Happy Holidays for Pets!

Holiday petsCritter Queen wants to make sure your pets are jolly and safe this holiday season!  We understand you are probably a little tired of the do’s and don’t shouted from the mountain tops year after year but this is great information to share with new pet parents, and who knows, there might be something listed here that is new to you :)

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree
Be sure to securely anchor your Christmas with a sturdy tree stand so it doesn’t tip and fall.  Also be aware of the tree water, which may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset if ingested by your pet.  Additionally, stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea.  Be safe and keep the tree water covered.

Tinsel-less Tree
Kitties love tinsel!  It sparkles and its 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 leave tinsel at the store.

No Feasting for the Fur Kids
By now you know not to feed your pets chocolate, anything sweetened with xylitol, or fatty trimmings or bones, but do you know the lengths to which an enterprising fur kid will go to get something yummy? Make sure to keep your pets away from the table and unattended plates of food, and be sure to secure 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 that are safely digestible are a great choice.  Also, consider chews that can be easily chewed and digested; Zuke’s Z Bones, and Paragon Whimzees Alligators are a couple favorites. Many pet owners love to give bones, hoves, antlers and Nylabones to their dogs but more and more we hear of dogs that are chipping, cracking or breaking their teeth on these items…this includes the Queen’s own pup E-Dee :(

  • As for kitty, 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.

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 flowers and plants.

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, please 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.

House Rules
Make sure your guest respect the pet rules of the house.  When in doubt, keep pets safe and comfortable in your room or a spare room.  A quite space to retreat will also keep your pets less stressed and out from under foot.

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.

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. Also be aware that noisy poppers (and fireworks) can terrify pets and cause possible damage to sensitive ears.

From the Critter Queen Family to yours:
Happy Holidays & a Joyous New Year!

*Some information taken from ASPCA

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Frozen Fun To Keep Fido Cool

ImageGone are the boring ol’ days of plain ice cubes.  Sure your pup (and even kitty) love to play with, lick and munch on ice, but why not branch out and explore some new treats ideas?  Look out freezer, here we come!

 

Stuffed Frozen Kongs
If you have not yet tried this treat, you and your pup are missing out!  Why you?  Because a frozen Kong provides a good 20-30 minutes of activity for your dog…my time is quote from how long it take a pit bull to get through one of these :)  Additionally, because the goodness in side is frozen, you’ll find MUCH less off it all over your floor, the dog bed, your furniture and your pup: win!

Stuff a Kong with canned dog food, or get creative and go for a mash of dog safe fruits and veggies.  Once Kong is full, place in freezer (I set mine on wax paper) until thoroughly frozen, generally 4+ hrs.  These are a staple in my home and I usually make up several at a time so that I always have some hand.

Doggie Ice Cream
32 oz. plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 tablespoons honey

Mix all of the ingredients with a blender or mixer and freeze in ice cube trays, or even in Kongs. And as a helpful tip, small paper cups and disposable egg cartons also make good molds.

If your pup cannot have dairy, sub low sodium broth or water.  You can get creative and sub the banana and or peanut butter for other fruits or sweet potato.

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Holiday Treat For Kitty or Pup

Happy Hanukkah Fritters
A tasty treat for man or beast!  As with any treat, moderation is key (these are rich) and please only serve fully cooled fritters to your pup or kitty.  Please check with your vet if your pets have special dietary needs or allergies.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup wheat or rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
  • Oil for frying (I prefer olive oil or canola)

Combine cottage cheese and egg and mix until well blended. Stir in water.

In a separate bowl, together flour, baking powder, salt and optional sugar. Add dry ingredients to wet ones and stir lightly.

Drop by *tablespoonfuls into a deep pot of hot oil (stove tops vary, but I suggest medium to medium high). Fry until brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels. Let cool completely before serving to your pet.  If these are for you, enjoy hot with jam and sour cream. Recipe may be doubled.

*Size does matter so please adjust serving size according to your pet, or, break into smaller pieces after fritters have cooled.

Yields about 10 fritters.

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Three Great Thanksgiving Treats For Your Pets

Our pets are family and while they should not have table scraps from your Thanksgiving feast, there is no reason to exclude them in your holiday celebration!  Here is a small list of treats for your pets; perfect for holidays and year-round.

 

*If any of the suggestions listed below are new to you and your pet, please contact your vet or pet care professional to make sure said food(s) are a good fit for your fur-baby.

1.  Fruits and Veggies

Not all pets can eat meat, such as most pocket pets (gerbils, hamsters, rodents, etc). Pocket pets can have small treats occasionally, but as with any treat for any pet, it’s best to dish treats out sparingly. In general, raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli are fine to give a small rodents, so when you’re preparing your Thanksgiving meal, save a few pieces for your pet. Pet birds also love fresh veggies and fruits, including cooked sweet potatoes and cranberries, which are common staples on many Thanksgiving tables. Cooked vegetables like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots, green beans, and peas are terrific options for cats and dogs, too…just make sure you prepare your pet’s veggies and squash plain.

2.  Chews and Bones
You know that turkey bones are a major no-no for Fido but bones from your butcher, or vegetable chews (such as dehydrated sweet potatoes, etc) for sensitive chewers, are a great option!  Two great local places that I know of to get bones for your dog are Sheridan’s Fruit Co (off MLK in SE Portland) and Gartners Meat Market (off  Killingsworth in NE Portland).  Since my own pup has sensitive teeth, I like to fill her Kong with something yummy and then partially freeze the Kong (this helps the goodies inside last longer), offer her dehydrated sweet potatoes, or a fleece/rope toy that has been marinated in low sodium broth and dried.

3. Turkey Time
Yes, we said earlier that table scraps from your feast are out, but if you simply MUST give kitten or pup some turkey, do it wisely and conservatively!  Take care to remove any and all skin and bones, and avoid serving your pet any turkey that’s been sitting out longer than two hours; this helps detour the risk of salmonella poisoning. Skinless, boneless turkey can be a great treat for most cats and dogs when given in small amounts. Cut up a few pieces and add it to your dog’s regular food, or mix with some of those plain veggies you’ve cooked up.  For kitties, try pureeing the turkey with a little sweet potato or pumpkin and adding it to their regular food or let them have as is. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do with turkey giblets, boiling and chop them up for kitty or pup.

Also, if you have time to cook special treats for your pets, please look through our archive for pet tested and approved wholesome recipes for both cats and dogs.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

 

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4th of July Pet Safety Tips

Nothing beats lounging around with friends and family on the 4th of July.  BBQ’s, laughs and fun is what many of us associate the 4th of July with; however, this might not be how your pets view the 4th.  They may see it as a time when the house if full of strangers, lots of noise and activities which can be stressful and overly exciting.  And then following this stressful day comes a night of big bangs that can send kitty or pup cowering in a corner, running to hide under the bed or even worse, disoriented and running away from home!

Here are some tips to help keep your pets safe this 4th of July:

  • Make sure you home is a secure safe haven for your pets.  Some pets are not the socially butterflies we want them to be so it is important to understand their needs.  Make sure they have an escape proof area of the home where they can feel safe.
  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can get them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, they could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed and even go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Most us will be spending a lot of time out in the sun and therefore need sunscreen.  Well don’t forget that some dogs need sunscreen too and as such, they need sunscreen specifically made for them.  Ingestion of sunscreen made for humans can cause vomiting, diarrhea, extreme thirst and lethargy.  Check your neighborhood pet store for a sunscreen made just for pup.
  • Mind where you place those matches, lighters and lighter fluid and make sure these items are out of pet’s reach.  The ASPCA warns that some matches contain chlorates which can potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing, and even cause kidney disease.
  • I am sure those of you who read my blogs get tired of reading this but again: no human food scraps!  Sure Fido and kitty are drooling over the smell of your BBQ but keeping your pets on their normal diet during potential stressful/exciting times can help prevent indigestion, gas, and diarrhea…dealing with these things are just as unpleasant for you as they are for your pets.
  • Please do not put glow jewelry on your pets and never allow them to play with it.  The luminescent material is not highly toxic but can cause excessive drooling and gastrointestinal inflammation and irritation.  Additionally, swallowing pieces of plastic is a choking hazard for your pets.
  • Keep citronellas candles, insect coils and other replants out of reach.  Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal irritation and in some cases, central nervous system depression.  Also, never apply your mosquito repellant to your pets.  These can be toxic and dangerous for your pets.  Heck, I get sick from using most repellants!  Thankfully there are mosquito repellants made specifically for pets so please check with your neighborhood pet store.
  • Never use fireworks around your pets.  Obviously you know that lit fireworks are dangerous but unused fireworks can also be dangerous.  Many contain potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals that are toxic.   So please keep your firework safely out of reach
  • Firework shows are loud, full of loud people and are honestly no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take your pets to any festivities outside your own home.

If your pets are highly reactive to social gatherings and/or the big bomb of fireworks, try using items like a Thunder Shirt for pup and some cat nip for kitty (yes, cat nip is also soothing to kitty).  Additionally, use of pheromones work very well for many pets, try Feliway for kitty and Nutri-Vet or DAP for dogs.

I hope your 4th of July celebration is a great one!

 

*I am only human so please let me know if you see a typo :) pdxcritterqueen@gmail.com

 

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Cool Treats for Pets

Summer is knocking on our doors and what a better way to help keep your pets cool and hydrated than with some warm weather treats! Here are a few of my favorite recipes, so save those popsicle for yourself :)

Frozen Fruits and Veggies
How is this for simple:
Freeze bananas, strawberries, blueberries, cooked wedges of sweet potatoes or long green beans and offer them as an all natural popsicle!
*I allow my larger fruit and veggie pieces to thaw a bit before I serve them as foods that are frozen solid can be too hard for some pets to chew.

Broth Cubes
Freeze low sodium broth in ice cube trays and serve!
Those of you with hardwood floors will enjoy watching your dog chase these around the floor and kitty likes to bat them around too!

Frosty Berry Bites
These yummy treats are good for both man and beast!

2.5 cups strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
¼ cup honey (depending on the sweetness of your berries, you may add a little more or less)
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Pour into freezer-safer container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.
Use a melon baller to scoop into bite-sized portions.

And as with all treats, moderation is key and please check with your vet if your dog or cat has special dietary needs.

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Gardening Tips For Pet Owners

Oh boy, spring is finally here!  And for many of us, that means time for some gardening.  Be it a lavish backyard garden or just some planters on the patio, I bet many of you are getting ready to play in the dirt this weekend!  To help keep your garden bountiful, here are some great tips on how to protect your plants from pets.

Toothpicks
Both cats and dogs like to dig in the soil, be it for fun or body function, and toothpicks might be a way to dissuade your pets (and your neighbors’) from digging around.  Simply place toothpicks around your plants, leaving approximately ¾” sticking up; the sharp points will deter pets from commencing a dig.

Mesh or Chicken wire
If the toothpicks aren’t working, try covering your plants with some kind of mesh, such as an old window screen, or some chicken wire or even needlepoint netting. Make a slit in whatever you are using so it will fit around the plant’s stems and cover the soil’s surface.

Citrus
Spread citrus peels around the base of the plants; most cats and dogs do not like citrus.

Pepper and Garlic Spray
If the citrus peels are not working, the smell of this spray should detour most animals from digging around in your plants and garden!

1 quart water
4 tablespoons red-pepper flakes
2 tablespoons garlic powder
Misting bottle
Strainer

1. Mix water, red-pepper flakes, and garlic powder.  Let marinate for an hour.
2. Strain solution.
3. Pour into misting bottle.
4. Spray plants.

Bitter Sprays
If you have a pet that likes to nibble on your plants, try spraying the leaves with something that tastes terrible, such as these products I found doing a simple Bing search: Bitter Sprays for Pets

Happy gardening!  And if you have a great tip, please share!

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