Our friends over at Fidose of Reality love and care for your dogs just as much as we do. That’s why they’ve put together this useful guide of 8 Hacks to Prevent Dog Fleas and Ticks. Packed with natural solutions to the nastiest biting insects, this post is all-natural and a must read for any dog parents out there who want to protect their dogs from fleas and ticks and from dangerous chemicals and pesticides.
Can Dogs Catch the Flu?
Canine flu is a contagious respiratory disease in dogs. It is thought to be a mainly airborne virus, most likely transmitted by an infected dog coughing or sneezing on another. In otherwise healthy dogs, statistics show that the canine flu is a fairly mild disease with most dogs recovering completely in two to three weeks.
The canine influenza virus (CIV), type H3N8, was first noted in greyhounds several years ago, and appeared quite dangerous at the time, with many deaths. However, its deadly effects are attributed to secondary pneumonia that developed due to the unsanitary conditions in which the greyhounds lived and worked.
What is the Difference Between H3N8 and H3N2?
In March 2015, a new outbreak began in Chicago and quickly spread around the Midwest; other areas have also reported cases. This is a different strain, H3N2, that originated in Asia. This form of CIV appears to be generally mild, except in susceptible individuals, including young puppies. This strain is also unusual in that it can affect cats and possibly other animals, though not humans.
What are Canine Influenza Virus Symptoms?
In the vast majority of dogs, CIV produces only mild, self-limiting respiratory signs: coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and fever, for up to 3 weeks. In some cases, lethargy and poor appetite may develop. Canine flu is similar to kennel cough in that antibiotics do not affect the course of the disease.
The canine flu is highly contagious; and like human flu, it is most contagious during the 2-4 day incubation period before signs of illness appear. Infected dogs continue to shed virus for about 10 days. These traits make prevention difficult.
The most likely places for your dog (or cat) to contract this flu virus are daycare and boarding kennels, dog parks, grooming facilities, pet stores, and veterinary clinics – all places where a lot of animals (especially puppies) pass through, and the chances of spreading the virus are high.
Is There a Vaccine for Canine Influenza Virus
A vaccine against the H3N8 strain of CIV is available. However, again, like human flu vaccines, it neither prevents infection nor prevents symptoms. At best, it may reduce the severity and duration of illness, and it may reduce viral shedding by an infected dog. Because it is a killed vaccine, a 2-shot series is required, with at least 10-14 days between inoculations. Immunity develops slowly; so the vaccine doesn’t really take effect until 3-4 weeks after the first shot. Giving the vaccine after a dog has been exposed to the virus is therefore useless.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The currently available vaccine does not protect against the H3N2 strain that is going around in 2015.
The CIV vaccine is considered non-core, and vaccination is not recommended for most dogs; or for any dogs that may be exposed to the newer, H3N2 strain. Some boarding kennels require vaccination for CIV; however, such requirements are not based on science, but on fear.
How is the Canine Influenza Virus Spread?
CIV spreads through respiratory secretions and contaminated objects (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes), and by people moving between infected and uninfected dogs without using proper precautions.
The virus can remain infectious on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Good hygiene and isolation of infected dogs will limit, if not eliminate, transmission.
What Dogs Does the Canine Influenza Affect?
CIV, like many other viruses, is most likely to cause serious problems in young puppies, and in older dogs who already have other health issues.
What is the Best Defense Against Canine Influenza?
The best defense against canine flu (or any other infectious disease) is a healthy immune system — that is, one that is supported with top quality nutrition, appropriate supplements (antioxidants, Omega-3 fatty acids, and other immune supporters), limiting exposure, appropriate exercise, and good stress management.
Listen to Only Natural Pet’s Founder & CEO Marty Grosjean interviewed on Pet Radio. He discusses everything from ingredient standards, the true meaning of natural, and the important impact a natural lifestyle can have on your pet’s life.
Natural Pet Product Pioneer Only Natural Pet, Receives Overwhelmingly Positive Response to New Product Launch
Boulder, Colo., September 24, 2014― Only Natural Pet (http://www.onlynaturalpet.com), a Boulder-based pioneer of natural pet food, supplements and supplies, announced today that it is enhancing its pet food offering with an October 6, 2014 release of its natural dog kibble and canned cat food. To formulate the new foods, Only Natural Pet worked with holistic veterinarian Dr. Jean Hofve to create the new allergy-friendly Canine PowerFood™ and Feline PowerPâté™.
“Our customers were looking for a natural, grain-free food where meat was the #1 ingredient. After listening to customer requests, we formulated a natural recipe that is high-quality, made in the USA, and affordable. Our exclusively online approach to serving pet parents streamlines the entire process and passes on significant savings.” said Kersten Lee, Director of Product for Only Natural Pet. Canine PowerFood is a dry food based on the latest scientific research into packing optimal nutrition into a dog kibble, including high animal protein content and inclusion of healthy fats. This revolutionary new food comes in three recipes: Poultry Feast, Just Fish Feast and Red Meat Feast. These allergy-friendly recipes are grain-free and gluten-free and contain low-glycemic carbs like garbanzo beans and lentils, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, offering dogs whole food sources of important vitamins and minerals. Each piece of kibble is infused with Only Natural Pet’s proprietary PowerBoost™, a raw, freeze-dried blend of superfoods like green-lipped mussels, sea cucumber, pumpkin, probiotics, and digestive enzymes.
Feline PowerPâté is a canned cat food that also comes in three recipes: Chicken Dinner, Turkey Dinner and Seafood Dinner. Each recipe comes in a BPA-free can and is made in small batches at a micro-cannery in the USA with 100% human grade, grain-free and gluten-free ingredients. All three recipes feature fresh meat, fruits and vegetables and are packed in a homemade broth.
“Our commitment to improving the health of our companion animals with a holistic approach to pet health has been our top priority since founding Only Natural Pet over 10 years ago,” said Marty Grosjean, Founder and President of Only Natural Pet. “Our success with pre-orders alone demonstrates the trust we have built with customers in developing natural products and shipping them directly to the home. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from customers that have been shopping with us for years, we can’t thank them enough for their loyal support and trust over the years.”
The new products will be sold exclusively online at http://www.onlynaturalpet.com, http://www.pet360.com and http://www.petfooddirect.com. The Canine PowerFood will be sold in 4.5-pound and 22.5-pound bags; the Feline PowerPâté will be offered in individual 5.5 oz cans and in cases of 24. The new PowerFood line joins Only Natural Pet’s three existing food lines: HealthMeals™, EasyRaw™, and MaxMeat™.
Only Natural Pet worked with BlogPaws (http://www.blogpaws.com), the go-to social media company for pet bloggers and social media enthusiasts, to assist with the launch. BlogPaws recruited 20 pet bloggers to review and sample the PowerFood in an exclusive pre-launch campaign.
About Only Natural Pet
Only Natural Pet (http://www.onlynaturalpet.com) was founded in 2004 in Boulder, Colorado, with a commitment to finding the most effective and sustainable natural pet products for every facet of a pet’s life. Today, Only Natural Pet is the leading online retailer in the natural pet food, supplements and supplies market. The company operates an e-commerce site, flagship retail store, and a print catalog that offers more than 3,900 products from Only Natural Pet and leading manufacturers in the natural, organic, and eco-friendly pet supply market. Only Natural Pet produces more than 200 of its own highly popular Only Natural Pet branded products, including food, vitamins, supplements, flea prevention, and homeopathic treatments.
Only Natural Pet, a Boulder, CO-based online retailer of natural pet products, has a lot to celebrate for its 10th Anniversary―ten successful years in business, an expanding product offering, and a reputation as a stalwart of a booming industry where natural pet products are the fastest growing segment. Founded in Boulder, Colorado, in 2004, Only Natural Pet has spent the past 10 years finding innovative, cutting-edge holistic health solutions for dogs and cats and has become a leader in the natural pet products industry.
“Only Natural Pet was founded when I realized that while I was thriving on a healthy, natural lifestyle, my dog was struggling on conventional pet foods and treatments,” said Marty Grosjean, founder and CEO of Only Natural Pet. “I started feeding my dog a natural, healthy diet that also included natural supplements and saw great strides in her health. As a result, I realized that I someone needed to make it easier for all consumers to buy natural products for their pets, and Only Natural Pet was born.”
According to data from both Mintel’s U.S. Pet Food report and PetFoodIndustry.com, between the years of 2012 and 2016, the current and anticipated increase in general pet food spending is $2 billion, with natural pet food making up approximately $1.3 billion of the total amount. This isn’t surprising to Only Natural Pet; in its first 10 years, the company has gone from an online retailer of the leading food, treats and supplements from existing pet companies, to a company who has developed and tested their own cutting-edge line of natural products with the help of a holistic veterinarian and extensive industry research. Today, Only Natural Pet offers conscious consumers more than 3,900 natural product options, with over 500 of those products under the Only Natural Pet brand.
Throughout the past 10 years, Only Natural Pet has remained true to its belief that a natural lifestyle contributes to a longer and healthier life for one’s pet. The company is committed to educating consumers on important pet health topics through its extensive Holistic Healthcare Library, which houses more than 200 articles and videos to help customers improve their pet’s health. In addition, Only Natural Pet is a founding member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Project, which strives to make the planet healthier for both humans and their pets. Only Natural Pet works closely with other industry leaders to set standards that cover everything from efficient facilities to sustainable products.
About Only Natural Pet
Only Natural Pet was founded in 2004 in Boulder, Colorado with a commitment to finding the most effective and sustainable natural pet products for every facet of a pet’s life. Today, Only Natural Pet is the leading online retailer in the natural pet supplies market. The company operates an e-commerce site, retail store, and catalog business that offers more than 3,900 products from leading manufacturers in the natural, organic, and eco-friendly pet supply market. Only Natural Pet produces more than 500 of its own highly popular Only Natural Pet branded products, including food, vitamins, supplements, and flea prevention and treatment.
From the deadly chicken jerky coming out of China to your everyday rawhide – identifying safe treats for your dog can be a matter of life and death. Most chews look innocent enough, but the truth is these chews are not only unhealthy for our dogs, they can be downright dangerous! But with some careful research and helpful tips, you can prevent treat time from becoming a terror.
Find the Source
The biggest step you can take for your dog’s treat safety is knowing the country of origin of the treats and chews you’re feeding.
As an educated pet parent, you’re already aware of the recalls and FDA investigations resulting from the Chinese chicken jerky treats, but there are other dangers to avoid when considering your dog’s treats and chews.
Chicken breast is more readily available and less expensive in China because human consumption focuses on dark meat, rather than white meat. However, the chicken sourced from China, as well as Chinese processing, use techniques and additives, like certain antibiotics, that are not allowed in the United States for safety reasons. The end result is a questionable treat that presents a risk not worth taking.
For not only your dog’s chicken jerky treats, but also his sweet potato chews, make the safer choice and only buy products sourced from the USA. They’re overseen by the FDA and must follow strict guidelines to ensure safety for your pet.
Beef and lamb chews can be sourced from several different areas.
USA chews will always be overseen by the FDA, which will mean a safe, high quality product.
Numerous chews also come from Australia and New Zealand, both countries with strict oversight, pristine environments, and high quality products. Beef chews from South America are also very safe, healthy options for your dog. High quality South American beef is a way of life for many ranchers and they are very careful to produce grass-fed, free range, 100% safe products.
Ingredient Dos and Don’ts
When it comes to ingredients in your pet’s treats and chews, a simple rule of thumb is less is more. Single ingredient treats are not only great because they’re a healthy option for your pets, but you can easily determine what’s in them, and more importantly, what’s not. If a product is made with 100% chicken, 100% sweet potato, or 100% beef, you know exactly what your dog will be eating.
Artificial colors, preservatives and flavors are also very common in pet treats. Keep your eyes peeled for any ingredients that don’t look familiar or that you can’t pronounce.
Gently dehydrated treats are easily made without these ingredients, so shop around and find options without artificial, harmful chemicals.
Finally, make sure you read the ingredient panel. A lot of companies will make healthy claims on the front of the bag, but the truth is discovered on the back. Read the ingredient panel carefully and make sure you know everything that’s in the treat.
Back to Nature
Natural ingredients are always going to be better for your dog: they’re easier to digest, they’re in line with a high quality, healthy diet, and they’re less processed than conventional treats. But with so many treats claiming to be natural, finding the truly healthy options can be difficult. There are some simple tips to help.
Look for how the product is marketed. When companies claim that their products are “100% Real,” they are grasping at straws. “Real” is not a substantiated claim and makes no difference in what’s actually in your dog’s treat. This also applies to treats that make big, bold claims on the front of the packaging. When you want to find out what a product is made with, you look at the ingredient panel, not the front of the bag.
Truly natural products can be easily identified by looking for certain phrases, like single ingredient, grass-fed, and free range. But even more important is looking at the ingredient panel: if there’s only one ingredient, then you know what your dog is eating.
It’s also helpful to keep processing in mind. If the chew or treat is bright white or some unnatural color, then it has more than likely gone through a toxic bleaching and dyeing process. If, for example, the sweet potato looks like a sweet potato, then you know that it has simply been dehydrated, which not only maintains nutritional content, but keeps dangerous chemicals out of the process.
Along with knowing what you’re giving your dog, it’s equally important to know how you give it to your dog. Although natural treats like bully sticks and sweet potato chews are 100% digestible, they can still present choking hazards and get lodged in your dog’s throat. Preventing this can be a fairly simple task.
Always be present when giving your dog a chew. You don’t have to be nose to nose, but make sure you’re in the same area as your dog and stop in occasionally to make sure everything is going smoothly. This not only gives you peace of mind that your dog is safe, but it also helps reinforce the bond between you and your dog.
Know your dog’s chewing habits. If he likes to swallow large pieces of treats, take the chew away from him when it gets down to the final bit. This will remove the choking hazard, but still give your dog a satisfying chewing experience.
When it comes to bully sticks, make sure you size your treat to your dog accordingly. Smaller dogs can do well with any size bully stick, but the 4 inch ones will last a while and are
satisfying. For larger dogs, make sure you’re getting a 12 inch or 18 inch bully stick to prevent choking and offer them a longer chewing experience.
If you’ve ever found yourself scratching your head while standing in the food section of your local pet store or browsing the internet trying to figure out what the best food is for your pet, you’re not alone! Many major pet food companies assume that the average consumer really doesn’t know one food from the next, and because of this assumed lack of knowledge, these companies expect you to buy a food much the same way we buy a lot of things—with labeling techniques on the front of the product. Unfortunately, this tactic can confuse the consumer at best and create a false belief at worst.
All the eye-catching graphics and buzz words aside, always remember that it’s what’s INSIDE the bag that really counts.
The First Five
“The First Five” is the best (and easiest) rule to follow when deciphering an ingredient panel. Ingredients are listed in descending order by pre-cooked weight, meaning that once you get past the first five ingredients, the percentages of the remaining ingredients drop dramatically.
Because dogs and cats are carnivores, look for a premium food that lists high quality animal protein as one of those first five ingredients. Premium foods will not contain low quality animal ingredients such as animal by-products or unnamed “meat meals”— a named animal meal, e.g. duck meal, is acceptable. The remaining ingredients of the first five should be another high quality animal protein, or a high quality, low glycemic carbohydrate source such as lentils, garbanzo beans or sweet potatoes. These ingredients work as a binder to help keep the food’s consistency and can add extra protein, fiber and vitamins without spiking blood sugar levels.
Just as you’ll find quality ingredients in the “first five” of premium foods, low end and mass market foods are filled with nasty ingredients. Never buy a food with first five ingredients like animal by-product, unnamed meat meal, high glucose grains & cereals (wheat, rice & corn), corn gluten meal, or cellulose. Animal by-product is a dry render product of slaughterhouse waste; basically, this includes everything like beaks, hooves, feet, and any other undesirables. Unnamed meat meal is a collection of unspecified meat sources all mixed together, truly a mystery meat. Grains & cereals like wheat, corn & rice can spike your pet’s blood sugar levels and are not as easily digested, not to mention they lack the essential fatty acids vital to your pet’s health. Corn gluten meal is the starchy residue left after the kernels have been processed and cellulose is made from plant cell walls; both of these are inexpensive fillers with no real nutritional value.
Guaranteed Analysis—Comparing Apples to Oranges
Although pet food labels must state a guaranteed analysis of the minimum and maximum percentages of moisture, fiber, crude protein, and crude fat (the term “crude” refers to the specific method of testing, not the quality of the nutrient), these analyses are stated on an “as fed” basis, which takes in to account the product as it is in the can or bag. When used alone, these percentages can be misleading because of the varying amount of moisture present in different formats of foods.
Moisture content plays a crucial role in correctly understanding the guaranteed analysis in any pet food because wet foods such as frozen raw pet food and canned pet food products typically contain 65-78% moisture whereas dry foods such as kibble, dehydrated, and freeze dried products typically contain 10-12% moisture. Because of this large moisture difference when comparing different formats of food, the most accurate way to determine true percentages of fiber, protein, and fat is not by comparing the food as a whole, but by comparing the food on a solely dry matter basis.
Luckily, dry matter can be determined by a simple formula, but you might need to a pen and paper to remember the steps!
To determine dry matter content:
100 – Moisture Content = Dry Matter
Dry matter is what we’re trying to solve, so, to determine the dry matter content of a can of food with 78% moisture 10% protein 5% fat and 1% fiber:
100 – 78% (the moisture content) = 22% (the dry matter content)
Now that you’ve determined that 22% is the dry matter content of the food, we can forget about the moisture content all together (because it’s really just water and plays no role in the overall nutrition of the food). To determine the true protein, true fat and true fiber of the food in question, simply divide the guaranteed protein, fat, or fiber percent by the dry matter content that you’ve just calculated and multiply it by 100.
To determine the true protein:
10% (the guaranteed protein) ÷ 22% (the dry matter content) x 100 = 45%
After determining the true protein in this can of food, it’s obvious why it’s so important to know how to be able to use and understand this formula. At first glance, this can of food looked like it only contained 10% protein, when it actually contained over 4 times that amount. Be an educated consumer the next time you want to find out what’s really in your pet’s food; just use this formula and you’ll be leaps and bounds above the pack!
But what does it mean to have a particular amount of protein? Protein is arguably the most important nutrient in your pet’s diet because they are carnivores, and if you’re feeding a kibble or canned diet, it’s important to know that you’re giving the right amount.
For a dry kibble dog diet, less than 25% protein would be considered low and only appropriate for a low protein diet. 25%-30% is considered a medium amount, which is good for a less active dog as long as it’s a high quality, animal source. Above 30% is a high protein diet, perfect for any dog. For a dog canned diet, below 5% is going to be low protein, 6%-7% is a medium amount, and 8%-10% is high protein.
Since cats are obligate carnivores, their protein amounts should be a little higher. For dry kibble cat food, less than 30% will be on the lower end, 30%-35% is a medium amount, and 35% and above (even up to 50%) will be a high, healthy amount for any cat. For canned cat food, less than 6% is low, 7%-10% is a medium amount, and 10% and above is a high, healthy amount.
Ingredients Should Stand on Their Own
Don’t quite believe that corn gluten meal is a great source of protein for your carnivorous cat? Neither does your cat! No matter what the front of the bag says, always flip it over to read the ingredient panel. A food touting “High Protein!” doesn’t mean anything to a cat’s biology if the protein is derived from corn and is the first or second ingredient listed. Whenever you’re looking at a bag of food, take the time to read what’s being stated on the front of the bag, and then flip the bag over to look at the ingredient list. If what’s being said on the front of the bag just doesn’t jive with what’s listed on the back of the bag, consider it a red flag and look for a different food.
What’s Best for You Might Not Be What’s Best for Them
Premium, wild caught North Atlantic salmon might strike a chord with you, but what if your dog is sensitive to fish? Remember that our domesticated companions do not have the ability to choose their food in the same way that their ancestors did. It’s up to you to choose a high quality, biologically appropriate food that suits their needs. When in doubt, remember that your furry friend is meant to thrive, not merely survive, on the food you choose for him or her!
Chinese made chicken jerky treats for our pets have made a resurgence in the news recently; most notably the deaths linked to brands like Waggin’ Train and Milos Kitchen. And there have been a number of official complaints made to the FDA over the past six years. It’s become such an issue that Nestle and Delmote have pulled products from the shelves; much to the relief of pet lovers. These deaths have spurred everything from an FDA investigation to numerous petitions. Plus, the stories have made national news, including NBC and National Public Radio.
As an Only Natural Pet customer, you probably haven’t been directly affected by this controversy. You, like us, understand the importance of quality in your pet’s diet. That’s why we have a huge variety of pet treats Made in the USA and pet products Made in the USA, including our Only Natural Pet Chicken Jerky Strips. But for those of you looking for answers and advice, let’s take a look at the facts:
• The FDA has been aware of illness associated with chicken jerky (as well as duck and sweet potato) originating in China since 2007.
• They have received 3,000 reports of illnesses, including 3,600 dogs & 10 cats, and 580 pet deaths related to the treats.
• Cases have been reported in every state.
• Chinese chicken treats have increased 85 fold from 2003 to 2013.
So as you can see, this problem is hugely expansive. And in the face of such a huge problem, it’s hard as a pet owner to know what to do to protect your furry friends. But with sound advice, extra planning, and informed decisions, you’ll be able to give your pet delicious treats without fear.
1. Look for signs of illness: Most of the illness associated with these treats has been gastrointestinal. This includes problems like vomiting, diarrhea, and blood and mucus in stool. More serious issues have arisen however, including pancreatic and GI bleeding and even kidney failure. If any of these issues arrive, seek veterinarian help immediately.
2. Stop buying treats made in China: Unfortunately, all too often, profits outweigh safety for big corporations. Chicken jerky brands like Only Natural Pet and BIXIBI are safely and proudly made in the USA.
3. Remember, chicken jerky is just a treat: Your pet doesn’t need treats to survive, so if you are at all concerned, stop feeding them treats. A balanced diet is essential for your pet’s health, treats are just the icing on the cake.
4. Share with your friends: Make sure every pet guardian you know is aware of what’s happening. Share on social media, like Facebook, talk to them at the dog park, whatever it takes! Get the word out to everyone that these treats are dangerous.
5. Make a statement: This one is easy and powerful. As consumers, we have the power to say to these big companies that our pets are more important than profits. Shop with smaller brands that produce in the USA. Let them know you appreciate their dedication to your pet’s health and happiness.
Navigating the world of pet food can be scary when dangers like Chinese treats and salmonella recalls are popping up so often. But these threats are easily neutralized when you’re a caring, informed pet parent. Together we can stand up for the rights of our pets.
Halloween is definitely one of our most unique holidays: we celebrate the beginning of autumn by dressing up in costumes, decorating with jack-o-lanterns, and giving out candy to our neighbors. And when we’re asked why we do these silly things, we inevitably answer, “That’s just the way it is.”
As intuitive as our pets may be, if that’s the best answer we have for people, how could we begin to explain this bizarre day to our pets? With that in mind, it’s best for us to have a game plan in mind so we can keep our pets healthy, happy, and most importantly, safe, on what can be a very hectic, confusing, and over-stimulating day.
People Treats Can Be Pet Trouble
One of the most important things for us to remember on Halloween is that people treats can be dangerous, and often poisonous, to our pets.
The Pet Poison Hotline reports a 12% increase in call volume during the week of Halloween, most of them associated with pets consuming chocolate, raisins, and wrappers. These are all dangerous to our pets and should be treated as a poisoning if they’re accidentally ingested.
Chocolate is one of the most toxic treats for pets. Dogs and cats both struggle to metabolize it and when it’s ingested, it can cause everything from vomiting and diarrhea to elevated heart rates and even seizures. The culprit is a caffeine-like chemical called methylxanthines. This compound is more highly concentrated in dark chocolates, but is still present in all forms, so make sure all chocolate is kept out of reach.
Whether they’re in the form of healthy raisin treats or a peeled grape trick, even a small amount of Raisins & Grapes can cause kidney failure in your pets. These must be kept out of reach! If you suspect that your pet has ingested either of these (symptoms can include vomiting, abdominal pain, & lethargy), make sure you contact your veterinarian immediately.
Unfortunately, our pets don’t always remove wrappers from treats before they eat them, making even non-poisonous treats dangerous. Plastic and foil can cause serious bowel obstruction, which sometimes needs surgery to correct. Even if the candy is eaten, your pet may still be attracted to the discarded wrapper, so keep the trash bin closed and inaccessible.
Keep Calm & Celebrate On
One of the biggest issues for our pets on Halloween is the constant line of trick or treaters or party guests. This can be especially troublesome if your pet is protective or hates when things are out of place. Fortunately, some small steps can go a long way in keeping them calm.
Make sure you have plenty of stress & anxiety remedies available and administer them before the trick or treaters start. A multi-faceted approach always works best, including flower essences, pheromone soothers, and swaddling products, like a Thundershirt. If you wait until after your pet is nervous, these aren’t as effective, so introduce them to your pet gently throughout the evening; when the visitors start arriving, your pet will be calm enough to handle it.
Safe spaces are important for letting our pets feel protected, so allow them access to them on Halloween and make them extra safe. Nervousness can induce extreme panting, so have plenty of water available.
Finally, try to meet the trick or treaters on the porch. Preventing the doorbell from always ringing or stopping the constant knocking at the door can give you a huge advantage in limiting your pet’s anxiety. And with the calming aids, your pet might not even realize anything out of the ordinary is happening!
Keep the Costumes Comfy & Safe
Our pets are part of the family, and if they’re comfortable with it, there’s no reason they shouldn’t enjoy the fun part of Halloween… the costumes! There are some things to keep in mind:
If your pet doesn’t want to wear a costume, don’t force it. Just like people, some pets don’t always like dressing up. If your pet is one of them, just let them go as they are, or better yet, make their lack of costume part of their costume… World’s Best Pet comes to mind.
If your pet loves dressing up, make sure the costume fits properly. If there is any kind of rubbing or constriction, it can remove fur and irritate your pet’s skin. Also, keep it simple so your pet isn’t tempted to think the costume is a toy. We might see a fully functioning robot pet with all the buttons and switches, but your pet sees something that needs to be destroyed, and possibly lodged in their gastrointestinal system.
Decorate with Your Pets in Mind
Commonplace Halloween decorations can be trouble for our pets. Candles in jack-o-lanterns can be singed whiskers and tails for our curious companions. If you’re using open flames, try to put them at a level where your pets won’t be tempted to get at them.
Fake cobwebs and glow sticks that are bad for pets can also look like a tempting toy; cats especially love to chew on these. Unfortunately, these are bowel obstructions (and a surgery) waiting to happen. Keep pets away from the decorations as much as possible. If you do catch them playing with decorations, it’s best to grab the pet rather than the camera.
They Only Stay in at Night
With hectic neighborhoods on Halloween, your best bet for safe pets is to keep them inside. This will keep everyone calm and happy. As an extra precaution, make sure all of your companions are wearing their collars with appropriate contact information. Halloween can be a nervous night, and often our pet’s first instinct is to flee.
Don’t Get Spooked
Most importantly, don’t let all of these potential dangers frighten you from a fun night. The most important steps for us to take are to keep our pets calm, be mindful of their actions, and make sure they’re having as much fun as we are!