Bringing home a new pet is not so different than bringing home a baby. Of course, that also means you’re going to have the paranoia of a new parent as well. A new pet, just as a toddler, comes with the prime directive of going wherever they’re certain you don’t want them to be. Here are a few ideas to get you started as you pet-proof your home.
Keep Your Trash Can Covered
This may seem self-explanatory, but cannot be stressed enough. This is doubly so if you own a large dog. Leaving any trash can open, large or small, is an invitation to finding the contents strewn about your carpet after a long day’s work. Not only can this be frustrating for you, but your dog could also accidentally eat something that could make them very sick, so this is really important.
Hide All Electrical Wires
No matter what kind of pet you have, they will probably go through a phase of chewing on everything they can. Electrical wires are an ever-present danger to new pets, and the shock from chewing through one can be fatal. Be sure to make as many wires as you can inaccessible to your pet. You can also use deterrents, such as nasty tasting sprays to discourage chewing in general.
Keep Your Toilet Lid Down
To a thirsty dog or cat, your toilet is no different than a water bowl that refills itself. Of course, a toilet bowl is not the cleanest place drink. At the same time, the cleaning chemicals we put in a bowl will end up making your pet sick if they ingest it. Keep the lid down and your pet healthy.
Keep Valuables Out of Reach
Most pets don’t want to cause a mess or make you upset, but accidents happen. If you have something valuable or important, you need to keep it away from your dog. If it is on their level, it may just be a matter of time before it gets knocked over or chewed on. Consider moving valuables to a higher location or putting them in a room that your pet is not allowed in.
Update Your Security
If you have motion activated security devices, you are going to need to adjust this for your pet. Security systems often include pet-friendly sensors, meaning you won’t get an alert every time your pet moves. Your security system can also help you check up on your pet if you are away from home for a while. Home security is getting more affordable, so you don’t have to worry about this breaking the bank.
It may be hard to remember all the little things to keep your pet safe, but it is well worth the effort. Your pet is precious, and even if they don’t appreciate you “ruining” their fun, it will keep them safe and healthy.
Avoiding Household Hazards
Pets are curious creatures that can get into all kinds of mischief, including finding hidden dangers around the house. As a pet owner, it is essential to know what hazards may be lurking in your home. The following are the most common household items that could pose a threat to your furry or feathered friends.
Not all people food is right for your dog or cat to ingest. Obvious things like chicken bones that could shatter and choke a small animal should be disposed of properly, and alcoholic drinks should never be where a pet can drink them. Onions and onion powder, as well as yeast dough, salt, grapes, coffee beans, and coffee grounds, are also poisonous to pets. Yes, chocolate is bad for your dog; it’s not a myth. Make sure to be giving your pets only the best foods, formulated for their nutritional needs.
Never leave a lit candle unattended, especially when there are pets in the house. Cats can creep past almost anything, but an open flame can quickly catch their fur on fire. Consider a flameless candle instead. Take care of all electrical cords. Pets can chew through them which will expose wires that can cause fires or electrocute the animal.
Chemicals are used for a variety of purposes around the house, but they can be deadly to pets. Avoid fertilizer and plant food when there are animals in the house. Antifreeze with ethylene glycol is lethal, but it has a sweet taste that attracts cats and dogs. Even non-stick cookware and self-cleaning ovens give off fumes that can harm birds.
Medications should be kept out of reach from pets just like with children. Painkillers such as Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin are all deadly when ingested by pets. Even cold medicines and diet pills need to be locked away. Tubes containing creams and ointments can become a tempting item to chew open. Have a designated cupboard for all OTC and prescribed medication. Immediately pick up any that spill, and account for all that you did not take yourself.
Once you are aware of the items that are hazardous to pets, you will be able to go through your home and make sure these dangers are kept well out of reach from your fury and feathered friends. Also, you should have your regular veterinarian’s and an emergency veterinarian’s phone number on hand just in case an accident were to happen.
Shopping For A Home Security System With Your Pet In Mind.
For today’s homeowners, home security is a must. You want to be sure that your home is protected from intruders and that if someone does attempt to break in, you receive warning that there’s about to be a problem. As you install your security system, however, it’s not just the members of your family you should keep in mind. You also need to consider your pet.
You can get a better look at how your pet is doing during the day. Are you gone all day, leaving your pet at home alone? Do you have a pet sitter coming in to mind your pet while you’re on vacation? A home security system that includes interior cameras will allow you to monitor what’s going on with your pet when you aren’t there, which will make for better pet care.
Pets may control where you can install motion sensors. Typically, motion sensors react by causing an alarm when, for whatever reason, the pattern of the beam is disrupted. Some security systems can be configured to ignore pet movements, especially if you have a small pet. Others can directly be placed in a location where pets won’t be likely to trigger them, but intruders will.
Check Your Volume Settings
Do you have a home security system that goes off at a high volume? Make sure that it’s not at a volume that will be damaging to your pet’s sensitive ears. You should also pay attention to ongoing noises like regular beeps or a low buzz when the system is activated that can be irritating to pets.
Have a Response Plan That Includes Your Pets
Your home security plan should include how you’ll respond to a potential emergency–and it should take your pets into account. Even if you don’t have time to grab them on your way to a safe location, you need to consider things like soothing them after the system has gone off and preventing them from escaping if the security company needs to respond to an alarm.
Get Help Faster
Is your pet home alone when a pipe bursts or the house catches on fire? What if carbon monoxide levels are on the rise? Home security systems can get your pet help faster. An excellent home security system incorporates all of these elements so that in an emergency, you can get your pet out faster.
Home security is critical to any homeowner. As a pet owner, you want the best possible security system for your family and your pet: one that will keep everyone safe. By considering how your security system impacts your pet, you can make a better choice that will be more likely to help your pet, rather than irritating or frightening them.
Clean Your Home With Pet Safe Natural Cleaners
All pet owners should worry about the types of cleaning supplies that they use in their homes. The majority of home cleaning products available in grocery and hardware stores contain corrosive and toxic ingredients that can hurt both humans and pets alike. Which natural cleaning solutions are safest for use around pets? The following five alternatives work best.
Vinegar and Water
Vinegar has natural acidic and cleansing properties. It also has a fresh scent. Use equal parts vinegar and water to safely clean windows, countertops, tubs and showers, sinks and floors. To deodorize garbage bins or a pet waste boxes, soak a sponge with this solution, place it in the container and then remove it and rinse everything after an hour.
When you’re dealing with strong odors and stains, baking soda is a gentle cleaning option. Baking soda has mildly abrasive and odor-absorption properties. To create a bubbly liquid that deodorizes garbage disposals and clears drain pipe clogs and debris like soap scum and hair, pour equal parts baking soda and boiling vinegar down the drain, wait 15 minutes and then follow with hot water.
Many pet owners have to come up with creative ideas for dealing with the toughest odors and stains. Place a bag of zeolite stones made from volcanic ash around your home to trap odors. To remove most stains on scratch-resistant surfaces, including crayon and coffee stains, rub the spot with wet pumice powder.
A lot of pet owners also struggle to find a safe solution for removing adhesive from various surfaces. Coconut oil, beyond being delicious, removes many types of glues. Just apply the oil to the sticky surface and then wait a day. Depending on the adhesive, the stain will either dissolve enough that you can wipe it away or lose its stickiness enough that you can pop it off the surface. Now that’s pet safe and clean!
Certain Essential Oils
Some essential oils are perfect for adding to your cleaning regimen. Some of the oils can enhance the purifying power of the solutions you’re using, and they don’t contain any harmful chemicals. They also smell great, and you’re guaranteed to find a smell you like since there are so many options to choose from. To create a fragrant carpet powder or deodorizing sachet, for example, add a drop or two of a pet-safe essential oil to two cups of baking soda.
Please keep in mind that different pets don’t tolerate the same oils. Cinnamon and clove oils are usually safe to use around dogs but can be dangerous to cats. Always check with your veterinarian before using a particular oil and dilute the oil before cleaning.
With every one of these alternatives, it’s important to remember that you should still follow common sense cleaning practices. Powdery residues from baking soda and pumice, for example, can sometimes cause mild eye, respiratory and skin irritation. Thoroughly rinsing surfaces reduces the risk. Also, each of these natural products makes your home a much safer environment for everyone. Try one or more of them today.
P.S. – Does your pet have allergies? Keeping a clean environment will help!
For more allergy tips, check out our “Pet Allergies” blog article here: http://naturalpetfooddelivery.com/nsd/carolinas/pet-allergies-what-causes-pet-allergies-and-what-you-can-do-to-treat-them/
Whether your special companion has eight legs, four legs, or no legs at all, they all have individual requirements to meet their physical and emotional needs. Follow these simple steps to make the most comfortable environment for your pet:
Similar to humans, animals require light to maintain their circadian rhythm. If their circadian rhythm is not regulated, their quality of life will plummet drastically. Whether you are providing natural or artificial light, be sure they are getting the right amount of light to keep them regulated. For animals with more specific light requirements (such as cold-blooded animals), consider buying a light timer so they can receive the exact amount of light they need.
Dust, toxins, and allergens can impact our pets just as much, if not more, than us. Avoid damaging the air quality by maintaining a smoke-free environment with as little air debris particulates as possible. A simple way to keep your home air clean is implementing toxin-reducing decorative houseplants in your home, such as English ivy or peace lilies. Keep air from becoming stagnant by opening windows and maintaining efficient air circulation with fans.
Also, proper air conditioning maintenance will ensure the healthiest environment for you and your pet. Improve your air quality by regularly changing out your air conditioning filters, which will decrease dust and allergens in your home. If there seems to be a problem with the air flow, request help from a professional as soon as possible to ensure the highest quality air and temperature in your home.
Every living being has a temperature comfort range. While our furry friends typically share the same temperature needs as us, reptiles and amphibians require additional heat to ensure their body temperatures are regulated. Do your research to see what your pet’s comfort zone is, then make a plan to maintain a stable temperature for them.
Be mindful that animals are much more sensitive to sound than humans. Typically, a more quiet environment is preferable to them. That being said, you can implement noise in your home in a way that can make your pet feel more at ease. For animals that become stressed during uncontrollable noises (such as fireworks or thunderstorms), covering the noises with more soothing sounds such as classical music or television can reduce their stress levels. Pay attention to what sounds comfort or discomfort your pet to ensure the most comfortable environment for them.
Because pets cannot communicate with us verbally, it can sometimes be difficult to understand their wants and needs. Having an understanding of the physical requirements of your pet in things like air, lighting, temperature, and sound will alleviate a great deal of stress for them. Along the way, you may discover that your pet’s personal preferences or sensitivities to some of these areas, which can help you individualize the plan for your home to their needs. Through research, personal observations, and plenty of TLC, you can create your pet’s dream environment in no time.
Make sure to keep your pet’s food in a temperature-controlled environment, when possible, to protect vital nutrients that can be damaged with exposure to heat or cold. Nature’s Select pet foods, for example, should be kept between 64-75 degrees fahrenheit, to protect the viability of the probiotic bacteria added to the food to give your pet optimal digestive health.
What would happen if we treated ourselves the way we treated our pets?
This line of questioning can create a LARGE spectrum of answers and opinions.
On one end, we have pet parents who feed their pets homemade food, organic, natural, or other high-end foods, while the person still eats processed, unhealthy foods. That pet parent will spend fortunes on veterinary care and check-ups for the fur-baby, foregoing an annual check up for themselves. These pet parents love without hesitation and give more than they can, in many ways.
At the other end of the spectrum, some pet owners chain their pets outside, in the rain, cold, and heat. Sometimes they remember to feed their dog. Sometimes they remember to give him fresh water. Sometimes they don’t.
Throughout history and still today, there have been those who regard animals as sub-creatures and those that elevate them, even to the point of worship, as did the Egyptians.
One of my favorite quotes is from Mathatma Ghandi, who said, ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:10, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”
Buddhist will be familiar with this verse from Dhammapada 129, “All living things fear being beaten with clubs. All living things fear being put to death. Putting oneself in the place of the other, Let no one kill nor cause another to kill.”
One of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, an advocate for equality and change, said, ““I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
Our wold-views, moral beliefs, and religious beliefs shape how we view others and ourselves.
Where do you fall on the spectrum? I recommend taking Lincoln’s advice – taking a holistic approach to animal care and yourself.
Make sure you are caring for your animals as you care for yourself. Ask yourself these questions.
Do you care for your pets more than you care for yourself?
Do you care for them less than you care for yourself?
How do your worldviews shape how you care for your animals?
If you cared for yourself as you care for your animals, would you be healthier? Happier?
Would you be miserable? Would you fall somewhere in-between?
Analyzing yourself, your personal relationships, your world view, can help you treat yourself better, or treat your pets better.
It’s like LinkedIn – For Your Dog!
I recently ran across a developing website that could be REALLY beneficial to pet owners – PawedIn.com! It’s basically a working directory of pet professionals in your area. You can even create an account for your pet and “link”them to your the pet professionals you personally love (vets, pet stores, groomers, and more!). There are also some really educational and fun pet blog articles!
Take a minute and check it out and let me know what you think. PawedIn.com.
Nature’s Select of the Carolinas
Is it just bad breath? Or the start of a deadly disease?
What would you say if I told you that a single act, performed 1 minute a day, could increase your pet’s lifespan by 3 years or more?
If you have been anywhere near our Facebook page in the last 30 days, you’ve seen infographics, photos, quotes, data bites, anything to help raise awareness for February’s Dental Health Month. Why? Because so many pet parents still don’t know that routine dental care can add YEARS to their best buddy’s life span.
“When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don’t,” Dr. Jan Bellows
Cleaning your pet’s teeth can be easy and fun!
There are numerous products on the market now to help you take care of your pet’s oral hygiene. From three-sided toothbrushes, to Salmon flavored toothpaste, to water additives and specially-shaped dental chews, there’s no lack of products and support, to help get you started. For those new to the game, here are my 6 simple tips to a EASY oral care.
Diet plays a large role in dental health.
DIET – Veterinarians will tell you that kibble is great for scraping and cleaning the teeth, while RAW food enthusiasts swear by the nutritional supremacy of homemade diets. Canned food feeders love the convenience and “real food” taste. Here’s the takeaway. Whatever you’re feeding, make sure it is a healthy food. If you feed a dry food/kibble, you can look up your pet’s food here. If you prefer a kibble-based diet, I recommend going 4 stars or higher (like Nature’s Select Premium Pet Foods), but if you’re on a tight budget, moving from a 1 or 2-star ranked food to a 3-star ranked food, will do wonders for your pet’s health. Remember – you can also supplement your pet’s processed foods with whole foods for increased health!
CARAMEL – Are you a huge RAW or BARF diet fan? How about canned foods? Love those for your pet? Great! Here are a few things to remember. Canned foods and other sticky foods (think what you serve your pet in their RAW diet) can stick to the gums and teeth, essentially, like caramel. This can accelerate periodontal disease, among others. While the pet will clean their teeth through pulling/scraping the meat off bones (especially with PREY feeding), a healthy brushing routine is definitely a bonus to help prevent oral disease.
What about my dog/cat? They won’t let me near their mouth!
Brushing with paste and gels.
TO BRUSH OR NOT TO BRUSH? Brush. If you can. Some pets detest it, while others don’t mind a bit. Have a puppy? Start them young. Fun flavored gels, like this Salmon gel, and a finger brush are all you need to get them started. They’ll love teething on the rubber finger glove also! Get your fingers or a toothbrush in their mouth with LOTS of positive reinforcement. This is also a great way to introduce an oral care routine to your adult or senior dog or cat. Some pets like to lick the gel off your finger as well! As they move the gel around their mouth with their tongue and saliva, the gel coats their teeth, helping get rid of tartar and plaque.
If your pet has signs of periodontal disease already, you may want to move right up to using a toothbrush. Special 3-sided toothbrushes make the work simple and quick and clean the teeth thoroughly, but a regular toothbrush works well also. Just remember to get all three sides of each tooth.
Spray and Go Dental Sprays
DENTAL SPRAYS – Some companies even offer a dental spray that you can simply spritz in the pet’s mouth. My personal favorite! Simply pull your pet’s lip up and spray 1 – 2 times each side. You can (if your pet will let you) accelerate the benefits by wrapping some gauze around your finger and rubbing your pet’s teeth after application. Some pet dental sprays and gels contain alcohol, which is a controversial ingredient in the natural/holistic pet care realm.
I have used both a gel with alcohol (trace amounts to help kill bacteria on the gum line) and an alcohol-free oral care spray. I can tell you from personal experience that Avery minded the alcohol-free version less. With the alcohol-version, while it did work, I had to chase her through the house to apply it.
Water-Additives – Make sure to read the label and research the ingredients.
AGGRESSIVE PETS – Some pets just will not tolerate a toothbrush, no matter how much praise you offer or if you find steak-flavored toothpaste. This could be due to several factors, including existing oral pain. I recommend a trip to the veterinarian for a dental checkup to ensure there is no pain or tenderness in the mouth before proceeding.
Water additives like this one can be a great help. While not a substitute for regular dental care and cleaning, a water additive that helps reduce plaque and tartar is better than no treatment, or waiting to treat your pet until a tooth cleaning visit.
CAREFUL THOUGH. If you have a multi-pet home, read the label. Some additives are not safe for cats or other animals, and if your pets share a water source, you will want to be extra careful. UPDATE: Additionally, you may find after reading the ingredients, that many “natural” water additives still contain ingredients you may question.
Depending on how aggressive your pet is, you may be okay to allow them to ingest some artificial ingredients, weighing the effects of those ingredients against threats like oral disease, heart disease, and kidney disease. Some pet parents opt to bring in a trainer to help work with the dog, offering a positive rewards system in exchange for access to touch inside the pet’s mouth. Ultimately, you will have to decide what is right for you and your family.
What about chew toys for dental care?
CHEW TOYS, CHEW STICKS – Chews are a GREAT way to help your pet scrape off plaque and tartar while they play! Choose all-natural chews (NOT RAWHIDE/BEEF HIDE) that are fully digestible or fun rubber chews. I’m a big fan of all-natural bully-sticks! Dogs love these things!
As always, with any chew, never leave your pet unattended and be sure to take the treat or toy away when it becomes a choking hazard. (*Rawhide and similar products have been known to “gum up” in the intestinal tract, blocking the pet from passing waste. If not addressed with costly surgery quickly, the pet can die from waste toxins building up in their system.)
Teeth-cleaning and regular vet visits…
REGULAR VET VISITS – Your pet should be seeing a vet at least once a year for an annual checkup. Checkups are a great way for your vet to help keep your pet up to date on vaccinations, check your pet over (including their teeth and gums!), as well as answer any questions you may have. If you’re up to snuff on keeping your pet’s teeth clean with routine brushing, you may never need to schedule a teeth cleaning appointment for your pet!
Teeth cleaning appointments can be necessary for some pets and some pets who have never benefited from proper oral care may even have to have teeth extracted. During teeth-cleaning appointments, most veterinarians place the pet under sedation while the pet’s teeth are cleaned. As with any procedure, even sedation carries risk. Some veterinarians do offer cleaning without sedation, but this also depends on how submissive and well-behaved your pet is. Take-away? Keep up with your pet’s oral care and make sure to schedule your pet’s annual checkup so the vet can see how well you’re doing!
Your pet’s oral care is IMPORTANT. Science is now linking poor oral care to diseases like heart disease and kidney failure. Your commitment to care for your pet an extra minute a day could help save them from terrible illness later. Have questions? Comments? Email them to me at NaturesSelect (at) petpeople (dot) us.
Your Nature’s Select Natural Pet Food arrives to your door super fresh. Our dog foods and cat food are made-to-order, and we currently order about every 6-8 weeks. Meaning, when your pet food arrives at your door, it should never be more that 2 months old. Our pet foods are best enjoyed within 12 months of production, giving you and your pets 10-12 months to enjoy it. Purchasing larger bags are, of course, more economical, but this may not be the best solution for some dog owners.
Once a bag of pet food is opened, it is exposed to light, heat, oxygen and moisture. Once the process of oxidation begin, the pet food will begin to taste and smell stale after about 4-5 weeks. It is recommended that you purchase the amount of pet food needed to feed your dog or cat for 30 days, and store opened food in an airtight container at room temperature to maximize freshness, while minimizing elemental exposure.
Of course, no one wants to miss out on saving money. That’s why at Nature’s Select, we offer our Multi-Bag Discount Program.
With Nature’s Select, you can purchase two, three, or even four 30 lb dog food or 20 lb cat food bags at a time, even mixing the recipes, and get huge discounts, bringing your average cost per pound down. Purchasing your dog’s or cat’s food in bulk can make feeding a high-quality, four-star food very budget friendly, and of course, you still get the free home delivery!
To keep your pet’s food fresh, we recommend storing the food in a size appropriate airtight container, and only opening one bag at a time. If you purchased four bags, the one open bag you would be feeding, while keeping the remaining three bags unopened and fresh until you need them. Of course, when you are ready to refill your container, make sure to wash it thoroughly before filling it with the new food, or using a fresh bag liner in the container. Cut or tear off the lot production number and best by date from the opened bag, and tape it to the top of your food container, or store it somewhere safe. While we at Nature’s Select have never had a recall, it is important to always be aware and cautious. Having the lot number and best by date readily available will help you identify if your food was affected, should such a scenario ever occur.
When you place a bulk pet food order using our Multi-Bag Discount Program, make sure to let us know in the notes if you would like additional bag liners for your pet food storage container.
If you do not currently have a storage container, I recommend these by Pet Ness. They feature a rubber gasket for an excellent seal, a locking lid, and the larger units even come on wheels for portability. You can add one to your next order and get $2 off our popular 25/30lb bin with the coupon code: STORAGE.