Jack and Lily this year with full stockings and lots of presents under the tree. If you’re looking for a special gift for your furry friends, why not try making them homemade treats? Below is a super simple recipe to try:

 

 

 

Ingredients:

1 c flour; I used rice flour because I try to avoid wheat if possible

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ cup unsalted peanut butter; I only had Jif on hand so I made the indulgent version of these treats

½ c hot water

Fun shaped cookie cutters (optional)

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                                                                                                                     Step 1: Preheat the oven the 375

DSC_6930Step 2: Mix dry ingredients (flour and baking powder)

Step 3: Mix wet ingredients (water and peanut butter.) Then add the dry ingredients, combining until smooth. My dough turned out wet, so I added more flour. You can also add more water if the dough is too dry. This is where Lily picked up I might be making something for her!

DSC_6934Step 4: Roll your dough out on to a flat surface until ¼ in. thick and use cookie cutters to cut in to shapes. Place the cookies on a baking sheet.

Step 5: Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then enjoy!

In the past I made little bags of these for coworkers and they were a big hit! Jack, Lily and I wish you a happy holidays and a great 2015 for you and your pets!

 

 

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Holiday Pet Proofing Tips- By Amy Shojai

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When holiday decorations come out, the risk of dog and cat injury goes up. Pets explore their world by tasting, sniffing, chewing, climbing and pawing objects. They can turn your celebration decor into toys or treats that hurt them or even damage your home.

Christmas Tree Bad Cat 2Fireplaces and candles flicker an invitation to explore, and cats are heat seekers that can become burned when they lounge too close or try to sniff an open flame. Holiday plants like mistletoe and holly can poison pets that taste them. Cats that bat and claw a leaf and then lick clean their claws also risk poisoning.

 

Dogs and cats that chew or claw holiday lights risk electrocution that could kill them or cause a fire and destroy your home. Swallowing tinsel, pine needles, ornamental snow, and ornament hooks predicts a trip to the emergency room veterinarian. So does raiding the garbage for all the left-over goodies like gravy-soaked tin foil and string. Chocolate toxicity causes upset tummies with vomiting and diarrhea or worse, and is guaranteed to spoil your holiday festivities.

Christmas Tree Bad Dog 2Normal routines go out the window and can cause angst when you least expect it. One year, our regular game of indoor “doggy fetch” with soft toys broke an heirloom holiday decoration that left me crying for weeks. It wasn’t the dog’s fault, it was my fault for not properly pet proofing for the holidays.

 

Holiday Safety Tips

  • Place breakables out of paw and mouth reach on mantels or behind closed doors and baby gates. Choose non-breakable, swallow-able decorations instead.
  • Keep open flame to a minimum, and use pet-safe barriers to keep pets away. Battery-powered candles look nice, too!
  • Choose pet-safe holiday plants or use artificial ones.

Pet Proof the Tree

Christmas Tree Bad Cat 5Whether a live tree or artificial, a holiday tree becomes a great pet hideout and playground. Cats may want to climb or knock off breakable ornaments. Dogs want to play tug with branches, pee on the tree, or drink from the water basin, a potential poisoning if you’ve included additives. Trees end up toppled, presents and decorations damaged, and sometimes pets are hurt.

  • Keep breakables out of reach on high branches, and only place pet-safe items on lower branches.
  • Instead of spray-on snow, use cotton balls or dried baby’s breath.
  • Rather than tinsel, decorate with wide ribbon garlands. My holiday tree includes red and white silk roses placed among the branches.
  • Set small trees on a table top or counter out of dog nose reach.
  • Situate pet gates or barriers to control access into the room with your decorations to keep cats from climbing and toppling your formal tree
  • Pet doors that open with the individual cat or dog’s microchip or collar tag can be programmed to only offer access into a particular room when you want it.

Keep Pets at Bay

Stopping poor behavior is most successful when you also offer them a legal, and better, opportunity to act in a normal dog or cat way. You can persuade dogs and cats to avoid dangerous areas by making the holiday tree or other items unattractive while creating safe places the pets prefer.

Christmas Tree Bad Dog 2For instance, make the “legal” cat tree or dog crate even more alluring by tossing in a catnip mouse or scrumptious treats for them to find. That way your pets are more likely to do the right thing without your extra effort to prevent or punish problem behaviors. You can encourage pets to avoid illegal areas using these tips

 

  • Many pets dislike the feeling of walking on aluminum foil. Spread this on stovetops or under trees, or use it as tree decorations since it also looks festive.
  • Tacky mats from home products stores keep throw rugs from sliding around, and these work well under the Christmas tree to keep pets away. Cats especially dislike stepping on sticky surfaces that tug their toe hair.
  • Double-sided tape placed on placemats that can be moved around also work well to booby-trap countertops, fireplace hearths, mantels, or other forbidden spots.
  • Create an uncomfortable surface for dogs using clear plastic carpet runner/protectors placed nub-side up on forbidden zones. That makes the area surrounding the tree pretty unappealing.
  • Remote pet proofing sprays like the Ssscat® Spray emit a hiss of aerosol air or citronella spray when the pet comes too close to a forbidden area. You can place the Ssscat on countertops or near holiday trees to keep pets a safe distance way.
  • Try using your pet’s sense of smell to keep her away from the tree. Vicks Vapo Rub (menthol smell) works with some cats and dogs as a repellent. Dip cotton balls in the ointment and stick it in the lower branches of your tree.
  • Bitter Apple or other nasty tasting substances help keep pets from chewing objects like electric cords, but don’t rely on this entirely. Some dogs actually like the flavor.Holidays should be a joyful time for your entire family, including the cats and dogs. Put yourself in your pet’s “paws” when you decorate to help keep them happy and safe.

 

Amy Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and a nationally recognized pet care expert. She is the award-winning pet journalist and author of 30 best-selling pet care books.

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Holiday Gift Guide

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While you and the kids are tearing open gifts on Christmas morning, your pets can be, too! If you’re in need of some last minute gift ideas, we’ve got you covered. To get your pet gifts in time for Christmas Eve, order on our website by December 15th for FedEx Ground delivery and by December 22nd for FedEx Express delivery. Here are some of our favorite pet gifts for dogs and cats:

Pogo Plush® toys:

The resident favorite is the Pogo Plush Ladybug. BUT – the Bee and Panda are brand new to our Pogo Plush line and are wildly popular among the dogs that have been lucky enough to get sneak peeks of these two new Pogo Plush creatures before they were released! There are also three other Pogo Plush creatures. The design of Pogo Plush toys provides a unique bounce-back action that dogs prefer over traditional stuffed plush toys, and they even have a fun, free-floating squeaker inside. For dogs who quickly chew through stuffed toys to get to the stuffing, this is a great way to give them soft, plush fun without the stuffing. Christmas will really be merry for fido on Christmas morning with a new Pogo Plush toy!

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indigo™ Fresh Floss Bones:

All you want for Christmas is for your dog to have clean teeth and fresh breath? Then you came to the right place. Dogs in the PetSafe® family CAN’T GET ENOUGH of these things! Our indigo™ Fresh Floss Bones deep clean your dog’s teeth and gum line as he chews the treat. These chews are long-lasting (so long that your dog will be focused on this chew while everyone else opens gifts in peace) and are textured for extra cleaning action. These chews are made in the USA, last 5x longer than the leading dental chews, have natural chicken flavors and have no artificial colors or preservatives.

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Pawz Away® Threshold Pet Barrier:

Keep your pet off the naughty list next year. The Pawz Away Threshold Pet Barrier can help with that. Simply place the collar on your pet and place the barrier in the threshold of the doorway that leads to the off-limits room or area. The barrier is inconspicuous, so guests won’t even notice it or realize what it is, and it won’t be in the way…meaning you don’t have to worry about stepping over a baby gate anymore or having to remember to close the door to an off limits room. The Pawz Away Threshold Pet Barrier can be used with cats and dogs over 8 pounds.

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Drinkwell® Pagoda Fountain:

Winter weather is dry, but your pet’s water bowl certainly won’t be dry with a Drinkwell® Pagoda Fountain. We even have a new color – Himalayan Blue – that will make the winter weather seem less dreary. The Pagoda fountain continuously recirculates 70 ounces of fresh, filtered water and is super easy to clean because it’s top rack dishwasher safe! The Drinkwell Pagoda Fountain is best for cats and small dogs.

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ScoopFree® Self-Cleaning Litter Box:

The weather outside might be frightful, but your cats litter box will be so delightful. Yes, the litter box will actually be delightful. You won’t even need that fresh balsam candle to mask your cat’s litter box odors once you get your hands on a ScoopFree litter box. ScoopFree is the self-cleaning litter box you can leave alone for weeks at a time, and many people have even told us that their guests don’t even realize they have a cat thanks to the ScoopFree litter box. ScoopFree will give you an effortless odor-free home and will always provide your cat a clean, fresh litter box…and it’s even $20 off right now on our website (limited time offer)!

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FroliCat™ BOLT™:

BOLT is an interactive laser toy that provides hours of fun for you and your cat or dog. Simply hold BOLT in your hand or place it on a flat surface, turn it on, and watch your pet pounce, chase, and bat at the exciting laser patterns. Pets love the random patterns they can chase across the floor, up the walls, and over furniture. The FroliCat BOLT will keep you cat entertained and out of the wrapping paper and boxes on Christmas morning.

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Santa’s not the only one with free shipping! Orders over $50 ship for FREE with FedEx Ground. Hurry to www.petsafe.net to shop for your pets or for a friends pet. These are just a few of our favorite things, but there is SO much more. We’ve got something for everyone! ‘Tis the season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PetSafe Top Topics Veterinarians Wish Pets Owners Better Understood

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As a 1999 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, the past 16 years have afforded me many opportunities to witness trends of illness and wellness in my patients. Such experiences have yielded many insights contributing to my perspective on what are the most critical aspects of pet care by which I recommend owners abide.

Most puppies and kittens are born healthy, but then time and human influence contributes to a variety of ailments or injury that affects a pet’s quality of life. Owner complacency, lack of veterinary influence when making decisions about health care, financial constraints, and even pet product company misinformation are some of the top reasons our canine and feline companions ultimately die or are euthanized.

To further explore this topic, I created this “Top Topics Veterinarians Wish Pets Owners Better Understood” blog, including:

Prevent Obesity Through Calorie Control and Exercise
Owners must better understand the irreversible health consequences associated with obesity and put daily effort into preventing pets from becoming overweight or obese.

In the United States, over 54% of cats and dogs and (approximately 98 million pets) are overweight or obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Arthritis, high blood pressure, heart and lung problems, diabetes, hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, and other ailments can be avoided or minimized if pets maintain a normal body condition score (see The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine Body Condition Scoring Chart).

When feeding your canine or feline companion, always follow manufacturer-recommended guidelines, feed smaller portions (at the lower end or less of manufacturer guidelines), and use a metric measuring cup to determine the proper amount. Research has proven that dogs consuming diets where calories are restricted by only 25% live two years longer and suffer fewer obesity-related health problems than those lacking calorie control (see Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs).

Make physical activity for your pet a daily priority, as exercise benefits more than just the body; it provides behavioral stimulation that helps satisfy a pet’s need for interaction and strengthens the companion animal-owner bond.

Your Pet’s Primary Diet Should Not Be One Made with Processed Nor Feed-Grade Ingredients
I’m continually floored by the perspective of dog and cat owners who feel that the most ideal food for their pets is commercially-available dry or canned pet food.

After all, nature just makes food. We humans then highly process nature’s ingredients to create a ‘nutritionally complete and balanced’ option to conveniently dispense from a bag or can.

Unfortunately for our companion canine and felines, there are serious short and long- term-health implications associated when feedings are primarily composed of grain and protein meals and by-products, artificial colors and flavors, moistening agents (propylene glycol, etc.), chemical preservatives (BHT, ethoxyquin, etc.) and even carcinogens (carageenan, BHA, etc.) found in many commercially available pet foods and treats. The skin, stomach, intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, thyroid glands, immune system, and others can be negatively affected by such ingredients that don’t serve the best interests of our pets’ health.

Additionally, radically altering food components from nature’s original format via high-heat cooking and fractionating ingredients instead of keeping them whole can reduce foods’ nutritive content or induce illness. Processed dry or canned pet foods should be replaced by home-prepared or commercially available diets having undergone minimal refinement that are:
Human-grade (instead of feed-grade, which means food has been deemed inedible for human consumption and is appropriate only for animals)
Whole-food (instead of processed)
Lacking in chemical preservatives and artificial colors and flavors
Freshly prepared (cooking, defrosting, hydrating, etc.)

Dental Care Is A Crucial Component of Pet Ownership
Many pet owners don’t recognize the serious health repercussions of periodontal disease (that affecting the teeth and gums). Millions of bacteria thrive on food residues found in the mouth’s warm and moist environment that can enter the bloodstream through inflamed gums (gingivitis) or loose or fractured teeth. The heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, joints, and other body systems are continually damaged from the shower of toxic bacteria entering the blood from the mouth.

Pet Dental CareJust like in humans, periodontal disease in pets is preventable. Many pet owners are uncomfortable with the concept of regularly cleaning their dog or cat’s teeth. Yet, most parents will brush a young child’s teeth until a level of maturity has been reached where the child can care for his own dental health. The same perspective should be applied to our pets, but we need to care for our dogs and cats’ teeth on a lifelong basis.

If you can’t sufficiently care for your pet’s teeth, then a veterinarian will need to be involved in providing a dental cleaning. Going under anesthesia is the most thorough means of evaluating our pets’ oral health (via examination, gingival probing, and x-rays) and scaling and polishing their teeth. Without anesthesia, it’s often prohibitively challenging to perform a thorough examination or clean under the gumline and dental x-rays or teeth extraction definitely cannot be performed.

Pets are never ‘too old’ to undergo anesthesia, yet they certainly can be ‘too unhealthy’. Age is not a disease, but the bacterial infection in your dog or cat’s mouth the ability for infection to damage other both tissues certainly is.

Pets having very mild periodontal disease and those that are cooperative enough to be comfortably restrained may be candidates for anesthesia-free dental, which should only be formed by a veterinarian or licensed veterinarian technician.

Alternative strategies to traditional vaccination protocols
I am not anti-vaccine, but I advocate the judicious use of vaccinations according to the 2011 AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines or the 2006 AAFP Feline Vaccination Guidelines.

Life threatening health consequences may be associated with vaccination administration. Even a single vaccine can elicit a Vaccine Associated Adverse Event (VAAE), including hypersensitivity (‘allergic’) reaction, emergence or worsening of immune system diseases (including cancer), organ system failure, seizures, and death.

Pets should be vaccinated only when they are in the best state of health; illnesses should be resolved to the utmost extent before a vaccination is given. Additionally, vaccinations should be given singly, as giving more than one vaccination in one setting increasing the likelihood of VAAE.

Pet Vaccines on PetPlan Insurance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving more than one vaccination in a single veterinary appointment will not make your pet healthier; it only saves an additional trip to the veterinary hospital. A three to four week interval between vaccinations is ideal. Health and safety should always trump convenience.

Pending the overall health status of a pet and the potential for exposure to a particular infectious organism, owners should request their veterinarian to perform antibody titers (levels) where blood is tested for antibodies produced to previous immunizations. If a titer is equivalent to or greater than an acceptable threshold and the likelihood a pet will be exposed to these organisms is low, then the decision to hold off on the vaccination can be made under the guidance of the veterinarian providing care. If the titer is low and the animal is healthy enough, then the vaccine can be appropriately given.

I hope you found these topics useful and can apply them to your pets. If I didn’t believe in the subject matter through my own experience in veterinary medicine, I wouldn’t be sharing it with my clients and pet owners world-wide.

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5 DIY Cat Toys in 5 Minutes

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Leftovers are the best! No, not the turkey leftovers in your fridge. With all of the leftover wrapping and boxes lying around from opening presents, now’s the perfect time to make some new cat toys. It’s like a second Christmas for your cat! I made these toys in about 5 minutes, and the cats had a blast playing with them.

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Pipe Cleaner Toy

diy-cat-toy-pipe-cleanerCats love pipe cleaners. If you’re crafty or have kids, you might have some in your craft bin. Grab a pack of pipe cleaners and twist them together to create fun balls and shapes for your cat to detangle. Toss them on the kitchen floor or poke them around the corner for your cat to attack. Red and white candy cane pipe cleaners are perfect cat stocking stuffer ideas for next year.

If you’re worried about your cat chewing the metal, twist the ends together and watch your cat when she plays with them. Take them away if she starts biting them too much.

 

Deluxe Cardboard Box

The most basic box is the perfect cat toy. Try these ideas to make a box the ultimate playhouse for your cat. Your cats might start fighting over who gets to be in the box!

  • Add some used wrapping paper to the bottom for a satisfying crinkle.
  • Toss in a small cardboard bag with the handle cut off.
  • Cut a large hole in the side and close the top to make a secret entrance.
  • Cut little holes in the corner to poke feather toys, laser pointers, or pipe cleaners through.
  • Tie a mouse toy on a string to the top flap.
  • Cut a large hole in the side and attach a smaller, longer box to make a tunnel.

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Cat Wands

diy-cat-toy-feather-wandGrab a clean stick from your yard or your crafts bin. Add a topper like leftover ribbon, wrapping paper, or even an empty cat treat bag. You could also use an old bandana. Fold it into a long strip and knot the middle so it doesn’t unfold, then tie it to the end of a stick.

Have an old feather toy that’s broken or your cats don’t play with anymore? Combine two old toys into one new toy. Tie a different plush cat toy to the end of the string. Now your cat has a new wand!

 

 

Treat-Dispensing Toy

diy-cat-toy-treat-dispensing-tubeThis is the perfect toy for a cat who needs to lose weight. Put your cat’s treats or part of her meal in an empty toilet paper roll. Fold or tape up the ends, then either leave the ends slightly open or cut tiny holes in the sides. Make sure the holes are big enough to let the food or treats come out. Toss the toy to your cat and show her that food comes out when she plays with it. For chubby cats, measure each of her meals and put it in the dispenser. She gets more exercise as she bats it across the room, and you can give her the right portions to help her lose weight.

If she doesn’t understand how it works at first, make the holes bigger so food comes out easier. If it’s too easy or your cat rips through the cardboard, you can upgrade to more durable plastic treat-dispensing toys made just for cats.

Catnip Sock

Did you get yet another pack of socks as a gift? Turn that dud of a gift into awesome catnip cat toys! Fill a sock with stuffing or cut up another sock into bits. Mix some fresh catnip in with the stuffing. You can also break open an old catnip toy and mix around the catnip, then put the insides in the sock. Sew the sock closed or just knot the ends together tightly. Sprinkle some catnip or fish flakes on the toy and watch your cat go nuts.

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