Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seven ways to avoid pet germs

Reduces your chances of getting sick from your pets by taking these simple precautions:

1. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, handing washing is the most important means of preventing the spread of infecion. After a dog walk , wash you hands with hot water and antibacterial soap. Learn how to best wash your hands here.

2. Wear gloves when cleaning the litter box.
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that may be carried in cat feces. Humans may become infected with this parasite through incidental ingestion of cat feces, which can happen by touching their hand to their mouth after cleaning the litter box and before washing their hands. However, pregnant or nursing women, and those individuals with compromised immune systems are at increased risk and should avoid cleaning or changing the litter box whenever possible. If these individuals must clean or change the litter box, we strongly advise that they wear gloves and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after completing the chore.

3. Avoid sleeping in bed with your dog or cat.
In fact, a study by Dr. Kate Stenske, a clinical assistant professor at Kansas State's College of Veterinary Medicine, found that dog owners who sleep with their pets or allow them to lick their face are no more likely to be exposed to E. coli from their pet than pet owners who banish their dogs to the floor. But while disease-causing germs are not a big concern, odors and dirt in general are. Moreover, a Mayo Clinic study reports that owners who sleep with their dogs do not have a restful night sleep. Purchase a pet bed to have a healthier night's sleep.

4. You might love your pet, but don't kiss him on the mouth.
Dog mouths are teeming with germs like salmonella, campylobacter, and cryptosporidium. These germs get into a dog's mouth from eating spoiled food from the street or when he uses his tongue as toilet paper. Moreover, a canine kiss carries these germs from pooch to person.

5. Discourage your pet from snuzzling or licking family members face and/or hands.
It is well known that diseases can be shared between dogs and people - about 75% of emerging diseases are zoonotic, meaning they are transferable between humans and other animals. Ringworm spores can lurk on a dog's coat or muzzle. Every year, an estimated two million cases are reported of the transmission of ringworm from pets to people. To prevent ringworm, one of the most common infections dogs pass to people, wash up after a session of heavy pettting.

6. Discourage your cat from jumping up and walking on your kitchen counters.
Helicobacter pylori, an organism found in cats, can cause gastric ulcers in humans. It has been suggested that it may be transmitted to humans if a cat walks across a food preparation area which is then not disinfected before food is next prepared on it. Simple hygiene, including keeping cats off of counters, is recommended though it isn't known what percentage of cats carry helicobacter.

7. Stop pets from drinking out the toilet.
Bathrooms and especially toilets are havens for germs, bacteria and viruses to gather. To neutralize the germs, bacteria and viruses, the majority of cleansers we use contain toxic chemicals which can cause a variety of health problems for your pet if ingested. To avoid pet health problems, keep toilet lids down.

Additional strategies for feeding your dog

A recent Ladies Home Journal,article, entitled "The Best Way to Feed Your Dog," discussed the when and the what to feed your dog. Additonally, the article mentioned dog allergies, sneaking your pet food, bad breathe homemade diets. After reading this article, I was very disappointed that the author failed to mentioned how to read a dog food label and what are the best food dog food bowls.

To learn about pet food, check out the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration website. There is section about reading dog food labels here.

To find the best bowl for yo and your pet, consider the below listed factors.

Plastic dog bowls are relatively inexpensive, generally dishwasher-safe and unbreakable. They also come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Although convenient, plastic bowls can be chewed and/or scratched by your dog, leaving hiding places for bacteria. Moreover, some dogs can develop an allergic reaction which looks like dirt spot or smear on the chin or face from the plastic.

Ceramic bowls can be mass produced or found in an artisan shop or website. Today, they are most created to enhance your kitchen decor. As a cautionary note, check ceramic bowls on a regular basis for chipping and cracking. Whereas bacteria can easily become lodged in the grooves and contaminate a pet’s meal, a chipped or cracked feeding bowl can also be a cutting hazard to a dog’s face.

Stainless steel dog bowls are durable, dishwasher-safe and be purchased for as little ast $1.99 at kitchen supply stores.

Specifically, for a puppy, choose an appropriate bowl for her size. For an adult or senior dog, use larger, raised bowls so she does not have to bend and stretch her neck. And for a dog with a flat face, such as a Boston Terrier, Lhaso Apso, Pekingese, Pug, or Shih Tzuh, choose a shallow bowl, so that if she is eating wet food, she does not put her whole head in the bowl and stain her fur. For a dog with long ears, like a Springer Spaniel or Beagle, use a deep, narrow bowl to prevent dirty and food-stained ears.

Moreover, all bowls should have skid-proof bottoms or should be heavy enough that dogs cannot move them while eating or drinking.

The adventures of Carlos continue

Better late than never! I just received the new book of author Maureen Sullivan and illustrator Alison Joseph in the mail. In three beautiful illustrated books for children of all ages, the dynamic duo describe the adventures of French Bulldog, Carlos-the granddog of Sullivan. The best part is that diehard New Yorkers, Sullivan and Joseph use the Big Apple for all of Carlos's adventures. As a special treat, I am going to read it with my four English Toy Spaniels before going to bed.

Make a Cat(nip) and Mouse Fishing Pole Toy

Make a handmade toy that's purrrfect for your feline friends. This recipe, featured in Chicago's Ready Made magazine, was crafted by cat owner, Connie Crawley. If you feel the instructions are too time consuming, purchase Connie's best stilling mice at her Etsy store.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Get your pet organized

January is National Organization Month. Getting organized is helpful for having a pet. An organizational strategy can help you monitor pet health, care for pet gear and save money.

1. Pet food
Keep your pet's food fresh and your refrigerator odor-free by storing opened cans of pet food inside a plastic container with a lid. Save money by recycling plastic soup containers from the local Chinese restaurant. For dog food bags, use bag clips ($9.99) or transfer bag to a storage container with a seal tight lid.

2. Storing pet's gear
For less than $20, dog owners can purchase a canvas, shoe pocket organizer to store their pet's gear. Put leashes, doggie bags and other canine stuff in the pockets. An organizer can hang on the back of an apartment door or on the inside of a closet door.

3. A toy caddy
A children's toy caddy for about $14.95 is a great way to deal with toys. Store your pooch's favorites in the caddy which can easily be carried with you from room to room to pick up toys, or be stored on a closet or utility room shelf.

4. Where to put grooming equipment
Use a gardner's bag ($13.95) to store grooming equipment. Scissors, combs, brushes and barrets can be stored in the outside pockets. Clippers, shampoos and other fur accoutrements can be placed in the larger roomer interior.

5. Taking care clothing
Keep cleaned clothes and accessories in stored, airtight plastic storge containers which can cost about $28.00. In the spring and summer, store clothes with cedar blocks or balls if fabrics are prone to be endangered by moths.

6. Keeping your pet's calendar
A breed calendar, priced at about $13.95, breed calendar can be used to keep your dog's vet appointments, dates for monthly medications, food purchases, kennel and petsitting reservations, training and other classes and charity and pet events.

7. Record keeping
An expandable file can keep your pet's record's in one place. Price start at $13.95+.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Pets

With over 71 million pet-filled homes in the US, many pet parents will be searching for the perfect pet gift and other items that can keep pets safe and homes fresh this holiday season. I’ve worked with these companies to find best products that will make your pets wag their tails with joy.

For the first time ever, Hartz compiled the Ultimate Pet Gift Guide. The toys are fun and also designed to promote health and wellness benefits. For dogs, the Dura Play Ball is perfect for toss and fetch games, and the texture will keep your dog busy chewing all day long. My favorite is the Tuff Stuff Nose Diver, perfect for a game of tug-of-war. And for the cats, there's Marty Mouse - an oversized, colorful plush mouse that will keep your cat occupied with its jingling bell, fluttering feather tail and catnip. ($3.99-$7.99)

Next, why not give your pet a stocking stuffer that has health benefits too? Although the Hartz Crunch 'n Clean Savory Flavors Dog Biscuits come in three flavors, they are the only dog biscuits with patented DentaShield® - a technology, clinically proven to reduce the formation of tartar. The biscuits contain breath freshening crystals and contain 17 vitamins and minerals to help support overall good pet health. ($3.99)

For many pet owners, winter can be a worrisome. It means stocking up on products that help remove dangerous ice and snow. Morton Safe-T-Pet™, approved by veterinarians, is an ice melt product, made from organic compound, making non-irritating to paws. The salt-free, chloride free formulation is safer to use around pets than regular rock salt. Stock up before the snow falls and the ice forms. ($14.99)

Lastly, the holiday season brings the challenges of entertaining at home. Now, cat owners can confidently welcome guests into their home without worrying about embarrassing litter box odors. ARM & HAMMER® Double Duty Clumping Cat Litter, combines Baking Soda crystals with odor eliminators to destroy urine and feces odors on contact. Double Duty creates rock-solid clumps, allowing cat owners to easily remove the source of odors and to help maintain a clean litter box. In three sizes ($6.99 for a 14 lbs box)

Sign up for my newsletter here, because one lucky winner will win all of these products tomorrow.

Monday, February 08, 2010

No need for a ticket

February is the month of lovers- dog lovers! On February 15th & 16th, Cupid’s bow takes aim as hounds stroll onto the green at Madison Square Garden and into our hearts for the 134th Westminster Kennel Club. Deemed America’s Dog Show, Westminster is the second longest continuously held sporting event in this country, just one year behind the Kentucky Derby.

You and your pooch can watch the exclusive live coverage from home starting at 8:00 p.m. on USA Networks and CNBC. On the Monday, watch the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding Groups. On Tuesday, see Sporting, Working and Terrier Groups, followed by Best In Show.

If you are interested in a specific breed, video judging highlights are available throughout the days on Westminster web site. For more information about the show, the dogs and the judges, visit the Westminster website.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cool Cat at Grammy Awards

For the first time, a cat food brand was welcomed into the exclusive celebrity gift lounge for 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards presenters and performers. Making a special guest appearance in the lounge, the iconic white Fancy Feast cat posed for photographs with lounge guests such as Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, Kris Allen from American Idol and DJ Tony from the Ellen Show. For each photo taken with the cat, Fancy Feast made a $100 donation to The Recording Academy's charity, MusiCares® (up to $10,000)

Moreover, Fancy Feast presented lounge guests with a gift package. The gift includes:
• Two luxury heart charms – one for the cat, one for her owner – representing their loving bond
• A sparkling, suede cat collar fit for the most fashionable feline
• A FlipCam Mino for capturing special award-winning moments
• An assortment of Fancy Feast Appetizers for cats, an exciting cat snack that is perfect for celebrating any moment.

Creating exciting eating occasions with eight mouth-watering varieties, Fancy Feast Appetizers for cats give cat owners a unique way to express their love for their cats. These 2-ounce cat offerings are made with real seafood, chicken and beef and contain minimal ingredients for an authentic taste. Prepared in a delicate broth without by-products or fillers, Fancy Feast Appetizers delight cats’ palates with genuine flavors. Since Appetizers are not 100% complete and balanced, they are meant to be served as a complement to cats' regular daily diet.

Now cat owners can celebrate loving moments with their cat anytime. The exquisite, delectable tastes of Fancy Feast Appetizers for cats are offered in the following varieties:
• Steamed Wild Alaskan Salmon Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• White Meat Chicken Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• Seabass & Shrimp Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• White Meat Chicken & Flaked Tuna Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• Tender Tongol Tuna Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• White Meat Chicken & Shredded Beef Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• Steamed Tilapia Appetizer in a Delicate Broth
• Flaked Skipjack Tuna Appetizer in a Delicate Broth

Hmm.....Wonder which one to serve my cats? I bet they would enjoy a little appetizing about now.

It wasn't Uno

Frankly, like many serious dog enthusiasts, I am tired of seeing Uno (the 2008 Best in Show Winner of the Westminster Kennel Club). He just seems to be taken out and shown just everywhere. Don't get me wrong he is a lovely dog. While I found him delightful when he won the coveted title 2 years ago, I am looking forward to seeing what dog will reign supreme this upcoming year.

While I have heard the praises of Uno over and over again, I must admit that I find it extremely ironic that it is a pack of beagles that is terrorizing the North Folk of Island. It seems that disatisfied hunters ditched dogs because they were not performing well in the field. As a result of their desperation, these dogs have become a crazed pack, chasing Orient Point residents and their pets home, even baying, jumping on their residents' doors to be let in and eventually, breaking them from persistence.

It certainly is not surprising since these dogs are starving, ferocious, cold, hungry and desperate after being abandoned by hunters. Think of Dan Ackroyd's character, Louis Winthrope III in Trading Places. Out of desperation, he performed he drank, pointed a gun and stole because he was hungry and cold. All because of the irresponsible acts of other human beings-just like these dogs.

According to Calverton's Kent Animal Shelter Pam Green, five dogs have been picked up on the North Fork so far this hunting season. She expects to see more when the season ends in a month.

As a result, animal activists are trying to help by publicizing the plight of the wild beagles and trying to find homes for them. Two shelters now have five former feral beagles up for adoption between them. And they said that with love and care these abandoned hounds can become loving pets once again.

Monday, February 01, 2010

A View from Veranda

In December, I took advantage of offer to subscribe to various Hearst publications for the sale price of $5.00 each. I must have bought at least 10 magazines in hopes of spotting new trends of which I can apply to my work as a pet trend expert. One of the first magazines that I received was Veranda, a lovely home d├ęcor and decorating magazine.

While perusing through the March issue, I spotted a few dogs (Lab Mix, black Labrador retriever, Labradoodle, Golden Doodle, Italian greyhound and and calico, Domestic Short-Hair cat photographed within the home spreads. Moreover, I was happy to read Lisa Newsome's Editor’s Note in which she acknowledges that there were a number of pictures of animals featured in this issue. She wrote that “Pets bring such joy to our lives with their energy, intelligence and loyalty. Even so, they are not for everyone.”

Obviously from her comment, Lisa is a pet lover and I appreciate that she also recognizes that pets are not for everyone, especially those who want to keep a beautiful homes. Let’s face it they commit faux pas. They potty or vomit on the rug and unexpected places. They shed and can cause our friends and family to have allergic reactions. They can even get on our nerves.

However, they are superb companions. And as a result, I don’t mind buying an expensive vacuum that will collect all the pet hair and taking the time to decorate my home with them in mind.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Paw-Themed Holidays

Dogs, cats and pet lovers across the country can expect some paw-themed presents under their trees this year. Although 93 percent of Americans say they’ll spend less or about the same as last year during this holiday season, an Associated poll revealed that pet owners are planning to buy their dogs and cats holiday gifts. But other than purchasing gifts, pets are involved in all aspects of the holiday celebration.

1. Getting Pet Prepared
If you are a pet owner and having people over the holidays, try to make your home as comfortable and pleasant smelling as possible. All Dyson vacuum cleaners come with HEPA filters and motorized brush heads for powerful allergen removal and pet hair pick-up. The hand-held DC-31 is priced at $269.99 but as a bag-less vacuum it keeps more money in your wallet.

Additionally, if you are a cat owner, Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Deodorizer, priced at approximately $3.90, neutralizes pet odors, even if you don’t have time to scoop.

2. Pet Tipping Etiquette
Tip your dog walker or pooper scooper one to two weeks’ salary presented in cash in a holiday card. For your groomer, the price of one grooming is a suitable holiday present. Put cash thank you gifts in Pet Set elegant cards and fine stationary. A box of pet professional thank you cards and envelopes are priced at $18.00+.

A tasteful, dog-themed item like a chocolate dog from Martine's Chocolates is a great optional gift from your dog. Dogs are made in dark, milk and white chocolate. Chocolate dogs are priced from $10 and up. Martine's Yorkie, Scottie or Chihuahua, also makes a great secret santa gifts.

3. Holiday Hostess Gifting
Differentiate yourself from the rest of the guest pack by bringing the host of the holiday party something for her or her dog. For the dog, consider the LL Bean Holiday Gift Tote from Planet Dog, priced at $29. The toys will the dog “busy” and away from the holiday hub-bub. For the hostess, purchase a beautiful, hand-painted glass ornament of her breed priced from Bronner's from $4.99 and up.

4. Green Pet Gifts
If you are all about the eco-friendly way of life, share that lifestyle with your pet too. Whether you have a puppy who needs a smaller toy, a senior that likes to cuddle or a dog lke a Golden retriever who lives to carry items in his mouth, Simply Fido has a 100% organic toys for your pooch. Toys priced from $11-$34.00.

5. Creature Comforts
Dog sleep about 18 hours a day and cats tend to sleep all day and prowl all night. When your pet does sleep, keep him warm and comfortable whether he prefers to spend his time on the floor with a Bumper Bed ($66 to $158) or on the couch with a Nature Nap($19.90-63.90) by West Paw Design.

6. For Cats
As complicated as they are, cats love the simple pleasures in life-something as easy as playing, sleeping and/or hiding in a cardboard box. Treat your cat to Caboodle to bring out your pet’s natural instincts. Cat love the texture and feel; pets owners love that the product is USA made, recyclable and sustainable. Leave it au naturale or decorate it as a family arts and crafts project. The price is right at $29.95.

7. Dress for the Occasion
A doggie tee goes a long way this holiday season. Consider a t-shirt to make your pet look adorable for the Christmas Day photos. At PetSmart for about $8.00.