Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Pet Safety - Plants

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
The kennel at which I also work got a beautiful poinsettia arrangement delivered yesterday. I remember thinking while it was a very thoughtful gesture, didn't the sender know poinsettias are poinsonous to dogs and cats?!?! This promoted me to do some research and this is what I found.

The Pet Poison Hotline website states that poinsettas are mildly toxic to cats, dogs, horses, cows, and birds and may cause drooling, vomiting and possibly diarrhea but it doesn't sound like it would kill your pet. That's a relief, but I think I'll err on the side of caution anyway in my home.

Apparently there are other plants that are far worse for your pet. They include lilies, holly or mistletoe. I love lillies and never knew they were poisonous. Thankfully I've never had a cat eat them.

You might also want to deter your pet from drinking the water in the Christmas tree stand. It could have preservatives or bacteria that can upset your pet's digestive track.


Monday, November 19, 2012

The Holidays at Home with Your Pet

Photo from Foster Cat, Inc.
We are now on the downward slope of the holiday season. Thanksgiving is Thursday followed by several holidays in December. Then there’s New Year’s Eve, college football bowl games and the Super Bowl. For us here in Southern Louisiana it doesn’t end there because we still have Mardi Gras to get through. Pshew! That’s a lot of celebrating taking place over the next few months. The holidays can be stressful for your pets. Some pet love meeting new people while others do not. Routines get out of whack and there are so many temptations for pets to indulge in. If you are hosting festivities at your home, please take the safety and comfort of your pet in mind.

Things to consider during the holidays:
  • Strange people in your house who may not know how to interact properly with your pets. Your pet could get stressed out or frightened, or even escape and run away.
  • People food can make your pet sick or can even poison them.
  • Holiday decorations or open flames from candles could potentially harm your pet.
Precautions to take:
  • Designate a “safe room” for your pet to escape the commotion.
  • Make sure your pet is micro chipped and wearing identification in case they run away.
  • Know what food is off limits for your pet. It’s tempting to share food from your holiday feast with your cat or dog but it can make them very ill.
  • Know what plants are dangerous to your pet and keep them out of reach or out of the house all together.
  • Know the signs of stress in your pet. Take time out when it’s quiet to give them some TLC.
  • Try and stick to your pet's routine with regular feeding times, walking etc. That will help reduce their stress. Heck, taking Fido for a walk also gets you out of the house for a little while to relax.
  • If your dog is particularly high-strung or energetic, you might consider boarding them at a kennel
These tips are general, but you can find detailed information on these websites: – a list of all their pets and holiday related articles. has a ton of great articles that go into great details. You can also download the articles as PDF to save.
Holiday Safety Tips for Cats
Holiday Safety Tips for Dogs
Holiday Safety Tips for Ferrets
Holiday Safety Tips for Your Bird
Holiday Safety Tips for Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Hamsters, and Other Small Pets

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or treat and tips.

It's Halloween! Time for candy and costumes, great fun for humans but not so great for pets. If you follow me on Facebook, you've already seen this tips. I got them from, a web site I visit to supplement my Vet Tech learning. They have a great 2-page PDF you can download by clicking here.

Halloween Hints — No Fright, No Fear for Pets This Year!
Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year, and it’s natural to want to try to involve your family pet in all the activity. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that not all Halloween activities are fun or safe for pets. A few simple precautions can keep your spooky celebrations fun for everyone in the family, whether they are two footed or four footed.
You may also read the article on-line. Halloween Hints

Monday, October 29, 2012

Today is National Cat Day

Miss Gonzo in the clover.

Did you know October 29th is National Cat day? (Of course if your household is like mine EVERYDAY is cat day.) According to the website the holiday was started in 2005: help galvanize the public to recognize the number of cats that need to be rescued each year and also to encourage cat lovers to celebrate the cat(s) in their life for the unconditional love and companionship they bestow upon us.
You are encouraged to adopt a cat, or volunteer at a shelter. If you can't, please consider a donation to your local shelter. Did you know black cats are the least likely to be adopted? I love my black kitty Gonzo. I found her at a restaurant in a rural part of Louisiana. She was just a kitten but so sweet and came right up to me. I also have a stray black cat, Dexter, I feed. He showed up one day when we were feeding our other stray cat, Twin. I think someone had him neutered and released because his ear was tipped. He's a little jumpy but is the sweetest cat.

I even have a separate blog for my kitties, thought I don't update it as much. When Gonzo and Harold were kittens I took a lot more photos. It can be hard to photograph cats but I love the challenge. And when I'm having a bad day, just looking at photos of my kitties cheers me up.

National Cat Day web site.
My cat blog:
Smithsonian article "Judging a Cat (Wrongly) by the Color of its Coat"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Breed of the Day: Welsh Corgi

Corgis are one of my favorite breeds. My first introduction to this breed was through my friend's dog, Baily. I used to pet sit Baily and we'd have a great time running around the back yard, Baily trying to "herd" me. Corgis are definitely petit, standing only about 12 inches high and weighing under 30 pounds. They would be taller except they have unusually short legs. Corgis are working dogs; they herd livestock, cattle, ponies, sheep and supposedly geese and will hunt vermin. They nip are the heel of the animal (or in Baily's case, the human) to get them to move forward.

There are two types, Cardigan Welsh Corgi and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Cardigans are the larger of the two with a longer body, rounded ears and a long tail. Pembroke have pointed ears and shorter tails, either through breeding or docking. Thankfully many countries are starting to ban tail docking. Both have a fox-like face and head and very agreeable disposition.

If you are an Anglophile like myself, you know that Queen Elizabeth of England has corgis. I came across this article about the passing of one of the Queen's corgie, Monty, who was buried in Balmoral (the Queens Scottish residence). If you watched the 2012 Olympics, you saw Monty in the James Bond opening show with the Queen.

Animal Planet's Dogs 101 about Corgis:

A cute entry written from the corgis' point of view:
Wikipedia entry -
The Daily Corgi -

Friday, October 19, 2012

Breed of the Day: Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon One of the largest breeds of domesticated cats, these gentle giants are a very popular. And very furry! They have 3 coats of fur and big bushy tails to help keep them warm in the snowy winters of the northeast. Average weight is 17 pounds but they can weigh up to 25 pounds and measure 40" long. Their coat can be a variety of colors. They also have big paws, said to help them walk in the snow. I know one Main Coon who is also polydactyl - he has extra toes on his paws and they are huge! They have a sweet and gentle temperament and are said to be skilled hunters.

There are a lot of theories of how Maine Coons came to be. I think I like the idea they came over with the Vikings and are are descended from the Norwegian Forest Cat.

Here's a video about them by Animal Planet.

Wikipedia entry on Maine Coons -
Maine Coon Cat Nation website - 
Catster's entry on Maine Coons -