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This Thanksgiving you’ll have a house full of guests for a tasty day of turkey, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and football. On the guest list you have your beloved mother-in-law (who is driving 200 miles to your home with her famous homemade pumpkin cheesecake), your elderly, widowed neighbor (who is practically another grandma to your children), a few co-workers who couldn’t make it home for the holiday this year, plus your immediate family which likely includes your dogs who are looking forward to greeting your guests and, of course, their own turkey dinner.

While your mother-in-law adores your dogs, you are not sure about your neighbor or work friends. In order to make the holiday (and your home) as comfortable as possible for your guests, it’s important to find ways to include pets in the day while also making sure they don’t make your guests uneasy. Following these tips will help you make Thanksgiving fun for all of your guests—both two-legged and four-legged.

Not Everyone Loves Him Like You Do

One of the surefire ways to be a considerate dog owner and host is to know and understand that, although you love your dogs, not all of your guests will feel the same way. Don’t assume that everyone will welcome your dogs’ enthusiasm with equal feelings. Let your guests know that you have dogs ahead of time and ask if they are uneasy around dogs or have allergies. No matter what, keep a close eye on your dogs as guests arrive to make sure no furry friend has chosen a lap they weren’t invited to sit on.

Dogs Need a Time-Out

During the hustle and bustle, pets sense the excitement and get rambunctious. When you’re focused on cooking, it’s easy to forget that one of your pups has a tendency to grab food off the counter when no one is looking. In order to keep you, your guests and your dogs as comfortable as possible while the kitchen is in chaos, set up an area away from the party for the animals to go and play or sleep. If your dogs are crate trained, you might keep them in their crates until all of the cooking is done, or maybe just in your master bedroom with the door closed. If the weather is mild you could also keep your pooches outside for awhile, but if it’s snowy or rainy you might want to think twice so you don’t have to clean up muddy paw prints.

Wag-Proof Decor

To make your table look pretty, a Thanksgiving centerpiece is always a nice touch. Just be careful to choose an arrangement that has a nice sturdy base—that way, if your dogs bump up against the table, you won’t have to worry about the vase tipping over and creating a lake in the middle of your gorgeous Thanksgiving dinner table. Online florist FTD has some lovely Thanksgiving arrangements that hold up against excited tail-wagging. Both the Fall Harvest Cornucopia and Bright Autumn Centerpiece are great options.

Thanksgiving Din for the Dogs

It’s only natural that you would want to make Thanksgiving special for your dogs too. Animal Planet suggests offering turkey-flavored bones and chews from the local pet store—not turkey bones from the bird you are serving your guests. Another idea from the ASPCA is to make Spot and Dot their very own Turkey dinner. The organization features pet-safe Thanksgiving recipes for your dogs, including pumpkin pie stuffing that is made from canned pumpkin, plain yogurt, cooked oatmeal and low fat graham crackers.

This year, give thanks without stressing over the dogs; as long as you’re all together and have your health, there’s so much to be thankful for!

7 Secrets To Eliminating Cat Litter Oder

Does your home smell like cat urine and litter? Well, if it does hopefully you are not nose blind and unknowingly offending Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 4.03.09 PMyour friends and family that come to visit. OR even worse, hopefully the odor isn’t so bad that you leave your home with the stink all over your clothes. You know how people talk? Keep reading to find out how you can minimize or completely eliminate the odor associated with cat litter.

  1. Switch your cat litter. It really can be that simple. There are so many variations on the market that you might just have to play around and see which ones work the best for you and your cats. It’s definitely worth the expense to try out and a few.   In some cases, you may have to spend a few bucks more but that’s better than dealing with the foul urine mixed with cat litter smell.
  2. Place the cat litter boxes in well ventilated locations. This is crucial. Placing the litter box in a utility room, closet or mud room with no ventilation is just asking for trouble. Even if you use the best of litters, you will encounter odors in a non-ventilated area.
  3. Clean the litter box at least once a day. Hopefully you’re not one of the offenders who goes days (or longer) without cleaning out the litter box! Not only is that a direct culprit of odor, you’re basically just begging your cat to pee in the bottom of your closet or on your best Persian rug. Cats like clean litter boxes!
  4. Change the litter twice a week. Even the best pooper scoopers leave behind traces of feces and urine and over time, the small traces of odor will turn into stronger traces of odor.   Set yourself on a schedule and just do it!
  5. Consider using an odor deodorizer. A little sprinkle, sprinkle can at the bottom of the litter box can make a difference. However, just as with the litter – you might need to do a little trial and error with you and your cats. Keep in mind that cats are not usually fond of strong scents so a deodorizer of the unscented variety is most likely going to be your best bet.
  6. Scrub the litter box once per week. A little elbow grease goes a long way in terms of controlling odor. Use a mild detergent as ammonia and other strong chemicals will turn your cat away from the litter box and he might turn towards your ….yes, favorite Persian rug.
  7. Consider the quality of food that you are feeding your cat. Poor nutrition manifests itself in many ways, including even worse smelling urine and feces. A dietary change may be in order if you’ve tried all of the other steps and nothing seems to be working. As always, consult with your vet and other health care professionals about which food is the healthiest option for your cat.

Remember, cats one of the cleanest pets that you can have. They desire a clean litter box and overall environment. Getting rid of your cat due to the litter odor should never, ever be an option. If you are frustrated with the odor associated with cat litter, keep trying. Try these tips and speak with your health care professionals. They work with animals every day and have the best suggestions for everything from litter to food to toys! There IS a winning combination out there that will keep you and your cats happy.

 

Maricopa County Sheriff Deputies happened across a horrific scene in Laveen, Arizona.  They had been investigating a property after complaints from neighbors came in.  Neighbors complained of hundreds of vehicles and raucous noise on the weekends.

They found evidence of what could be an animal fighting arena.  An alleged arena, leashes hanging from trees, and beer cans were strewn about.  That’s not all.  A total hovering around 100 animals were found, including an estimated 40 dogs. Many breeds of animals were present including pigs and roosters. Dogs and horses were living in small, poor living spaces – gated areas.  No food or water was seen anywhere.  Officers reported that the animals were matted and mangy.  One dog was dead when officers arrived on the scene and two horses collapses when officers tried to move them.

dog fight arizona

All types of dogs were found, not just large breeds like pit bulls.  Authorities are speculating whether or not the little dogs were used for a training tool or bait as Deputy Joaquin Enriquez mentioned “”Little dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, chained up with heavy chains. That makes you wonder what they’re being used for. Are they a training tool for the bigger dogs that are here?”

The owner has been arrested but many questions remain.  The owner claims that he rescued the dogs from local river beds but Authorities are left wondering. Were the dogs and horses being boarded? Were the dogs taken unlawfully from neighboring homes and cities?  There seems to be in influx of missing family pets in the area in recent times.  Residents are fearful and left wondering if their missing pet ended up as victims in this heart wrenching situation.

Authorities are looking for answers and hope you can help them.  If you have a missing animal or have any information to help with the investigation, call the MCSO animal cruelty hotline at 602-876-1681 or send an email to animal_cruelty@mcso.maricopa.gov .

 

When Does Rattlesnake Season End In Arizona?

Rattlesnake Season in Arizona

Rattlesnake season is in full swing here in Scottsdale.  As you are out and about with your dog, you might be wondering “When is rattlesnake season over?” or more importantly “What should I do if my dog is bit?” Well, before you hit the trails or heck, the back yard for that matter, you need to keep reading.  This information could save your dog’s life.

First things first!  When is rattlesnake season? Is there an official season?

Rattlesnake season begins in Arizona around April, when things begin to heat up and it continues well into October.  However, that’s not to say you won’t see a rattlesnake out and about during the winter months. Rattlesnakes will seek a cool refuge during times of intense heat in the summer months but that don’t mean you and your dog won’t encounter them along the way! They like to keep cool just like the rest of us so when heat is intense, that’s when the rattlesnakes will find their way onto our porches or in our garages.  Night time may be the most risky time for you and your dog due to low visibility as well as their ability to camouflage.

How can I help my dog if he is bit?

First, be sure to get your dog the rattle snake vaccination!  This vaccination serves to reduce the anti-venom he would need by the time he reaches the emergency hospital.  So, basically the vaccine reduces the reaction to the rattlesnake venom thereby allowing you more time for action.  Now that doesn’t mean to rest on your laurels.  If you dog is bit, it’s always serious business.  The only thing you can and MUST do is to get your dog straight to the nearest veterinary clinic.  By reducing the amount of anti-venom your dog will need will save you money as anti-venom is quite pricey. The vaccine itself will most likely cost you about $25-30 depending on the area in which you live.

How can I help my dog avoid snakes altogether?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid snakes.  Your dog will be outdoors and let’s face it, dogs have amazing senses and use them to scout out the world in which they live.  They are curious little critters and that curiosity mixed with a rattler is downright dangerous. If your dog sticks his nose in the wrong bush, up the wrong tree or even if he’s minding his own business in the back yard, he may happen upon a rattler.  You can avoid or curb your dog’s curiosity to the rattle snake by signing him up for Rattlesnake Avoidance Training.  In this training, your dog will be trained to avoid rattle snakes. This means he will learn to avoid the scents, smells and sounds of the rattle snake. He will be exposed to muzzled snakes as well as a low level shock collar when he goes near the snake.  This idea of the shock collar may turn you off however, think of the alternative.  As the pet parent, you are in the driver’s seat here.  You make the choices based on your pet’s lifestyle and yours as well.

What are the signs of a rattle snake bite?  

  • Swelling
  • Panting and drooling
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Puncture wounds
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Weakness or collapse

 

More tips:
  • Leash your dog when you walk him.  This is good practice anyway.
  • Steer clear of brush and rocks where snakes could be lurking.
  • Always, always know the location of the nearest emergency animal hospital when you are out and about.  This holds especially true if you are camping or traveling outside your local city limits.
  • Slowly back away from any snake.  Don’t wait the rattle because you won’t be able to move quick enough once he decides he’s going to bite.
  • Keep your back yard, porches and patios well lit!
  • Keep your garage door closed when not in use.

In conclusion, avoiding the rattlesnake is the best scenario but that’s always hard to do in Arizona.  Be prepared.  Be cautious and always be on the lookout especially with your pups in tow.  Again, should your dog be bit or you even think he may have been bit, seek immediate medical attention.  A bite is rarely a death sentence but prompt medical treatment may mean a world of difference – life or death.  

Play Video Games With & Without Your Pets (Really!)

dog videoWe already know you’re passionate about your fur babies, but what about gaming? Being a gamer isn’t just a hobby; it’s a lifestyle. We have our own chairs, controllers and sound systems, and we want others to play with us, including our pets. If you’re a pet parent who’s also a serious gamer, then we have some good news for you—game developers have created some new games and technology that enable us to play alongside our furry friends. Read more about it:

Clever Pet

If you were left at home all by yourself, without any games, TV or even a magazine, you would start chewing on the furniture too. This is why inventors Leo Trottier, Dan Knudsen and Emily Bluvas created Clever Pet. This is an interactive electronic game for your dog to play while you are gone. It is a little like “Simon” (remember that?) for humans, but the successful pet gets a treat. The founding team, all of which are PhD-level neuro and cognitive scientists, created a Kickstarter campaign for the pet toy, and according to the campaign page, it was fully funded in 33 days. Hopefully, this will be the first step to teaching your dog to play as Luigi in Mario Bros.

iPad Games for Cats

Friskies, the cat food people, have created a video game for cats (called, unironically, “Games for Cats“) to play on your iPad. Cats are natural first-person-shooter gamers. All of the Friskies games have that central theme. The owner lays the iPad, with the game loaded, on the floor and something starts moving—in one game it’s a fish and another has Friskies treats. They move around and the kitty taps them just like you do in “Call of Duty.” When the cat hits the target, the treat splits into two, giving the pet more things to attack. Since every cat owner loves to drive their kitty crazy in a good way, this is insanity-inducing video game will be fun for kitty and you.

Xbox Kinect for Dog Owners

One of the big things that the Xbox One has going for it is the newly redesigned Kinect accessory. This system is a body and voice recognition device that does away with the need for a joystick, so you’re not tied to a console. It also lets your dog get into the game; you can create a virtual pet with “Fantastic Pets,” and then use the standing, hands-free position to toss a ball for your virtual pet and for your IRL pet. This is good exercise for all three of you. Check out some “Fantastic Pets” gameplay on YouTube.

Petcube

Sadly, we do need to work. Even when we are out of the house, we can play games with our pets at home. The Petcube is a Wi-Fi enabled camera, speaker and games system that can be remotely accessed via your smartphone. You can communicate with your pet and even use a laser pointer to play chasing games with your best friend. You can also post pictures and videos to your social media pages—because after all, both gamers and proud pet parents love to brag, don’t we?

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