Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet (and You)

The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets needing a change in their routine. For example, with over 50 percent of pets in the U.S. classified as overweight, there’s no better time for owners to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for their pets. Need more ideas? Here are ten resolutions from www.petmd.com to make this year your pet’s healthiest year yet!

#10 Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are good place to start to figure out how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

#9 Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

#8 Try a New Activity with Your Pet

From doga to hiking, skijoring to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Meet-up groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

#7 Incorporate (More) Playtime into Your Routine

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Even a cardboard box can become a cat cave that satisfies a cat’s desire for a hiding place.

#6 Make a Date with Our Office

Yearly examinations by our office are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

#5 Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

#4 Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits with Your Pet

Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay — just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

#3 Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

#2 Update Pet ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2014, don’t wait — update their tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home.

#1 Consider Fostering

You think you want a new pet, but you’re not 100 percent sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. Who knows? That home just might end up being yours.

Happy New Year!

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, online family! May this Holiday Season be filled with love, joy & laughter. Enjoy the festivities and and remember to keep your pets safe.

We look forward to serving you in 2015!

~ The ACH Team

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Hanukkah Safety Tips

Hanukkah brings so much excitement with rich (delicious) food, toys, gifts, and the beautiful Menorah, it can be easy to forget that these traditions aren’t good for our pets. Plan ahead and use common sense to keep Fido and Fluffy safe over Hanukkah and other holiday festivities. Here are the top 5 things to be aware of:

#5 Doughnuts

Doughnuts, also known as sufganiyot, are made of a fried dough filled with artificially colored red custard or jelly, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. This celebratory pastry sounds tasty, yet is heavy on calories, fat, and sugar.

A pet’s ingestion of Hanukkah doughnuts could lead to gastrointestinal signs, including vomiting, diarrhea, and decreased appetite. Severe endocrine conditions, such as pancreatitis, can also ensue from your pet’s inappropriate sufganiyah consumption.

#4 Latkes

Latkes are a savory Hanukkah treat harboring considerable toxic potential for pets. Potato and egg are combined with onion, fried in oil, and slathered with sour cream and/or applesauce. Fresh grated onion, one of the Latke’s three main ingredients, causes Heinz body anemia in both dogs and cats. Besides onion’s toxicity, Latkes are high in fat and carbohydrates, which are likely to upset your pet’s digestive tract.

#3 Chocolate Gold Coins

Each Hanukkah, children eagerly wait to receive coin-shaped chocolates wrapped in gold or silver colored foil. Careless placement of these tasty treats could permit a curious pet to taste the precious bounty.

As chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine (both methylxanthine stimulants), a dog’s consumption of the faux denomination can cause severe toxicity. Also, the metallic foil wrapper, sugar, and fat all can cause gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, and pancreatitis.

#2 Dreidel

The whirling excitement of this four-sided top may attract the interest of curious pets. Avoid dangerous gastrointestinal foreign body obstructions by preventing your pet from participating in the festivities. Additionally, keep the dreidel and other holiday game pieces out of your pet’s reach when not in use.

 

 

#1 Menorah

The Menorah is a quintessential Hanukkah symbol. Over eight successive days, the candles are ignited until the Menorah is fully ablaze. That can pose potential life threatening danger for both pets and humans, since tradition dictates the candles burn themselves out, creating a fire hazard for the entire household.

Confine your pet away from the room containing a lit Menorah, or update your Hanukkah observance by creating a pet-safe glow using battery-operated candles.

If you celebrate Hanukkah, we wish you a happy and safe holiday!

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Holiday tips for Well Behaved Pets & New Pets as Holiday Gifts

Holiday Tips for Well Behaved Pets

Follow your pet’s daily routine as closely as possible. We are all creatures of habit; routine is comforting. Schedule changes are stressful and inevitable, especially around the holidays. Try to compensate for this disruption by spending more quality time with your pet. For example, if you are going to a holiday party in the evening, take your dog for an extra long walk before you get ready to go so they are content to rest while you’re gone.

If your pets tend to be aggressive or fearful of people, suffer from separation anxiety syndrome, or have any other behavior problems, this is not the time to retrain them. There is just too much going on to focus on it now. But, by all means do address these issues of misbehavior when the festivities are over. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to get help for your misbehaving pet. Pet behavior problems can be dealt with after the holidays are over. For now, avoid the situations that could become disasters.

New Pets as Holiday Gifts

Around this time of year, it is tempting to give someone you care about a meaningful gift. However, pets are living, sensitive beings and not just inanimate objects to set on a shelf. Please think about whether a pet will be truly valued and loved for its lifetime, or be resented and seen as an imposition. Statistics show that pets who are gifted have a higher rate of turnover to shelters and their owners are less tolerant of any problems that arise.

Pets are loving creatures who deserve to be cherished for their lifetimes. All too often, acquiring a pet when the timing is not quite right can result in their abandonment or destruction. Pets are not disposable objects. That cute and cuddly Christmas puppy or kitten needs lots of time and energy to make certain it matures into a healthy, well-behaved pet. The holidays are not really the best time for more commitments when there are so many other things that require our time and consideration.

Enjoy your Holiday Shopping!

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ASPCA’s Holiday Safety Tips

Holly, Jolly and Oh-So-Safe! Of course you want to include your furry companions in the festivities, pet parents, but as you celebrate this holiday season, try to keep your pet’s eating and exercise habits as close to their normal routine as possible. And be sure to steer them clear of the following unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations:

O Christmas Tree Securely anchor your Christmas tree so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing possible injury to your pet. This will also prevent the tree water—which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset—from spilling. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.

Tinsel-less Town 
Kitties love this sparkly, light-catching “toy” that’s easy to bat around and carry in their mouths. But a nibble can lead to a swallow, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. It’s best to brighten your boughs with something other than tinsel.

No Feasting for the Furries 
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate and anything sweetened with xylitol, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to chomp on something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure the lids on garbage cans.

Toy Joy 
Looking to stuff your pet’s stockings? Choose gifts that are safe.

  • Dogs have been known to tear their toys apart and swallowing the pieces, which can then become lodged in the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Stick with chew toys that are basically indestructible, Kongs that can be stuffed with healthy foods or chew treats that are designed to be safely digestible.
  • Long, stringy things are a feline’s dream, but the most risky toys for cats involve ribbon, yarn and loose little parts that can get stuck in the intestines, often necessitating surgery. Surprise kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow, a stuffed catnip toy or the interactive cat dancer—and tons of play sessions together.

Forget the Mistletoe & Holly 
Holly, when ingested, can cause pets to suffer nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Mistletoe can cause gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. And many varieties of lilies, can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested. Opt for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic, or choose a pet-safe bouquet.

Leave the Leftovers 
Fatty, spicy and no-no human foods, as well as bones, should not be fed to your furry friends. Pets can join the festivities in other fun ways that won’t lead to costly medical bills.

That Holiday Glow 
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Pets may burn themselves or cause a fire if they knock candles over. Be sure to use appropriate candle holders, placed on a stable surface. And if you leave the room, put the candle out!

Wired Up 
Keep wires, batteries and glass or plastic ornaments out of paws’ reach. A wire can deliver a potentially lethal electrical shock and a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, while shards of breakable ornaments can damage your pet’s mouth.

House Rules 
If your animal-loving guests would like to give your pets a little extra attention and exercise while you’re busy tending to the party, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session.

Put the Meds Away 
Make sure all of your medications are locked behind secure doors, and be sure to tell your guests to keep their meds zipped up and packed away, too.

Careful with Cocktails 
If your celebration includes adult holiday beverages, be sure to place your unattended alcoholic drinks where pets cannot get to them. If ingested, your pet could become weak, ill and may even go into a coma, possibly resulting in death from respiratory failure.

A Room of Their Own 
Give your pet his own quiet space to retreat to—complete with fresh water and a place to snuggle. Shy pups and cats might want to hide out under a piece of furniture, in their carrying case or in a separate room away from the hubbub.

New Year’s Noise 
As you count down to the new year, please keep in mind that strings of thrown confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines, if ingested, perhaps necessitating surgery. Noisy poppers can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

Thank you, ASPCA, for the tips and remember to have fun – don’t forget to also spoil your furry kids for the Holidays and enjoy some extra time with them.

 

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