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  • 10 Winter Weather Safety Tips for Pets

    We’re approaching a new year, but we’re also approaching the heart of winter where temperatures will be bitter cold and precipitation will take on frozen forms. While the weather won’t stop our pets from going out to do their business or play in the snow, there are many ways we can keep them protected from the elements of winter. Here are some tips to help pets stay safe and healthy during winter weather.

    1. Manage Time Outdoors

    No matter what the weather is like, dogs have to go outside to take care of business. And when it snows, many pets want to join us in the fun of snowball fights and building snowmen. So, the outdoors is inevitable, but you can manage how long they are outside and know what their limits are. Try to keep bathroom trips and outdoor playtime short, especially if your pet is more sensitive to cold temperatures. Long exposure to cold temperatures and precipitation can lead to your pet getting sick even after being brought back in. It’s best to keep pets indoors unless otherwise necessary.

    2. Clear Path and Check Chemicals

    If your pet does go outside, make sure they have a path cleared out in the snow to the area where they do their business. And be careful with any chemicals or salt products you put down to prevent ice. Antifreeze, for instance, smells and tastes sweet to pets but it’s toxic to them. Consider using a brand made from non-toxic propylene glycol, like Safe Paw. Products like Safe Paw are equally effective in getting rid of ice, but they are safe for pets, children and the environment because they don’t contain corrosive salts, chemicals or dyes that can be harmful.

    3. Inspect and Clean Pets

    Might be your routine for when it rains or your pet gets covered in mud, but it’s also a good practice for when it is cold or there is winter precipitation. Whether they are outside for bathroom breaks or walks, no matter how long, check your pet’s ears, paws and tail for any sign of frostbite or ice and snow buildup. Not only could it make them sick, it could cause internal damage and pain. And every time they come back inside, have a dry, clean towel handy, like the Tall Tails Cape Pocket Towel, to wipe down their legs, belly and paws so that any winter elements and products they encounter don’t irritate their skin and can’t be ingested when they lick themselves.

    4. Another Layer of Protection

    While grooming is imperative for pets all year round, try to avoid cutting your pet’s fur in the wintertime. Pets’ winter coat is a natural barrier from the harsh, cold elements so it will give them extra warmth when they go outside. Therefore, pets with longer or more fur don’t need an extra layer to go outside. Smaller pets and those with shorter coats may have more benefit and comfort by wearing a dog sweater or jacket, like the Silverton Weatherproof dog coat by Outward Hound, which is made to keep pets warm and dry from the wind, snow and rain.

    5. Think Twice About Pets and Cars

    This is imperative in the winter time. Stay cats, for instance, try to find warm areas when it is cold outside. One such place is near the engine of cars. Many cats get injured and/or killed from people turning on their cars not knowing the cats are there. To keep them safe, gently bang on the hood and sides of your car before you get in and turn it on. The banging will spook them out of your car. And for your own pets who join you in the car, do not leave them in a cold car. It’s just as dangerous to leave them in a cold car as it is to leave them in a hot car in the summertime.

    6. Relieve Anxiety

    Not all pets are fond of the cold weather, especially those who have come from abusive situations and used to be left in the cold. So, if you have a pet who gets anxious or nervous to go outside for a bathroom break or during an extreme winter storm, give your pets products that will help relieve their anxiety, like CBD supplements. Canna-Pet has CBD supplements that contains concentrated, naturally-occurring cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from hemp to help naturally ease your pet’s anxiety. These and other CBD products help comfort pets in a safe and healthy manner.

    7. Visible Wear and Updated Identification

    More pets become lost in the winter than any other season because snowfall can disguise recognizable scents that would normally help them find their way home. Prevent your pets from becoming lost by keeping dogs leashed on walks or within the vicinity of your property. And give them reflective gear, like Corky’s Reflective Wear, so they can be seen during the dark hours of winter. In case you are separated from your pets, make sure they are licensed, microchipped and they are wearing up-to-date identification tags so that they can be returned safely to you.

    8. Keep Pets Hydrated

    This may seem like an unnecessary tip, but it’s actually a common misconception during the wintertime to not need water as often as in the warmer seasons. Dehydration can happen at any time in any season. In fact, winter air is dry and can be just as dangerous as the heat in the summer. It’s very important to make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water to drink throughout the day.

    9. Give Shelter

    For any strays you have around that spend most of the time outdoors, give them shelter to keep them warm and dry. If possible, bring them indoors during sub-zero temperatures. For the rest of the time, offer a shelter space that is large enough to allow them to sit and lay down comfortable but also small enough to conserve body heat. The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. Have the shelter face away from wind and cover the doorway with waterproof materials. They also need more food to replace energy lost from trying to stay warm so use plastic food and water dishes.

    10. Be Prepared

    Like any season, winter can bring extreme weather that causes possible power outages and more. It’s always good to be prepared for situations like this. Have an emergency kit with enough food, water and medication, like Sturtevants Canine Formula (also available for cats), to last your pets at least five days. Hopefully and most likely you will never need it, but should the situation arise, you and your pet will be thankful you planned ahead!

    Source: Tails and Toys

  • Preparing Your Home & Family For A New Pet

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    In movies and on television, bringing home a new pet requires little more than a red bow and a bag of kibble. But in real life, choosing and preparing for a new pet means planning and at least a little research. After all, caring for an animal is a big commitment and you’ll want to do everything you can to set this new relationship up for success. From choosing a breed to pet-proofing your home, these tips will walk you through the process so you can focus on bonding, instead of stressing.

    Choose The Right Pet For You

    While dogs are a popular choice (with an estimated 78 million kept as pets in the U.S., according to the ASPCA) they aren’t the only choice and may not be the best option for you. When deciding the best animal for you and your family, consider:

    The Size Of Your Home And Yard – Do you have enough space to live comfortably with a large dog? Will you have to enclose your yard to keep your pet safe outdoors? If letting your pet out unattended is not an option, are you willing to walk your dog daily, sometimes in the rain or snow?

    The Activities You Plan To Enjoy With Your Pet – Your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy can help you determine what type of pet is right for you. If you’re planning on walking or running regularly with your new pet, you’ll want an active breed that can keep up. If you’re more of a couch potato, you might consider a cat, an aquarium of fish, or a less active breed of dog, like a pug. The American Kennel Club has a quiz that can match your lifestyle with an optimal breed.

    Allergies – Is anyone in your home allergic to specific animals? While an allergy may prompt you to look into alternative animals, like a fish or a lizard, your dreams of dog or cat companionship don’t have to be dashed. Of course, no dog or cat is 100% hypoallergenic, but there are breeds more easily tolerated by allergy sufferers. You can find complete lists of hypoallergenic cat and dog breeds online.

    Preparing For Your Pet

    Before bringing your new pet home, you’ll want to discuss who will be responsible for different aspects of its care. Older children may be trusted to walk a small to medium-sized dog, while everyone can share in feeding and grooming tasks.

    You’ll also want to purchase the supplies, food, and gear necessary for when your pet comes home. This includes food, bowls, toys, litter box, leash, cages, treats, and a bed. If you’re adopting a dog or a cat, check with the breeder or shelter to find out which brand of food your pet is already accustomed to. Keeping your pet’s kibble consistent can prevent digestive discomfort and ease a frightening transition.

    Choose a veterinarian before bringing your pet home and schedule a checkup within the first week or two after your pet’s arrival. You should also locate the nearest 24-hour emergency animal hospital and post their phone number where everyone in the house can find it.

    Pet-Proof Your Home

    Make sure that cords are secure and that any houseplants you have won’t be a health hazard to your new pet. With puppies, it’s also a good idea to store shoes, garbage bins, and laundry baskets out of harm’s way. If you have any pest or rodent traps or repellents, make sure those are also out of reach.

    Bringing Your New Pet Home

    Bring your new pet home at the beginning of the weekend or at the least, schedule it so you can devote a full day to helping your pet acclimate to its new surroundings. Use a crate or harness when transporting your animal, as a fearful or curious pet can quickly distract the driver or get underfoot, interfering with braking and accelerating. Upon entering your home, don’t bombard or overwhelm your new pet, especially rescue animals who may be nervous in new surroundings. Remind your children of the animal’s possible fears and encourage them to sit and talk calmly to your pet until he’s comfortable.

    Once you’ve let your new pet explore its new surroundings, introduce your pet to where you expect him to use the bathroom. Let your pet sniff around, do his business, and then offer praise for going where he’s supposed to.

    Bonding With Your New Pet

    During your pet’s first week home, balance all those snuggles and attention with plenty of space for your pet to explore, gain independence, and settle into a natural schedule. You should also use this time to identify any additional necessary pet-proofing. Dedicate time in your daily schedule for walking, running around the yard, and/or playing with toys. While there will certainly be accidents, messes, and a period of adjustment for you both, pet-proofing and preparation will go a long way toward heading off trouble before it begins, giving you more opportunity to bond with your new pet.

    Preparing For An Elderly Pet

    Your first days at home with a new-to-you elderly pet, or a pet from a shelter, should be kept as relaxing as possible. Prep your home to accommodate an older animal, and put off visitors and trips to the vet during the first week your pet comes home. If your new pet seems to sleep a lot during this time, there’s probably no need to worry. Many rescue animals come from noisy and stressful kennels and the peace and quiet of your home may give them a chance to finally get some shut-eye. If your elderly or shelter pet’s personality seems lackluster in the first few days, give it time. It’s normal for a newly adopted pet to “lay low” during the first week in a new home. Your animal’s personality will emerge more and more as he begins to feel comfortable.

    While no amount of preparation will potty-train a puppy or save every pair of shoes from chew-toy status, there are ways to ensure that the transition goes smoothly, for both you and your new pet. Remember to be patient and avoid overwhelming your new animal. It won’t be long before he’s walking around like he owns the place.

    *Written by Jessica Brody

  • The Keys to a Healthy Pet

    You’re a proactive pet parent. You want to ensure that your pet is living the highest quality of life possible. You’ve already taken the first step by becoming a fan of Oxbow and feeding your pet the most nutritious and delicious hay and food pellets available on the market! Give yourself a high five! No, we mean it. Give yourself a high five.

    All set?

    Now we can get down to business. Nutrition doesn’t stop with hay and pellets. Supporting your pet’s health and well-being can be a daunting task, but we know that you’re up for the challenge. Here are just a few things that you can do to help your pet become their healthiest, happiest selves.

    1. Offer a balanced diet based on your species.

    2. Just like a cat or dog, small herbivores also need yearly checkups with an exotic-savvy vet! Vets can stop asymptomatic issues from becoming problematic and will check your pet’s weight and temperature to ensure that there aren’t any issues. There’s nothing better than a clean bill of health!

    3. Supplements are a great way to support your pet. Oxbow offers a fantastic line of Natural Science Supplements to support your pet’s immune system, joints, digestive system, skin and coat, and more. Click here to view our full line of hay-based, high-fiber supplements containing essential herbs and vitamins to help support your pet’s overall health.

    4. Enrichment and play time are vital to your pet’s wellbeing! Make sure to play and engage your pet every day. Let them out of their cage in a secure area where they are safe and free to explore. Click here for great tips on how to pet-proof your home from the American Humane Society!

    *Source courtesy of Oxbow Animal Health

  • The Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Pet Outside

    Autumn is upon us and the weather is finally cooling off! The mid-summer heat may have made outdoor excursions intolerable, if not impossible. Now that the weather is less hot and humid, you may find yourself in a position where you can share the outdoors with your pets and provide them with additional physical and mental enrichment.

    Infographic Pets Outside 2

    Please keep in mind that the great outdoors can also be stressful for a small animal that hasn’t been outside before. By starting off with short intervals outside, your furry companion will be able to better adjust to new sights, sounds, and smells.

    That being said, being outside can be a great opportunity for animals to exercise and explore. Your pet will greatly benefit from the physical, mental, and nutritional enrichment of being able to relax in their natural environment while engaging in behaviors such as grazing and foraging. Once proper precautions have been taken, your pet will undoubtedly enjoy the fresh air as much as you do!

    *Source courtesy of Oxbow Animal Health