Pet Safe Holiday Tips


jack russel terrier and kitten

Keeping your furry family members safe during the holidays can be a difficult task. Many pet parents plan to include their furry companions in the festivities. This holiday season, it’s important to be mindful of your pet’s eating and exercise habits. Also, remember to steer pets clear from harmful toys and other gifts. Dr. Julie Hansen, DVM, cVMA is the Program Chair of the Veterinary Technology program at Argosy University, Twin Cities.

Here are Dr. Hansen’s tips for a Pet Safe Holiday:

Great DOG gift ideas:

  • Stuffed animals with squeakers (be sure to make sure the dog doesn’t “liberate” the squeaker and swallow it!)
  • Chewing treats: look for products with the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) seal of approval. These will help reduce plaque and tartar. See http://www.vohc.org/AcceptedProductsTable.pdf
  • Sweaters and coats for small dogs in cold weather
  • Boots for dogs that love to go for long walks in the snow
  • Tennis balls and soft frisbees for dogs that love to retrieve
  • Treats! But give in small quantities

Great CAT gift ideas:

  • Scratching posts and boxes
  • Hiding spaces – boxes, tunnels, cat condos
  • Anything with catnip!
  • Small balls to chase (but not if you also have a dog that might eat them!)
  • Treats, especially dental chewing treats!
  • Toys you can use to play WITH your cat

Gifts to avoid:

  • Any toy too small for your dog – choose toys that they can’t swallow
  • Deer or elk antlers – these natural chews are unfortunately too hard and can easily break teeth
    • If your dog is a big chewer, look for softer chewing items (Kong products are great) that won’t be able to be chewed apart easily
    • Don’t leave your dog unsupervised with anything they can chew apart
  • Human “treats” – especially anything with chocolate, raisins, and/or macadamia nuts – all of these are toxic to dogs
  • Avoid toys with strings or ribbons that your cat could ingest, unless they are always supervised while playing

kitten exotic shorthair and chihuahua

*This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily represent my own. 

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Cold Weather Woes – 6 tips to avoid a chilly trip to the vet’s office


Our dog Espn enjoying the snow.

Our dog Espn enjoying the snow.

During these winter months it can be challenging to keep our pets healthy and happy. The cold weather often brings a slew of things to watch out for when it comes to keeping Fido and Fluffy out of trouble.

Dr. Carol Osborne, DVM offers a few essentials to get your furry friend through these cold months without a trip to the vet’s office.

When using ice melting products like Rock salt and De-icing chemicals, spritz your pet’s feet with water when they come back inside to avoid irritation of their skin and paws. Signs of ingestion include excess drooling, depression and vomiting.

Antifreeze is deadly for pets. Clean up spills/leaks immediately and make sure that it is stored in a sealed container locked in a secured cabinet. If you think your pet has consumed anti-freeze, this is a true life or death emergency! Go to your vet ASAP and call ahead while you are on your way!

Keep your pets protected from the frigid temperatures (if it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your pet. Offer a little extra food during the winter months because more calories are burned trying to maintain body heat)

Frost bite risk areas include your pet’s ears, nose, tip of the tail and ears. Frostbitten areas of skin initially turn a reddish color then become gray.  To treat frostbite: give your pet a warm bath and wrap him or her up in warm towels. Don’t rub an area that has frostbite!

Homemade meals for your pet are a healthy and cost effective way to ensure your pet is getting essential nutrients without the risk of indigestion, weight gain due to over eating and the high caloric intake of processed foods. Cuisine made of equal portions of a lean protein (chicken, turkey, beef, veal, duck, fish or eggs), long-acting carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta or oatmeal) and fresh vegetables (broccoli, spinach, green beans, lima beans, peas and carrots) are ideal. Cats require more protein than dogs, so 80 percent lean protein and 20 percent veggies is perfect.

Rat and Mouse baits are usually used more often in cold weather. Place baits in areas inaccessible to your pets. Peanut butter baits smell good and are tasty to pets. Save labels, and if you think bait has been eaten by your pet, get to your vet ASAP. Call ahead while you are on your way! Most pets are treated with Vitamin K therapy and recover.


About the author: 

Dr. Carol Osborne is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty plus years. She is the founder and director of the non-profit organization, the American Pet Institute. Dr. Carol offers traditional veterinary care for dogs and cats with a softer, natural touch. Her approach highlights the importance of nutrition and utilizing holistic avenues in combination with traditional treatments. For more info. visit chagrinfallspetclinic.com.

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The Secret Life of Pets available TODAY on Digital HD



Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not home?

As the “mom” to five cats and a dog (not to mention a Goldfish), I often wonder what goes on when no one is home. I sometimes come home and find things moved, knocked over and even missing! I’m also curious to see if our pets sleep on our couch or walking all over the counter tops when we are not around to tell them to get down.

We do have video cameras we could set up to see what goes on when we are not home. One day we’re going to set them up.

Earlier this year a film by Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures (the same people who brought us the Despicable Me franchise) released a funny, animated film that explores what could go with our pets when we are not home. The film is called The Secret Life of Pets.

The Secret Life of Pets is now available to own on Digital HD!

In case you haven’t seen the film yet, here is a brief synopsis.


In their fifth fully animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead when we leave for work or school. Max, voiced by Louis C.K., is a loyal terrier living a perfectly happy existence until his owner, Katie (Ellie Kemper) brings home Duke (Eric Stonestreet) a big, boisterous mutt she finds at the shelter. When Max and his unruly new “roommate” slip away from their dog-walker, they find themselves lost in the urban jungle of New York City. In an attempt to stay ahead of animal control and a rebel band of abandoned pets led by an unhinged bunny named Snowball (Kevin Hart), they put aside their differences to survive the epic journey back home.

The film stars the voice talents of Louis C.K. (TV’s Louie), Eric Stonestreet (TV’s Modern Family), Kevin Hart (Ride Along Series), Jenny Slate (Zootopia), Ellie Kemper (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Lake Bell (TV’s Children’s Hospital), Dana Carvey (Wayne’s World), Hannibal Buress (Neighbors series), Bobby Moynihan (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), Steve Coogan (Minions) and Albert Brooks (Finding Dory).

This is a wonderful movie to add to your family’s movie collection. You can download your copy today from iTunes. It’s also available on Google Play, Amazon Video, and other digital outlets.

Digital HD allows you to watch the film on any device, anytime anywhere. That means your child can watch it while driving to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner, or at any time during your holiday travels.

The digital download also comes with three hilarious mini-movies: the all-new Norman Television and Weenie PLUS Mower Minions. Check out a clip from Mower Minions below:


Funny! I can’t wait to get my copy of the film. Plus we enjoy the Minions, so we are looking forward to the mini movies too.

If you would like to learn more about the film you can visit the Official Site. You can also “like” The Secret Life of Pets on Facebook as well as follow the film on Twitter and Instagram. You can also check out the hashtag #TheSecretLifeofPets and #PetsPack on social media.

Did you see The Secret Life of Pets? If so, what did you think about the film?

Do you think you’ll purchase a digital copy of the film?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.



*I have partnered with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinion expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Give your feline plenty of fun with Nekochan Cat Tunnels


Anakin, Velcro and Bella in our cat tree.

Anakin, Velcro and Bella in our cat tree.

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you know that we have a lot of cats – five of them to be exact. Their names are Velcro, Kitty, Padmé, Anakin and Bella. We also have a dog named Espn (pronounced Es-pin) and a Golfish named Fishy.

We like to keep our cats happy and healthy. Part of that relays on giving them fun things to do that will keep them active. For that reason we like to offer them a variety of play things that engage in all their senses (climbing, clawing, running, hunting…).

Just like kids, cats (and dogs) can often get bored of their playthings. That is why I always make it a point of rotating things every few weeks. I’ll put some of their play things away in the closet and bring out a few things that were being kept in the closet. By rotating the play things your pet shouldn’t get bored.

I do leave a few play things out all the time, only because they play with them frequently.

Paddy and Bella 1

The black box on the floor is a “toy box” for our cats. You can see things dangling from the cat tree, a spinning toy (orange) and a crinkle mat.

One of our cats favorite things are cat tunnels. They love to run through them, hide from each other in them, pounce on each other from them and use them as bedrooms.

We’ve had several tunnels over the years, but they tend to get boring quickly because let’s face it – they are just a long tube. There is nothing overly exciting about that.

Not long ago I was introduced to a new type of cat tunnel from a company called Nekochan. Nekochan has cat tunnels that are different from the rest. Their tunnels can connect with other tunnels, giving you the ability to create different formations for your cats. There is no more running through a straight tunnel. With Nekochan cat tunnels you can provide your cat with many twists and turns.

I was sent two tunnels to play around with my cats. Each came in it’s own carrying case.

These tunnel fold up very easily, which I appreciate. We live in a tiny condo, so I can’t keep these out 24/7 for weeks at a time. Instead I put them out for the day while we’re at work/school and pick them up when we get home. They close up very tightly and are super easy to slip back inside the case. The cases fit easily in a closet, under a bed or behind furniture.

The tunnels come with several openings, giving your cat plenty of places they can “pop out” from.


You can see how soft and plush the tunnels are.


Some of the openings have zipper “trims” on them (for lack of a better description). You can very easily attach another tunnel via the zippers. They are very easy to work with. I had no problem attaching the other tunnel with the zippers.

Some of the tunnel are not perfectly straight either. Some have a bit of a curve to them, which only adds to the fun. There is no more straight tunnels. Your cat will have plenty of different ways to enjoy the tunnels.

There are more than one way to configure the tunnels too. You can give your cat a new shape every day quickly and easily.

We only have the two tunnels (one straight, one slightly curved). I could only configure them a couple of ways, but my cats didn’t mind. They enjoy the tunnels.

Here are some different configurations (using more than two tunnels) that I found on the Neko website.

1 2

Other tunnels we’ve used were made out of a nylon-like material. The Nekochan Cat Tunnels are made out of a soft, plush material (reminds me of corduroy) which makes them more sturdier if you ask me. Not only that, they look nicer and hold up better with the cats. With other tunnels you could see the claw holes in the material where as with these tunnels you don’t notice things like that.

So far my cats really enjoy these tunnels. As a pet mom I feel good knowing that my cats are not only having fun, but also getting in much needed exercise.

To learn more about the Nekochan Cat Tunnels, or to see the other fun products Neko offers, visit NekoFlies.com. You can also check out the brand on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom of their home page.

What do you think of these tunnels? Do you think your feline friend would like these? They would make for a great gift for the holiday season.



*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Check out the new WWE Pet Collection from Petmate



I can’t believe that the WWE is still around. I’m not saying that it’s not entertaining, I’m just surprised it’s lasted all these years. I still remember watching it when I was younger – back when Hulk Hogan and “Superfly Snooker” were popular wrestlers. Honestly, I thought it was just a fad. Guess I was very wrong.

Wrestling is just as popular today as ever. There are some major wrestling fans out there.

WWE fans can now share their passion with their pets as Petmate, the worldwide leader in the pet industry, has recently launched their new collection of WWE pet products , which are now available at retailers nationwide. The new collection features iconic pet beds, fan favorite collars and leashes, and assorted rough and tough rubber and plush toys, capturing the excitement of WWE.

Showcasing the brand’s mega-themes and fan-favorite Superstars including WWE Superstars John Cena and The Rock, and WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin, the collection is now on pet store shelves near you and online at PetSmart.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com. For more information visit Petmate.com.

Petmate sent me a few of their WWE products to check out for myself. One items is a wrestler “doll” toy (WWE Plush Superstar Toy) for our dog Espn. He’s rather large and he’s make with great detail.

  • With WWE Plush Superstars, your dog can wrestle with the
  • These tough canvas toys feature popular Superstars including The
    Rock, John Cena and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Each toy also has a squeaker inside for added excitement during
  • Suitable for small, medium and large dogs.
  • MSRP: $14.99


Espn often pulls apart his toys, but this toy is made for rough play. It would take a lot o pull this toy apart.

He does have a hard time with the squeaker. It does squeak but not as easily as other toys he has. In fact, when he’s chewing on it and it squeaks he looks surprised. I guess he doesn’t see this as a squeaker toy because he doesn’t get it to squeak that often.

We also received two pet beds from the WWE collection. You might be wondering why two? That’s because we have five cats and a dog (plus a Goldfish). They all love to sleep in comfort, so I figured they would all use and appreciate the beds -which they do.


One of the beds is the WWE Pinch Corner Lounger Bed With Logo.

  • Styled to resemble a wrestling ring, this cozy lounger dog bed
    features either the WWE or Divas logo.
  • Soft plush interior and small size is ideal for little dogs that want to
    feel like heavyweight champs!
  • MSRP: 19” x 16” x 16” – $34.99

I thought our dog would like this bed the most. He does sleep in it, but her prefers the other WWE bed we received. Our cats on the other hand love this bed, most especially our cat Anakin. He sleeps in this bed the most.

The other bed, WWE Pillow Bed Pillow Bed With Logo, I thought the cats would enjoy the most. Espn sleeps on this bed all the time. He love it.

  • Knife edge pillow bed
  • Available in The Rock Brahma Bull print, WWE logo pattern and
    Diva’s Leopard print
  • MSRP and Sizing: 27” x 36” x 6” – $34.99
I'm sorry for the poor picture. You can see the word "Diva" on the one corner. The other side is bright pink.

I’m sorry for the poor picture. You can see the word “Diva” on the one corner. The other side is bright pink.

I got the Diva Leopard print because I assumed our cats (we have more girl than boys) would sleep on this all the time. They prefer the other pet. So our boy dog is enjoying the pink and black leopard print bed that says “Diva” on it. LOL!

This is a generous sized bed. It’s very plush and fluffy. It’s no wonder that Espn really enjoys this bed.

If you are a dog/cat owner who is a big fan of WWE, you might want to check out this new line of products from Petmate (Petmate.com). Don’t forget to check out the other products that they offer.

You can also find the brand on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.



*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Kid’s Books Explain When Fido Gets Adopted, Sick or Dies



I am a big time animal lover. Our five cats, dog and Goldfish are proof of that. If I could live on a farm or run my own animal sanctuary I would.

I have always had animals in my life. Growing up we had dogs, cats, fish, birds, hamsters and even a horse. We spoiled them like crazy and were devastated and heartbroken when they passed away.

Even today as an “adult” I cried when our Goldfish “Wishie” died last year. That’s right – an adult CRIED over the death of a Goldfish. That’s how I am. I love our pets very much – big or small.

Two of our cats have health issues. Bella has severe asthma and three leaky valves in he heart. Her thyroid is also wonky too. Our other cat, Velcro, is diabetic and requires insulin shots twice a day. The diabetes and his age have caused him to lose his teeth.

Our dog Espn (pronounced Es-pin) is very sick. He is terminally ill with a liver disease called Hepatocutaneous Syndrome. There is no cure for it. He’s slowly dying. We are doing our best to make his last days with us good days. We know that eventually we have to put him to sleep. I am not ready to say “good bye,” but I know that day is fast approaching. He hurts walking up and down stairs and all he does is sleep. He also licks at his skin, causing wounds that get infected, so he has to live with a cone around his neck 24/7.


I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I write about him.

Thankfully my kids are teenagers and can understand things a lot easier. Sometimes it’s difficult for young children to understand things like why animals get sick, need surgery and eventually die.

There is a new line of book that attempt to explain these things in a gentle way to help children understand these situations a bit better. They are part of the Dog Tales Collection. Here is some additional information.

The Dog Tales Collection, written by Patricia Brill, Phd, are an award-winning collection of illustrated books that help open a dialogue between parents and children concerning issues they may have with their pets.  These books help children better understand what happens when their pet or loved one has cancer, under goes surgery, has to stay overnight at the hospital or even dies.

These sensitive and emotionally stirring children’s books are written in such a way to simply but gently discuss the obvious. Patricia Brill is brilliant as is her award-winning children’s book illustrator Curt Walstead, who has also worked on many of today’s popular children’s shows such as Dora the ExplorerDragon Tales,Clifford’s Puppy Days and Baby Looney Tunes.

I was sent a few of the books to review.


Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?

Turbo the dog is not feeling well. His owner takes him to see the vet. The vet finds that Turbo has cancerous tumors. Turbo is scared and thinks he has cancer because he was a bad dog. He soon learns that cancer can strike any dog and it has nothing to do with being bad.

This book explains in a gentle way what cancer is, what remission is and what the vet had to do to treat Turbo’s cancer.


The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats

This book follows Turbo leading up to his surgery. He is scared and doesn’t know what is going to happen. Thankfully the other animals at the vet hospital are there to explain everything in detail to Turbo so that he is no longer afraid.

I like how the entire procedure as to what is involved with a pet having surgery is explain in simple, easy to understand detail. This is great for a child who is fearful that something bad will happen to their pet if it requires surgery.


Don’t Say Good Bye, Just say See You

This book was hard to read because our dog is dying. It’s the story of Turbo and his best friend Boxter who has caner that cannot be operated on. Turbo is sad and angry that his friend is going to leave him and go to heaven.

The book is well written, and talk about how the dog will no longer be in pain and can frolic and enjoy being a dog again in heaven. That is what children need to hear and understand, but as an adult who is going through a similar situation right now with her own dog, I had a hard time reading this.


Porsche Bella’s Forever Home

This book doesn’t deal with death or health issues (thankfully). It’s the story of an abandoned puppy and her siblings. They are found by a young boy and adopted out.

The puppy feels scared, alone and confused. Her new siblings share their stories about how they came to live in their “forever home.” The story also goes on to explain that sometimes siblings cannot be together because they get adopted to different homes, but that doesn’t mean that the love is still not there.

This is a great book to share with children when your family adopts a pet, or if you have a situation where you have a pet that has babies and they all have to go to different homes.

The books do a good job at explaining these difficult situations so that children can understand them better and not be afraid. Even as an adult I enjoyed the books.

The illustrations go perfectly with the stories too.

Look for these books where ever books are sold. I have seen them online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Are you dealing with a similar situation right now with your pet? What do you think about these books?



*I received free copies to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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