Tips and Tricks

Treat your Feline to Cat Grass

Tired of your cat gnawing at your house plants, vases of flowers and potted herbs? Luckily, there’s an easy solution that doesn’t involve moving every single plant in your home to some hard-to-reach spot to keep your cat away. Just opt for some cat grass.

Imperial Cat’s Easy Oat Grass Kit is the ideal product. Not only will this help salvage your indoor garden, but it’s also beneficial to your feline pal’s health. It’s organic and features oat grass, which adds roughage and chlorophyll to your cat’s diet. This aids in a healthy digestive system while freshening his breath. Plus, it’s easy to grow and maintain.

Having cat grass is an effective way to deal with your cat’s natural urge to chew on plants. He will be preoccupied with the grass, which will divert his attention from your plants. So the moment you notice your cat chewing on plants or flowers, grab him some cat grass. You’ll have healthier plants and a healthier kitty.

The Four Best Places to Pet Your Cat

Looking for ways to relax your feline pal? There’s no better method than petting him. Sure, you probably pet your cat every day, but there are specific areas you can focus on that will maximize his relaxation. So the next time your cat is in need of some friendly strokes, focus on one of these four areas:

1. Behind the ears
Nearly all cats love a good ear scratch. When your furry friend crawls into your lap or plops beside you, give the backs of his ears a little love. Use the tips of your fingers and start out with a light, gentle scratch at the base of his ears, then adjust to accommodate your cat’s preferences. Some like a firmer scratch while others prefer it lighter. Change your pressure after you notice the way he responds. If he is sitting still, is purring and his eyes look sleepy, he’s clearly enjoying it.

2. Under the chin
Another good spot is under the chin. Take your index finger and repeatedly stroke the bottom of his chin. Most cats enjoy being pet in this spot and will often purr. This is a great place to focus on because you can immediately tell if your cat likes it, since you’ll be able to feel him purr.

3. Between the eyes
An often neglected area is between the eyes. But it should be a go-to spot because most cats adore being pet there. Using one finger, gently stroke from the top of his nose up between his eyes to the top of his face. Do that repeatedly and watch as your kitty’s eyes slowly close in comfort. He’ll likely purr too.

4. Top of the tail
Some cats dislike being pet near their tails, but if you focus on the spot where the top of their tail meets the end of their body, it could turn into one of his favorite places to be scratched. Start by stroking the end of his body near the tail to relax him. Then scratch the very end where the top of his tail is. If your cat likes the way it feels, he will likely purr and stick his bottom up into the air, signifying for you to continue.

Every cat is different of course, so not all of these areas will be a hit. Just try them at various times and pay attention to how your cat reacts. Some cats will love all of these techniques while others will only like one or two. Anything works, as long as your cat is able to relax when you pet him.

3 Easy Ways to Save Money on Pets

These days we are all on tighter budgets. We are spending less and saving more. We are constantly on the lookout for great deals, various ways to not overspend and counting our pennies. One area that can get quite expensive are our pets. Beyond the initial fees for a pet, including shots and all that jazz, the cost of a pet can add up pretty fast. It seems like there are a million things they need: food, toys, dishes, bedding, litter boxes, trips to the vet, dog walkers, the whole nine yards and then some.

Fortunately, we don’t have to get rid of our furry friends to save. Instead, we can cut back in a few different ways to keep our wallets from shrinking. Here are some basic tips and tricks to staying within budget with your pet(s):

1. Get rid of the dog walker: If you are paying someone to walk your dog because you may not have time, forget it. It is not worth the price. Instead, carve a few extra minutes into your day (which is probably more possible than you think) to take your dog on those necessary walks. Not only are you saving money, but it allows you to spend quality time with your pet, while getting some fresh air and exercise for yourself. Grab the leash, your tennis shoes and get going. Or better yet, assign your kids the responsibility of walking the dog. If you are going out of town, don’t leave your pet at the kennel; it can get pricey. Ask a family member or trusted neighbor to watch them. If your neighbor has a pet, make a pet exchange rather than money. You can watch their pet while your neighbor is on vacation and vice-versa.

2. Trips to the Vet: While there are trips to the vet that are necessary, when it comes to additional visits, consider the human model: an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Just like humans, we can avoid having those extra visits to the vet by staying healthy. Regular exercise and healthy eating go a long way with your furry friends. There are plenty of ways to incorporate exercise into your furry friend’s lifestyle – whether that is a trip to the dog park to play a game of fetch, long walks or playtime with the family.  For cats, you can even make them home-made toys, saving money. And always look for the healthier choice in pet food. While at first it may be a bit more expensive, it will pay off in the long run. In addition, don’t overload your pet’s dish. A lot of the food will most likely go to waste, requiring you to buy food more frequently than necessary.

3. As always, when you are shopping for dog food, toys, etc., be on the constant lookout for deals. Make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. When you purchase pet food and similar items, buying in bulk will save you more money long term. This reduces the number of purchases you have to make over time. For grooming, Petdoc.com suggests to “take on the grooming” yourself. Instead of having the vet or a dog salon pamper your pooch, invest a certain amount of money into a quality pair of nail trimmers, brush, shampoo, etc. Follow this guide on how to easily and cheaply groom your dog. Again, this will allow you to save more money over a period of time (similar to making your own coffee at home, instead of spending four bucks a day on a latte).

These are just a few simple ideas to help you save. All in all, you can keep your pet happy and healthy without blowing your budget.

Allow your Bird to Enjoy the Outdoors with a Harness

Premier FTHL Feather Tether includes harness and leashPremier FTHL Feather Tether includes harness and leashPremier FTHL Feather Tether includes harness and leash

Feel like taking your feathered friend on an outdoor excursion but don’t want to risk him flying away? Use a handy Feather Tether® bird harness from Premier.

With it, your pet bird can enjoy time outside safely within your care. Whether you are traveling with your bird or you just want to take him for a walk, this tether is perfect. Developed with your avian friend’s comfort and safety in mind, it’s lightweight, which makes it easy for your bird to move. Plus, the leash can be adjusted so your bird can either perch or walk alongside you. These harnesses also come in a variety of sizes, so it’s suitable for virtually all pet birds, including parrots, Macaws, Amazons, Cockatiels, Hahns and other species.

So the next time you feel like taking a stroll with your bird, you don’t have to stress about a possible flyaway. Simply latch a tether onto your feathered pet and you’re set for a fun outing.

 

Minimizing Hairballs

It’s summer, which means it’s hairball cleanup season for cat owners. It’s never fun having to dispose of your cat’s puke, so funny kittenwhat can you do to minimize this?

1. Brush your cat often. Especially if you have a long-haired cat, it’s imperative that you brush him at least daily. You may even have to brush him multiple times a day if he’s a serious shedder. Make sure you have a quality brush, comb or shedding blade. The more times you brush your cat, the less often he will throw up hairballs, which means less work for you.

2. Give your cat a bath. Even though many cats despise getting wet, it can be worthwhile to bathe your cat every couple of weeks in the summer because it helps get rid of loose fur. For maximum results, use a shed control shampoo. It significantly reduces excess pet hair, which in turn cuts down on shedding.

3. Feed your cat supplements. There are some effective supplements you can feed to your cat that enable him to digest and pass hairballs, instead of vomiting them. Just chuck them into a food dish along with your cat’s regular food.

It’s impossible to completely prevent hairballs, but implementing these tips and products will help minimize the messy inconvenience hairballs often cause.

How to Annihilate Hairballs

If cat owners can rely on one thing during the summer, it’s those pesky hairballs. No matter how much you brush your furry feline pal, it always seems like you find a few hairballs on your floor—or worse, in the carpet—before the summer ends. Even though completely eradicating hairballs is virtually impossible, there are ways to make cleaning them up easy and simple.

For hard surfaces:

Clean it up as soon as you notice it. A wet hairball left on hard surface can dry, harden and make it more difficult to clean. So take care if it immediately. Spray some all-purpose cleaner over it and wipe it dry immediately. If a hairball has hardened on the floor, use a plastic brush to loosen it. Be careful when you scrub;  scrubbing too hard can damage the floor surface. Use even, gentle pressure to brush in a circular motion until most of the hairball is lifted, and remove the residue. For those remaining pieces that are stuck, liberally wet a paper towel and rub over it. Keep repeating with more wet paper towels until the rest of the hairball is loose.

If the hairball is really stuck, you may have to leave some wet paper towels over it for awhile. Let them sit on the stain for 15 to 20 minutes so the water can loosen those hardened bits. Then wipe it away. Depending on the type of floor (hardwood, tile, etc.), it’s a good idea to apply some oil, wood cleaner spray or some other all purpose cleaner to polish the spot.

For carpet:

Wait a few minutes so it can solidify a bit. This makes it easier to clean. Most people want to clean a hairball immediately, but wiping a wet hairball in carpet can cause it to seep into the fibers as you wipe, making cleanup more difficult. So wait a few minutes, then pick it up from the carpet with a paper towel or wipes.

Spray some carpet cleaner over the spot. You don’t need a crazy strong, industrial-strength cleaner to take of it. Just a few squirts of standard carpet stain cleanser should work. Allow it to sit for a few minutes so it can infiltrate the spot, then dab it with more paper towels. Be careful not to rub too vigorously. Doing so can further embed cat hair and liquid into the carpet. Instead, dab the area several times.

Pour a bit of water over the clean spot, let it sit and then dab it with paper towels. This will help rinse the spot of any excess carpet cleaner. It’s important to do this so your cat doesn’t come in contact with any chemicals from the cleaning spray. Once the spot is completely dry, it’s also a good idea to vacuum over it.

If you want to minimize the number of times you have to clean what your cat has hacked up, remember to regularly brush your cat. It doesn’t prevent hairballs, but the more you brush him, the less fur he will have to throw up. If you’re brave enough to bathe your feline, use shed control shampoo, which helps reduce excessive shedding. Also, there are supplements you can feed your cat that help him digest and pass hairballs, instead of vomiting them. So will you ever be free of hairballs? Not as long as you own a cat. But following these simple tips and methods makes cleaning up hairballs a little more manageable.

By Sarah Smith

Turn Your Dog into a Good Houseguest

If you’re traveling with your dog this summer and staying at a friend’s or family member’s place, don’t be that kind of pet owner. You know, the kind who brings their dog over and leaves a mess. If you do this, chances are both you and your pooch won’t be asked to stay again. But there are simple things you can do to keep your host and dog happy.

Talk to your host before you arrive, and make sure it’s okay to bring your dog. Never assume that your friends or relatives won’t mind if your dog shows up unannounced. It’s often a huge inconvenience, especially if your hosts have allergies, a busy household or if they just don’t like pets. Making arrangements before you arrive will make your visit smoother because your hosts will have time to prepare their home for your and your furry travel pal.

Designate a specific area for your dog to stay. If the person you’re staying with loves dogs and doesn’t mind him running around, great. But a lot of people prefer to keep a visiting pet in a certain area or room of the house. That way, your host is happy knowing that the dog is in a specific place. This helps keeps things calm and organized, which is helpful if your host isn’t accustomed to having pets.

Be sure you have plenty of food, treats and toys to keep your dog occupied. Remember to feed your dog on the schedule that he is used to, and play with him regularly. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you don’t have to walk or play with him as usual. Besides, if you leave your dog without any stimulation, it can cause him to be nervous and agitated. He may go nuts around your host’s house and damage it. So make it a point to walk and play with him as much as possible to keep him happy and calm.

It’s also a good idea to bring along absorbent pads if your dog is staying indoors during a visit. Being in a different house for a few days may throw him off a bit, which could lead to accidents. That’s never a pleasant surprise to leave your host. Have a few extra pads on hand to contain any messes. If you run out, use old towels or a few layers of newspaper.

Most importantly, obey your host’s wishes. If they are gracious enough to open their home to you and your dog, show that you appreciate their kindness by obeying their rules. If they prefer to keep your dog in a certain room even though you allow your dog to roam around your house, just deal with it for a few days. If you let your dog lounge on the couch at home but your friends or relatives don’t want pets on the furniture, listen to them. It’s their house, so it’s their rules as long as you stay with them.

Also, pay attention to your pet during your stay. It seems like a no-brainer, but some pet owners think it’s okay to bring their dog to a person’s home and just ignore him. It’s not your host’s job to care for your pet, so keep on top of things. If your pooch seems a bit anxious, walk, pet or play with him. If he has an accident, clean it up immediately. Feed him on time and frequently take him outside for bathroom breaks. Do your best to make it seem like having a dog visit is no extra work for your host. If you remember this and follow the tips above, your host will be more than happy to have you and your canine pal over for repeat visits.

Fourth of July!

As you gather up friends and family this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, don’t forget to consider the safety and security of your pets. Just as pets often become agitated and scared due to severe weather, they can also react negatively to fireworks. If your dog becomes scared during fireworks (whether near or far away), here are a few tips to help your furry friend stay calm:

1. Don’t leave them alone: If you are planning on going to watch fireworks or attend a party, it doesn’t seem fair to leave your frightened friend alone in the dark. If your dog is known to be easily scared by loud noises, be sure to have a plan set in place. Perhaps you can have a neighbor check on them or set up a play date with another dog and their family.  Pawnation.com suggests creating a confined space for your furry friend, because “scared animals calm themselves down by squeezing into tight spots and hiding their eyes” (source).

2. Create Distractions: If you are with your pet as fireworks are shooting off, instead of focusing on the noise, create distractions. This is the perfect opportunity to take some time and play with your pet indoors, whether tug-a-war or a variety of other games. This could also be a great time to treat your pooch to a belly rub or ear scratch, a treat for them will hopefully calm their nerves as well.

3. Safety First: Pawnation.com  recommends leaving your pooch at home, indoors. While it may be fun to take your dog with you to the show or block party, this could lead to more problems than necessary. It is hard to enjoy the show or party, while also being attentive to your pup’s needs. If they become scared or agitated because of loud noises or anything else, they can cause trouble themselves or even try to runway from whatever is bothering them. The best solution is to keep them at home, but not completely alone the whole time. In addition, Pawnation.com  suggests to bring your outdoor pals inside to avoid any injury or safety problem that might occur.

These are just a few quick tips for keeping your fuzzball calm. So, whatever your plans consist of this year, be sure to consider your pet’s safety and security so they everyone can have an enjoyable time.

Happy Fourth of July!

Cool Treats for your Pets

If you think you’re bearing the brunt of the hot weather this summer, remember your pets. With the massive amount of fur that your cat or dog has, beating the heat is even harder for them. So short of shaving them, what can you do to keep them cool? Feed them some cold, refreshing treats. And the good news is that these treats are easy and affordable–and you can make with supplies already in your home.

1. Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are a great way to cool off your pet. Toss a few into your dog or cat’s water bowl to keep their water crisp and fresh during a hot day. You can even give your pet a couple cubes to play with or chew on. Some dogs and cats love having a chilly, frozen treat to munch on in the heat. But melted ice cubes can be messy, so be sure to give them to your dog or cat in an area of your home that’s easy to clean.

2. Frozen Wet Food
It sounds weird, but it’s effective. Freezing wet cat or dog food can be especially refreshing when it’s sweltering. An easy way to do this is to empty a can of wet food in a container, dice it into chucks and leave it in the freezer to harden. Or you can designate a couple of ice cube trays for your pets and portion the wet food into them. That way all you have to do it pop them out of the tray into your pet’s dish. But keep in mind that not all cats and dogs may love this idea. Some prefer to have their food normally and not in frozen chunks. So if your pooch or feline friend doesn’t like food served this way, just stick to their regular wet food and given them cold water often.

3. Cool Dry Food
It’s also a good idea to keep dry cat and dog food in a cool place, like a refrigerator, when the temperature starts to climb. Keep a container of dry food in the fridge so it’s ready to serve during meal times. Refill it periodically so there’s always cold food on hand for your pet. It can be quite rejuvenating for your dog or cat to snack on cool morsels of food when they are hot.

Summer Dog Care

Playful puppy 4While the summer months are great, filled with warmth and fun in the sun, like in any season, it is important to be prepared for various situations that can occur. Here are some tips for you and your dog this summer to conquer typical situations:

1. Poolside: Whether your dog simply likes to lounge by the pool or make a big splash and doggy paddle its way to the other side, it is important to keep your dog safe and supervised. Never leave your dog unattended, near or in the pool. Be sure that your pool has a safe and easy way for your dog to climb in and out. In addition, we carry life vests that are specifically made for dogs for added safety, available in various sizes, styles and color

2. Ticks: It is wonderful if your dog loves nature, but unfortunately some nature bites…literally. It is imperative that before he or she is allowed back into the house you check for ticks and anything else that does not belong in your pet’s fur or skin. We offer a few flea and tick repellent products to help aid in keeping those pesky creatures away. Check with your veterinarian for different tick medications, etc. The humane society offers a helpful article on how to remove a tick from your dog.

3. Heat: Make sure when your dog spends time in the sun, it is limited, and that fresh water is always available. Fortunately we offer travel bowls that are convenient and easy to take with you to keep your dog hydrated. Additionally, NEVER leave your dog in the car during warmer weather – even if it’s just for a couple minutes.

4. Bathroom Break: Much of the time with your pup during the summer may be spent outside whether on walks or playing in the dog park. Either way, it is never fun to have to clean up a doggy mess when you are without bags. So be sure before you leave the house that you are equipped and try your best to help your dog avoid the neighbor’s yard.

These are just a few quick and easy suggestions to help you and the furry one have a fun-filled summer.