Pet Safety In The Garage

When you picture your garage, what do you see? Sharp objects? Heavy machinery? Hazardous and flammable materials? Do you envision a safe environment for your pets to be in? Would you keep your pet in a garage for any period of time, or would you worry for their safety and health?

Chances are, your garage isn’t the safest place for your pet to be in. However, where your pet goes isn’t always in your control. Someone leaves a door open, or your pet follows you into the garage. Regardless, it’s a wise decision to carefully prepare the garage just in case an accident does occur. The following four points are some ideas that will help you prepare your garage to be a safe place for your pet.

  1. Keep hazardous materials placed high above the ground and out of reach. Pets are notorious for finding small things to chew on and even swallow. Your pet isn’t at fault for this, it’s just part of their instinct. Keep an eye out for potential “chew toys”, small objects, or chemicals that could pose a lethal threat to your pet.
  2. Ensure there are no sharp objects within reach or laying on the floor. These include power tools, knives, even nails and screws. If you have recently used a power tool, make sure there are no sharp metal shavings that your pet can step on.
  3. Electrical wiring must be kept out of reach. You can purchase wire protector or wrap duct tape around the wire. Another option is to ensure the wiring is tucked away behind a desk or is pressed up against the base of the wall, increasing the likelihood that it will be out of sight, and out of mind for your pet.
  4. The garage is often utilized as storage space, which may include boxes and objects piled on top of each other, in high places like shelves, or on top of cabinets. The main concern here is to simply ensure that these items are secure and maintain no risk of falling down if knocked over. Depending on the size of your pet, it can be extremely dangerous by not taking care of these stacked and stored items.

These are just a few ideas on how you can ensure your garage is a safe place for your pet. You never know what might happen. Protect your pet by preparing for the worst.

Matt works for Custom Garage Storage Solutions. He enjoys traveling with his wife, spending time with his Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and spending time with friends.


Celebrating Presidents’ Day

Celebrating Presidents’ Day
Presidents’ Day originally was established in 1885 to recognize President George Washington. The day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

It gives us an excellent opportunity to learn more about our presidents and their pets. It is interesting to learn about the variety of pets that were part of their lives. Since 1800 the White House has been home to more than 400 animals including cats, dogs, alligators and others. We often view our presidents only as historical or political leaders. Learning about them as pet parents and animal lovers offers us a glimpse into the lives of the men, women, and children who occupied our nation’s capital.

Our Presidents and Their Pets
President Washington, known as The Father of Our Country is also considered to be the Father of the American foxhound. In addition to his 36 dogs he also owned and loved horses. The Washington household also had birds; one parrot in particular was a favorite of the first lady. Polly often spent time sitting with Mrs. Washington even when she was entertaining guests.

President Lincoln was the first president to bring a cat into the White House. When he assumed office and traveled from Illinois to the White House, his son, Tad, asked his father to bring his cat (Tabby) along. President Lincoln agreed. He loved all cats and could play with them for hours. Once when a reporter asked Mary Todd Lincoln if her husband had a hobby she replied simply, “cats”. We know that Abraham Lincoln owned at least 2 dogs, Fido and Jip. A book by Matthew Algeo, Abe & Fido: Lincoln’s Love of Animals and the Touching Story of His Favorite Canine Companion depicts Lincoln as a deeply compassionate animal lover and shares the story of his favorite dog, Fido.

President Coolidge had a “personal zoo” that included more than 26 pets, including a bobcat named Smoky, six dogs, a goose, a donkey, a cat, an antelope, a wallaby, and two lion cubs called Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. He also had a pair of raccoons called Reuben and Rebecca. Reuben didn’t like being around people but Rebecca loved posing for photos. Calvin often took her on a leash for walks on the grounds of the White House. Another one of his popular pets was Billy, a pygmy hippopotamus. Billy was donated to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s household consisted of six children and numerous pets including a bear, badger, pony, hyena, pigs and birds. Guinea pigs were part of the family and President Roosevelt felt they made perfect pets for his children. The guinea pigs often were seen playing with the children outside on the White House lawn. One of the guinea pigs lived in a cage with Peter the rabbit. Sounds like a typical household of pets and children!

White House Gators!
The White House was home to three alligators – one was given to John Quincy Adams by the Marquis de Lafayette and lived in a White House bathroom. President Adams enjoyed scaring his guests with his unusual household pet.

Though President Hoover and his wife, Lou, were dog lovers, their son, Allan Henry, had a pair of alligators as pets. Normally they were kept in a bathtub but often escaped and were seen roaming the grounds of the White House. The alligators were eventually donated to the Smithsonian Zoo

Guess who had a Doggie birthday party in the White House. President Harding and his family had a birthday party for their dog Laddie Boy. The guest list included other dogs. A dog biscuit cake with frosting was served. Just a typical family celebrating the birthday of a family member!

I identified with President Lincoln and his love and enjoyment of cats. The image of guinea pigs and children playing on the White House lawn warmed my heart. I would have loved seeing President Coolidge walking his raccoon. Our presidents and their families indeed were pet people!

See the following for more interesting tales of pets and presidents plus photos:


October 11, 2017 – National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

Have you noticed some signs of weight gain – clothes getting a little tighter, getting “winded” climbing stairs, flunked the “pinch an inch” test?  As humans, we know what these signs mean and can choose to take corrective dietary and lifestyle steps to reduce our weight. Unfortunately, our pets are dependent on us to help them maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and obese pets can suffer from joint problems and arthritis; develop diabetes, and can experience increased susceptibility to heat stroke. Obesity in pets reduces quality of life ad shortens their lifespan.

On October 11, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP)* will conduct its tenth annual U.S. pet obesity prevalence survey. Results from their 2016 survey show that 53.9% of dogs and 58.9% of cats are overweight or obese.

A few tips to help keep your pet at a healthy weight:

MONITOR MEALTIMES – For many pets it is best to provide food at mealtimes rather than having their bowl filled with food available at all times. Determine your pet’s calorie needs and divide that into 2 or 3 mini meals. Word of caution – it is important to not cause quick weight loss. Know your pet’s ideal weight and create realistic timelines for weight loss. Avoid giving your pet table food or table scraps because prepared people food is usually higher in salt, sugar and fat content than is healthy for pets.

LIMIT SNACKS OR TREATS – Treats add calories and must be counted as part of your pet’s daily calories. Offer healthy snacks and consider replacing treats with other rewards such as belly rubs, body massage, and extra hugs.

TAKE MORE WALKS – Both of you will benefit from daily walks around the neighborhood or dog park. Start with short walks and watch for signs of over exertion especially if your pet is older or already overweight. In addition to burning calories, brisk walks help strengthen the respiratory and circulatory systems, keep joints flexible, and releases excess energy and alleviate boredom.

Regularly monitor weight – routinely weigh your pet approximately once every two weeks at the same time of day and on the same scale for accuracy. This will help you notice weight loss or gains and maintain a record for your pet’s health file.

“Our pets will thank us for helping them maintain an ideal body weight. They will live longer and happier lives as a result.” ~ Dr. Chad Bower, DVM

*The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) was founded in 2005 by veterinarian, Dr. Ernie Ward.


Are you a Cat Person or a Dog Person?

Do you love the sound of Meow or Woof?

Recently while taking my two young granddaughters out to eat I was privileged to eavesdrop on their conversation. Allie, the youngest, stated that she was a dog person. She plans to have four dogs; one or two would be therapy or service dogs. Allie also loves horses, cats and all animals but she is a “self-identified” dog person. She looks at a dog and it’s an instant sibling-style connection. Her cousin, Laura, wasn’t sure if she is a cat person or a dog person. She loves her pet rats, and her other grandmother’s dog, Fritz. It takes a while for my cats to warm up to her but she likes them. She also loves horses. At this point I was included in the conversation. She stated emphatically “Grandma, you’re a cat person.” And I said, yes!

Later, reflecting on the conversation, I thought back to my pet experiences as a child. I was fortunate to have had dogs, cats, rabbits and birds as pets. I also had lots of opportunities to be around with cows, pigs, chickens, and goats. Yet cats hold a special spot in my heart.  I describe myself as an animal/pet lover but I identify myself as a cat person – there is a special connection.

Researchers are beginning to study the connection between personality and pet preference. There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are distinct personality differences between cat people and dog people. One study, Gosling-Potter Internet Personality Project, led by psychologist Samuel Gosling, University of Texas at Austin included about 4,500 participants who answered questions using the Big Five model to assess personality. The areas are:

Extraversion – talkative, energetic, assertive
Agreeableness – sympathetic, kind, affectionate
Conscientiousness – organized, thorough
Neuroticism – tense, moody, anxious
Openness – having wide interests, being imaginative

The volunteers in this study completed the personality test first and then self-identified themselves as a cat person, a dog person, both, or neither. The results: 46% dog people; 12% cat people, 27% both, and 15% as neither.

Some of the findings:
Extraversion: Dog people were 15% more extroverted than cat people. What it means: Outgoing, enthusiastic, positive, energetic
Agreeableness: Dog people were 13% more likely to be agreeable than a cat person. Agreeable people tend to be trusting, altruistic, kind, affectionate, and sociable
Conscientiousness: Dog people were 11% more conscientious than cat people. What it means: Self-disciplined, strong sense of duty, tend to be “planners”
Neuroticism: Cat people were 12% more neurotic than dog people. Neurotic people are: Easily stressed, anxious, worriers
Openness: Cat people were 11% more likely to be open. Open people tend to be curious, creative, artistic, nontraditional thinkers open to trying new things.

Interesting results – as a cat person I wasn’t sure I liked them until I got to the last section.  Yes, Laura, I still identify as a cat person!

What about you? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at and share your thoughts with us.


COOL Products to Keep Your Pet Cool!

Legally, when the National Weather Service issues an Excessive Heat Warning Clark County requires that you provide supplemental cooling for your pet.  Plus, keeping our pets cool and safe during the hot Vegas summer heat is part of being a loving and caring pet parent.

Pets can get dehydrated quickly so make sure they always have fresh, clean water available. Consider adding ice cubes to their water dish or fountain to keep it cool a little longer.

PET WATER BOTTLE Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating. Offer small drinks frequently rather than one large drink.

WATER FOUNTAIN Hydration is essential. Water fountains provide fresh running water which pets like. Creating water stations in various locations in your home will encourage pets to drink more frequently. Cats especially need extra enticement to drink water.











Dogs need to exercise in the summer, however, take extra caution in this extreme heat. Taking your pet for walks in very early morning or late evening is recommended. Remember, hot pavements can burn sensitive paw pads and pavements can be extremely hot even later in the day.

DOG BOOTS Protect your dog’s paws from the hot pavement by wearing dog booties. Note: dogs “perspire” through their paws – take breaks and remove boots periodically to prevent overheating.

COOLING VEST Some are filled with water and others are filled with gel, but they both work by pulling the heat away from your dog’s body. There are also neck wraps or bandanas designed for cooling, too. For keeping your furry friend comfy at home, there are cooling mats for the floor.












If possible, bring your pets inside especially puppies, older or obese dogs, or dogs with medical conditions. Certain breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, or other flat-faced dogs are also more susceptible to overheating and hot weather problems.

When your pet is outside make sure they have a shady place to get out of the sun and that they have access to cool drinking water. Small child swimming pools, cooling mats, and misting systems can also keep dogs cool when outside.

And, don’t forget the sunglasses!

PLASTIC KIDDIE POOL A plastic kiddie pool or large tub might be a great option if your dog loves water. Many dogs love playing or lounging in the cool water.

SUNGLASSES OR GOGGLES Protecting your dog’s eyes from UV rays or debris is just as important as protecting your own. That’s where the dog sunglasses and doggy goggles can help! Plus they’ll be the coolest dog around town!













Feline behavior – is it influenced more by Nature or Nurture?

Have you ever wondered about your cat’s personality and behaviors? I have! Ever since I adopted Rowdy, a cute affectionate kitten, I’ve wondered about that age-old scientific nurture vs. nature debate about animal behaviors. A cat’s nature is the temperament and personality that they were born with. Other behaviors are learned or acquired by training and nurturing.

I decided to do some reading and found that a lot has been written about this topic. Each cat is an individual but it seems that there are common traits that have a genetic basis. There are certain innate characteristics based on the breed. The term “domestic” cat is used to describe cats of unknown breed; they can still have characteristics and traits based on their breed mix. For example, Persians are affectionate and love sitting on your lap. Siamese cats communicate with their “meow” and body language.  Another breed that is popular is the ragdoll. Their most adorable trait is that it goes limp when it is picked up. They’re considered to be the most affectionate, gentle, and huggable cat you could get.

Let me share a little bit about Rowdy. He was described by the cat rescue as a little “love bug” who loves to snuggle as fiercely as he loves to play. He’s a jumper and loves to flip his body in the air when he plays. He has dog-like characteristics like fetching and chasing toys. Orphaned as a young kitten, he was bottle fed and fostered by a family who had two young boys.

Were his cute yet unusual personality traits due to his early nurturing? Every morning I hear him in the litter box scratching the side for about five minutes. He knows he is supposed to scratch but he doesn’t know why he is scratching. He hops out leaving his poop uncovered. Fortunately for him, Solly, his adopted brother hops in and covers it for him. He didn’t have a mommy cat to teach him Litter Box Basics 101. He is an explorer and I often find him on high shelves sharing space with many breakable items. My attempts to get him before he knocked items off the shelf were met with a limp cat. My guess is that he is part Ragdoll. He truly is the most huggable cat I’ve ever had.

There is also some evidence that suggests that coat color is linked genetically to temperament and traits. This was extremely interesting to me since Rowdy is a Tuxedo cat. This isn’t a breed but a color pattern that is found in almost all types of domestic cats. Tuxedos have an outgoing personality; they’re relaxed and have dog-like in personality traits (that fits him perfectly)

Another popular cat is the Ginger Tabby. This cat is not a breed either but a color coat pattern. They are also called orange tables. They are usually easy going and friendly, they like to be stroked and petted but dislike being held and cuddled. This fits my older cat, Solomon, perfectly. He is my sensitive, shy gentleman. He loves to lie beside me but hates it when I try to pick him up to hold him. At first, I thought Solomon was having problems bonding with me because of trust issues. I adopted him after his second rehoming experience. I expected him to become more huggable after a period of adjustment. Recognizing that it was probably due to his nature rather than a bonding failure helped me relax and enjoy this handsome companion cat without putting unrealistic expectations on him.

Learning more about our cats helps us appreciate their unique personalities and character traits. ©LVPSM 2017


Pet Trends – 2017

Good News – according to a recent survey* pet ownership is up; 68 percent of American households now have a pet. There are 84.6 million households that have a pet compared to2015 when there were 79.7 million pet-owning households.

The demographic group called Mellennial/Gen Y is responsible for this increase. This group defined roughly as those born between 1980 and 2000 have exceeded prior numbers of pet ownership – they now account for 35 percent of all pet owners. Rather than becoming homeowners, car owners or parents they are choosing to adopt or buy pets. Their “fur babies” offer companionship and commitment during an unstable period when they are struggling to start their careers, find affordable housing, perhaps pay off school loans, and establish financial security. They are most likely the first generation to grow up thinking of pets more like family than animals. Consequently they prepare for pet parenting the same way as people prepare for their first child; they read pet parenting books and do the research.  They are taking pet parenting to a new level –maybe they should be known as Generation Pet!

* American Pet Products Association (APPA) – 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey


Animal Protection Laws

In early January the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) announced the publication of the 2016 U.S. Animal Protection Laws Rankings Report, The eleventh edition of the Animal Protection Laws compendium contains the general animal protection and related statutes for all of the states, principal districts and territories of the United States of America, and for all of Canada.

The report highlights the top, middle, and bottom tiers of jurisdictions and notes the “Best Five” and “Worst Five” states overall. Nevada is #24 – in the middle tier!

Animal Protection Laws of Nevada:

For more information about the report or the American Legal Defense Fund:


Potbellied Pigs

October 2016 – The City Council of Las Vegas approved changes for potbellied pigs. The size restrictions were eliminated and the number of potbellied pigs allowed was increased. Depending on the size of the lot more than one pig is allowed as follows:

  • Less than 13,200 square feet: One potbellied pig allowed.
  • 13,200 to 20,000 square feet: Two potbellied pigs allowed.
  • 20,000 square feet and up: Three potbellied pigs allowed.

Pigs are social animals and thrive in pairs or herds – the above changes will make it possible to place paired and bonded pigs into permanent homes.  As potbellied pigs continue to grow in popularity it is important for prospective pet pig parents to be aware of the major commitment a pig represents.

Their life span is approximately 12 to 20 years. Contrary to claims, however, of tiny teacup piglets weighing less than 20 lbs, most mature potbellied pig will weigh from 60 to 200 lbs or more. Pigs make wonderful pets but only for the right owner. Do your research. If you decide that a pig is right for you, check our local rescues for a pig or pigs in need of a permanent home.


Keeping your dog warm and safe this winter!

dog-in-sweaterBrr!  Baby, it’s cold outside! Even in Las Vegas we can experience some very cold weather especially at night. Before going outside most people check the weather and dress accordingly. Dogs are unable to check the weather. Yes, they have fur coats but dogs that are outdoors for any length of time need extra protection against the cold. The temperature can feel worse than what the thermometer reads – check the temperature and the wind chill factor to determine what your dog needs to stay warm this winter.

Dogs use up more calories in the winter trying to stay warm. Feed him a little more in the winter if he spends a lot of time outside. Caution: Indoor pets conserve energy by sleeping more in the winter. They may also exercise less when they go outside so you might need to reduce the amount of food you give them to avoid weight gain.

Wearing a sweater for shorthaired, senior or frail dogs will help keep them warm when they go outside. However, dogs lose most of their body heat through their paw pads, ears and through respiration so they are still vulnerable to the cold even when wearing a sweater. Cold weather can be especially difficult for young puppies, senior pets and those with certain health issues like arthritis or diabetes. Take extra precaution to protect them from getting too cold.

Watch for signs that your pet is uncomfortably cold. Shivering is often the one we notice first since it is the primary way dogs use to produce heat. Others include whining, anxiety, slowing down or stopping, and looking for a warm place to burrow.

Snuggle with your pet, stay warm and safe! We’ll be complaining about the heat soon enough!

Note: If you have an outdoor-only pet, please consider bringing them indoors when our temperatures drop – if that is not possible make sure they have insulated shelter, warm bedding, water, and extra food. It takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold and outdoor pets eat more during the winter.


















Pets and Winter Hazards!

cats-winterCats & Cars:  The warmth of a car’s motor is tempting to outdoor animals, especially cats. Tap your car’s hood a few times and wait a few minutes before starting your car. This extra precaution may save the life of a cat or a litter of kittens!

The danger of Antifreeze – Unfortunately though it may taste delicious to your cat or dog it is extremely dangerous to pets. It contains ethylene glycol, an ingredient that can be fatal to dogs and cats if not treated immediately. According to the Pet Poison Helpline the three stages of antifreeze poisoning in dogs and cats:

  • Stage 1: This occurs within 30 minutes to 12 hours, and looks similar to alcohol poisoning. Signs of walking drunk, drooling/hypersalivating, vomiting, seizuring, vomiting, and excessive thirst and urination are seen.
  • Stage 2: This occurs 12-24 hours after a dog or cat has gotten into antifreeze, and signs of “alcohol” poisoning appear to resolve, when underlying severe internal damage is still occurring. Signs of drunkenness seem to improve, but signs of an elevated heart rate, increase breathing effort, and dehydration may start to develop.
  • Stage 3: In cats, this stage occurs 12-24 hours after getting into antifreeze. In dogs, this stage occurs 36-72 hours after getting into antifreeze. During this stage, severe kidney failure is developing secondary to calcium crystals forming in the kidneys. Severe lethargy, coma, depression, vomiting, seizures, drooling, and inappetance may be seen.


Common Human Medications and Pet Safety

Keeping the holidays safe for our pets – Common Human Medications and Pet Safety


The holiday season brings images of presents, Santa, beautiful decorations, parties and festivities. Yet it is also the season for colds, viral and bacterial infections, and the “flu”.  Often the first option is taking over-the-counter medicine for symptom relief. While we are aware of the typical holiday hazards for our pets and have taken extra precaution to keep our pets safe, often we not aware of the hazards for our pets due to OTC and prescription drugs. The Pet Poison Helpline states that “Nearly 50% of all calls received by Pet Poison Helpline involve human medications – both over-the-counter and prescription”.

Some of the common human medications that receive the most calls at the Animal Poison Control Center and the Pet Poison Helpline:

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory bills) A few common ones are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).  This group tops the list and can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers and possible kidney failure in cats, dogs, birds and other small mammals.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a popular pain medication and though it is safe for humans, even children, it is very harmful to pets.
  • Antidepressants such as Efexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro.
  • Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta.
  • Cholesterol medicines such as Lipitor, Zocor, or Crestor.
  • Decongestants such as Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine

A few tips for reducing the risk of your pet accidentally ingesting human medicines:

Many “cold and flu” products are a combination of NSAIDs and decongestants. It is important to check labels for the ingredient listing. It is also important to keep the package so you have the ingredient list available in case of an emergency.

If you carry cough drops, gum, or medicines in your purse make sure it is out of your pet’s reach. Holiday entertaining and additional guests in your home increase the likelihood that your pet could snoop in a purse and find harmful pills. Ask your guests to “guard” their purses and explain the reason why.

Never leave your pills anywhere a pet can reach them. Some dogs can chew through a pill bottle or a 7-day pill box to get to the “treat”.

Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your pet ingested any medicine that wasn’t prescribed to them.

For more information and a complete listing hazardous human medications see the following:




English Cocker Spaniel dog and cat lie together. looking at cameAre you getting a new pet?  Have you considered adopting an older dog or cat? I know – who can resist the antics of a rambunctious kitten or puppy? They’re fun and adorable – they bring out maternal and paternal instincts in us. They’re so cute and cuddly. They’re so much fun to play with. We imagine the fun we’ll have with them as they grow and become our best friends. Stop though and consider a few things:

Puppies & kittens can be “destructive” as they go through the baby and adolescent stages of development.  Puppies chew on everything in sight – slippers, table legs; kittens can shred furniture and carpeting. They love to dig in plants or overturn your potted plants.  You definitely need to “puppy or kitten” proof your home before getting one.

Puppies & kittens have lots of energy. They require a lot of time and energy to cleaning up after them, keeping them safe and to helping them to use up their excess energy constructively.

Still unsure?  Here are a few more considerations:

  • Puppies and kittens change as they age so you don’t always know what they’ll look like when they’re full grown. With an older dog or cat you know their size and physical characteristics. You have a better idea of their temperament and health.
  • Older pets make great companions especially for older people or less active people who perhaps do not have the energy to keep up with an active kitten or puppy.
  • Older pets do not require as much supervision so they can left along for longer periods of time making them excellent pets of choice for a busy person.
  • Older pets are trainable and some studies indicate that older pets have a longer attention span and benefit from training more than younger pets.
  • Adopt a pet – save a life!  This is especially true when you adopt an older pet. Senior shelter pets have very poor odds of being adopted.  Older pets seem to recognize that you giving them a second chance and often show their appreciation by forming an instant and close bond with their new owners.

Adopt a senior pet – you truly are saving a life!

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog. ~ Sydney Jeanne Seward

More information:


Holiday Pet Safety

THE HOLIDAYSthe most wonderful time of the year! It’s the season that entices us with aromas and fragrances and tantalizes our taste buds. It is a time for joy, happiness and merriment. For our pets, though, there are some potential hazards to their health and safety. It is challenging to keep our furry family members safe during the holiday season.


Deck the Halls with boughs of holly – we enjoy making our homes festive by using fresh greens and flowering plants. Unfortunately many of the more popular holiday plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and amaryllis are either irritating or toxic to cats and dogs. A safer holiday plant is the Christmas cactus which is non toxic to cats and dogs.

And, of course, we can’t forget the traditional Christmas tree:
O Christmas Tree…..How lovely are your branches……. Yes, lovely to look at but pine needles are mildly toxic and can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach. They are not easily digested and can cause GI problems and vomiting. More toxic, however, is the standing water in the tree stand. It contains fertilizers and probably harbors mold and bacteria – a few sips can cause your pet to become extremely sick. Keep the tree stand covered so your pets can’t drink the tree water.

Remember that eating or ingesting any plant material can cause vomiting and other reactions in your pets even if it not considered toxic.


  • Tinsel is so pretty at night when the lights are turned on but if ingested by pets can cause blockages in their intestinal tract. Tinsel, lights and breakable ornaments should not be placed on the lower branches of Christmas trees.
  • Burning candles are beautiful and add ambiance to our holiday atmosphere but should be placed well out of reach of pets such as on a high shelf or mantel. Instead of real candles consider using reusable flameless candles.
  • Snow globes and bubble lights may contain poison chemicals such as antifreeze.
  • Wrapping items such as string, ribbon, yarn can cause serious problems if swallowed by pets.


For many people, chocolate is an important “food” for the holidays. It is, however, toxic to dogs and cats. Grapes and raisins, and currants can result in kidney failure in dogs. The artificial sweetener, xylitol, is present in some gums, breath mints, candy, and other human food and is very toxic to dogs. Turkey and turkey skin, and table scraps can be especially difficult for pets to digest and may cause pancreatitis.

It is important to put food preparation items and leftover food away immediately – dogs have a keen sense of smell; the smells coming from leftovers and the trash can are tempting to our pets. Foil, plastic wrap, bags can cause choking or intestinal obstruction if ingested by our pets. Turkey carcasses make excellent soup broth but the bones can splinter and puncture their digestive tract.

Keep the holidays safe for your furry family and friends by being careful of potential problems and hazards.

Wishing you a joyful and safe holiday season!

Two excellent resources:


Survey: Pet Owners and the Human-Animal Bond

Survey: Pet Owners and the Human-Animal Bond


The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HARBI) supports scientific research to prove what many of us believe to be true – humans and pets share a special, mutually beneficial connection or bond.

So why is this new study news worthy – it is the first survey of its kind to explore the connection for pet owners’ knowledge about the health benefits of the human-animal bond impacts pet care and welfare. The results of this survey released by The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) shows that knowledge that pets improve our health boosts animal welfare.

The study is available at

A summary of a few findings are:

The majority of pet owners are aware of the health benefits of pets. They also have personally experienced those benefits.

The more pet owners learn about scientific research on the benefits of the human-animal bond, the more likely they are to take actions to improve pet health.

“Scientific research shows that pets are good for our health, improving heart health, relieving stress and positively impacting conditions from autism to PTSD,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Now, for the first time, we have data to show that it’s a two-way street – when we know how good pets are for us, we are more likely to take better care of them!”

In many ways all of us share in the good news of this survey. As pet lovers we often share our personal stories about how much we love our pets and how much they’ve helped us. This sharing does make a difference.

Find out more about the work of HABRI –