Tag Archives: holiday safety

7 Ways to Transition New Pets into the Home

The holiday season is a time of year where shelters everywhere experience many “gift adoptions.” While the thought of surprising your loved ones with a long anticipated furry friend might be heartwarming, many of these gift adoptions don’t work out. Why? Because many gift adoptions are impulsive. They can also be forced – where potential adopters feel pressured to pick any cute animal just to put him or her under the tree.

Instead of bringing home a pet for Christmas, we suggest purchasing a gift certificate from Seattle Humane. This way, you’re still surprising your family with an adoption, while giving your family time to search for your perfect furry friend! You’ll also be able to include them during the exciting search process.

But sometimes that PURR-FECT pet comes along, and you just can’t let go of him or her. If your home has resident pets, follow our pet tips below for a seamless introduction:

 

1. Introduce dogs in a neutral environment.

Dogs should be introduced in a neutral environment. Seattle Humane requires all dogs meet prior to introduction. But before bringing home your new family member, be sure to let the dogs meet again in a park.

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Leash both the dogs and introduce them in a calm area. Have one person handle one dog each. Make sure to keep walking until your dog’s body language is calm and relaxed. Keep leashes loose as tense leash can make your pet anxious.

Once the dogs are showing curiosity about each other, allow them some sniffing time. Treat good behavior in both dogs promptly. If the dogs lash out at each other, pull them away and resume walking.

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Typically, dogs will become at ease with each other after a good walk. But sometimes when taking them home, resident dogs may exhibit territorial behavior. Do not punish dogs for being aggressive. Remember that the introduction process is highly variable with each dog. Be patient and remain positive.

 

2. Introduce cats to resident pets by scent.

Cats should be introduced to resident pets by scent. Confine resident pets in one room and allow the new kitty to sniff around the house. Once kitty is adjusted to the new smells, confine him/her in a room of his/her own. See the picture below for room inspirations! Then allow resident pets to sniff out the house.

Once a day, rotate the pets. Confine and allow resident pets to explore kitty’s room. While resident pets are sleuthing, allow kitty to smell out the rest of the house.

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This process should take anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on the pets’ personalities.

Resist the urge to throw the pets in one room to “work it out.” This ironically almost never works out and instead reinforces unwanted behavior. Also, never confine a cat in a crate while allowing resident pets to sniff around the crate.

 

3. Create positive associations with their scent.

To encourage a good relationship between pets, make sure to give them plenty of treats for good behavior. Do not yell, scold, and spank if they lash out on each other. This will make them associate each other’s presence with fear and anger. Instead, pull them away from each other and give them their needed space. Try again later, and promptly reward any good behavior.

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For kitties, feed new cats in their allotted room. And feed resident pets outside the kitty’s door. Once they seem comfortable, you may put kitty’s bowl on one side of the door, and resident pets’ food on the other side.

 

4. Allow sneak peeks.

For kitties and resident pets, once they’re comfortable with each other, allow sneak peeks. You may carry kitty and allow them to see each other. Reward good behavior. Moderate hissing is normal. But if fearful behavior comes out, put kitty back in the room. Try again the next day, and reward good behavior.

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Another good method is using a baby gate and keeping kitty on one side, and resident pets on the other. This allows them to get full view and interactions, while still providing a safe barrier.

 

5. Exercise the dogs regularly.

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If the dogs are tired out from exercise and play, a seamless home transition is more likely. Cooped up dogs are more likely to lash out from frustration.

 

6. Do not leave pets unattended.

Even though your pets might look like they get along, do not leave them unattended for a few months. You never know how pets will interact once you leave.

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Instead, continue to confine your new pet in their own space, while leaving resident pets in their usual set up.

 

7. Be patient and get your family on board.

Introducing pets to each other is a long process that requires lots of individual and team effort. Do not be discouraged if your pets need some time to get used to each other.

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Just keep trying, be gentle, slow down, and be positive. Also be sure to talk to your family to get a game plan on board.

6 Winter Tips to Keep Fido Safe and Warm

Now that it feels like we’re in the dead of winter here in the PNW, what should you do to keep your dogs happy and active? Whether it’s indoor play or outdoor play, we’re here to save you and your furry babies from being cooped up all winter long.

 

1. Watch out for stinging and cracked paws!

Image Source: Pet Finder

It’s important that you keep a close eye on those adorable paws during cold and wet months. While winter walks can be crisp and refreshing, cold damp sidewalks and the chemical agents used to defrost our areas is enough to dry out paws, cause discomfort, and lead to cracked, bleeding paws.

To protect your pet’s paws, apply a moderate layer of petroleum jelly or other pet paw protection waxes. This will add a barrier layer between your pet’s paws and the ground. When you’re done with your walk, always spread those furry toes and inspect  paw pads for debris and injuries, as shown below.

Image Source: Daily Mail

If you live in an area with harsher winters, consider purchasing pet booties to keep those adorable furry feet protected and warm!

 

2. Bring a Towel on Walks

Image Source: Drypet.com

Can’t stay away from nature walks and hikes? Then be sure to bring a towel and water for your pup. On walks, periodically check your dog’s belly and legs to see if they need a quick towel dry. Wet bellies and legs can rapidly decrease body temperature

Also make sure to offer your dog some water in between dry offs. Cold winter months tend to be drier, which will increase their water needs.

 

3. Keep Your Home Warm and Humidified

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ASPCA recommends keeping your home warm and humidified during winter walks. Repeated transitions from the cold to indoor dry heat can be taxing on your dog’s skin (and yours too!). Keeping a humidifier on during cold months will help skin retain some moisture.

 

4. Hold the Baths!

Image Source: Dogguide.com

Bathe your pets less during the cold seasons to protect their skin. But if your dogs get muddy and dirty playing, it’s still best to bathe them. To keep their coats shiny and their skin moisturized, opt for oatmeal-based shampoos.

For dogs prone to dry skin and skin infections (like Cocker Spaniels), mix 1 part coconut oil to 3 parts shampoo to moisturize and cleanse at the same time. When you wash it off, the coconut oil will partially stay on their skin – leaving them silky and smelling good!

 

5. Get Them a Coat

Image Source: Blue Willow Dog Coats

Dogs that frequently walk in the cold will benefit from a nice jacket. While a simple fleece layer is enough for many large dogs, those who live in areas with heavier snowfall will also appreciate a significant extra layer. If you’d like to purchase something a little more heavy duty for your dog, check out Blue Willow Dog Coats.

 

6. Have Fun Indoors!

Image Source: Positively

On days where weather is not cooperating, or where you would like to keep your dog clean, indoor play is an excellent option! Dogwood Play Park and House of Ruff in Seattle, offer canines and their companions a space of play and mingle. While your dogs have fun ruff-housing, you can grab a drink and relax! For the more introverted dog, K9 House of Fun offers a reservable space for solo-play.

Check out our previous rainy day pet tips for more indoor fun ideas!

6 Thanksgiving Tips to Keep Your Pets (and Turkey) Safe

Every Thanksgiving, pets everywhere are popping their cute heads over kitchen counters. It’s hard to resist those cute big eyes begging for a taste. And while we all love to spoil our pets, here are some guidelines to follow to keep your fur babies healthy and happy:

1. Keep Food Away from your Pet’s Reach

Image Source: Barkpost
Image Source: Barkpost

Keep food a safe distance away from pets. This enables you to control what and how much they’re eating. If you’d like to throw your pup a slice of turkey breast, sweet potato, and vegetables – go for it! Just make sure that piece of turkey is cooked through and boneless!

But there are foods you’ll want to stay away from. Don’t feed your pets turkey fat and skin, excess fat can cause diarrhea and digestive issues in pets. Also refrain from serving food that has been prepared with onions, garlic, grapes and raisins.

If you’re making bread from scratch, don’t feed your pets the dough! Raw yeasted dough breaks down to alcohol when digested which can cause some serious gas at best, and a trip to the veterinary ER at worst.

 

2. Tell your Guests: Don’t Feed the Animals!

Image Source: Christian Vieler
Image Source: Christian Vieler

Everyone loves to spoil the resident pet(s). Provide your guests with a bucket of dog treats. That way you can monitor how much table scraps are given to your pets to prevent digestive issues. Also, guests might not understand what is safe or toxic for dogs. To eliminate the risk of a sick pet on thanksgiving, leave the table scrap feeding to you.

 

3. Keep Fur Babies Entertained

Image Source: WishForPets
Image Source: WishForPets

To prevent disasters like the one pictured, feed your pets before festivities begin. This will ensure their tummies are full and potentially encourage better behavior. Feel free to be generous and add a few teaspoons of drippings, lean meat, and veggies (no onions or garlic!) into their food.

 

3. A Room of Their Own

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Image Source: Bea’s Book Nook

Even the friendliest of pets can get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Move their beds, favorite toys, and a prepared food puzzle toy or rawhide to keep them calm and entertained during the festivities.

 

5. No Sugar for Sweet Fur Babies!

Image Source: Pinterest
Image Source: Pinterest

Sugar in large quantities can trigger a sugar high in pets which will cause hyperactive and unfocused behavior – a nightmare when you’re entertaining! Sugar free sweet treats often contain xylitol which is incredibly toxic to pets and can cause life-threatening symptoms. To stay in the clear, opt out of giving your pets sweets during any festivities!

 

6. Know your Emergency Procedures!

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Image Source: BarkPost

In the unlikely event your dog gets sick, have your emergency procedures handy! Know the nearest full-service animal hospital that will be open. Watch for these signs that indicate your pet needs medical attention:

  • Continuous vomiting
  • Severe diarrhea, stool with blood, or difficult eliminating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Disorientation
  • Continuous lethargy
  • Uncoordinated movements

Contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic food. If your pet exhibits any of the signs above go to your nearest animal hospital.

Happy Thanksgiving from all at Seattle Humane!

Valentine’s Day Pet Tips

VdayPromo2015_WebAdLove is in the air with Valentine’s Day quickly approaching. Flowers will be sent and chocolates will be devoured, but some of these things can be dangerous for our pets. It’s important to keep certain foods, flowers and other items out of paws’ reach. There’s a rise in cases for poison control every year around Valentine’s Day that involve chocolate and lilies which can be potentially fatal for our cats.

We have listed some advice and pet tips to help you and your furry friends have a safe and happy holiday!

Pet-Friendly Flowers

Be sure to request that lilies are removed from a bouquet if the recipient has a cat at home. If you receive a bouquet of flowers, make sure to look through and remove all the dangerous flowers and plants. Check out this list of what should and shouldn’t be in your bouquets for the safety of your pets.

Chocolate

It’s okay for us to indulge in a little chocolate, but for our pets it can cause some damage and possible be life-threatening. With darker chocolates there’s a chance that it can affect gastrointestinal, neurological and cardiac function which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The lighter chocolates contain higher fat and can also lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Leave the chocolate to the humans and keep it out of paws’ reach!

Alcohol

It’s a completely normal time to break out a little wine or bubbly, but be sure to be extra cautious around your pets. If you spill your drink, make sure to clean it up before

This happy girl is Jasmine, a 3-year-old tabby with mesmerizing eyes!
Jasmine was adopted into a home of her own in Feb. 2015!

your pet can get to it and lick it up. Due to their smaller size, it can cause a lot of harm or potentially fatal respiratory failure if enough is ingested.

Thorns

Keep your flower arrangements away from your pet! If they step, bite or swallow a thorny flower it can cause a serious infection or a puncture.

Burning Candles

It’s nice to have a romantic setting with candles or a little burning flame, but be sure to put the flame out before leaving the room. Our pets might be nosy and curious and can either cause a fire by knocking them over or burn themselves.

Gifts and Packaging

All of those pretty bows, ribbons, cellophane and balloons can cause your pet to choke or vomit if ingested. After opening presents, just do a quick clean-up session so it doesn’t pose a problem for your furry friends!

Luna is a fabulous 7-year-old German Shepherd mix who will make a great companion.
Luna was adopted in Feb. 2015!

Four-legged Companion

What’s better than getting a cuddly puppy or kitten for Valentine’s Day – however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on having is not so romantic. A furry friend is a lifelong commitment and sometimes choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Instead of adopting a pet for someone, you can always get an adoption gift certificate for that special someone! With no expiration date, your sweetheart has as long as it takes to find the pet of their dreams. Adoption gift certificates can be purchased by phone at (425) 649-7563 or in person at the shelter.

And if the time is right now, come visit the Seattle Humane Society – we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with half price adoption fees on dogs and cats 3 years and up, February 13-15!

Enjoy a happy and pet safe Valentine’s Day!

Holiday Pet Safety

AHP_4422-LThe holidays can be an exciting time with people visiting, lots of packages, lights, music, trees, wonderful smells from the kitchen, and days getting busier and busier. To ease your pet’s stress, it’s important to try to keep their routine as close to the same as possible. Of course we want to include our furry friends, but keeping their exercise and eating habits as close to their normal routines as possible is important. Also, you want to be sure to keep them from eating unhealthy treats, toxic plants and dangerous decorations.

• Christmas trees. Making sure your tree is securely anchored so it doesn’t tip and fall, causing a possible injury to your pet. You can always use fishing line to secure your tree to the ceiling or wall in case of any accidents, and place your breakable ornaments in higher spots. This is also insuring that the tree water doesn’t spill, which could include fertilizers which could cause your pet to have an upset stomach. Your pet could end up feeling very sick if they drink your tree water. To prevent your pet from drinking the tree water, try covering the base around the stand with a tree skirt.

• Tinsel. Kittens especially are attracted to this shiny, sparkly “toy” that they can bat around and carry in their mouths. A nibble can easily lead to them swallowing the tinsel, which can lead to an obstructed digestive tract and can cause severe vomiting, dehydration and possible surgery. If at all possible, try to find something else to decorate with, other than tinsel.

• Food. It’s very important that we keep our sweets and especially chocolate away from our furry friends. But there are also many other things that we need to keep in mind to keep out of the way of our pets. Often times our table scraps have herbs and seasonings that can make our pets very sick. It’s important to do your research before feeding them anything from the table – and instead of table scraps, try spoiling your pet with a new toy or pet biscuit! Also be aware of the things they can get into, such as garbage cans or items left out on the counter! Our pets can be very sneaky – so be on the lookout!

 Toys. We love to give our pets gifts for the holiday season, but make sure you pick out toys and gifts that are safe for them!

Some things to keep in mind:

  •  Dogs often like to tear toys apart and can swallow the smaller pieces that come off, this can lead to them becoming lodged into the esophagus, stomach or intestines. Kong toys are a great and safe gift for your pet to enjoy, and it can be cheap to refill! It’s easy to stuff different foods and treats in your pet’s Kong to keep them entertained and safe from harm’s way.
  •  Although our feline friends enjoy the long, stringy toys, these can be the most risky toys for them. It’s important to watch out for ribbon, yarn, string and other loose little parts that can get stuck in their intestines that can often lead to surgery. Instead, surprise your kitty with a new ball that’s too big to swallow or a stuffed cat nip toy – they will be very happy!

• Holiday plants. Some plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and various berries can cause pets to suffer from serious illness. Instead of taking the chance that your pet could ingest this, try to opt for some holly-jolly artificial plants to ensure that they are pet-safe!

• Candles. Having that holiday glow is nice, but be sure not to leave them unattended because if they are knocked over it could cause a fire or they could burn themselves. Also use appropriate candle holders, and place them on a stable surface and higher up out of reach. Those fluffy tails can be a problem around a burning flame!

• Wires. Try to place electrical wires and cords along with lights strings in our-of-reach areas, especially if your pet is a chewer! Wires can deliver a potential lethal electrical shock to your pet. Also making sure batteries are out of reach too because a punctured battery can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus.

• House rules. If you have animal-loving friends who just need to play with your pet, ask them to feel free to start a nice play or petting session, but then after a while let your pet have the opportunity to retreat to their own quiet space. Sometimes our pets just need a little alone time in their own private space. Make sure to provide them ample fresh water and a nice place to snuggle up and relax. Often times the noise can be too overwhelming for our furry friends and it’s nice to have an outlet for them.

• Meds and alcohol. Be sure to keep all medication and alcoholic beverages away from your pets. If they’re 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 much fun as the big countdown is for us, it can be dangerous and frightening for our furry loves. Keep in mind that the strings of confetti can get lodged in a cat’s intestines if ingested and potentially lead to surgery. And also noisy poppers can be terrifying for our pets and can cause damage to sensitive ears.

We all want to have a great holiday season, including our furry friends! Just be sure to be aware of the dangers that are around during this busy time. It’s possible to have a fun and safe holiday season, just be aware of the tips listed above!

Happy Holidays from Seattle Humane!AHP_4443-L