Cold Weather Woes – Here are 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.

Cat Snow

About the author: 

Dr. Carol Osborne is an author and world-renowned integrative veterinarian of twenty plus years. After graduating she launched a very successful private practice and became 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. For more information visit chagrinfallspetclinic.com.

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A Dog’s Purpose – in theaters January 27, 2017 (giveaway ends 1/20/17)



Coming to theaters across the country on January 27, 2017 is the film A Dog’s Purpose.

The film stars Britt Robertson, KJ Apa, John Ortiz, with Dennis Quaid and features Josh Gad voice as the dogs featured in the story.

I have a copy of the book. It’s the next book I’ll be reading as soon as I have a chance.

If you follow me on Instagram (SheScribes) you might have seen the photo of my book.


Here is a brief synopsis of the film.

Based on the beloved bestselling novel by W. Bruce Cameron, A Dog’s Purpose, from director Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules, Dear John, The 100-Foot Journey), shares the soulful and surprising story of one devoted dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who finds the meaning of his own existence through the lives of the humans he teaches to laugh and love.  The family film told from the dog’s perspective also stars Dennis Quaid, Peggy Lipton, Britt Robertson, K.J. Apa, Juilet Rylance, Luke Kirby, John Ortiz and Pooch Hall.

A Dog’s Purpose is produced by Gavin Polone (Zombieland, TV’s Gilmore Girls).  The film from Amblin Entertainment and Walden Media is executive produced by Alan Blomquist and Mark Sourian, and it will be distributed by Universal Pictures.

Check out the film’s trailer.


This film looks REALLY good. As an animal lover I want to see this film, but at the same time I think it might be sad. I’ll need to bring a box of tissues (or two) when I go and see it at our local theater.

I grew up with dogs. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a dog.

My first dog was named Dutchess. She was a beautiful collie mix. You can see her laying in the background in the photo below (that is me as a little girl). I wish I had a better photo of her.


The dog we have now is named Espn. He’s a Rat Terrier/Maltese mix (or so we were told by the shelter where we adopted him from). We jokingly refer to him as the “hairy rat dog.” LOL!

Espn (pronounced Es-pin) has long hair, but we get him groomed every other month to keep his fur trimmed. We prefer him with trimmed hair.


Espn un-groomed


Espn groomed

Sadly, Espn has a fatal liver disease called Hepatocutaneous Syndrome. There is no cure for it. We can extend his life with expensive infusions, but we can’t afford them (nor do we have the physical time to take him to a specialist far away 2-3 times per weed). So we’ve just been doing our best to keep him as happy and healthy as possible. He’s actually lasted longer than the vet anticipated.

For this reason I think I’ll have a hard time watching A Dog’s Purpose – because I cannot imagine a life without Espn.

If you would like to learn more about the film by checking out it’s Official Website. You can also check out the film on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The official hashtag is #ADogsPurpose.


You can even recreate the #ADogsPurpose movie poster using your dog. Your furry friend could even be featured in the film’s campaign! Get started now: http://unvrs.al/ADPPoster. Be sure to upload your dog’s poster to social media and use the hashtag #ADogsPurpose.


I also have a giveaway for a lucky reader, compliments of Universal Pictures. The prize package includes;

  • $25 Fandango gift code to see A Dog’s Purpose in theaters January 27
  • A Dog’s Purpose Calendar, Bandana, T-Shirt, Tennis Ball Launcher, and Frisbee

The prize package is shown above. NOT PICTURED are the calendar and ball launcher. BOTH will be included in the prize package along with the $25 Fandango gift card. 

These giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on January 20, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package and/or if you plan on seeing the film?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I will receive the same prize package in exchange for my participation. There is no other compensation. The prizing and samples are compliments of Universal Pictures. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Holiday gifts for man’s best friend


Our dog Espn and our kids taken a few years ago at Christmas time.

Our dog Espn and our kids taken a few years ago at Christmas time.

Christmas is less than a week away. We’re going to “blink” and it will be all over with and we’ll be ready to pack up our holiday decorations until next year. Sigh… time flies too quickly.

Are you done with your holiday shopping yet? We are for the most part but my husband did mention last night that we didn’t get much for our pets for Christmas this year. Normally I do buy them things but this year they received their gifts before Christmas. For example, our cats received a brand new, huge cat scratcher a few weeks ago after they totally destroyed their old one. And our dog always gets a new toy whenever I go to the pet store – even if I’m not going for him. A couple of weeks ago we stopped in for fish food and filters for the fish tank. Our dog got a toy from that trip.

I’d like to think that we spoil them year round and that we don’t need Christmas to treat them special. They are always treated that way.

If you love to give your furry friend gifts for the holiday, Petmate has the paw-fect gift.

Petmate®, the worldwide leader of solutions and excellence in the pet industry providing fun trusted, quality products to enhance the lives of pets and their families, has some fun new ideas for the holiday season.


Holiday Heggies

  • These quirky characters are soft and cuddly
  • Perfect for all sized dogs who like to love on their toys
  • Grunting sound drives dogs wild!
  • New Characters include an Ornament, Elf and Angel

MSRP: $9.99

Oh my goodness! These are beyond adorable! They are way too cute to give to your dog to mangle and chew to pieces.

We have one of these adorable critters (an angel) and it’s sitting on the back of the love seat with our other plush holiday toys. I haven’t the heart to give it to our dog because I know it’s going to end up all a mess.


Aspen Pet® Luxe Velvet Collection

  • Updated classic styles in the Fall season’s most updated fabric – Velvet!
  • Textured velvet adds visual interest
  • Tufting adds a tailored look and feel
  • MSRP and Sizing:
    • 27×36 Luxe Pillow Bed $29.99
    • 21×19 Wrap Lounger $29.99


We have the wrap lounger (same color). Our dog Espn love it. I think it’s because he can snuggle inside of it (I think it’s a safety/security kind of thing). Of course he has to fight our cats for it. Two of our five cats have claimed it as theirs, so at any given time there is usually a dog (or cat) snuggled up inside of the bed.

The bed is so soft and plush. I wish I could curl up on it and go to sleep.

I like the size too. It’s just right for our dog and cats. It’s not too big and not too small.


Chuckit! Sport LX Launchers System

  • New LX Launchers designed for family play!
  • Lacrosse style basket allows throwing and catching, plus hands-free, slobber-free pickup
  • Sport LX sells as a two launcher bundle
  • Includes medium tennis ball
  • MSRP: $19.99


I wish our dog wasn’t ill. Something like this would be fun for him.

If you have a dog that loves to run, jump and chase things this toy is a must have. You will need a backyard or park where you an “chuck it.”

I have seen these in action. They are super cool. It sure beats tossing a ball the old fashioned way.


JW Hol-ee Wobbler

  • Top half holds treats while bottom half is weighted and auto rights
  • Made of durable rubber
  • Comparable to medium Hol-ee Roller
  • Comes in assorted colors: red, green, blue
  • MSRP: $9.99


JW Hol-ee Egg

  • Center cavity can hold treats or squeaker ball that helps keep dogs interest with closed off ends
  • Available in two sizes to match comparable small and medium Hol-ee Rollers
  • Made of durable rubber
  • Comes in assorted colors: orange, green and blue
  • MSRP and Sizing:
    • Small: $7.99
    • Medium: $9.99


JW Mixed Up Cuz

  • All the benefits of a ball with some added style
  • One size for all dogs
  • New mixed material construction combines durable nylon

With thermoplastic rubber for a whole new effect

  • Comes in assorted colors
  • MSRP and Sizing:
    • JW Mixed Zig Zag Cuz: $9.99
    • JW Mixed Ying Yang  Cuz: $9.99
    • JW Mixed Ribbed Cuz: $9.99

These are all fun toys for your best friend.

You can find Petmate toys in many pet stores across the country.

For more information on these and other Petmate products visit Petmate.com. The brand is also found 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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The Holiday Gifts You Hate Getting Can Also Sicken Your Pet


jack russel terrier and kitten

They say you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, but finding flaws in holiday presents could save pet parents an unexpected trip to the vet—and a blow to their budgets.

Petplan claims data shows that treatments during a holiday week can cost twice as much (or more!) than at other times of the year, mainly because pets end up at emergency vets when their regular docs close for holiday hours.

“Never has the phrase ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ been more ominous for pets,” jokes Petplan Veterinary Manager Elyse Donnarumma. “When you consider that the average claim paid for food poisoning is $585, or that foreign body removal surgery costs an average of $1,327, it is sobering to realize that those costs can easily double during the holidays.”

Which gifts top the naughty list? Many of the same ones you dread getting yourself!  According to Petplan, these are the top 10 gifts that can unwrap disaster:

  1. Bows & Ribbons

Most presents do come wrapped, but the danger of gift ribbon adds insult to injury with less-than-stellar gifts. Ribbons can easily become linear foreign bodies. Avoid an expensive surgery by tossing wrappings in the trash (whether you pitch the gift, too, is completely up to you).

Just ask Petplan policy holder Amanda Tollen, of Conshohocken, PA, about holiday ribbon. Her eight-year-old cat, Bella, racked up a $2,004.70 vet bill for a linear foreign body on December 27, 2015, when she got into the gift ribbon. (photo below)


“I am so happy we got pet insurance for Bella,” said Tollen, who was reimbursed over $1,800 thanks to her policy option. “It really saved us a ton of money during one of the most stressful times of the year for our budget. You never know what your pet is going to get into or what illness they will come down with. Having Bella Petplan protected was one of the best decisions we ever made.”

  1. Fruitcake (and its modern-day equivalent, Panettone)

If it wasn’t bad enough that someone spoiled good cake by adding fruit, fruitcake contains a trio of ingredients that can make furry friends sick. Currants, raisins and nuts are toxic to pets, and the spirits the cake is soaked in can be deadly to dogs and cats.

  1. Holiday Plants

The fact that this gift will die in a few days isn’t even the worst thing about it. A snack on Christmas cactus can upset tummies. Christmas lilies can cause kidney failure in kitties. And while poinsettias aren’t as toxic as previously thought, its sap can cause an unpleasant rash.

  1. Scarf/Mittens Set

You probably have half a dozen sets of scarves and mittens, but you’re bound to get another one during the holiday season. Donate the duds before your pet gets his paws on them; yarn can become a linear foreign body if swallowed.

  1. Lottery Tickets

You may have a 1 in 14 million chance of winning your gift, but your pet is much more likely to suffer a foreign body ingestion if he eats the envelope and paper.

family, holidays, generation, christmas and people concept - smiling family with gift boxes at home

  1. Houseguests

There are inevitably some relatives who believe their presence is your present, but they’re not always welcome in the eyes of furry family. Extra people in the house can trigger stomach upset due to stress, and all that coming and going can make it easier for pets to dart out the door and get hit by a car.

  1. Coffee/Hot Chocolate

Coffee mug gift sets are a staple of office holiday giving, but whether there’s beans or cocoa inside, be sure to keep them away from your pet’s paws. The caffeine in coffee and chocolate can trigger hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, seizures and even death.

  1. Bath Products

Nothing says, “I bought this present on the way here,” like a basket of bath products like lotions and salts. It also poses the very serious threat of salt poisoning to your pets. Bath salts often contain magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) and sodium chloride (table salt), both of which can kill or permanently injure furry friends.

Box of Chocolates

  1. Boxed Chocolates

While it can be argued that chocolate is always a good gift, even a diehard sweet tooth is on overload during the holidays. Extra confections lying around the house can be a recipe for disaster. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause illness or even death in dogs and cats.

  1. Socks

You don’t want them, you hate getting them, and you’ll loathe them even more when you’re forking over upwards of $1,000 to have them removed from your pet’s intestine. Socks take Petplan’s top spot for the worst holiday gift, whether you’re on two legs or four.

Donnarumma concludes, “For the safety of all involved—including your wallet—we suggest sticking to electronic gift cards for holiday giving.”


For info about Petplan and more pet safety tips, point your paws to www.gopetplan.com.

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Pet Proof a home for the holidays

jack russel terrier and kitten

Shockingly it’s December already and too many pet owners may walk in on a similar scene as in the photo above. In addition to the wonderful holiday festivities, we need to consider the health and safety of our pets. Certified Humane Education Specialist and award-winning author, Diane Rose-Solomon has a quick list to Pet Proof a Home for the Holidays. She is available for interviews.

This year, Chanukah and Christmas fall on the same day. Here are some tips to create a save environment for everyone living in your home:

In the home…

  • Christmas trees and their decorations can be beautiful. Make sure the tree base is solid to avoid tipping over, or being knocked over by a rambunctious dog or a cat exploring tree branches. Yes, it’s hard to stop them from climbing, but a sturdy base will eliminate tree crashes and potential fires.
  • Wiring on the lights should be done properly and the wires should be in good shape. Any electrical wiring should stay far away from a curious pup- especially if he’s a chewer. Ornaments should stay high up away from dogs and cats. Way too appealing for a toy loving animals.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and check for safety from your pet’s eye level.
  • If you light candles make sure your dogs stay away while they burn and the candles aren’t left to burn unattended. Pets often to get up on the table to lick crumbs. With candles burning it could be disastrous.
  • Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are all toxic to dogs. So is chocolate. Keep them out of your dog’s reach.
  • Will your family be unwrapping gifts? Wrapping and gift-wrap decorations along with toys with small parts, or any toys that can be chewed or even that pair of socks from Aunt Gertrude, can all pose a potential danger to your pooch or kitty.

Holding a holiday celebration?

  • If your dog isn’t too friendly to strangers, consider placing him in his crate and be sure to give him plenty of love and exercise prior to lockdown. Cats either hide or are fine with most guests, but can be food thieves. So no food can go out onto the table unattended if your cats are mixing with the party. It is a challenge!
  • When entertaining, Diane suggests you ask your dog walker if she can take the dogs out for a bit. It gets them out of the house, stimulated and it’s an alternative to the stress of having them here- at least for part of the time.
  • Will there be noisemakers or fireworks on New Years Eve? Dogs are rather sensitive to loud and sudden noises. Help reduce their stress and keep them from fleeing by using the crate.

Traveling over the holidays?

  • Traveling with or without your pup is a great option too. If you travel and Fido stays home, be sure to find a trusted pet sitter or doggie daycare to care for him while you are gone.
  • Bringing Fido along? Check airline regulations if you are flying and he is small enough to have in the cabin with you. If you are driving make sure he’s securely fastened in a crash tested car harness or car seat. Pack enough food, treats, leash, travel food bowls, a dog bed and his favorite toys for the adventure. And don’t forget poop bags. You will likely need them wherever you go!
  • Be sure the information on his tags and microchip are up to date with your cell phone number just in case he gets lost while you are traveling. Always know where the nearest emergency vet is located. The unexpected always happens at the worst time.

Once pet parents have the safety matters handled their minds will be free to enjoy a fun and joyous holiday.


About the author:
Diane is a charming and relatable guest, a strong animal advocate and gracious pet lover who delivers helpful information with simple steps any pet parent can do. She lives in Santa Monica with her family and two rambunctious dogs.

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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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