Monday, August 4, 2014
6 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe In The Pool
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs are natural born swimmers, and even the best ones need training in the beginning. With the midst of summer upon us, please check out the following tips to help dog owners teach their four-legged friends to be safe around the pool!
Friday, August 1, 2014
Adopting Older Dogs
When the stereotypical dad goes to get his kids a new dog, usually it’s a brand new puppy. That’s great, having a dog can be good for kids and puppies have the energy to match them. Getting a new puppy from a breeder or someone whose pooch just had puppies isn’t a bad thing, but sometimes it has other effects you might not think about.
Going to the animal shelter can be an emotional experience. Being around so many pets that want to be adopted makes you want to take them all home, but sadly, circumstances don’t typically allow that dream to be a reality. Those pets are usually older though because most people would rather go get a brand new puppy rather than an older, and wiser, dog.
Older dogs are usually happier to be adopted because they realize that this is another chance to be happy with a family. There are a number of reasons that these older dogs can be a better choice for you and your family.
When it comes to older dogs, it’s a lot easier to tell what their temperament is like and how calm they really are. Puppies haven’t quite grown into their personalities yet and have yet to show their true colors.
When older pooches are waiting to be adopted they’ve often been with a family prior to yours. This means there’s a good chance they’re already well adjusted to being around other people. Socializing your dogs is an important thing to do, with both people are other animals. You will have no such luck with a puppy in this area. It’s all on you.
And let’s not forget about potty training. Let’s be real here, it’s a pain but it’s completely necessary if you want any chance of saving that new carpet you installed last year. With older dogs you don’t have to worry about this, they already know what to do!
This article is not to deter you from bringing a new puppy home to your family. All animals deserve a loving home. This is simply a reminder to not forget about the more seasoned animals up for adoption that often get left behind merely because they aren’t brand new. They have value and something to offer right from the heart, and if you open yours up to them they’ll fill it up with love.
Friday, July 18, 2014
Ferret Ban Under Scrutiny
New York City’s Mayor, Bill De Blasio does not shy away from controversial issues. He actually prides himself on confronting some of New York’s stickier problems. What’s his latest quest? He has taken it upon himself to repeal another of the city’s more controversial bans – A ban on ferrets.
The ban was originally introduced in 1999 by former Mayor Rudolf W. Giuliani. He even once accused an advocate for the ferrets of suffering from “a sickness.”
The original concerns about ferrets arose in regard to rabies and the safety of young children. This lead to the citywide ban and prompted years of controversy.
Proponent of the repeal say that ferrets are just as little of a threat as any other household pet the same size.
Any change to the ferret policy must be approved by the city’s Board of Health. Officially in the health department said that they would recommend lifting the ban, as long as requirements for spaying and vaccination were put into place.
This move was prompted by a ferret enthusiast named Ariel Jasper. She petitioned the city to reconsider the ban. She even spoke about how she felt emboldened by her outspoken Mayor to make a difference.
“We have a mayor who seems to be a little bit more concerned about animal issues. This is a good issue to show that they’re different” from their predecessors, she said in an interview.
There are pros and cons to lifting the ban and all aspects of the debate will be considered. The Board of Health is set to begin considering the proposal by the end of summer. Now only time will tell if New Yorkers will get to legally own ferrets one day!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Fat Cat Art
Sveltlana Petrova is a Russian artist who was inspired by the cat she’d inherited from her mother. She was feeling low and started inserting him into famous pieces of art to help bring her spirits back up after her mother’s death.
The now famous cat named Zarathustra, is 22 pounds and is quite the personality filled feline.
“It was useless to put wings on him, because he is evidently unable to fly in his physical condition," Petrova said, “so I thought that maybe I can make a photo session.”
“I sent them out to some friends of mine, artists and gallerists, just to see their reaction,” she said. Well the reaction she got was much more than she expected.
People loved them! “Never before have I seen serious ladies laughing to tears.” With her friends’ amused encouragement, she launched the site "Fat Cat Art."
Two years later, the site now features more than 80 altered images. The images will even be exhibited at the Stonehill House in England.
June 12, 2014
Why Pets Make Babies Healthier
When a new baby comes into the home, one of the first things you think about is what is or is not safe for my baby? Often, having your beloved pets continue living in your home is questioned once your little bundle of love arrives.
But fear not! It has been reported by researchers in the journal Pediatrics, that babies who grow up in a home with a pet – namely a dog or a cat – are less likely to get sick than children who live pet-free.
Previous research has supported the same findings in addition to children having lower risk of allergies. Even over sanitizing your house is not in the best interest of your baby. A recent study in mice found that overexposure to household dust from homes with a dog actually prevented infection with a common respiratory virus that’s thought to increase asthma in children.
We know, we know… how can this be? It feels like it goes against everything we’ve been told. How do pets really protect against these diseases?
“We think the exposure to pets somehow matures the immune system so when the child meets the microbes, he might be better prepared for them,” says Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland who led the current study.
Basically by allowing our children to be exposed to these things while they’re young, it gives them a chance to build up immunities they wouldn’t otherwise have.
What it comes down to is that you don’t need to get rid of your pet because you are having a new baby join your family. Pets are family too and they actually contribute to the overall health of your baby. What fantastic news!
Friday, June 6, 2014
Ticks & Fleas - NOPE
Because it’s summer, ticks and fleas are a big part of both our lives and our pet’s lives. Be sure to take proper care for protecting yourselves and pets from these pesky little buggers. Let’s take a closer look into the basic information of the enemy we face with our pets during this time of year, (insects, ticks and fleas).
These little pests are the stuff of nightmare, even hearing the name makes our skin crawl. But let’s try to look at the facts instead of the superstition. Ticks are an insect that often live outdoors but can also be found in infestations indoors too. They are feared because of how they feed. A common superstition of ticks is that they act like a screw by turning their mouthparts to further attach to the skin, (gross – we know). This is false so don’t go trying to twist them off, just pull. Most ticks have about a two year life span. The first year they are born and feed. The second year is when they feed and lay their eggs. After that though, they thankfully do not continue forward with their life.
- American Dog Tick: Typically a dark brown with a yellow/white shell.
- Blacklegged Ticks (deer ticks): These ticks are known for carrying diseases like lymes disease.
- Brown Dog Tick: As you would guess, these ticks feed most commonly on dogs. They’re a little trickier than your average tick though. They cannot survive winter usually but have been known to enter houses and heated kennels to survive.
- Bat Tick: This kind of tick is different compared to the ones above because they have a soft body and no shell. They aren’t as much of a threat because they don’t feed on humans but you should still check your pet over.
- How to deal with ticks.
Don’t worry, we’re almost done. We just have to discuss those pesky little fleas first.
Household fleas will latch onto their favorite host for their entire life. Once the female lays eggs, those eggs will fall to the ground typically and hatch within 2-5 days. They tend to live around places that your pet spends a lot of time, like where they eat or sleep. It’s important to protect your pet from fleas each year. Speak with you vet about the best option for your pet specifically depending on their size, environment, etc.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Jellybean & Mr. G
In an unlikely pairing of best friends, Jellybean and Mr. G have captured the hearts of so many with their tale of being reunited after they were rescued from a California home.
A goat named Mr. G and a burro named Jellybean were recently rescued from an animal hoarder in southern California. All the animals taken from the home were sent to different shelters due to neglect which split up Jellybean and Mr. G. after being together for a decade.
Mr. G arrived in good health at Animal Place, an animal sanctuary, where Ms. Galeazzi was his caretaker. She said Mr. G went into a deep depression after the split, staying in the corner of his stall, refusing to eat anything or go outside for six whole days. “He was basically starving himself to death and there was nothing I could do to make him eat,” Galeazzi said. “I’ve never seen an animal go on a hunger strike; he was quite dramatic.”
Once she figured out that Mr. G was grieving the loss of his lifelong companion, Animal Place arranged for the reunion of the two best buds. Volunteer, Jeff McCracken, offered to drive 14 hours roundtrip to bring Jellybean to Animal Place.
As you watch the video, you can see when Mr. G realizes his pal is back, as he immediately perks up. As soon as he saw his Jellybean, he had a completely different personality. Within 20 minutes of Jellybean’s arrival Mr. G finally started eating.
“What we didn’t realize, is the depth of their bond,” Galeazzi said. These days he is never more than 10 feet from her side.
Jellybean and Mr. G will be moving to Animal Place’s main sanctuary in Grass Valley and will not be separated. They are also not up for adoption and will become permanent residents there.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Good Samaritan Saves Baby Fawn
Bill Schulte was driving home from church on Sunday in Prior Lake, MN when he saw a deer get hit by a car. He wanted to make sure other drivers were safe so he stopped to move the deer to the side of the road.
He approached the deer expecting the worst but wanted to be a good samaritan. What he didn’t expect to see was an unborn fawn kicking inside it’s now deceased mother.
Bill’s first instinct was to save the unborn fawn. With some quick thinking, he grabbed his pocket knife and cut the little baby to freedom.
“I felt where the baby was, opened up, and pulled the baby out because the baby wanted to slide right now, and I cleared his throat, his airway, rubbing it, and it started breathing; everything was cool,” Shulte said.
The baby fawn is being called “Bambi.” He took him to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville and is expected to make a full recovery.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Heroic Cat Saves Little Boy From Vicious Dog
We’ve all heard the saying, a “Dog is man’s best friend.” But what about cats? They tend to get the reputation of doing what they want when they want, and don’t rank very high in the loyalty department. This story proves that cats might be closer than once thought in the race for “man’s best friend.”
A little boy named Jeremy, had just gotten off the school bus and wanted to fly his kite and was out front of his house, innocently riding his bike. All of a sudden an unleashed dog attacked him! Surveillance cameras picked up footage of a dog approaching Jeremy from around a vehicle parked in front of his house. Suddenly, the unleashed dog attacked the boy, sinking its teeth into his leg.
Just when you think things are going to take a turn for the worse, the family cat comes running to the boy’s rescue! The cat had no problem showing that dog who’s boss and sent the canine running in retreat!
His mother, Erika Triantafilo, said the dog belongs to a neighbor and is now under observation with animal control. "The next thing I know, the dog was just there, and it was shaking him. Before I could even get there, my cat clobbered him. She saved the day," Erika said. "Chased him away, and came back to him after the dog was gone. I just chased the dog away - tried to get it away from my son - away from everyone, and get him taken care of."
Jeremy did sustain an injury to his leg and needed stitches but it would have been a lot worse had it not been for this heroic feline! Cats have a poor reputation for not being the friendliest of animals but this cat is proving that to be nonsense!
Click HERE to watch a video of the little boy praising his faithful cat for being a hero. You won’t be able to hold back the inevitable “awwwwe” at hearing the 4 year old boy show his love.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Metal Heads & Cats
Roaring guitars and purring pets… Who knew metal heads were so mushy about cats?
No matter how intimidating or different someone might be, they usually have a soft side. Like a really soft side. Like the kind of soft that purrs and takes naps in the sun.
A new photography book by Alexandra Crockett will soon be released called “Metal Cats.” It combines two awesome subjects: the extreme personalities of the hardcore metal music scene and their adorable kitties. It turns out that some of these hardcore rockers are also hardcore animal activists.
So what does this mean? Are these supposed dark and bleak demeanors just an act? Not at all. Crockett said that she believes there’s a lot more to it than that.
“I don’t think all the perceptions about the metal scene are completely wrong. But when it comes down to it, people in the metal community are just more willing and more able to show their dark sides. We all have that… everybody has dichotomy. They just show it more. So of course there’s also this softer side, this more adjusted within society side, with family and friends you care about and pets you care about and love. I don’t think people think about that very much, but it’s there.”
This reiterates just how important it is not to judge someone based on appearances. Just because someone looks scary and cold on the outside doesn’t mean that their insides aren’t mushier than a Hallmark commercial.
To view more photos from Metal Cats click HERE. Believe me, you want to click on it.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
PPR 6th Annual Fundraiser
This past Sunday, (April 27th, 2014), CritterZone attended the PPR 6th Annual Fundraiser. It was held at Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis, MN. There was an amazing silent auction, free drinks, (yeah, you missed out if you didn’t make an appearance), and a ton of people there. The turnout was fantastic!
Pet Project Rescue (PPR) is a local organization that rescues homeless or abandoned dogs and cats and places them in volunteer foster homes until the animal is adopted by their forever family. In addition to that, they also provide spay/neuter services to help reduce the homeless animal population. Did you know they even help to rescue dogs off the street down in Mexico? Gosh, they do it all! PPR is run almost entirely by volunteers who dedicate their time and energy into helping animals in their local community and beyond.
I got the opportunity to meet numerous PPR volunteers at their fundraiser and I must say, they were all absolutely wonderful. They truly believe in their mission and are completely dedicated to the cause.
The fundraiser was a total success! The event actually SOLD OUT and after all costs, they managed to raise a grand total of $17,404 to use towards rescue, spay/neuter, and care for many more animals this year. If that’s not considered a success then I don’t know what is!
Friday, April 25, 2014
Your Pets Hate Allergy Season Too!
There’s no denying it. Allergy season is officially upon us. This is the time of year most of us become victim to runny noses, itchy eyes and those lovely sneeze attacks that always happen at the worst times. Something to remember is that you aren’t the only one who can suffer from allergies. Your pet is equally susceptible. Take the time to make sure they’re taken care of as well as yourself.
Like you, your pet can have also have spring allergy symptoms. Itchy, watery eyes, irritated skin, sneezing, constant licking, paw chewing and swollen paws, etc. are all common allergy indicators.
Any pet can develop allergies at any time during their life, but allergic reactions are more prominent and common in certain breeds.
Animals can be allergic to varying forms of allergens such as mold spores, pollen, fleas and flea-control products, fabrics, trees, and even grass. The best way to treat allergies is to remove the offending source from their environment. But since certain substances can’t be removed, your vet may recommend medications to control your pet’s allergic reaction.
Learn more about pets and their allergies HERE.
ALLERGY TIP: CritterZone Air Naturalizers work great with air circulation. Make sure to keep your Air Naturalizer running 24/7, and to help its effectiveness, use an oscillating or ceiling fan to increase air circulation. Dry air can be an added issue, so consider adding a humidifier to the solution. Click HERE to purchase your CritterZone Air Naturalizer today.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
America’s First Cat Cafe
With the help of Purina and Long Island’s North Shore Animal League, the Cat Cafe will be making its grand opening in New York this Thursday. This is the first cafe of its kind in the U.S.
Katy Perry recently visited a similar cat café in Tokyo, Japan.
Visitors at the Purina Cat Cafe can stop in for “conversation and cat health education.” Long Island’s North Shore Animal League, (a no-kill shelter), will have cats there for you to hang out with that are also up for adoption. So if you should find the one, you can adopt your newly beloved fur-baby and bring them home with you that same day.
Rumor has it that the cafe service may be provided by a well-regarded specialty coffee roaster based out of Brooklyn.
This is a big deal that New York is opening up the Purina Cat Cafe so soon. They actually beat out several other cat cafes planned to be in San Francisco, Oakland and Montreal.
“We hope our Cat Café is ONE small step towards a greater focus on cat health,” said Purina brand manager Brian Williams. “Our goal for the Cat Café is to create a rich, interactive environment that empowers cat owners to learn more about their cat’s health and nutritional needs.”
The Purina One Cat Café will be open to the public Thursday-Sunday, April 24-27, at 168 Bowery, New York, NY.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Celebrating the Playful Ferret With Fun Videos and Tips
Earlier this month (April 2) ferret fans celebrated National Ferret Day.
Whether you own a pet ferret or not, you undoubtedly know how cute and funny they can be. This link will take you to a series of videos showing ferrets at play, turning their home into a playground. One of our talented colleagues, who also happens to love ferrets, created this fun video montage to the mischievous animals.
If you have pet ferrets, you may notice they are beginning to shed their winter coat this time of year. The Small Pet Channel has tips on what to do if their hair doesn’t appear to be growing back. Find out more here.
For your ferret’s odors, don’t forget about CritterZone. It’s the solution to all the smells these furry friends bring into your home. CritterZone Air Naturalizers work great near cages, kennels and litter boxes. We recommend the Wall Units for homes with ferrets, since they don’t have a cord that curious creatures may be tempted to play with or chew.
CritterZone is great for homes with pets, because it doesn’t use any harmful chemicals to mask odors. Find out more here.
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
CritterZone joins effort to fund special kennel
CritterZone is proud to sponsor a really cool kennel through the “Lulu’s Favorite Things” campaign run by the blog Life With Beagle. The campaign is raising money to support Paws for Peace Kennel, and it is run by the Harbor House of Central Florida. The kennel gives victims of domestic violence a safe place to keep their pets while they are escaping dangerous living situations.
According to the kennel’s website, up to 85 percent of domestic abuse victims say their abuser has threatened, hurt or killed a pet. Almost half abuse victims will delay leaving a dangerous living situation. Many can’t bring their pets with them to a shelter, and they are afraid to leave their pets behind.
At the Paws for Peace Kennel, abuse victims can rest assured their pets will be cared for while they receive help at Harbor House.
The timing of this campaign is meaningful, since April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month.
UPDATE: The Minneapolis Star-Tribune just published a story about several Minnesota women's shelters that are adding kennels to address this important need. You can read more here.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Libraries partner with pets to build kids’ reading skills
For some kids, reading doesn’t come easily. Others may enjoy reading, but they might feel self-conscious reading aloud in front of other people.
Some smart educators and pet owners have found a fabulous solution – pet reading programs such as “Read to Dogs” and “Read to Rabbits.”
These programs are usually run by schools or libraries. People-friendly pets are brought in and paired up with a young reader. The child gets to know the pet, spends some time handling it, and then the pair snuggle up with a book for some reading time. The great thing about this arrangement is it provides a relaxed, low-stress environment. The child can read aloud to the attentive, nonjudgmental animal without embarrassment if a word is mispronounced or if the reader needs to sound it out slowly.
The pets also are experts at calming children who may have been having a bad day.
Meanwhile the animals benefit by getting quality human interaction and attention.
“Read to Rabbits” Program Creator Andrea Stetson says, "I really love to see the children who normally struggle with reading and don't really like it much, suddenly become so excited. The bunnies don't know if they read a word wrong, so they feel more confident reading to the bunnies than to an adult. It is awesome to see how much they love reading to the rabbits."
You can read more about the “Read to Rabbits” program at this link. Or find out more about the “Read to Dogs” program here. A similar program also is getting great results in England. You can read about that program in this BBC story.
If you know a child or pet that might be a candidate for this type of program, contact your local library to see if there is one available.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Robots and animal shelters unite –
and you get to control the robots
There’s a really cool robot company doing something pretty awesome. They’ve installed robot-controlled toys in cat play areas at several animal shelters in the U.S.
The really cool part? The robots are controlled by people – you or anyone else with an Internet connection. And you can watch the cats interact with the toys you are controlling, via their CatCams.
How does it work? Click the link below and you’ll see a map, where you can choose the shelter to interact with the cats. Then you’ll see a live CatCam video feed.
There are buttons for each toy (hold it down to make it move), as well as buttons that control your view (you can zoom in or out and move the camera around the room).
The company that installed the technology is also installing computers in children’s hospitals, so kids there can interact with the animals as well.
Click here to choose a participating shelter, and start interacting with your new pals!
Note that sometimes there’s a short line, so you might have to wait a few minutes until it’s your turn.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
5 fun things to do with your pet this summer
Summer’s a great time to make the most of beautiful weather, vacation days and special activities for pets and pet owners.
Here are a few ideas you might want to add to your calendar.
Dog Camp: Places like Camp Gone to the Dogs are a perfect place for pet owners to spend quality time with their pet pals and get some education for themselves and their furry friend. Camp Gone to the Dogs, located in Vermont, runs an activity-packed schedule, with offerings for dogs including obedience classes, herding training, retrieving, hoops agility, flyball, freestyle dancing, tracking and many more. Pet owners can advance their skills by attending workshops about canine massage, dog grooming and animal communication, or lectures on animal biology, solving behavioral problems in pets and dog body language, among other topics. Then there are fun-filled activities like a doggie costume party, leash making and more. This article has more examples of canine camp location with information about each.
Hit up the food trucks. Food trucks for dogs are now showing up at popular spots for people food trucks. In Chicago, Fido To Go calls itself the city’s “premier gourmutt food truck serving hand-crafted, gluten and allergen-free canine cookies & doggy ice creams/frozen yogurts!” Sounds delicious! You can find their schedule here. Or there’s Tiki’s Playhouse, which runs a doggie ice cream truck in Howard County, Maryland. In New York City, pups can cool off with a treat from the Frosty Pooch ice cream truck.
Head to the pool. It’s a great way for pets and pet owners to get exercise and enjoy the fresh air together. If sand and surf are more your style, visit this site for a list of pet-friendly beaches.
Visit a dog-friendly amusement park. This one, Beau’s Dream Dog Park in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is the result of a pet owner with a dream. Angela Bauman won a contest that included $500,000 to remodel an existing park. According to the website, it includes “an array of amusement park-themed elements, including: a 40-foot-long roller coaster bridge; custom-designed splash pads for large and small dogs that feature fun spray nozzles; an expansive deck for relaxing; a tennis ball tree, among many other exciting features.” Popular people-oriented amusement parks and fairs sometimes have a day designated for pets. Check the website of your favorite park or fair and see if their calendar includes a day for furry friends.
Take in a fun summer movie: Outdoor movie-in-the-park events can be a great time to curl up on a blanket and relax with your pet. Just make sure your pet is cool with large groups of people, as these events can get crowded.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
10 fun facts about hedgehogs
- Hedgehogs are labeled insectivores. This means they get most of their nutrients from insects. However, they are also known to be “opportunistic” creatures, eating almost anything that crosses their path, such as eggs, lizards, frogs, snakes, mice, small birds and sometimes the flesh of dead animals.
- The quills that cover a hedgehog’s back are prickly spines made of hollow hairs. They are used for self-defense, but they are not poisonous or barbed.
- Each hedgehog has about 5,000 spines. Each spine lasts about a year.
- When threatened, hedgehogs roll into a tight ball to protect the delicate parts of their bodies — face, limbs, tail and stomachs.
- A hedgehog is capable of running more than six feet per second. Often, they will try to run from a predator first; then they will roll into a protective ball if they can’t outrun their attacker.
- Hedgehogs have highly sensitive senses of smell and hearing but poor eyesight. They are able to hear in the ultrasonic range.
- A baby hedgehog is called a hoglet.
- Hedgehogs swim well and also can climb trees. If they fall from a tree, their quills help them “bounce,” protecting them from injury.
- Hedgehogs live, on average, about seven years.
- Many gardeners like hedgehogs, because they eat insects that could otherwise harm plants, such as slugs, beetles and caterpillars. Here is a fun video clip about the history of hedgehogs in Great Britain: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/European_Hedgehog#p00gn1pb.
For more fun facts, check out this fun link.
Friday, March 21, 2014
Don’t let allergies keep you from the pet you love
CNN recently published a story about pet owners with heartbreaking stories about having to say goodbye to their beloved pets. Not because the pets were troublemakers or ill. Because their owners had pet allergies.
This is a common occurrence. In fact, the story says 10% of people suffer from pet allergies. And the so-called “hypoallergenic pets” don’t necessarily mean “no symptoms” for all owners. In fact, the article says every person’s allergy is different, so some breeds may trigger one person’s symptoms and not bother another’s.
So what is a family to do?
In the case of the Johansens, who were interviewed for the CNN story, the family tried animal after animal, from different dog breeds to other pets: a rabbit, a hamster and a guinea pig. All of them triggered severe symptoms for dad Ronald Johansen.
CritterZone customers have found success using our Air Naturalizers to ease their allergies. The Air Naturalizer gives indoor the same energy outdoor has, so it’s able to break down pollutants such as allergens and pet odors. You can find out more about CritterZone here.
The article suggests some additional tips for allergy sufferers who want to own pets. For the CNN article, click here.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
CritterZone has a blast at Global Pet Expo
The CritterZone team had a fabulous time at the recent 10th Annual Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida.
The event was a huge success for CritterZone. Word quickly spread about the powerful air-freshening and odor-controlling power of our Air Naturalizers. We were super excited to find out that blogger Tamar Arslanian named CritterZone one of the Top 10 Cat Products in Cat Channel's online magazine: Top Cat Products.
Four miles of aisles! That’s a lot of great products. Thousands of people turned out for the event. It was so fun meeting people and pets from all over the world!
Here are a few pups taking a break from the activity by hanging out with CritterZone.
And here’s CritterZone with the famous “Global Pet Expo Welcome Cat”!
We were excited to make lots of new friends. Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth!
Friday, March 14, 2014
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day In Style With Your Pet
It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, and there are certain to be lots of fun-filled parades and other events this weekend to celebrate. Here are some dogs dressed adorably for the holiday.
You can find more great St. Patrick’s Day dog photos on our Pinterest board – Holiday Happy Critters.
If you and your pet join in the festivities this weekend, take some pics and share your photos on our Facebook page.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Sturdi Products’ Pet Tent Works Great
for Our Little Critter!
We have to show you this fantastic product – the Sturdi Products Pet Tent. Our office pet — a bearded dragon named Izod — uses it as a play area. We like it because we can zip it closed when needed. Izod loves it because it gives him a chance to run around (he loves to climb in it!), and we know he is safely out from underfoot.
When he was a tiny little guy, he moved SUPER quickly, and we loved the zipper feature. Izod’s getting bigger and easier to keep track of, so we don’t zip it closed as often now. But it’s a nice option to have if we are moving furniture around the office, or if we have curious animal visitors such as dogs.
It’s also lightweight, so it’s easy to move it anywhere in the office. Ours is blue, but there are several other color options. The dimensions are 36”W x 36”L x 24”H.
This would be a great thing to have if you have cats and smaller dogs. The website also mentions using it as a way to keep your pets safe and secluded when they give birth.
In addition to this tent, Sturdi carries a line of cool pet totes, bags and shelters. You can find them by clicking here.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Izod the Bearded Dragon Explores New Home
We just moved Izod into his new digs. The 75-gallon tank gives our growing dragon extra room to roam and chase crickets.
He is very curious, checking out every corner.
And this is him being cheeky:
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Survey shows pet parents love to splurge on their critters
A survey shows parents love to shower their pets with “treats and luxuries.” In fact, almost half of them say they spend more on their furry friends than they do on themselves.
The poll was conducted by vouchercloud.net, which questioned 2,302 people on their purchasing habits. According to an article in the New York Post, 42 percent of those surveyed reported spending about $22.20 (on average) more a month on extras for their pets than they spent on themselves and other humans in their household.
Pets give us so much through their love, affection and loyalty, so it may not really be that surprising that we pet owners feel the urge to spoil them a little.
Do you agree? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.
You can read more about the survey here.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Kitty Litter Parasite Spreads to Whales in Arctic
If you are a cat owner, you’ve probably heard of Toxoplasma gondii. It’s a parasite sometimes found in cat feces and used kitty litter, and it can cause toxoplasmosis — an infectious disease that can lead to blindness in humans. This parasite is the reason pregnant women are advised to let someone else empty the litter box. It also can be fatal for people who have fragile immune systems.
The latest troubling news about the parasite is that it is showing up in Beluga whales that live in the Arctic — an unexpected place for it to turn up.
Scientists suspect that as the Arctic ice sheets continue to melt, more species are intermingling that never had done so before. The result, they think: Parasites flowing through runoff from northern lands were picked up by species there. Then they were transmitted to the Belugas when the whales ate the smaller creatures.
Researchers are currently studying this process, and hopefully they’ll find a way to stop the spread of the parasites. Most healthy individuals are not at risk, and here are some easy tips to protect yourself.
You can read more about the Beluga whale story here.
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
4 tips for handling pet pig odors and allergies
Pot-bellied pigs and tiny teacup pigs can be fun pets! They are smart animals, and they can be trained and can quickly form a bond with their human caretakers.
However, pigs do come with some air-quality issues, especially if they’ll be kept in the house.
They can have accidents on carpet, just like cats and dogs. You can train your pet pig to use a litter box. Experts recommend using a dog litter box, because it won’t have a ledge that your pet pig has to step over. You’ll want to keep your CritterZone Air Naturalizer close by to clean up odors from the litter box. Another option is to train your pet pig to do its business outdoors. Remember, pigs instinctively like to “root,” or dig up things from the soil, so make sure you have a designated area of your yard where your pig can root to his heart’s content without endangering your landscaping.
Intact males (those that are not neutered) often have a strong, unpleasant odor. You can reduce this by having your pet neutered and using CritterZone Air Naturalizers to control the odors throughout your home.
People can develop allergies to pigs. Though they have little hair, they can still trigger reactions in some people. A simple way to control the allergens in your home is to use your CritterZone to keep the air clean.
Pigs are susceptible to lung issues and need clean air to stay healthy. According to Pigs.org, “Pigs are very susceptible to pneumonia. ... Because of their small lung size, bronchitis or pneumonia can kill a pig quickly.” Help your pet pig keep his immunity up by keeping the air clean in your home. You can do this by using CritterZone Air Naturalizers. They energize the air, giving it the ability to clean itself. You can find out more here.
Having a pet pig can be a fun adventure, but it also can bring a few challenges. If you are considering adopting a pig, visit these websites first to prepare for your pet.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Fun Facts About Cats
Are you a cat owner? If so, we think you'll enjoy this chart. It's full of lots of interesting information about cats!
Did you learn something new from reading this infographic? We did! Tell us what you learned by commenting on our Facebook page.
Friday, February 21, 2014
The cure for pet “accident” odors
You can probably relate to this story:
An outdoor cat sneaks into your house, without anyone knowing. This cat isn’t housetrained, and she has an accident on the carpet in the basement.
You go downstairs the next day and are instantly hit with the awful smell. But you can’t figure out where the accident happened. The odor is pervasive, and it’s starting to make you feel ill.
If this happens to you, here’s what you can do.
- Plug in a CritterZone where the odor is the strongest. Start with the lowest setting (to the far right) and gradually move it to the left, if needed. The CritterZone uses energy to break down the odors. You can read more about the process here.
- Use a handheld black light to find the spot where the accident happened. These devices often are sold at hardware stores. Look for ones with a lower range of 375-385 nanometers. The spot will glow brightly. (This process works best when the accident is fresh.)
- Once you’ve located the spot, mist the air lightly above it with a little water. Then plug in your CritterZone and set it next to the spot (you’ll need the corded model for this). Leave it for a few hours and check back on the progress. For older accidents, you may need to repeat this process a couple times.
- Don’t own a CritterZone? Get yours here.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Air Quality and Your Pets: Part 3
Some pet products pose risks for pets and their people
Pets can face a variety of pest problems – fleas, ticks, flies, and more. But the solutions pet parents turn to may actually be harmful for pets and their people alike.
A few of the especially troublesome ingredients to watch for are organophosphates such as tetrachlorvinphos and carbamates. The reason they are included in some pet sprays, dusts and collars is they interfere with the nervous system in insects. The problem is, they also can be harmful to the nervous systems of cats, dogs and people.
The residue from these products can accumulate in household dust, which is breathed in by people and pets alike.
This article from the Natural Resources Defense Council advises pet owners to avoid pet products that contain organophosphates and carbamates altogether.
In conjunction with that, we suggest using CritterZones in your home to target indoor air pollution. Knowing what's in the air we are breathing emphasizes the importance of bringing the air to natural levels.
Find out more about CritterZone by clicking here.
Monday, Feb. 17, 2014
5 things to do with your pet on a snow day
Snowed in? We know what that’s like! This winter has been nothing but cold and lots of snow for much of the U.S.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 things you can do to make the most of your day at home with your pet. If you do some of these activities, take a photo and share it on our Facebook page!
Have A Dance Party
Crank some fun tunes (Katy Perry’s “Roar” anyone?), grab your pet, and bust a move. Here are some photos of people doing just that. Doesn’t it look fun? Just remember to be gentle with your pal.
Do Some Doga
Yoga for Dogs, that is. Yep, it’s a real thing. You can read more about it in one of our previous posts by clicking here.
Set up a pet-friendly obstacle course.
If you have lots of space in your basement or garage, and are rather handy, you might like this idea from This Old House or this one from Mother Nature Network. Coax your pet through it using small treats or by tossing their favorite toy from spot to spot. This will give you and your pet a little exercise.
Do some stair training.
If your pet is healthy and agile, race them up the stairs. Just watch your pet’s paws, and make sure you aren’t going so fast you or your pet could get injured. Follow this great cardio session with a cuddle cool-down.
Work on your will
This is perhaps the least fun sounding option, but it may be the most important. Make sure you have a plan for someone to care for your pet in case you were to pass away or become incapacitated. Your will can include a designated caretaker for your pet as well as a trust to ensure your pal’s expenses are covered. There’s lots of great info on this whole process here.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Air Quality and Your Pets: Part 2
Why air fresheners aren’t the answer
to your pet odor problem
In homes with pets, the tendency is to try to cover up odors from litter boxes, accidents on the carpet, and that general “pet smell.” But did you know that reaching for an air “freshener” can actually be harmful for you and your pets?
Kimberly Snyder, a holistic health expert, has some great content on her blog regarding air fresheners. You might be surprised to learn what she reveals is often in them: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, aerosol propellants, and p-dichlorobenzene.
Kimberly reports on her website that formaldehyde can cause:
- Watery eyes
- Burning eye, nose, throat and other mucous membranes
- Difficulty breathing
- Asthma attacks
Kimberly explains petroleum distillates are a result of petrochemical manufacturing, and she says they can cause:
- Respiratory problems
- Chemical pneumonia
- Pulmonary damage
Aerosol propellants can be damaging to the Earth’s ozone layer. In humans, Kimberly says, they are linked to:
- Increased cancer risk
- Breathing problems
- Development of chronic health issues
Kimberly says Paradichlorobenzene (p-DCB), also commonly found in air fresheners, may cause:
- Skin lesions
- Liver damage
- Changes to the blood
As you can see, these air “fresheners” bring more risks into your home than benefits. And if they can cause these negative side effects in humans, imagine what they can do to pets, which are smaller than people and therefore can be more easily affected.
That’s why we recommend avoiding air fresheners all together and using CritterZone Air Naturalizers instead. CritterZone’s technology mimics the natural, odor-control processes that occur outdoors. The result is fresh, clean, indoor air that is free of odors, allergens and other pollutants.
You can find out more about CritterZone here.
Click here to read more from Kimberly Snyder’s blog post.
Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014
Air Quality and Your Pets: Part 1
Dirty Air Can Strain Your Pet’s Health
We know breathing clean air is important for humans to be healthy. But did you know poor air quality can be harmful for pets? In fact, since they are smaller, they can be more easily affected by pollutants.
Here are important ways to keep your pet safe from air pollutants indoors and outdoors:
On days when cities issue high-pollution alerts, take note. Your pet should spend a minimal amount of time exercising outdoors during those alerts. Take extra precautions with pets who suffer from asthma, as well.
If you live in a part of the country that experiences forest fires, leave your pet home if you are the type to head to a lookout to check the fire’s progress or to inspect the damage. Pets’ lungs can be irritated and damaged by the smoke in the air.
Also, keep your pets away from bonfires and other places where there is wood smoke, as this can irritate their airways.
If your pet starts wheezing, it could be a sign of a serious breathing problem. Take her to the vet as a precaution. Even if it’s a minor lung irritation, it can make your pet susceptible to disease and allergies. Veterinarians can evaluate your pet’s problem and prescribe medication and inhalers to ease her symptoms.
Coming up next in our series:
Part 2: Why air fresheners can cause people and pets more harm than good. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Speed "dating" event finds homes for pets
The Macon County Animal Control and Care Center in Illinois recently came up with a unique way to find homes for the animals in their care. The center decided to hold a “speed dating” event.
In the human world, speed dating works like this: A group of single people gather, and they are matched with each other to chat for a few minutes. They each get a chance to make a first impression and see if there’s a connection. Then, like musical chairs, the pairs are switched around. This continues for several rounds.
The animal center event gives people a similar opportunity – they have a chance to be introduced to lots of different pets, and hopefully find one they connect with and want to adopt.
There are about 200 cats and 100 dogs at the center, and the adoption coordinator said organizers were hoping the event would lead to 15 or so adoptions.
We think this is a super fun idea and a great way to encourage people to check out the many wonderful animals available for adoption. Have you ever attended an event like this?
You can read more about this event here.
Monday, Feb. 10, 2014
Dog alerts owner to breast cancer
If you are like me, you find these kinds of stories jaw-dropping: A Westminster show dog is being credited with alerting one of his owners to the fact she had a cancerous lump in her breast.
The clip below gives more of the amazing details, but here’s a quick summary: The woman was in bed with the dog curled up next to her. He nuzzled her repeatedly. The woman felt an itch where he had been nuzzling her. When she felt the spot, she realized she had a lump there. She later found out it was stage 2 breast cancer.
Thankfully, due to her pet’s keen awareness, the woman was able to get treatment.
How do animals know? How can they sense when their owner has a disease – when even the owner herself doesn’t know? I think this area warrants more research, and these pets deserve tons of credit for being so smart.
You can hear more of their fascinating story in this video clip.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Studies show having a strong connection
with a pet is good for you
A recent blog post from Huffington Post says a new study finds young adults experience great benefits from having a pet. Young adults who had a strong connection with their pet also had a greater connection to their community, were more empathic and more confident than their peers. This study was published in the journal Applied Developmental Science.
HuffPost also says previous studies have shown many other benefits to owning a pet, including stronger self-esteem, lower levels of fear, greater levels of physical fitness and less loneliness.
If you are a pet owner, you can probably attest to the benefits you personally have experienced from owning a pet.
You can read more from the HuffPost article by clicking here.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Show your pet some love
by keeping Valentine gifts out of reach
If you couldn’t tell by all the red and pink on store shelves, the aisles filled with candy and the nonstop jewelry commercials on TV, Valentine’s Day is around the corner!
For some people, it’s a fun, romantic day filled with candy, chocolate and roses. These can be great gifts for loved ones, but unfortunately they all are dangerous for your pet.
Admire those beautiful flowers – but keep them up and out of reach of your pet. Savor those delicious truffles and candies, but tuck them safely away in a cupboard your pet can’t get into.
If your kids bring home Valentine’s Day cards with candy taped to them, gather up the candy and store it away immediately. Otherwise it will be too tempting for your pet, who is likely to sneak into your child’s backpack and chomp away at the treats.
As for your pet, treat him or her with some extra time and attention. That’s a Valentine’s gift from the heart that any pet will love.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Why you should always scoop your pet’s poop
Did you know 1 gram of dog feces contains 23 million fecal bacteria?? Many of those can cause diseases in humans. Gross, right?
That’s one of the main reasons it’s important to scoop your dog’s poo, whether it’s in your yard, the dog park or the side of the road.
As all that poo decomposes, the germs tend to spread to places we don’t want them – like our freshwater supplies. They also can be carried indoors on our shoes or by our pets or flying bugs. Nobody wants that. Dog waste is so harmful it is considered an environmental hazard.
We came across this illustration, (the source of the data above).
Seeing it visually really helps drive home the message, doesn’t it?
Another reason to scoop: Apartment and condo managers are starting to crack down on people who don’t clean up after their pets, for many of these reasons. In fact, some require pet owners to pay for collection of a DNA sample of their pet. Then any time pet poop is found on the facility’s property, it is tested. The person whose pet matches the DNA in the poo is hit with a huge fine. Nobody wants that either.
So now that you’re convinced about the importance of scooping your pet’s waste, how do you get started? Fortunately, there are techniques and tools that can make it easier (and less gross).
First, keep plastic bags with you anytime you are outdoors with your pet. You can buy ones made for this purpose, or you can use plastic grocery bags that can be tied closed and tossed in the trash later. Either type of bag also acts as a glove when you reach down to do the scooping. Here’s a handy little guide for that process. And if you forgot to bring one along, many city parks and dog parks have them available near garbage cans.
Another option is to use a “poop scooper” device. This is especially nice if you have back or knee problems and don’t want to bend/squat down a lot to scoop. It has a long handle and a part at the end that opens and closes.
You also can hire a commercial waste removal service to clean up your yard, if it’s especially icky. If you live in a cold climate, that might be a nice option after the snow melts, to prevent your pet’s business from decomposing into the soil and spreading germs everywhere.
Knowing you have these options, it’s not so bad after all, right?
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Fox and Hound, Friends Forever
Did you know a fox and a hound can be best friends in real life? It’s true – and here’s the proof. Their names are Sniffer (the fox) and Tinni (the dog). They live a forest in Norway, where they frolic and play and nap and talk and plan adventures together.
They are, quite simply, adorable.
The hound’s human caretaker is photographer Torgeir Berge. Berge and author Berit Helberg are crafting a children’s book that uses Berge’s photos of the two animals.
According to Buzzfeed, “the author and the photographer agree that some of the proceeds of the book will be donated to an organization that combats fur practices that harm animals like Sniffer.”
You can read more about them here.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Dachshund protects paralyzed cat
Idgie and Ruth are a stray cat and dog with a super sweet friendship. They were found after being abandoned near a driveway in Florida.
Ruth is partially paralyzed, and Idgie is a dutiful and protective friend, guarding Idgie from any potential threats from other dogs and bringing her the newest toys to inspect.
Hollywood Houndz Boutique & Spa in Lake Mary, Fla., has adopted the pair. It’s not known what caused Ruth’s condition and a variety of treatments have failed to help her. However, through it all, Idgie never leaves Ruth’s side.
Below, you can watch a video of the pals interacting. You also can read more about their story in this article from the Orlando Sentinel.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Frostbite and pets
Did you know animals can get frostbite? Though their fur often insulates them from the cold, extreme temperatures and wind can cut through their proactive hair, damaging their skin.
According to veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Jackson on GoPetPlan.com, dogs and cats are most susceptible to getting frostbite on their feet, ears and tails. Dogs also can get frostbite on their external genitalia.
Preventing frostbite is the key factor. When temperatures fall below zero, your pet shouldn’t be outside more than a minute or two (for bathroom breaks). Keep your pet warm during winter outings with boots, sweaters and other pet clothing.
Signs of frostbite
How do you know if your pet has gotten frostbite? Dr. Jackson says signs include: Skin that turns pale white or blue, feels cold to the touch, has icicles on it, or turns black (a sign of tissue death).
If you suspect your pet may have frostbite, Dr. Jackson recommends warming the affected skin with a towel that’s been gently warmed in the dryer, or by using a warm bath. She says you don’t want to rub the skin that’s affected, because that could cause more tissue damage. Also, don’t use hot items to warm the skin (this also can increase the damage). As the tissue warms, it may become red and swollen, Dr. Jackson says. This may feel uncomfortable for your pet. You’ll want to get further treatment from a veterinarian who may be able to prescribe pain-relief medication and evaluate the extent of damage to the skin.
You can read more of what Dr. Jackson recommends in this article from Go Pet Plan.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Wipe out that wet-dog smell
Anyone who’s had a dog knows about the infamous wet-dog smell. It’s stinky and unpleasant but hard to get rid of. And strangely, it can appear just after you’ve bathed your pet in an effort to tame that very stinkiness.
What causes it? Scientists point to the bacteria and oil that accumulate on an animal’s skin. When your pet’s fur gets wet, the malodorous molecules dissolve in the water. Then the moisture evaporates, pulling the smelly particles into the air at a faster rate than normal. Hence, the wet-dog smell.
Winter is common time for pet owners to face this odor issue. Your pup plays happily in the snow, rolling in snow banks and prancing through puddles. Then he gleefully races into the house, wet fur and all, and fills your house with that wet-dog funk.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to tackle the odor.
- If he’s been outside, let him shake off the moisture before you both come indoors.
- Give your dog a bath if his fur is dirty, or if he’s been playing in mud puddles.
- Brush or comb his fur, so it is less likely to trap debris and germs.
- Dry the dog’s fur well after playing in snow or bathing. Designate several fluffy, absorbent towels for this process.
- Avoid dog “colognes.” These only mask the problem, and if your dog has sensitive skin, they can cause unwanted reactions.
- Use a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. Your dog will probably be played out from his outdoor adventures. Watch where he settles for his post-play nap, and plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer nearby. The CritterZone will energize the air, so it can go after odors and germs. It is a great way to clean up the cloud of wet-dog smell, and it can prevent the odor from spreading. You also can plug in a corded CritterZone and let it run inside your pet’s kennel while he’s not using it (remove it before the dog uses the kennel, so the cord doesn’t get in his way). The CritterZone will help remove odors from the kennel and bedding. Click here to find out more about CritterZone.
For a fun video of dogs shaking water off their fur in slow motion, click here!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Bearded Dragon, Style Guru, Chef, Moustache Proponent
Our office pet is simply fabulous, whatever "hat" he may be wearing. Don't you agree? Lol.
Happy National Dress Up Your Pet Day!
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Finding the right boarding kennel for your dog
Some dogs are great travelers; some aren't. If you need to leave your pet at home while you are gone, you’re going to want peace of mind knowing she’s in good hands.
Here are four tips for finding a trustworthy dog boarding kennel to care for her while you are away:
- Make a list: Gather recommendations of kennels from friends with pets and from your veterinarian.
- See them for yourself: Once you have your list of options, set up times to tour the facilities. Things to watch for: The ratio of staff to animals, the size and conditions of the kennels and other areas where animals are kept, the way workers interact with people and pets, general cleanliness and the way the animals interact with each other. As you walk through the facility, also think about the general “vibe” you are getting – do things feel orderly, calm and under control – or do you pick up on a sense of tension or chaos? Things to ask: What type of training does the staff receive? What is the procedure for handling a sick pet? How often and for how long are pets exercised each day? What supplies would you need to provide (food, bedding, etc.). What is the cost per day/week? How are the animals divided, and which ones are allowed to spend time together? Are temperaments taken into consideration?
- Visit the Better Business Bureau online (you’ll need to choose your state) to see if any complaints have been filed against the business. If so, ask the owner about them.
- Based on your visits and the information you gather, choose your top option. Pick a second choice as well, in case your 1st choice is full and you need a last-minute back-up plan.
We found these and other great tips at these websites:
Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Raw meat diets – are they right for your pet?
In the past few years, an increasing number of people have experimented with returning to their “paleo” or prehistoric roots in their diet. This often means eating what their ancient ancestors might have eaten – meat and plants – and shying away from processed foods, dairy and grains. Some people also stick to a raw diet, in keeping with a similar philosophy.
When human fads come along, pets often end up being participants in these trends as well. That may explain why the “raw meat-based diet” for pets has increased in popularity.
This concept is centered on the idea that pets’ undomesticated ancestors primarily ate raw meat, and therefore our modern-day pets should too. Advocates point to studies showing some improvements in pets’ digestibility of raw meat.
However, some scientists say the risks of feeding your pet raw meat outweigh potential benefits. For instance, raw meat often is contaminated with salmonella and other food-bourne pathogens. These germs can sicken pets and can spread to humans when pets are fed raw meat, researchers say.
Also, there is some evidence that shows modern-day pets have evolved quite a bit from their ancestors; therefore, they may not benefit from eating what wild animals eat. In fact, wild animals typically have much shorter lifespans than domesticated animals, so what they eat may not be best for our pets.
However, more research may be needed to conclusively show what types of diets are better, and perhaps it depends on the individual pet.
If you are considering switching your pet’s diet to a raw meat-based diet, it’s probably best to get your veterinarian’s advice. They can help you create a diet for your pet that is well-rounded and meets your furry friend’s nutritional needs.
You can read more about the debate and studies involving raw meat-based diets for pets in this article.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Florida deputy jumps into shark territory to rescue dog
A startled dog who fell off a dock and into a shark-infested canal has a Florida Sheriff’s Deputy to thank for rescuing her.
Fern, a Coonhound, had fallen into the water and had been struggling to escape the dark canal when LeAna Cudzilo, of the manatee County Sheriff’s Department, got the call.
A high seawall was preventing the animal from being able to escape on her own.
Cudzilo and Fern’s owner took a motorboat out to try to rescue the dog, but the loud motor kept frightening the dog farther away. Fern was becoming exhausted.
So Cudzilo jumped into the water, swam out to the pup, and brought her back to safety. In doing so, Cudzilo took many risks, including evading pier pilings and possible sharks (known to inhabit this canal), to rescue Fern.
Cudzilo was recently honored for her bravery and was named in December as Deputy of the Month.
You can read more about this great story here.
Friday, January 3, 2014
Yellow Dog Project: Giving dogs a little room
Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project? Or maybe you’ve seen a dog with a yellow ribbon on its collar or a yellow bandana on around neck. Did you wonder what it meant?
Basically, the yellow ribbon or bandana means a dog needs a little extra space. It is meant to be a visual clue for people – children especially – that they should use caution around the dog. It doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is aggressive. The animal could wear yellow for a wide range of reasons, according to the program’s website and other articles. These reasons could include:
- The dog is in pain from a recent surgery
- Fear issues
- Overly excitable
- The animal is a service dog or is training for service
- The pet is a shelter dog who has not been fully trained
- The dog is not child-friendly
According to the Yellow Dog Project website, putting a yellow ribbon on your dog’s collar doesn’t remove your responsibility for the pet’s behavior. It just means you are working with your pet on his or her space issues and want to alert people around you.
This sounds like an interesting project. It is relatively new, so the organization is still working to spread the word. Have you heard of the Yellow Dog Project? Have you seen anyone use the yellow ribbon for their pet? How did people around them respond? Share your experience on our Facebook page.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Five Fun Facts About Ferrets
Did you know?
Newborn ferrets are super tiny! In fact, they are small enough to fit in a teaspoon at birth!
Ferrets have been a part of human history since at least Ancient Egypt. Pictures of ferrets on leashes are seen on the walls of some tombs in Egypt.
Ferrets are deep sleepers! Even picking them up might not waking them.
A spayed female ferret is known as a “sprite,” and an unspayed female is a “jill.” A neutered male is known as a “gib,” and an intact male ferret is called a “hob.” Baby ferrets are called “kits.”
Ferrets are great hiders – they seek dark spaces for sleeping and can fit through tiny spaces to get there. Some can even climb through spots that are only an inch in diameter!
Tip: If you own a ferret, you know they also can be a little smelly, due to the musk they give off. CritterZone’s Air Naturalizer is perfect for homes with ferrets – it tackles the odor 24/7, keeping the air clean and fresh. Find out more about the CritterZone.
Source of ferret facts: http://www.drsfostersmith.com
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
We at CritterZone (including our bearded dragon!) would like to thank you for your business and wish you a fabulous 2014!!
December 30, 2013
Adopted pet Rupee is 1st dog to climb Mount Everest
Rupee, a stray dog from India, is believed to be the first dog to take on Mount Everest.
Rupee and his adopted pet parent, Joanne Lefson, are using the successful trip to highlighting the need for homes for stray dogs.
Lefson adopted Rupee in September. She said the October trip to Everest Base Camp, located at 17,598 feet, took 13 days.
In a story about their journey on News.discovery.com, Lefson is said, "I am so proud of Rupee. I thought I might have to carry him on some days, but instead, he took the lead and pulled me along.”
Though he comes from a warm climate, Rupee loved the snow on Mount Everest, Lefson said. She said he ate the snow and enjoyed playing in it.
You can read more about Rupee and his successful trek here.
CritterZone customers: Enter to win a FREE CritterZone Air Naturalizer!
1.) Tell us how CritterZone has helped you. Post it on our Facebook page under "Reviews."
2.) SHARE that review on YOUR Facebook page using the "share" button below it.
3.) Do this by Jan. 15 and you'll be entered to win a FREE CritterZone Air Naturalizer!
December 26, 2013
Do you bring your pet to work?
Does your workplace allow pets in the office? Maybe it should.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied workers at a North Carolina company that produces dinnerware. They found that workers who brought their dogs to the office had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In fact, those workers had a drop of about 11% in their stress scores over the course of the day. Meanwhile, other workers’ average scores increased 70%.
According to a USA Today article, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says many animal experts confirm health benefits from having pets around, including reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They also have an added benefit of increasing their caretaker’s activity level, by encouraging them to take frequent walks.
However, not every workplace is the best fit for animals, and some are better suited for certain pets but not others. Google, for example, welcomes employees’ dogs. However, because of that policy, they discourage workers from bringing cats to work, stating that the presence of so many dogs could stress out cats. And some workplaces don’t allow any pets, due to worker allergies or the presence of equipment that could harm animals.
Here at CritterZone, we are fortunate to have an official office pet. Our bearded dragon (you can see our staff members interacting with him in the photo) is a great conversation starter when we have visitors, and he provides lots of entertainment for work breaks.
What is your workplace’s policy on pets? If you could bring your pet to work, would you?
If you do have pets in your office, plug in a few CritterZone Air Naturalizers. They will banish any stinky pet odors and keep officemates breathing easy.
December 17, 2013
3 things a dog's tail can tell you
Did you know a dog uses its tail to communicate, kind of like how we do with our voices?
In fact, just wagging its tail can mean many different things.
Happy wag: Shakes the dog’s whole rear end and is accompanied by a general sense of happiness and exuberance. Sometimes may precede a “chasing of the tail” moment.
Warning wag: If the dog is on alert — for instance, when a stranger approaches the house — this slower version of tail wagging is not a sign of happiness, it’s a signal that the dog is on guard.
A lowered tail: This often means the dog is relaxed.
To find out more about signals dogs send with their tails, check out this article.
Business Cares For Deployed Solders’ Pets
For soldiers who have to leave their homes for deployment, it can be reassuring for them to know their pets are in good hands. That’s why the Fort Meade Family Pet Care Center was created 10 years ago.
The facility on the Fort Meade base in Maryland is considered to be the first of its kind to be housed at a military base in the U.S. It was launched in 2002 as a resource for service members who were being deployed and had no other option for their pets while they were gone for six months to a year at a time.
Representatives from other bases in the U.S. recently have been visiting Fort Meade in hopes of replicating this service at their facilities.
Mushrooms Pose Poison Threat To Dogs
A Bellingham, Washington, family wants to save other pet owners from their sorry. Last year, their two pugs died, and they learned it was from eating poisonous mushrooms found in their yard.
The mushrooms could be a danger to humans, as well.
The Bliss family now regularly takes a bucket through the yard and pulls up any mushrooms they find. They then destroy and dispose of them.
If you live in a damp climate, or if your city experiences a period of rain, your yard also could become a hot spot for poisonous mushrooms. It can be difficult to know which are safe and which are dangerous, so experts recommend getting rid of all of them. Revist the areas they like to grow every day, especially if your dog is allowed in that area, because the mushrooms are likely to come back if the wet conditions persist.
You can read more about the Bliss family and their efforts to educate others in this article.
Veterinary School Opens
Comprehensive Cancer Program
Penn Vet has remodeled its cancer treatment program for pets to benefit as well as the students treating them.
In the new system, the main student treating the pet will follow the animal through all stages of treatment, from diagnosis to radiation and/or chemotherapy.
Previously, students were only able to participate in a portion of the treatment. Having the student stay with the pet through the whole progression allows the pet and his owner to have a sense of continuity of care. It also keeps the student involved in the whole process, as he or she would be doing as a licensed veterinarian. Throughout the whole process, a clinician works with the student to plan the care and oversee the treatments.
This model of cancer care is patterned after programs at colleges in Colorado and Florida.
Read more about this innovative approach in this article.
Free clinics help low-income pet owners
keep their animals healthy
Penn Vet has remodeled its cancer treatment program for pets to benefit the animals as well as the students treating them.
The clinic was the result of collaboration between Napa Humane and Compassion Without Borders. The two nonprofits brought together veterinarians and other animal health workers to treat 116 dogs and cats. They checked the animals’ ears, gave them vaccines, dewormed them and performed other preventive health treatments.
The groups are hoping to host more free clinics in the future.
Does your city have a similar free clinic for people in need? What a great way to ensure their pets are getting important health services!
You can read more about the Napa clinic in this article.
What To Do With An Anxious Dog
Does your dog get stressed out by changes in his environment or during social situations with people or animals he doesn’t know?
This is not unusual, animal experts say. But the way you should respond depends on the situation.
According to Sarah Netherton of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, these are potential signs your dog is worried or anxious:
- Excessively salivating
- Yawning (at a time that’s abnormal – such as during a visit to the vet)
- High levels of vigilance
- Licking his lips
Your dog may exhibit these behaviors at other times, too, but if they are happening during a potentially stressful situation for your dog, they are likely a signal he’s uneasy. If that’s the case, don’t punish your dog, experts say. That will only make his anxiety worse.
Netherton got advice on this subject from Kelly Ballantyne, a veterinarian at the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine and resident of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Ballantyne recommends seeking the help of an animal behaviorist who can help you determine what triggers your pet’s anxiety and find behavioral ways to calm his stress.
You can read more in Netherton’s column for The News-Gazette.
Ferret Warns Diabetic Owner of Danger
When Erika Schallmo and her boyfriend, Sean Memering, rescued two ferrets, (Igor and Itty Bitty), they didn’t realize one of them had a special skill. Itty Bitty could detect dangerous changes in Erika’s blood sugar and warn her.
It all started the morning after the ferrets came home with the couple. Itty Bitty began acting strangely. She started to shake her cage and make lots of noises. Erika took her out of the cage and brought her toward her bed. As she was walking, Erika — a type 1 diabetic — could tell her blood glucose level was off. She tested it and found it was dangerously low. Fortunately, she was able to get it back to a safe level quickly. The next morning, the same thing happened. When she tested her glucose, it was even lower.
A third time, she was taking a nap and was awoken by an antsy Itty Bitty, who was trying to get her attention. Realizing there may be a pattern to her actions, Erika tested her glucose and found it was much higher than it should have been. All these alerts helped Erika get her glucose in check before it became an emergency.
Pretty cool, right? You can read more about this amazing ferret and her grateful owner by clicking this link to the story.
Dog Learns To Use Artificial Limb
In the past, if a pet was born without a leg or lost one in an accident, there wasn’t much anyone could do. The animal just had to learn to get around without it, and often they had a hard time keeping up with other animals.
Fortunately, technology is doing great things these days for people and pets with missing limbs.
In this case, Edward the pug was born without one of his legs. He became one of the first animals in Australia to be fitted with an artificial leg.
The Dogs in Motion canine rehabilitation center in Doveton, Victoria, helped Edward learn to use his new limb. The results are pretty inspiring. Watch the video by clicking the link HERE to see him learn to use his artificial leg.
Edward is currently looking for a new home. You can read more of his story HERE.
November 8, 2013
Pets helping veterans
A cool program in Albuquerque is training rescued shelter dogs to be service animals for American veterans.
The nonprofit is called Paws and Stripes, and was started by 27-year-old Lindsey Stanek, the wife of a veteran. Her husband, Jim, served three tours of duty in Iraq. During that time, he sustained a brain injury and now suffers from post-traumatic stress injury.
The trained dogs can alert veterans when it’s time to take medication, wake them up when they are having nightmares and can even help them to go up stairs if they struggle with movement.
So far 45 dogs have been trained and pair with an interested veteran. The training process takes about 6 to 8 months.
You can find out more about this fabulous organization here.
November 7, 2013
Winter tips for pet owners
Here at CritterZone headquarters, we just received our first snow of the season. While it looks lovely, it’s a reminder that we’ll have to think about the weather when we take our furry friends outside for fresh air.
If you, like us, live in a cooler climate, here are tips for keeping your pet safe and warm throughout the winter.
- Keep cats indoors in the winter. They are easily affected by cold, and they may try to seek warmth in dangerous areas, like a car engine.
- Stay outside with your dog. If you are out with her, you’ll be able to see visual cues if she’s getting too cold – such as shivering, whining, acting anxious or hanging out by the door and waiting to go inside.
- Dress your dog appropriately for the weather. If it’s near or below freezing, your pet may need a sweater to stay warm. Small pets with short or thin hair may need a sweater even at warmer temperatures.
- Be especially cautious if your pet has a chronic health ailment such as diabetes, arthritis, hormonal issues, heart disease or kidney problems. These can reduce your pet’s ability to adjust to the cold. Age also can affect an animal’s cold tolerance – older dogs and puppies are especially sensitive to temperature extremes.
- Clean your pet’s paws when she comes back inside. That will remove any salt or gravel that could irritate the foot pads, and it will keep your dog from licking it off and ingesting it.
- If your dog is covered in snow, brush it off outside and then towel-dry her fur. If she brings a bit of a “wet-dog” smell with her, plug your CritterZone units to tackle the odor.
These and other great tips are available on the following websites:
October 4, 2013
Dog washing stations keep pets
(and pet owners’ homes) clean
Have you ever taken your dog to a dog washing station? Some pet-themed stores are adding them as a special feature and a convenience for pet owners.
Pet Valu in Cromwell, Conn., for example, has several large, tiled self-serve stations. The tubs have stairs so the animals can walk into them. There are treats available if the animal needs coaxing. The stations are set a height that makes it easy for pet owners to reach their dog.
The stations offer a way for people to get their dogs cleaned up without making a mess at home.
These sound like a great idea – especially for people with large dogs or pets that like to shake suds everywhere when they are wet!
You can read more about the Cromwell pet stations in this article from the Middletown Press.
When your wet dog comes home, plug in a CritterZone to keep the wet-dog smell away!
October 30, 2013
Heading out for Halloween? Take CritterZone with you!
Will you be shuttling your children around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating on Halloween? If you are bringing your pet along, you can bet animal odors will travel with you.
Make sure the air you are breathing is fresh by bringing your CritterZone Air Naturalizer along for the ride. A great option is the Travel Pack. It includes an Air Naturalizer, a car adapter cord and a blue carrying bag. The Travel Pack is available here.
If you already have a CritterZone Air Naturalizer, we have car adapters available so you can plug your Air Naturalizer into the cigarette adapter. You can find the car adapters here.
And while you’re out and about, keep these safety tips in mind:
Add reflective tape to your kids’ and pets’ costumes to make them easier for motorists to spot.
Only take your children trick-or-treating to homes of people you know and trust.
Inspect the candy before your children eat it, to make sure it is safe for them to eat. And keep the candy stash out of your pet’s reach (chocolate and other people treats can be dangerous for animals).
Make sure your children’s and pets’ costumes allow them to see and hear clearly.
Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!
October 28, 2013
Keep pet odors away from Halloween houseguests
Whether you are hosting a Halloween costume party or welcoming trick-or-treaters at your door, you want your home to smell fresh – not like a bunch of animals live there (even if they do!).
But if you have pets, it can be really hard to keep the air clean. Let’s face it: Your adorable pets come with some bad smells.
Don’t get spooked. There is a simple, easy solution for you: The CritterZone.
The compact, powerful air naturalizer plugs into the wall, and within minutes, it starts tackling odors caused by stinky cats and other animals.
Unlike pet air purifiers, it doesn’t use a filter or added chemicals. And the CritterZone doesn’t just mask the pet odor; it energizes the air with the power to clean itself and get rid of those offensive smells. It’s especially great for virtually eliminating odors from cat pee, litter boxes and accidents on carpet and furniture.
Order yours today, so your home can smell fresh for your Halloween guests. You can find out more and order your CritterZone units at http://www.critterzoneusa.com/pages/products.
October 24, 2013
How to snap fabulous photos of your pet
Pet owners catch their animals in hilarious poses, in the midst of mischief and in sweet moments cuddled up with the people in their life. But snapping the perfect photo of those moments can take some extra patience, skill and a bit of luck.
Here are tips to help improve your pet photography and increase the “awww” factor for Facebook.
- Use natural light
- Focus on your pet’s eyes
- Go to his level (at or below eye level)
- Use a long-distance lens to get a shot of your pet without disturbing her or interrupting what she is doing that’s making you laugh
- Try a new angle
- Add props, like your pet’s favorite toy
- Use the portrait mode for “quiet,” calm shots. Or try a wide angle lens to attain a different look.
- Place your pet in a setting with a background that won’t look distracting. Think spaces with solid colors and no clutter.
If you like to play with the settings manually, this website has lots of great ideas for ways to alter the shutter speed, apertures, exposure and more.
There are more tips at these websites as well:
- Digital photography school: http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-photograph-pets
- A Beautiful Mess: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/03/tips-for-pet-photography.html
- Digital Trends: http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/how-to-take-best-pet-photography/
Once you’ve finished your pet’s photo shoot, post your pictures on our Facebook page and tell us what techniques you tried!
October 22, 2013
Halloween safety tips for pet owners
Make sure your night is full of fun not fright for your pet this Halloween, by keeping these tips in mind.
Keep candy out of reach. Most candies (especially those with chocolate) can sicken your pet. Make sure bowls and bags are stashed where your pet can’t get to them.
Keep a close eye on your pet when trick-or-treaters come and go. Your stealthy pet could slip out the door unnoticed.
Pay close attention to your pet’s reaction to the sights and sounds of Halloween. If all the noise, costumes and constant stream of strangers make your pet agitated, put him in a back room and close the door.
Same idea goes for pet costumes. If your pet is loving the extra attention she is getting for looking so cute in that pumpkin outfit, excellent. But if she keeps trying to pull it off or seems unhappy wearing it, snap a quick photo and then take it off right away so she will be comfortable. If your pet is rocking the costume happily, just make sure there are no hazards with it – such as parts she could chew off and choke on, or pieces that could cause strangulation.
If you are going outdoors with your pet on Halloween night, add reflective tape to his costume. That will help all the extra foot, bike and car traffic to spot him and avoid an accident. Also, make sure your pet can see and hear clearly so he can escape danger if necessary.
Place candles and lit Jack-O-Lanterns where Fido can’t get to them.
Keep black cats close to home. If you have a black cat, be aware that some cruel individuals like to target them for pranks this time of year. Keep your cat safely indoors leading up to and during the holiday to be safe.
We found many of these great tips at this website.
Have a happy and safe Halloween with your pet!
October 18, 2013
Half-marathon running dog Boogie has died
Did you hear about the chocolate lab named Boogie Butts who ran a half-marathon in Indiana recently? That in itself was quite a story – Boogie ran away from home and joined up with the runners, finishing the 13.1 miles in two hours and 15 minutes. At the finish line, he received a medal, and soon after he was reunited with his family.
It seems the race may have been Boogie’s last hurrah; sadly, he passed away from a heart attack this week.
Boogie serves as an inspiration to all of us to live life to the fullest.
You can read about Boogie and his race adventure here.
October 16, 2013
Helping your pet lose extra weight
We recently talked about ways you and your pet can get exercise. This topic is increasing in popularity as many pet owners are realizing their pet is overweight and needs some help to get healthier.
In addition to the exercise ideas we suggested, the New York Times talks about other ways pet owners are helping their pets get fit.
One idea is to involve water. For example, throw a ball into a pool for your dog to retrieve. The water adds buoyancy, which can make it easier for them to exercise with less strain on their joints. There also are “camps” where dogs can go to get in shape. Once such camp is at the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine. The veterinarians at the camp make sure the dog is getting the right amount of calories, and they don’t give in to the dogs’ puppy-eye begging for extra treats, like pet owners may be tempted to do.
Kennel and dog training centers are other good resources. The instructors focus on diet and find safe ways for the animals to get exercise, progressing as they lose weight and can do more rigorous activities.
You can read more ideas in the New York Times article via this link.
October 15, 2013
Hero pit bull saves cat
Jack, a pit bull, is being called a hero after saving his caretaker’s pet cat from coyotes. The cat had been in the yard at its home in Florida, when the coyotes attacked.
Jack, who is staying with the cat’s owner while his own owner is serving in the military in Afghanistan, chased them away and saved the cat. The cat had some injuries from the coyote attack but is recovering well.
You can see footage of Jack and the cat at this link: http://abcn.ws/1hRf60U.
Do you know of a pet that has done something heroic? Message the story to us on Facebook, and we’ll share it with our followers. You can find our Facebook page here.
October 14, 2013
Symptoms your pet’s vet should know about
No one wants to think about their pet getting sick. But it’s important to be aware of some symptoms that can be warning signs of serious pet health problems.
Many of these symptoms can also be attributed to non-serious issues. But they’re still worth keeping an eye on. If they appear suddenly or in combination with other problems, it’s time to get your vet’s opinion.
- Appearance of a lump
- Lack of appetite
- Sudden fatigue
- Dental issues, like bleeding gums or bad breath
- Swollen stomach
- Problems with urination
- Difficulty walking
You can find other red-flag symptoms in this article from pawnation.com.
As always, we recommend you take your pet to see a veterinarian if your pet exhibits any unusual behaviors or physical abnormalities.
October 8, 2013
A few things to know about bunnies
Bunnies are pretty much the cutest thing ever. What’s not to love about their twitchy little noses, long whiskers and floppy ears?
Those tiny fluff balls know how to charm their way into our hearts, but they can come with unexpected side effects. Before you take home a bunny as a pet, here are a few things to know to prepare.
- Leave wild rabbits in the wild. They are not socialized for interaction with people, and they can carry diseases you really don’t want to catch.
- They need quality people time. Plan to have them around you for at least 2-3 hours per day to socialize them properly. You don’t have to hold them the whole time, though. And when you do hold them, remember they have fragile bones. When you do hold it, take the rabbit’s forequarters with one hand and its hindquarters with the other, then hold the bunny against your body. If you are walking with it, you may want to cover its eyes to make it feel calmer. NEVER lift a rabbit by its ears — they are very delicate.
- Those teeth are made for chewing. If you let the rabbit out of its cage to play on the floor, make sure cords, plants and other items are out of chomping reach.
- It’s gonna get stinky. Even though your pet may be small in size, it is capable of creating some big odors — in its cage and throughout your house. Plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer and let it take care of those pet odors, so you can focus on caring for your pet. (We recommend using the wall plug-in unit, so you won’t have a cord around if the rabbit is playing on the ground nearby.) Unlike air purifiers, the CritterZone doesn’t have any filters to change. All it needs is an occasional, simple cleaning to keep it in tip-top shape! Order one here.
And just for fun, check out this adorable video of two rabbits with super twitchy noses! You’re gonna love it!
October 4, 2013
Keep the fall chill away with a homemade doggie coat
As the temperatures cool, your dog may need an extra layer of warmth for your evening walks together.
We came across a site that has instructions and patterns for turning your old winter coat into a snug, warm jacket for your pet!
October 3, 2013
One-eyed cats rises to Internet stardom
as part of good cause
Have you heard of Sir Stuffington? He’s a one-eyed kitty-cat whose glamour shots are helping to raise money for foster animals like him.
Here’s Stuffington. SIR Stuffington, that is.
Sir Stuffington’s fame is attributed to Blazer Schaffer, who took the cat home as a foster pet and decided to turn his disability into something positive. Sir Stuffington was fitted with an eye patch and pirate costume, and Schaffer created a Facebook page, which has almost 43,000 fans. Schaffer sells photos of Sir Stuffington to raise money for foster pet programs.
You can read more about Sir Stuffington’s rise to fame at this link: http://www.katu.com/news/local/One-eyed--one-eyed-Sir-Stuffington-raises-thousands-for-foster-pets-226160371.html.
October 1, 2013
3 ways to help a friend who has lost a pet
It can be hard to know how to comfort a friend whose pet has died. If you are a pet owner, you know animals quickly find a way into our hearts, and the loss of a pet can be very painful.
Here are three thoughtful ways to show your friend some support:
- SEND a card. Personalize it with a happy story you experienced with your friend’s pet or remind her of one she once told you. She’ll appreciate the fact that you remembered, and it will help her focus on the good memories of her pet.
- CREATE a hand-made gift using a photo of the pet. You likely can find photos on your friend’s Facebook page or check her Instagram account for a nice one. You could frame it or turn it into a wall calendar. Note: If you are using the photo at a fairly large size, you may want to ask your friend for a higher resolution image.
- CONNECT your friend with a support group or someone else you know who has recently lost a pet. They will be able to share their common experiences and support each other during this difficult time.
We found these ideas and more in this Newsday article.
Have you ever lost a pet? What things helped you to feel better? Please share it with us on our Facebook page.
September 30, 2013
We’ve all been there, right? You meet someone for the first time and things go… well, awkwardly.
Maybe you don’t have much in common or you just don’t know the best way to talk to each other. There’s the uncomfortable silence, and then maybe some type of misunderstanding. You want to run away. But you’re also curious about this new person, so you stick it out.
In the animal world, awkward introductions happen, too. Take, for example, this hilarious video of a cat getting to know its new hedgehog roommate.
Isn’t it reassuring to know you’re not the only one who has been through prickly encounters?
Hopefully you and your acquaintance were able to get past starting off on the wrong foot (or paw) and form a friendship. And maybe when we check back later, this cat and hedgehog will be good buddies.
September 27, 2013
Awesome inspiration for Halloween pet costumes
Halloween is about a month away! Have you started thinking about your pet’s costume?
If you need a little inspiration, here are lots of fun ideas. We found these in this slideshow from Real Simple magazine. Most of them are for sale at pet stores or online.
This cute spider costume is from www.funnyfur.com.
I’ll bet some of you clever, crafty types out there could figure out how to make your own pet costumes! In fact, the Pet Safe blog has a whole list of DIY costume ideas, if you are feeling ambitious. One idea is to turn your pet into a ladybug with a simple costume composed of T-shirt and wings.
You can find the instructions for this idea and others here.
Also, check our Pinterest board Fashion Forward Pets, which is filled with tons of great ideas for pet costumes!
Halloween safety tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure the costume doesn’t contain any choking hazards for your pet.
- Don’t dress your pet in a costume that could limit her ability to see where she is going or block her ability to hear clearly, especially if you will be crossing busy streets together on Halloween night.
- Don’t let your pet eat any of that candy! Many of them can be toxic for your pet. Instead, carry some pet-safe treats with you, so your pet can enjoy a snack along the way.
September 25, 2013
A dog who’s also a beekeeper
(thanks to his powerful sense of smell)
We came across this story recently and simply had to share it with you.
Here’s Bazz, who lives in Australia and helps his human, who is a beekeeper.
Bazz also is a beekeeper, because he uses his super-keen nose to help his owner manage the bees.
How exactly does he do this? Well, Bazz sniffs around the beehives in search of American Foulbrood. That’s a bee disease caused by bacteria, and it kills lots of bee larvae.
When Bazz detects the unique smell that’s associated with this disease, he alerts his human, who is able to treat the hive and stop the spread of the disease.
Pretty cool, right?
You can read more about Bazz in this article.
September 23, 2013
How to speak your dog’s language — without ever
saying a word
Did you know staring into a dog’s eyes can be interpreted as a form of aggression? Or that a firm pat on the head can be unpleasant for your pet?
Dogs and people interpret certain signals differently. A recent article in Parade magazine, “The Top 5 Tips on How to Speak Dog,” looks at ways people can communicate better with their dog, once they understand how dogs interpret their actions.
The article recommends avoiding direct eye contact with a dog that you aren’t familiar with. If it is an aggressive dog, it may interpret your stare as a threat. The article also suggests approaching a timid dog from a side angle, since dogs’ natural path of introduction tends to be arc-shaped, rather than head-on. Also for a shy dog, you could try getting closer to her level by kneeling next to her and letting her come to you.
For more interesting tips, you can read the article here.
September 18, 2013
Crouching cat, hidden tiger?
We all know domesticated cats are related to the giant, carnivorous tiger. But just how closely are they related? A lot! In fact, new research has found that our beloved house cats share 95.6 percent of their DNA with tigers.
The study revealed that domestic cats and tigers diverged from shared ancestors nearly 11 million years ago.
Researchers also discovered that some genes changed over time to help tigers live entirely on a meat diet and helped them develop the quick, powerful muscles they have today – muscles that of course help them catch the meat they need to survive.
Snow leopards, scientists found, underwent genetic changes that enabled them to live at high altitudes where the oxygen level of the air is very low.
The scientists are sequencing the big cats’ genomes to better understand the animals. By learning about their DNA, researchers are trying to find ways to help them become more resilient, since some types of tigers and other large cats are endangered.
You can read more about this study and the other fascinating findings in it by clicking here.
Put on your clever caption hat for your chance
to win a free CritterZone Air Naturalizer!
Caption contest time! See this cool pic below? Head over to our Facebook page, find the photo, and give us your most clever caption in the comments section. You could win a free CritterZone Air Naturalizer! Click the photo or follow the link below.
Follow this link to get to the photo on our Facebook page.
Details: Two winners will receive a CritterZone pet Air Naturalizer valued at $89.95. One goes to the caption with the most "likes" and the other to the most clever caption. One entry per person. USA only.
September 17, 2013
2 dogs escape fire by jumping from balcony
Too often, we hear sad stories of animals perishing in house fires.
These two pitbulls were much luckier. They were able to escape a house fire by jumping off a second story balcony.
Here's a photo from the story, showing one of the pitbulls escaping.
Kind of strange seeing a dog leap down a ladder, but pretty cool that he was able to escape! Here's the link to the story about these dogs' dramatic rescue: http://gawker.com/two-dogs-escape-burning-fire-by-jumping-off-balcony-1298368577.
Do you have an escape route in your home for your family and your pets? Another great idea is to put a notice on your front door that there are animals in the house, listing how many of each type of pet are inside. That lets firefighters know to look for them if your house were to catch on fire while you were away from the home.
September 16, 2013
Quirky, happy story of the day
There once was a dog named Ginger. Poor Ginger's coat was ragged and completely overgrown. It was so matted that the hair on her ear, paw and foot was all tangled together on one side of her body. This impaired the way she walked.
That's right, ladies and gentleman. There's a dog under all that matted hair. That's the sad part of the story.
But don't worry -- I promised you a happy story, right? So here's what happened:
Thankfully, Ginger was taken away from her current, not-so-great living situation and brought to an animal shelter in Denton, Texas. There, some kind people gave her a good grooming.
Once free of all that matted hair, she was able to walk more easily, but you can tell from photos and video footage, it will take her some time to get used to walking without all those tangles slowing her down.
You can read more about Ginger's story and see a video of her getting used to her newfound freedom by going to this link.
If you have a great pet-related story to share, post the link on our Facebook page. We'd love to see it!
September 11, 2013
People and pets getting fit together
Recently, we talked about “doga” classes, which are a form of yoga classes that incorporate dogs. Sounds pretty fun!
If you are looking for a new way to get fit, and you’d like your dog to join you, here are some other activities you might enjoy.
Hiking: Fall is coming soon, and that means glorious views as trees burst into color. Your pet will love the cool, crisp air as much as you do!
Agility training: Sign your pet up, and you’ll get a workout, too! You’ll have to run alongside as your pet navigates her way through obstacle courses that increase her cardiovascular strength, coordination and balance. Sounds like a great workout for both of you! This website can help you get started: http://www.nadac.com/
Swimming: Take advantage of the final warm days of the season to bask in the sun and hit the beach. Before long, (in our area, at least) it will be too cold for pets or people to swim outdoors.
Biking (with your pet jogging alongside you): This is only appropriate for certain breeds of dogs, and it takes some conditioning for your pet to be able to keep up. Here are great tips on how to help your pet build up the endurance to run with you as you bike: http://www.womansday.com/life/pet-care/dog-exercise#slide-9.
People and pet races: Some 5Ks and 10Ks are geared toward runners with dogs. Here is a list you can search to find an upcoming race in your area: http://beta.active.com/search?keywords=Dog+Run
Thank Dog Bootcamp: According to one Thank Dog location’s website, it “combines dog training, weight training and cardio training for dogs and their people.” Sessions often are held outdoors. There are locations in many major US cities. You can find out more here: http://www.thankdogbootcamp.com/
When you and your pet get home from a great workout, you might be a little... well, smelly. Nothing to be ashamed of -- all that sweating means you both worked hard! But you might need some help freshening up the air in your home. Check out the CritterZone -- it's a powerful air cleaner for pet odors and other smells!
September 10, 2013
How to prevent your dog from getting car sick
Lots of dogs get excited about the idea of jumping in the car for a drive. But some experience unpleasant side effects – nausea and vomiting. In fact, dogs can get motion sickness like people can.
It could be caused by an inner-ear imbalance, or it could be
due to anxiety relating to an unpleasant car trip in the past (to the vet to get shots, for example).
Here are ways to help your pup get past it.
Start on an empty stomach. It’s best if your pet hasn’t eaten for several hours ahead of time. (Water is OK, though.) If that doesn’t help, try giving your pet a small snack beforehand. Some pets need a little bit of food to calm the stomach acid.
Start small, and build to longer trips. First, take your pet in the car without starting it. Get him used to being in there without the movement. Then turn on the car, but don’t drive anywhere. Just hang out and play with some of his favorite toys for a while. Gradually start taking him on short trips. These should be pleasant jaunts to places your pet enjoys, such as the dog park or a nearby friend’s house. If your pet has car anxiety, this will help him start to associate the car with enjoyable memories.
Car seats. If your pet is a smaller dog, using an elevated seat can help him see out the car’s windows better. Position your pet so he is facing forward.
Circulate the air. If the car is too warm or stuffy, that can exacerbate your pet’s discomfort. Try opening the windows a bit, or running the fan or air conditioning.
Avoid longer trips until your pet is older. Sometimes young animals’ inner ear mechanisms aren’t fully developed. They will be less likely to get car sick as they get older.
If these tactics don’t help, talk to your veterinarian. She can recommend medications that can help relax your pet during longer trips.
September 6, 2013
Downward dog – for dogs?
Dogs and owners find their Zen with 'doga'
Have you ever tried yoga with your dog?
Here in Minneapolis, where CritterZone is based, you can take “doga” classes at a local lake shore. The classes incorporate participants’ dogs into the sessions.
So what happens at these classes?
The dog owner may use the dog as added weight resistance for certain moves, or he or she may give their pet a massage or help it get a good stretch. But in many cases, the classes are about forming a connection between owner and pet.
From reading articles about them, it sounds like they are sort of laid-back versions of yoga, and they often take place outdoors. Participants say the classes tend to be playful and full of laughter, which adds to the experience for them. Organizers say the activity is calming for the humans and the dogs alike.
Here is a video that shows doga classes in action: http://youtu.be/q3HzrKzkDgQ.
If you are a serious yogi, you may or may not like this idea. It’s definitely a nontraditional approach. But if you are looking for a relaxing activity to enjoy with your pet, doga may be just the thing for you!
If you’ve participated in these classes, tell us about it! Share it on our Facebook page.
September 4, 2013
Tips for getting rid of litter box odors
CritterZone is excited to have a guest blogger for this post. Sandy Robins is a well-known contributing writer to several popular pet magazines. She also recently served as the emcee at the recent birthday party for Algonquin Hotel's Matilda the Cat. The event raised money for Bidawee, the oldest cat shelter in NYC.
Welcome, Sandy! Thanks for stopping by our blog!
According to the just-published 2013-2014 American Pet Products Association’s National Pet Owner Survey, litter-related odors are ranked as one of the biggest drawbacks to having a cat in a household. And, added to this is the fact litter box behavioral issues are the primary reason for a cat losing its home and landing up in a shelter.
Fortunately, there is very easy ways of ridding a home of any feline-related odors on a permanent basis, making it impossible to detect there’s a cat in residence – until your feline friend actually makes an appearance!
Litter Box Quick Fixes
Cats are very clean creatures and expect their litter boxes to be clean, too. It’s important to scoop at least once a day, preferably twice – in the morning and again in the late evening. Remember: Cats are standing in the litter and then walking on household surfaces. Keeping the litter free of feces and clumps prevents them from pawing in dirty litter and then exiting the box and walking everywhere you walk, too.
The Rule is One Box Per Cat in a Household.
Litterbox placement is very important. The real estate mantra — location, location, location — kicks in here, too!
Make sure the box is placed away from high-traffic areas of the household, as cats like privacy when using their boxes. If the area is too busy with people coming and going, they may shy away from the box and find a quiet corner on a carpet instead.
If you have two or three litter boxes, make sure they are all in different places in the home. Cats often treat several boxes lined up in a row as one box. If there are social issues between the cats themselves, one of the felines could avoid using them because it’s scared of being ambushed by another feline in the household.
Similarly, ensure the boxes are placed in such a way that cats can see all around them and can get out easily at any time. Closed boxes are not a good idea in multi-cat households where one cat may ambush another. This again can drive a cat to avoid the box, and you will only discover the issue when your carpet is reeking of urine!
Your Cat Is What She Eats
It’s important to remember that how your cat’s litter box smells is also directly related to the food she is eating. Foods with fillers are more likely to cause odors than products made from top quality ingredients. Also superior-quality foods produce fewer feces in the box!
Air fresheners do not permanently solve litter box odor issues, as they tend to mask the smells and not eliminate them. There also is the issue that a lot of cats are allergic to scents in such products.
It’s also important to remember not to use pure essential oils around cats as a form of odor elimination. In their concentrated form, essential oils are toxic to felines, as they lack the necessary enzymes in the liver to break down and excrete the chemical compounds found naturally in such oils.
There’s no question that when it comes to keeping the air in the home fresh and odor-free Mother Nature knows best. That’s why a CritterZone Air Naturalizer unit can solve all existing odor issues. This special technology is a toxic-free and natural way of cleaning the air in the home ridding it of odors and allergens. One plug-in gadget can effectively maintain an area of up to 800 square feet. Visit http://www.critterzoneusa.com/technology#accidents for more information, tips and odor-removal tricks.
Clean air in the home is not only good for pets but good for people, too.
You can find out more about Sandy Robins on her website: http://www.sandyrobinsonline.com/sandyhtml/Home.html.
Could your pet be a therapy dog?
Research shows lots of evidence that animals can have a positive, calming effect on people who are suffering from various illnesses and conditions. One cool study conducted by Alternative and Complementary Therapies found patients who’d had heart failure experienced lower blood pressure and anxiety after spending just 12 minutes with a dog. And the Veterinary Journal found the levels of “feel-good” brain hormones in dogs and people tend to rise when they have positive interactions with each other.
As a result, many pet owners are reaching out to people in hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities and sharing their pets with people who need a little extra company or care.
What a rewarding thing to do, right? If it interests you, answer these questions to see if your pet may qualify.
Is he or she:
- At least one year old?
- In good health and fully vaccinated?
- Well-behaved in unpredictable circumstances?
- Ok with strangers petting him/her?
If so, your pet might make a great therapy dog!
Depending on where you live, there may be some training or tests involved, and you may need to have your dog covered by a special type of insurance. And be aware that therapy dogs are different than assistance dogs.
You can find out more about therapy dogs on these websites:
Tip: Bring a CritterZone with you during your visit to help keep your pet’s odors and dander under control.
How to keep the air fresh in your home –
even with the windows closed
Aw… beautiful, hot, steamy August. Don’t you love it?
This is the time of year when it’s best to close the windows and crank the A/C, if you’re lucky enough to have it.
When it gets this hot and humid, all anyone wants to do is hang out indoors and out of that weather – pets and people alike.
But if it’s too hot to open the windows, the air in your home can quickly get stuffy and smelly. The same, stale air keeps circulating, and the pet odors and pollutants are building up.
Don’t worry though – here’s the remedy: The CritterZone Air Naturalizer. These tough little units are powerful. You just plug them in, and they re-energize your air.
What does that mean? Basically, they restore the air’s ability to clean itself. Outdoors, air gets this power from the sun and wind. Indoors, air gets cut off from that cycle. The CritterZone steps in and does the work indoors that Mother Nature does outdoors. That means fresh, clean air indoors, even with a full house of pets and their humans.
Intrigued? You can find out more here.
Cool digs for dogs and cats
Why use just a plain, old boring doghouse for your pet, when you can give him something like this?
I mean, amazing, right? That photo is one of many awesome pictures of awe-inspiring dog houses and other pet dwellings in an article on design website Enthralld. You can see the others here.
Some appear to have been manufactured, but others are elaborate DIY projects, like this doggie pueblo for a cute little Chihuahua.
You can see more cool DIY doghouses in this article on the DIY Network’s website.
Want more? These website also have great doghouse ideas (not neccessarily DIY):
If you’re on Pinterest, you can visit our board dedicated to these amazing hangouts for pets.
Do you have a pet dwelling that’s worth bragging about? Post a photo to our Facebook page so we can admire it!
5 great ways to celebrate National Dog Day
Today is the day to celebrate joy your dog brings into your life. Here are 5 ways to celebrate and show your pet what she means to you.
Throw a pup party. Keep it small, but make it meaningful. Head to the park, and bring your pet’s favorite toy, and a treat or two. Invite a friend or two who have dogs that gets along well with yours. Make it an afternoon filled with lots of cuddles, playtime and socializing with people and animals your dog loves.
Take an extra-long walk to all your dog’s favorite neighborhood spots. Give her extra time to stop and sniff that tree she always has to inspect. Let her take in the sights and smells along the way. Just make sure to do it when it’s cool enough for your pet to be outside, and be mindful of the possibility of hot pavement.
Read up on a dog-related subject you’ve been meaning to investigate. Whether it’s how to teach your dog a new trick, or how to keep your pet safe during an upcoming trip, now’s a great time to stop and get the information you need.
Print a dog-related calendar to celebrate your pet all year long. Many websites like Snapfish.com, Shutterfly.com, Walgreens and others let up upload your own photos and use them to create personalized wall calendars. If a pet has passed away recently, this can be a great way to cherish your great memories of her.
Share the love. If your pet is good with other people, take her to visit that elderly aunt you haven’t visited in months, or that friend who doesn’t get out of her house much. They’ll appreciate the fact you and your pet wanted to share this special day with them.
How did you celebrate the day? Tell us on our Facebook page and post a picture so we can see all the fun you had!
Keeping your bearded dragon on a short leash
One thing we came across when searching the Web to learn about bearded dragons is that there are leashes available for lizards! Did you know that?
Here’s a a link to a site that sells some cool-looking ones. A photo from the site is to the left.
You can even make your own! This website offers instructions on how to make a simple one.
Or, you could fashion something like the one in the photo to the right (although we worry our little beardie’s scales could snag on the nylon so it kind of depends on your lizard).
Our beardie stays close to home (well, technically the office). But she blends into her surroundings really, really well, so if we want to let her run around the office a bit more freely, we might have to pull on our crafty hat and fashion a homemade leash for her.
Can your dog’s diet alter its sense of smell?
According to a recent study, a diet lower in protein and higher in fat can help improve a dog’s ability to smell. It does this in a circuitous manner, by lowering a dog’s body temperature after exercise. That leads to less panting, which frees up the dog’s olfactory cells to do their thing. The findings were presented in March by researchers at the Companion Animal Nutrition Summit.
An article from the American Pet Products Association said this study could have implications for improving the work done by bomb-sniffing dogs and those used to search for clues at crime scenes.
We aren’t animal nutrition experts, so we recommend you check with your veterinarian regarding any questions about your pet’s diet. But we do find this study interesting. Maybe it will alter how pet foods are formulated in the future?
Speaking of a dog’s keen sense of smell, it’s important to be aware of what products you are using in your home to control odors and how they can affect your dog. Anything that adds other scents, in an attempt to mask an odor, can interfere with a dog’s olfactory abilities. That’s why the CritterZone Air Naturalizer is such a great option for pet owners. Unlike air “fresheners” and some air purifiers for pets, the CritterZone creates a charged flow that removes odors from indoor air, in the same fashion that Mother Nature cleans up the air outdoors.
In fact, CritterZone inventor Bill Converse believes in his product so much that he donated several CritterZones to a K-9 unit in Florida to help them keep odors under control in their cars and homes. You can read more about that here.
Want to learn more about animals’ noses? This site has tons of information, including what it means if your pet’s nose changes color.
What to do about your lizard’s smelly side effects
Our bearded dragon is fabulous. However, we’ve notice his main food source (crickets) can be a little… smelly. The container we keep them in quickly becomes odorous, even though the crickets aren’t there for long before they become lizard lunch.
One of our staff members has experience with bearded dragons and does a great job keeping the tank and cricket container clean. But the smell persisted, despite her best efforts.
Luckily, we work for a company that sells CritterZone Air Naturalizers. We’ve discovered we can plug one in near the crickets, and the odor is whisked away. You can find out more about the Air Naturalizers here. The perk of using the CritterZone is that it gets rid of any other odors in the room, too, and it removes allergens from the air. And unlike most air purifiers, it doesn't require a filter.
Other things you could try:
- Buy a cricket odor barrier. It’s usually made of vermiculite and is used as bedding in the cricket container. It absorbs some of the smell. Or you can layer the bottom of the container with oatmeal, using that as a substrate. Replace it with fresh oatmeal between cricket batches.
- Add egg cartons to the enclosure, and replace them with fresh ones regularly.
- Keep the space dry. Moisture will increase the odor.
- Increase the ventilation in the room.
Pet insurance: Is it right for you?
When you welcome a pet into your home, they become a member of your family. When they get sick or become injured, it’s natural to want to get the best veterinary care possible for them. But that care can come with a big price tag.
As a result, more companies are selling pet insurance as a way pet owners can reduce their costs for veterinary care and other medical expenses for their beloved animal.
The oldest pet insurance company in the United States is Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), but more companies are joining the market. Recently, Wal-Mart started offering insurance to some pet owners in Canada. Retailer Cabela’s launched Cabela Pet Insurance in 2011.
Petplan is a British company that now has branches in the U.S. and Canada. The entrepreneurs who brought the company to North America realized the need for pet insurance when they were MBA students facing $5,000 in expenses after getting veterinary care for their cat. You can read more about their story in this article.
We also found an article that shows the typical costs for various animal medical treatments (the prices are from 2010): http://money.msn.com/insurance/should-you-buy-pet-insurance-weston.aspx. The article warns that it's important to scrutinize each insurance plan's coverage, because some may not cover the most commonly needed treatments.
Have you purchased insurance for your pet? Has it come in handy? Tell us about it on our Facebook page.
TV is going to the dogs
Have you heard about the new channel created specifically for dogs?
According to The New York Times, DogTV is available on the Internet and via DirecTV. It is programmed be a nonstop channel that plays images that are meant to be interesting to our furry friends. The intent is to keep them occupied while you are away from the house or are otherwise preoccupied.
I once cared for a friend’s cat while she was on a trip, and she had me leave a nature channel on her TV for her cat, so the animal wouldn’t feel lonely.
Do you ever do this for your pet? Does your pet pay attention to the TV, or do you think they just like the comfort of the sound playing?
It will be interesting to see if this DogTV channel takes off. I have a feeling, with how busy people are, it will be a popular thing for pet owners to use to assuage their worries over leaving their pets home along all day.
Can your dog feel what you feel?
If you own a dog, chances are you have experienced something that led to you think your pet understood how you were feeling. Maybe she nuzzled you when you were feeling sad, or sighed heavily when she could tell you were stressed.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo seem to have confirmed the idea that dogs feel empathy with their owner.
In a recent study, they reported that when dogs see their owners yawn, the dogs can feel their human’s fatigue and often yawn with them. Also, most of the dogs could distinguish between a true yawn and a fake one, and only repeated the action when their owner was truly yawning.
Have you ever seen your dog do that?
The researchers say the findings reveal an emotional connection between a dog and her owner — and that it goes both ways.
That bond is not news to dog owners, but having some scientific proof of it is pretty cool.
You can read more about the study here.
Teaching your pet bird to talk
Birds can be very entertaining pets, especially when they learn human words and can communicate with you.
But not every pet bird is able or willing to speak. Here is a list from birdchannel.com of the types of birds that are more likely to talk:
- Bare-eyed cockatoos
- Rose-breasted cockatoos
- Indian ring-necked parakeets
- Blue-and-gold Macaws
- Congo African grey parrots
- Timneh African grey parrots
- Double yellow-headed Amazon parrots
- Yellow-naped Amazon parrots
- Eclectus parrots
- Male budgies
We learned a few interesting tips for teaching a bird to walk by watching this YouTube video. The highlights are below:
- Generally, you want to train the bird in a quiet room that is free of distractions. However, it helps to have a “rival” in the room on some occasions. This would be another person (your spouse, child, roommate, etc.) who is not the bird’s primary caregiver. Ask the “rival” to talk to you, using your name frequently, so the bird can watch how you respond to them. The bird will start to pick up on this and will learn to use some of the same words, so he can get your much-loved attention.
- Start by teaching your bird just a few words and repeating them several times a day. You can gradually move onto new words when he masters the first few.
- Speak enthusiastically, especially when talking to your bird. You also may notice your bird picking up words they overheard you say with exclamation – such as “ouch” or “be quiet!”
- If he picks up a “naughty” word that you’d rather he not repeat, don’t react to it, and avoid using the word around him. Eventually, he’ll forget about it.
- Explain what you are doing as you do it, so the bird learns what the words mean and understand your routines with them. Start with simple words, such as “hello,” “goodnight” and the names of the different types their food, as you feed them.
- Reward your bird for any attempt it gives at repeating the word. Keep repeating it and working with the bird until he gets it right.
Cleaning your CritterZone
After awhile, your CritterZone Air Naturalizer may begin to accumulate some dust or other debris. For a few simple steps to clean it, watch the video below. Or you can read the printable guide here.
Banish pet-related allergies with these steps
Allergies are miserable! Especially if they are triggered by a pet — one you happen to love and can’t possibly part with.
Have no fear. We have some great tips to help you tame those allergens to help ease your misery, so you can enjoy your time with your pet.
Brushing: By grooming your pet’s coat (daily is best), you will be doing yourself a favor. Get a good brush that will remove any loose hairs. Wear a dust mask and wash your hands and forearms afterward. It’s probably a good idea to have special “grooming clothes” for the task as well. Keep them tied up in a bag, and only wear them for grooming duty. That will help contain the hair and dander. If your pet has a thick, hard-to-manage coat, consider taking her to the pet spa. The investment is worth it if it helps with your allergies.
Bathing: Dogs and cats need special shampoos, because human varieties can irritate their skin and lead to more dander in the air (and more sneezing). Check out the options at your local pet store, or tell your veterinarian about your allergies, and see what they recommend.
Food additives: While you are discussing the issue with your vet, ask them if there’s anything you can add to your pet’s food. There are lots of products available that can nourish a pet’s skin and change what it produces in its saliva. Dander and some chemicals in an animal’s saliva are two big triggers for people with allergies, so reducing those allergens should help.
Hand-washing: Wash your hands and arms with soap and warm water as soon as possible after your pet licks you.
Plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer: These powerful little gadgets are super effective at tackling pet dander and other allergens in indoor air. They work by re-energizing the air, so it can clean itself — the same way outdoor air does using energy from the sun. You can find out more about them here. An added bonus: Unlike pet air purifiers, the Air Naturalizer doesn't require a filter.
What we’ve learned so far
about caring for our bearded dragon
Here at CritterZone Headquarters, we have a new co-worker – a lovely female bearded dragon! She is fabulous, and we love her already, even though she’s only been here one day.
One of our staff members has had a bearded dragon before, so we are lucky to have her knowledge. We’ve also been doing lots of research to make sure she is well cared for.
Here are some things we’ve learned so far:
Age: Our bearded dragon, Tesla, is 3 weeks old. Bearded dragons generally live 4-10 years or so in captivity, depending on their health and care, but some have reportedly lived to be 20.
Diet: Dragons are omnivores. They mostly need protein and some veggies but can eat a little bit of fruit, too (non-citrus). They like insects, but the bugs shouldn’t be longer than the distance between the dragon’s eyes. Bearded dragon websites say you don’t want to feed them insects you’ve caught yourself, because they may have ingested insecticides that can harm your dragon. Dragons can eat crickets, dubia roaches, some types of worms. They also can eat greens and squash (cooked) daily, but other veggies should be occasional treats. You can find a really cool food guide here: http://www.thebeardeddragon.org/bearded-dragon-diet.php.
Heat and light: They need extra heat to keep them warm. PetCo recommends using an incandescent light or ceramic heater.
Habitat: Adults need at least a 40 gallon tank; some experts recommend a 55 gallon aquarium. The prefer to have a “basking” spot that’s warmer – about 100 degrees F for adults – and a cooler spot that’s about 80 degrees for adults. At night, lights out is fine, and a temperature of 65 degrees is good.
There is a special way to clip their nails (carefully). Here's a great video with details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYglbG3EiQc.
They also need fresh water every day, and a warm bath three times per week.
Here’s a great care sheet we found and are using as a resource to learn from: http://www.beardeddragon.org/articles/caresheet/.
How to help a stray pet
We’ve all been there: You’re driving down the road and spot a dog or cat in the ditch. It looks so sad and lonely, and it’s all you can do to keep your eyes on the road to avoid an accident. You pull over to try to help, but then what?
Here are some tips from the Humane Society to keep you safe and get help for the stray animal.
- Is the coast clear? Park your car a safe distance from traffic, and turn on your hazard lights.
- Does the animal look like it feels threatened? If so, don’t leave your car. An animal that feels scared or cornered can become dangerous. If that’s the case, call your local shelter. You can use this link to find one: http://theshelterpetproject.org/shelters.
- The Human Society suggests trying to restrain the animal, if you can, using a carrier, leash or rope. That will keep the animal from leaving or running into the roadway.
- Don’t try to put the animal in your vehicle and drive away if you can’t safely keep it restrained. A scared animal might get nervous and become frantic in an unknown car. Instead, call the local animal control office or local police or sheriff for help.
- Contact your local animal shelter to let them know you’ve found the pet, in case the owner is looking for it. It’s also a good idea to have the animal checked for a microchip and inspected for any health issues.
- Create “found” fliers to post in the neighborhood where the animal was found, so the owner can get in touch with you. You can also visit petfinder.com to look for postings by people who are searching for lots pets.
Since you never know when you might come upon a stray, the Humane Society recommends having these in your car at all times, just in case:
- Phone; phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter, and a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic
- Cat carrier or cardboard box
- Collars and strong leashes for dogs
- Heavy blanket; water bowls and water
- Strong-smelling foods, such as canned tuna or dried liver
- An animal first aid kit.
For more helpful tips, visit the Human Society’s page on this topic.
Having a baby? How to prepare your pet
Pets tend to become our “children,” and they know it, don't they!
So what happens when you are about to bring a human baby into your family? Will your pet eagerly welcome the new addition as a new person to love and be loved by? Or will your furry friend suddenly become jealous and needy?
Smooth the road a bit with these tips, to help make the transition comfortable for everyone:
- Play house. Hold a doll and pretend it’s your future bundle of joy. This will help your pet get used to you having something other than him in your lap. Use your smartphone to play baby noises so they will not seem jarring when the baby arrives later. Be calm and confident when caring for the pretend infant, to signal that you are the boss, and your dog must treat the baby with respect. Give your pet attention and treats for good behavior during this practice time.
- If you have a dog, take “baby” in the stroller for a walk with him. Fill the stroller with other baby items, so the dog can get used to their scent. Give your pet attention and treats along the way to affirm the fact he is an important part of your family.
- Tone down the play time. You may have loved to roughhouse with your pet in the past, but you want your pet to practice gentler play habits once baby arrives. Now’s the time for him to learn.
- Invite a friend with a baby to visit your home. Keep a close watch on your pet during this time, and reward good behavior.
- Cut back on the amount of time you spend with your pet, so he gets used to the idea he no longer is the center of attention.
- Set up a quiet retreat, and stock it with water, toys and a blanket. This will become a nice space for your pet to go to calm down when the baby’s noises or the activity in the house becomes overwhelming for your pet.
- Consider installing a removable gait at the doorway of the baby’s bedroom. This can help keep your pet out from underfoot while you are changing your baby, but still lets your pet see what’s going on.
- Cesar Milan, noted dog trainer, emphasizes you must be in full pack leader mode before the baby arrives. For tips on how to achieve this, you can read his article here.
When you bring your baby home:
- Make sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise. Wait to officially introduce him until the baby has been in your home for a few days.
- Have someone take him for a walk to release some energy before introducing her to your child. Enlist a helper to keep the dog on a leash a few feet away from you as you let him see the baby. Gradually let the dog come a little closer, still under the control of your helper. Reward your pet with treats for good behavior during this introduction.
- Never leave your baby unattended around your pet.
- If your pet develops aggressive behaviors, hire a trainer to curtail them right away.
- Try to stick to routines similar to the ones you maintained before.
Another important note: With a pet in the house, you likely have all kinds of odors and allergens in the air. Keep the air clean for your new little one by plugging in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. Babies are sensitive to pollutants in the air, and indoor air is typically full of stuff you don't want them breathing. Find out more here.
Are pet seat belts a good idea?
Lawmakers in New Jersey made the news last year by considering a rule that would require all cats and dogs traveling in cars to be secured in a carrier or seat belt.
At face value, that sounds pretty smart. After all, humans are required to wear seat belts, and those restraints save many lives every year.
However, one group tested four types of seat belts made for dogs. None of them passed the test – you can find out more by reading their report and watching the videos of their tests here. Most of the problems involved the harnesses not working properly to keep the animal secure. In fact, the researchers said the pets likely would not survive similar crashes using the restraints they tested.
Perhaps manufactures need time to do more testing and improve their product designs.
Meanwhile, some experts say the seat belts are a good idea for a different reason – they keep pets in their seats so they don’t become a distraction to the driver. In that way, they could still end up saving lives.
Keep your pet cool in summer’s searing heat
Many dogs love to be outside, playing in the sun and splashing through water. But as a pet owner, you'll want to keep a close eye on your animals to make sure they don’t overheat or get sunburned when temps get high.
That’s right – even with all that fur, animals can get sunburned! If your pet will be spending a fair amount of time outdoors, buy a sunblock that is safe for animals (some people brands can make pets sick if they ingest them). Check your local pet store or see what your veterinarian recommends. Don’t forget to apply it to your pet’s underside, too: Sun reflects off the ground and can burn her legs and belly.
Here are more tips to help keep your pet from overheating:
Hydrate! When you’ll be spending an extended period of time outside, bring extra water for you and your pet. Pack a collapsible travel nylon bowl that you can carry with you and set out periodically for water breaks. This also will discourage your dog from drinking from lakes and streams, which can contain microorganisms that could make her sick. If your pet is spending time in the yard, always have a bowl of fresh, cool water available.
Take extra precautions with dog breeds that have flat faces. They can’t pant effectively enough to cool themselves adequately in high heat. In fact, it can be dangerous for them to spend more than 30 minutes outdoors when it’s 85 degrees or warmer. Dogs with thick coats need extra vigilance, too. Encourage them to hang out in the shade, and limit their outdoor time when the mercury rises.
Watch for heatstroke. Signs include: vomiting, weakness, low energy, constant panting, excessive drooling or fever. If you notice these symptoms, give your pet some cool water and take her to the vet right away.
Play it cool. Your dog will still want some exercise, but try not to let her overdo it. If you typically go for jogs together, go in the relative cool of the early morning. Shorten your distance, and include frequent water breaks.
Try a cooling bandana, collar or pad. These types of products typically can be chilled again in cool water and then reused.
Try a cold treat. Stuff a Kong with bananas or peanut butter and broth (use the fruit to seal the broth inside) and freeze it for a fun treat during outdoor play time. You can do the same thing with dry dog food softened with broth and stuffed in the Kong. Or toss frozen green beans to your dog after a round of fetch. Find more cool treat ideas here and on our Pinterest board.
Hot paws! Hot paws! Sidewalks can reach paw-sizzling temperatures in the peak of summer. Try to keep your pet on grass or use booties to protect her from burns.
How to keep your pet turtle from stinking up the house
If you own a turtle, you’ve probably noticed those little guys can stink up the place pretty quickly!
This can be from several things: The turtle may be getting scared and emitting a strong-smelling substance due to fear. Another possibility is that you are overfeeding your turtle, which can result in leftover food rotting in its tank. Or it could be the turtle’s natural musk. Also, there could be an odor due to the turtle relieving itself inside the tank.
A few simple steps can keep the stink under control:
1.) Clean the tank regularly – ideally every week or so. If you aren’t doing it every week, at least remove and replace part of the water weekly, so waste products don’t accumulate and make the turtle sick. When you clean the tank, place the turtle in a separate container, and scoop out any leftover food from the tank. Then remove everything, and clean out the turtle’s home with a cage cleaning solution or turtle-safe disinfectant. Let it dry, then add fresh water. Depending on the type of turtle you have, you may need to check the pH level of the water before returning your pet to the tank.
2.) Replace the substrate with fresh material every two to three weeks.
3.) Consider putting the turtle in a separate container for feeding time. That way you can easily dispose of any food he doesn’t eat, and it won’t end up rotting in his cage. Also, he is likely to relieve himself at this time, and if he’s in a separate container, that will make it easier to clean up.
4.) Plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer: These powerful devices are great at tackling pet odors in the home. You can plug one in the wall next to the tank, or get one with a cord so you have more freedom to place it wherever you need it. The CritterZone works so well, you might forget your turtle was ever smelly. Just don’t forget to clean the tank! To find out more about the odor control power of the CritterZone, click here.
The name game — picking the perfect name
for your dog
So you just brought home a new puppy, and you’re not quite sure what to name her. You know you don’t want to use one of the same old, tired dog names you hear a million times at the dog park, and you want to make sure it will match her personality. What to do?
When choosing a name for your dog, there are no hard-and-fast rules, but generally experts suggest sticking to one or two syllables. That will make it easier for your dog to learn her name and start responding to your directions. Another suggestion: Pick a name with a crisp consonant, which will be easier for your dog’s ears to detect. Also, to avoid confusion, say away from names that rhyme with or sound similar to popular commands like “stay,” “go” or “fetch.”
Spend the first day or two watching your new pet. See if you can detect a specific personality trait that could lend itself well to a name. Or, conversely, you could name your dog the opposite of what it is for comedic value (for example, “Tiny” for a large dog, or “Lucky” for a dog that tends to be a bit hapless).
Still stuck? Here’s a list of female dog names to help you start brainstorming. You can switch the tabs at the top of the list to view male names, too. Once you’ve named your pet, go to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CritterZone and post a picture of your new family member and tell us what you named him/her!
PS: If your dog could best be described by a name like “Stinky,” check out this page for a pet air naturalizer to help tame those pesky odors!
The skinny on 'skinny pets'
A recent article in England’s “Daily Mail” newspaper describes a trend among pet owners: Buying “skinny” – or hairless – pets. These creatures look like they’ve been shaved, but in fact this is how the unique breeds naturally look.
Pet owners who buy “skinny” pets say they like that the animals don’t shed everywhere, so there’s no need to constantly follow them around with a vacuum.
Hairless pets do need some extra care though – because they don’t have fur to help regulate their body temperature, they will likely need some kind of pet clothing in cool weather. Also, their skin can be sensitive to intense sun and heat, so pet owners must apply animal-formula sun block to protect the pets from burns.
What do you think of these hairless creatures? Do you know anyone who owns one? We’d love to see it! Post a picture on our Facebook page.
You can find out more about the so-called “skinny” dogs, cats and pigs in this article.
Are cats getting a bad rap for poo parasites?
Most pet owners know cats can be potential carriers of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This creature can cause infections resulting in congenital defects in babies and illnesses in people with fragile immune systems. And it only takes one egg to cause an infection, research shows. These are reasons women are urged to let someone else change the litter box if they are pregnant.
However, a recent study says the parasite’s eggs — oocysts — are turning up in the environment more frequently than expected. Some point to cats as a possible reason why, since they excrete 1.2 million metric tons of poo annually in the U.S. (Hey, there’s a fun fact to share at lunchtime!)
But there’s no reason to give up your beloved feline. Scientists say owning a cat does not appear to increase the risk of infection. However, they urge anyone who has cats or spends time in the garden to be vigilant about wearing gloves, since the parasite’s eggs often turn up in dirt. And if your kids enjoy playing in the sandbox, it might be a good idea to put them in the tub for a good bath afterward.
You can read more about the study on Toxoplasma gondii here.
Saying goodbye to your pet
No one likes to think about the day their pet will die. For many people, pets are like family members, and losing them causes them to grieve like they would for any loved one.
Because you likely won’t want to figure out all the details at the time of your pet’s death, it’s a good idea to consider your options ahead of time. Then you can focus on the good memories you have of your pet when it’s time to say goodbye.
The first thing to decide is what you wish to do with your pet’s remains. Some people like to bury their pets in a quiet spot of their yard or property. If you don’t have land of your own, see if your city has a plot designated as an animal resting place.
Another option is to have your pet cremated. You can even have the ashes from the remains turned into a synthetic diamond, though companies like LifeGem in Elk Grove Village, Ill.
Once you’ve made a decision on how to handle the remains, think about ways you can pay tribute to your pet. You and your family could create a poster board covered with photos of fun times spent together with your pet. If you have children, ask them to write a poem, or draw a picture of the animal. Plan a ceremony in which you each take turns telling a funny or memorable story about your beloved pet.
You might also decide to do something together in honor of him, like volunteering at a local animal shelter, or volunteering to walk a busy neighbor’s pet once or twice a week. Or you could give a donation to a local pet-related cause.
If you are not planning to get another pet right away, pack up your deceased pet’s items and put them away for awhile. This will give you time to grieve without being constantly reminded of him every time you walk by his favorite toy or his dog bed. Then, after you’ve come to terms with your loss, consider donating the items, selling them or using them for a future pet.
For tips on coping with the loss of a pet, visit these websites:
Ways to save money on pet expenses
Costs can add up quickly when you add a new pet to your family. We’ve done some research to find ways you can save money while still giving your pet the love and care she deserves.
- Adding a new dog to your family? When it comes to choosing a dog, stick to mixed breeds from a trustworthy breeder or animal shelter. These dogs are less likely to have the hereditary health issues that many purebred animals can have. And that means fewer veterinary bills for you down the road.
- Invest money early in your pet’s life to prevent health issues later. For example, making sure your pet is up-to-date on its vaccinations and treatments for ticks and heartworms means a lower likelihood of expensive vet trips to treat infections in the future. And having your pet spayed or neutered can save you from a host of other problems and costs as well. For example, a surprise litter of puppies and kittens can be cute, but they are also more mouths to feed!
- Measure your pet’s food. Stick to the recommended portions, and use a measuring cup, so you don’t over-feed your pet. This will save money on pet food by preventing you from using up the food too quickly. It also will mean better health for your pet, who will be less likely to suffer from obesity-related issues.
- Make your own treats. Check out this previous post for ideas.
- Spend time with your pet. Instead of loading up on expensive toys and treats, give your pet the attention she craves. That’s worth far more to your pet. Chances are, your pet just wants you to throw a ball, give her some cuddles or take her for a walk.
Of course, unforeseen problems can happen with pets. Prevent future stress by starting a pet savings account to have on hand for emergencies.
Independence Day Pet Tips
There have been so many great pet tips floating around this week. Everything from How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks to How To Keep Your Dog Safe In Water and so much more. We have picked some of our favorite pieces of advice and tips and combined them into one post.
Here are some more great tips to keep in mind this holiday weekend:
- More dogs get lost on the 4th of July than any other day of the year. Make sure you dog is leashed and wearing an up to date tag on their collar.
- Cars heat up quickly so never leave you pet in the car, even for a quick errand. Here are 5 great alternatives to leaving your dog in the car.
- Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet unless it is specifically labeled that it is ok to use on animals. In addition, keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of their reach.
- Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. It might look fun but your pet could swallow one of the hard plastic pieces. The luminescent substance inside isn’t high toxic but it also isn’t good for them to ingest if they chew on it.
- Avoid scraps from the grill. While tempting to our pets, any sudden change to your pets' diet can cause stomach upset. In addition, some certain foods like onions, avocado, grapes and raisins can be toxic.
- Tire them out, exercising and feeding your pooch a few hours before the festivities begin so they’re dog tired and can more easily relax.
- Use the power of pheromones. Phero…whaaaa? Pheromones are chemical messengers that mother dogs use to calm their puppies. Sentry has scientifically isolated them and placed them in a collar that your dog can wear to reduce the stress that dogs experience on the Fourth.
Keep these tips in mind and let us know how they work out for you. Feel free to post feedback and tips to our facebook page. Hope everyone has a fantastic pet-friendly Independence day!
How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Fireworks
The 4th of July is this Thursday and you know what that means, fireworks. What is considered an exciting and thrilling occasion for us could be more of a frightening experience for your pooch. Try to gauge your dog's reaction to loud noises. If your pet reacts negatively, you may want to take them into consideration this weekend.
Here are some great tips for how to keep your dog calm during the celebration:
- Bring Your Dog Inside: It might be best to keep your dog indoors during the celebration. It will help put your dog at ease and keep him from running off outside in search of a safe place to hide.
- If Your Dog Hides, Let Him: If your dog gets scared enough to hide beneath your bed, don't try to force him back out. This could cause him extra stress, resulting in a more negative association with fireworks. Sometimes a cover, like a blanket, can help to calm your pooch down. It will help him feel more comfortable and protected.
- Stay Calm: Be sure to stay calm when you're around your dog. A dog will naturally react to your behavior, so acting panicky or excited around him will only make matters worse. If you're having a lot of people over, try keeping the party outside.
- Keep The Windows, Doors, and Curtains Closed: By keeping everything closed, it will muffle noise and keep your dog from seeing flashing lights that might scare him more. Avoid setting any fireworks off close to the house.
- Turn On The TV Or Radio: Doing this will help soften the bangs and booms going on outside. It is also a consistent source of noise might calm your dog. Soothing music is a great option. Try playing the music a couple of hours before the festivities start, so your dog can begin to associate it with peace and comfort.
- Give Him Exercise: Try walking or exercising your dog earlier in the day. If your dog has less energy, he'll be less prone to panic during the night when the celebration begins.
Following these steps to help relieve any panic your dog might feel during the festivities. Hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday weekend!
Smell something a little fishy?
Here are 4 tips for getting rid of fish aquarium odors
Fish are popular pets, thanks in part to how easy it can be to care for them. However their homes – whether a small tank or a giant aquarium – can quickly stink up your home if you aren’t careful.
If you start to notice smells coming from the tank, or if you feel you might have an aquarium allergy and have itchy eyes or sneeze when around your aquarium, follow these steps:
Do a head (or tail) count: Did one of your fishes die? Check behind the decorative items in the tank. Remove the dead fish right away to prevent further decompositions.
- Look for spoiled food: If it seems like your fish aren’t eating all the food you give them, it could be settling to the bottom and decaying. Try to remove whatever you can. Next, remove 10% to 15% of the water and replace it with fresh water. Then cut back on the amount of food you are feeding your fish.
- Buy an algae scraper to help keep algae growth under control in the tank.
- Consider upsizing your aquarium. Sometimes the smell is the result of overpopulation. You may need a bigger tank to accommodate all your creatures.
- Plug in a CritterZone: Sometimes no matter what you do, the tank will still smell a little funky, and people with sensitive noses may not appreciate the odor. Use a CritterZone Air Naturalizer to help remove the fish smell from the air. Just plug it in and it goes to work. It gives the air the energy to clean itself, much like the way the sun does with outdoor air. Keep the CritterZone running 24/7 near the tank, so you can focus on the colors and activities of your fish, instead of the smell. And unlike air purifiers for pet odors, the CritterZone doesn't need any filters.
Keep your dog safe in the water
Just because there’s a style of swimming named after dogs, (the doggy-paddle), that doesn’t mean all dogs are safe in the water.
While many breeds will likely plunge into any body of water, the following breeds are not natural swimmers: pugs, greyhounds, basset hounds, corgis, bulldogs, dachshunds, and Scottish and Boston terriers. If you are unsure, check with your vet before you take your dog swimming. Some breeds will need extra care and attention in the water, and they may also need a flotation device to keep from sinking. In fact, dog life jackets are a good idea for any dog to use in a lake or river, especially if there could be a current.
- If you think your dog could benefit from lessons, set up a small wading pool in your yard, and introduce him to it slowly. Don’t leave him unattended.
- Inspect a new river or lake before letting your dog jump in. Check with locals to see if it is safe. Look for warning signs of any danger.
- Watch out for blue-green algae or green “scum” on lakes. Some varieties release harmful toxins. They often look like pea soup and can be spotted on smaller lakes and ponds as well as in stagnant water. Humans and animals alike should avoid water covered in this nasty stuff.
- Rinse your dog off well after he leaves the water to get rid of bacteria, dirt and chemicals. Remove his collar and let it dry.
If your dog brings an unpleasant “wet dog smell” into your home after his swim, plug in a CritterZone to help get rid of it. CritterZone is fantastic for pet odor control in the home! You can find out more here.
Teach Your Dog Simple Commands
Many dogs are capable of surprising levels of intelligence. For example, the dog in this video supposedly understands 1,000 words in English, as well as parts of speech like nouns, verbs and prepositions. (Yeah, you really have to see it to believe it, and even then, it’s a bit mind-boggling.)
Experts say most dogs reach the intelligence level of a human two-year-old child. And if you’ve spent any time with a two-year-old, you’ve likely been amazed at how much they comprehend at that age. So that means there’s lots of hope for your pet to learn basic obedience commands. Here are suggestions to help you get started:
- Use positive methods when training your pet. You can use treats sometimes, but don’t overdo it. Find more tips here.
- Repetition is an important part of training. Practice the same commands with your pet, over and over, and do them every day until they become second nature for your dog.
- Pay attention to your tone of voice and mannerisms. Your dog is hyper-aware of these cues, so they can help or hinder your training. Don’t let your emotions enter into the training process.
- Be the boss or “pack leader.” Dogs need to know you are in charge or they won’t respect you and obey your commands. Pay attention to your tone of voice, posture and attitude. Be calm, confident and assertive. Make him “work” before eating, by taking him for a walk. Then, wait until your dog is calm and submissive before you dish out his food. Feed only at scheduled times. You can read much more about this philosophy in this article and this one.
For step-by-step instructions on how to teach your dog a host of useful commands, visit this website.
Have a mouse in your house (on purpose)?
Here are 3 ways to keep its odors under control
It’s amazing how a creature so small can cause so much of a stink in a home. But a few simple steps can help you stay on top of it and keep the odors away.
- Stick to female mice. This eliminates the problem inherent with male mice, who like to mark their territory. That causes lots of odor in its cage. But female mice don’t feel the instinct to do that, so you’ll have fewer odor issues with them.
- Use corn cob bedding. This variety has been shown to be less smelly. You’ll still want to change it frequently, though, to keep it fresh.
- Plug in a CritterZone. Mouse odors are no match for the CritterZone’s power. In minutes, you’ll be able to tell it is going to work, getting rid of the smells your mouse is creating. Unlike most air cleaners or air purifiers for pet odors, the CritterZone doesn't need a filter. Find out more by clicking here.
Homemade Dog Treats
With the worlds of Pinterest and DIY enthusiasts joining forces, it’s obvious there’s a growing trend of dog owners interested in making their own pet food.
While most still turn to commercial food for their pets, there are some foods that can be easy enough to make at home. Before you proceed, run your recipes by your veterinarian to make sure they are safe for your pet. If you plan to feed your dog only what you make for her, tell your vet that too. They can make sure the meals you prepare are balanced and contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals your dog needs to be healthy.
Here are some ideas to get you started. We found them here. Unlike cats, which are carnivores and only eat meat, dogs are omnivores. Therefore, they can eat some carbohydrates and starches, plus some vegetables, in addition to meat. Please note the “Foods To Avoid” section at the bottom, for safety.
Treats for dogs:
- Lamb and rice
- Beef and potatoes
- Chicken and pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- OK for occasional treats: Bananas, peanut butter, watermelon, apple and orange slices, cucumber and zucchini slices, berries and cooked chicken, (remove skin and bones to prevent choking).
If your pet needs help losing weight, pets.webmn.com recommends these snacks:
- Baby carrots
- Green beans
- Unsalted rice cakes
- unsalted no-butter popcorn
For more recipe ideas, check out our Pet-Friendly Recipes board on Pinterest!
FOODS TO AVOID
According to pets.webmd.com, these foods can be dangerous for dogs: garlic, onions, raisins, raw potatoes, avocados, grapes, persimmons, peaches, plums, macadamia nuts, chocolate, alcohol, tea, coffee, milk and other dairy products, candy and other sugary foods, gum, salt, sugary drinks, uncooked yeast dough, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg. Also avoid raw meat and raw eggs, which can contain salmonella, E. coli and other harmful viruses and bacteria.
Pets can have allergies too
Did you know pets can be allergic to things in their environment, just like people?
If you spot your pet chewing on her feet, wheezing, rubbing her face, or if her ears are warm and swollen or her eyes are watery, she might have an allergy. It can be the result of an insect bite, something in her food, or even something she just briefly stepped in.
Take your pet to the vet if the symptoms persist or get worse. Your veterinarian can recommend dietary changes or medication to help ease your pet’s symptoms.
Fun summer finds for you and your pet
Pet ownership can be a lot of work. Sometimes you need to just have a little fun!
First of all, start the summer off right by making sure your time indoors is spent breathing good-smelling air, not pet-stinky air. Plug in a CritterZone to tackle odors from cat urine, litter boxes, wet dogs, smelly bird cages, and more. The CritterZone can help clean up the air quickly and cost-efficiently. Click here to find out more. We came across some zany-but-fun ideas online for you and your pet. We should note that we haven’t tested any of these products, but they look pretty cool. If you have tried any of them, let us know what you think!
- The first one is just plain silly — it’s a dog chew toy in the shape of a giant wood tick. Gross, right? Actually, looks kinda cute. The company says it will give your pet a chance to “bite back” at ticks. It’s amusing, at least! You can view it here: http://store.funstufffordogs.com/the-tick-dog-toy-p305.aspx
- Next up: These might make you hungry! They are vinyl squeak toys for dogs, and they are shaped like ice cream cones! It may make you crave a scoop or two of Rocky Road! http://store.funstufffordogs.com/vinyl-double-scoop-ice-cream-cone-p107.aspx
- These balls, labeled “the world’s toughest,” are used in zoos and are supposedly tiger proof! http://store.funstufffordogs.com/worlds-toughest-ball-p2.aspx
- Headed on the road? Don’t forget your dog’s food dish! This “Ultrasuede” pouch comes with two stainless steel bowls. http://www.funnyfur.com/ultrasuede-travel-bowl-pouch-set.aspx
- If your pet needs more bling in her life, you might want to buy her one of these Swarovski crystal pet ID tags. http://www.funnyfur.com/premium-swarovski-crystal-pet-id-tags.aspx
- Dachshund owners, beware. You won’t be able to resist this adorable dashshund salt and pepper shaker set for your kitchen table! (Doxie Oil and Vinegar Cruets also available) http://www.popdeluxe.net/glass-dachshund-salt-pepper.html#.UZ5ogpyeAbI
Meet the smelliest animal on the planet
You think your smelly cat, stinky dog or malodorous pet hamster is the worst-smelling animal in the world? Guess what? Even on your pet’s worst day, it likely can’t top the zorilla, aka striped polecat.
The zorilla looks similar to a skunk, but is said to be even smellier. It gives off a strong odor to keep predators away. Supposedly, the smell is so powerful it can be detected a half-mile away!
Other animals on the most-smelly list include the Tasmanian devil, skunk, stink bugs, musk ox and wolverines. You can find out more about those pungent animals here.
However, if you think your pet could challenge these creatures for the smelliest-animal title, you should check out our CritterZone Air Naturalizer. It is super powerful and unafraid of a smelly-pet challenge. Plug it in next to places your stinky pet likes to hang out. Let it do its thing, and you’ll be amazed at the pet odor control power and the transformation in the air of your home.
You also can take it on the road, using a car adapter. That way, even in the close quarters of your vehicle, you and your pet can ride in stink-free harmony.
Keep your pet safe during Memorial Day celebrations
If the weather is nice, Memorial Day could be a great chance for you and your pet to spend some quality time together outdoors. Just make sure your pet stays safe, so he or she can enjoy many more holidays with you.
Here are some suggestions:
- When the crowds arrive, put the dog inside. Some dogs are totally cool with having strangers and lots of commotion around them. But if yours gets nervous or unruly (especially once he smells those burgers on the grill), it’s in his best interest and yours to put him inside.
- If your pet stays outside with you, keep alcoholic beverages well out of reach, and ask your guests to refrain from feeding her. They might not know which foods are unsafe for an animal, and it’s better for your dog’s digestive system to stick to her normal diet. We know: It is hard to deny that sad look she’ll give you as you chomp on your burger (another reason to put her inside at dinnertime). Also, try feeding her before it’s mealtime for the humans, so she is full and doesn’t feel as drawn to the delicious foods in the backyard.
- Provide a shady area with fresh water so your dog can relax and rest during the activities. You can also try running a sprinkler — if you aren’t worried about your furry pal shaking his wet fur and getting your guests wet!
- Put up signs reminding everyone to keep doors and gates closed. No one wants to have to put the BBQ on hold to chase a pet down the street or search for a lost animal.
A few general summer reminders, while we are at it:
- Remember, cars are no place to leave an animal alone. The temperature can heat up rapidly inside a car in the summer. Please don’t risk harming your pet.
- Make sure your pet is updated on its immunizations. Since the two of you probably will be outdoors more, your pet will be exposed to other animals, and those animals might be carrying dangerous diseases.
- Talk to your vet about insect repellant and sunscreen options that will be safe for your pet. Human varieties can be dangerous for animals.
- Walk your dog in the cooler hours of the morning or evening, to keep her from overheating and having too much direct sun exposure. It’s also easier on their sensitive paws – the asphalt and concrete on streets and sidewalks can get really hot and can irritate or burn them.
Is your pet overweight? That could be affecting its health
According to recent studies, over half of the pet cats and dogs in the U.S. are considered to be overweight or obese.
This is a growing problem, and it’s worsened by the fact that many pet owners don’t realize their pet has a weight problem.
In one survey, “22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese,” says Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) founder Dr. Ernie Ward. He discussed the issue in an article on PetObesityPrevention.com.
Pets that are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from kidney disease, difficulty breathing, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and type 2 diabetes. They also can have a shorter lifespan as a result of their weight and the impact on their health.
Could your pet be overweight or obese? This site has visual aids to use to compare your cat or dog against.
What if your pet does have a weight problem? This website has lots of resources. It can help you get started with a plan to put your pet on a healthier track. Or you can talk to your veterinarian. He or she can recommend a feeding plan to help your pet.
Caring for an aging pet
As much as we’d love our cute little puppy or adorable kitten to say young forever, we can’t stop our pets from growing up — and growing old.
That’s why it’s good to be prepared for their later years, when they’ll need special care and attention.
Here are a few areas to keep an eye on if your pet is getting up in years:
Temperature modulation: As animals age, it can become harder for their bodies to regulate their internal temperature. Keep them warm in winter months with pet sweaters. In the summer, pay special attention to the timing of your walks and outdoor playtime. Early morning and evening are best to avoid overheating.
Tooth care: Older pets are more likely to have problems with their teeth. If they become infected, the animal can become very ill. Make sure to have your pet’s teeth checked regularly by your veterinarian.
Vision and hearing: Elderly pets can suffer eye and ear problems that older humans experience, such as poor night vision, cataracts, blindness and deafness. Help you pet out by keeping furniture in the same place, and keep a close eye on her when outdoors. When walking her, always use a leash, and keep her well out of the path of vehicles, bicycles, in-line skaters and skateboarders, since she might not be able to see or hear them coming and move out of the way in time.
Kidneys: Pets may experience difficulty controlling their bladders as they get older. You may need to let them out more often to take care of their business, or provide an area indoors where they can go to the bathroom, much like you might for a puppy. One powerful device you can use to control odors from your pet's accidents is a CritterZone. It is great at tackling all sorts of unwanted smells, including pet odors. You can find out more here.
Arthritis and musculoskeletal changes: Older pets commonly can suffer from these issues, which may affect their mobility. If you notice a change in your pet’s gait (the way they walk), check with your vet. She may have suggestions for dietary changes or medication that can ease your pet’s suffering.
Want to calculate your dog’s age in “dog years?” Use this calculator: http://bit.ly/11Hza45. It lets you choose your pet’s age and breed, then gives you an estimate to help you determine when he or she is becoming a “senior dog.”
These websites have more information and resources on caring for aging pets:
- About.com has a good article on caring for senior dogs: http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/doggeneral/a/caringseniordog.htm
- ASPAC’s page on end-of-life care for pets: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-loss/end-of-life-care-faq.aspx
- Cat Channel has a list of articles on elderly cats: http://www.catchannel.com/care/elderly/topiclist.aspx
Why your pet should stay away from cicadas
Although they look like a fun thing to chase after and gobble up, cicadas can be dangerous for your pet.
These small, crunchy insects are high in protein, but they have a tough outer skeleton that animals can’t digest. In small doses, cicadas generally are not a threat. However if your pet eats too many, their snack session could lead to vomiting or constipation.
Additionally, the exoskeleton also contains something called chitin, which can cause an allergic reaction in some animals. And the wings and legs can be choking hazards to pets.
Because these insects can be plentiful in the spring, once they start hatching, you might want to keep your pets indoors at that time. If your pet has been outside when the cicadas flock to your yard, keep a close eye on him. If he starts to vomit or seems to be in pain, take him to the vet for a check-up.
Pets and homelessness
We pet owners are a dedicated, loyal lot. No matter what happens in our lives, our pets are there to bring us enjoyment and happiness. So when life gets tough, we will do whatever we can to keep them with us.
However, that can become extra challenging when a person becomes homeless. This article discusses the growing number of homeless individuals who have pets. The article says about 5-10 percent of the 3.5 million homeless individuals in the U.S. are believed to own cats or dogs. In some cities, that number is much higher.
“Their dog is their family,” veterinarian Patti Canchola says in the article. Canchola provides free shots and check-ups for pets owned by homeless individuals in Pueblo, Nev. “And how do you give up your family?”
In many cases, these pets give their homeless owners a sense of purpose. Renee Lowry, executive director of Nevada-based Pets of the Homeless, says in the article that “for some, they are their reason for living, their reason to get up in the morning. . . . These pets save their lives.”
In light of that, it is great to see an increasing number of organizations dedicated to helping homeless pet owners and their beloved animals. Veterinarians like Canchola are reaching out and offering services to help keep these pets healthy. And Posada, a group that helps the homeless population in Pueblo, Nev., collects donations of pet food to distribute to homeless pet owners. Posada also hosts a pet health fair to connect the owners and their pets to veterinary care.
If you are interested in getting involved with a cause that helps provide health services and food to the pets of homeless individuals, check out this website: www.petsofthehomeless.org. It has lots of information and opportunities to help.
Do you know of an organization in your community that is dedicated to this cause? Email the information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add the info to this post, so interested readers can help support them.
Having a pet may be good for your heart!
The American Heart Association says in a statement this week in the medical journal Circulation that owning a pet may be connected to good heart health.
Researchers reviewed studies that looked at pet ownership and the possible health impacts on their owners. They found data that suggests dog owners are more likely to get exercise than non-dog owners, that spending time with a pet may decrease stress, and that pet owners tend to have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and are less likely to be obese.
That’s pretty great news for anyone thinking about getting a pet!
While the researchers aren’t about to say someone should get a dog or cat to improve their health, it does seem to show that pet ownership could have some pretty positive benefits for their human owners! But we already knew that, didn’t we? After all, they do offer us plenty of love, affection and entertainment!
You can find out more about the study here.
Is there a link between location and life span
for dogs and cats?
A recent report released from Banfield Pet Hospital shows pets in Montana and Colorado have the longest life spans, while those in Louisiana and Mississippi have the shortest.
Why is that? The Banfield report looks at some of the reasons.
It says one factor is probably the climate: Pet owners in Northern climates are more likely to keep their pets indoors, due to the harsh winters. Because of this, they tend to be more likely to have their pets spayed or neutered, to reduce behaviors owners don’t want happening in the house. In the South, the warmer climate means more pets are kept outdoors, and neutering/spaying isn’t as common there. Pets that are spayed and neutered tend to be less likely to roam and become injured or hit by a car, and therefore, they tend to live longer.
Other factors play a part in pets’ life spans, as well. You can find out more about this interesting study by clicking here.
What’s that smell? How to solve smelly cat litter dilemmas
So… that box sitting in the corner of the kitchen? Yeah, you know, the one filled with smelly cat litter? It’s filling your house with an unpleasant odor.
Don’t be embarrassed; it’s a common problem for people who own cats. But what can you do about it?
One possible solution is to scoop the waste more frequently — at least twice a day. Maybe assign shifts to each family member, so one person isn’t stuck doing it every time (and more likely to “forget”).
Then pick a day that you will regularly dump all the litter out each week, and clean the box with soap and water (if it’s washable), letting it dry thoroughly before putting fresh litter back into it. If it’s cardboard, you might want to get a new one each week. You could also rotate this duty among family members.
If that doesn’t solve the problem, you might need to switch up the type of litter you are using. Every cat is different, and some litters might work better than others at being an odor neutralizer for your cat’s waste.
Another great solution is to plug in an air naturalizer. CritterZone ionic pet air naturalizer quickly removes particles from the air that cause odors. As a result, the air is cleaner and fresher and that smelly cat litter will no longer be an embarrassment in your home.
Visit our Technology Page to find out more about how the CritterZone Air Naturalizer can help with that smelly cat litter box and other pet odors in your home.
Good news: The most common pet health concerns are usually among the least-costly to treat
Cats and dogs are like family for many pet owners. When they get sick, we worry about them, and try to ease their suffering.
One interesting bit of research found the top health problems for cats and dogs are also common health issues for humans.
The good news? Many of them are among the least costly to treat in animals.
Here are the top 10 health problems for dogs, according to pets.webmd.com:
- ear infection
- skin allergy
- skin infection/hot spots
- bladder infection
- soft-tissue trauma
- noncancerous tumor
- eye infection
And here are the top health problems for cats, from the same source:
- lower urinary tract problems
- chronic renal failure
- diabetes mellitus
- skin allergy
- dental disease
- ear infection
- eye infection
If your pet is suffering from one of these maladies, you’re not alone. Lots of animal owners have been through these issues with their pets. The key is to have a good support system in place – especially a veterinarian you know and trust to help your pet mend.
You can find out more at pets.webmd.com.
Tips for training your cat to use a litter box
Using a litter box is relatively instinctual for many cats. However, it may take a little bit of training to get your cat to learn to use it consistently, especially if it is an outdoor cat.
One key is to have a litter box for each cat. They like to have their own space to take care of their business. You also would benefit from having an extra one. Put the first one in an area near where the cat likes to hang out, and another in a more discreet, private area. If you have a dog, make sure the litter box is in a space where the cat can go and not be disrupted by the dog.
Keep the cat and its litter box in a restricted area until the cat has learned to use the box. Keeping him confined in a smaller space will mean fewer distractions and fewer places for him to have accidents until he learns how to use the box. If you have potted plants in the “training room,” you will probably want to move those out, because the cat might be tempted to use the soil in the pot for its bathroom. Another option is to cover the soil with foil, which will discourage the cat from getting into it.
Stay away from scented litter varieties. They may smell OK to humans, but cats may find them too strong and decide to avoid the litter box altogether. If you are bringing an outdoor cat indoors, it may need a transition period during which the litter is mixed with dirt and leaves, so it reminds the cat of the outdoors.
When choosing a box, keep in mind that to cats, open boxes are usually best. Covered ones can hold in odors and can make the cat fear getting trapped. Consider the sides of the box, too. If you have a young kitten or an elderly cat, keep the edges low enough that it can easily get in and out. Generally, 6 inches is a good height for agile adult cats in good health.
Introduce your cat to the box and let it explore. Then, every so often, encourage your cat to use it by placing him in the box and stirring the litter around a bit. Cats are intelligent animals, and they are usually quick to figure out what it’s supposed to do there.
Also important during this training time: Thoroughly clean up accidents on the carpet or couch. If the cat can detect any remnants of a previous accident, it is more likely to return to that space and eliminate there again. One great trick to remove the odor from the carpet is with a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. You simply plug it in and hold it over the spot on the carpet for a couple minutes. You’ll notice the distinctive ammonia-like odor from the cat’s urine will be virtually eliminated in just those few minutes. If the spot has been there awhile and has dried, you can mist the air above it with a water bottle, and then put the CritterZone to work. After the odor is gone, you can put the CritterZone anywhere in your home that needs extra pet odor control, such as that litter box you are teaching your cat to use.
Reward good behavior. Give your cat lots of praise and maybe even a treat when she uses the litter box.
If these efforts don’t get consistent results, check out this website, which has more suggestions for tough-to-train cats. You also might want to have your cat checked out by a vet; it could have a medical issue that prevents it from controlling its elimination habits.
New Jersey beachside hotel
puts out welcome mat for pets
Some hotels and restaurants are starting to warm up to the idea of welcoming pets. However, one New Jersey hotel is setting a new standard of luxury for vacationers with dogs by throwing the doors wide open to guests’ furry friends.
The retro-styled Beach Shack, located in Cape May, even offers unique amenities to help make people and pets comfortable and relaxed, both at the hotel and its beachside bar and lounge, the Rusty Nail.
Dogs who visit the Beach Shack get top-notch treatment if their pet parents choose to get the Paw’s Up Package. It includes overnight accommodations (including a night fee for the pet), a welcome kit, dining voucher and dog leash, plus all kinds of fun products to help make the dog’s stay more comfortable: Use of a CritterZone Air Naturalizer to get rid of pet odors and allergens, Blissful dog nose balm, treats, use of a dog bed, Wahl dry pet shampoo and much more. The package starts at $156.
When guests get hungry, they can meander over to the Rusty Nail for great comfort food for humans and dogs. In fact, dogs get their own special menu, with items like Hot Diggity Dogs and Grilled Chicken Doggie Bowls — even doggie “beer”!
You can take your food to the beach and relax on the beach with your dog, stay indoors, or hang out by the firepit.
Choosing a collar for your dog
Your dog loves walks. You love walks. The only thing missing from this picture is the proper collar, so you and your dog can enjoy a nice spring stroll together.
Fear not! We have collected a list of tips to help you in your search for the perfect dog collar.
Puppies vs. dogs: To determine which size will be best for your pet, measure your dog's neck with a tape measure and add 2-3 inches. Since puppies grow (quickly!), start with one that’s a good fit for now, but check it every few weeks. As your dog grows, you will need to get progressively larger collars. If you have an adult dog, she may shed some of her heavy winter coat in the spring, and the collar will become loose. Also watch for weight loss in your dog as he ages; you may need to go down a size so it won’t slip off.
Training collars: These come in a wide variety, from “chain-slip” or “choke” collars to “pinch” collars and “head harnesses.” Talk to your vet before buying a training collar to see if it is appropriate for your pet. In many cases, these are geared more toward strong-willed dogs that like to pull. And if you do choose to use one, don’t leave it on all the time; training collars are just for that: training time. At any other time, it should be removed. In fact, it’s a good idea to have a dog trainer show you how to properly apply and use these collars.
ID: Make sure your dog has an ID tag. If she gets lots, it will make it easier for her to be returned home safely. Another popular option is the microchip. It is injected under your pet’s skin in a pain-free manner. The chip has a number that can be used to look up the owner if your dog gets lost. It does not have GPS capabilities, and it will only be useful if you keep your address and contact information updated in the associated computer database.
Which dog breed is right for you?
If you’ve ever watched a dog show, you’ve probably been amazed at the variety of breeds on display. Their personalities also vary greatly: Some dogs fly around with speed and high energy; others carry themselves with regal self-restraint.
With so many choices these days, it can be hard to decide which dog breed might be the best fit for you.
Here is a little background about several common breeds of dogs. Of course, a dog’s personality is influenced by much more than its lineage. Some are just born with more spunk or edginess than others; some just enjoy people and other animals, while others are less social.
This post is a broad look at some common generalities among the breeds.
A dog that knows how to chillax: Basset hounds are known for being a little… well, lazy. In a good way. They tend to be super laid-back. If you are looking for an easy-going pet, this dog might be the right one for you. Saint Bernards also fall on the low-key end of the dog scale. They do need exercise, but they can overheat quickly in warm weather, so make sure they don’t overdo it during walks and give them plenty of water.
These dogs are known to be great with people in general, especially children, due to their easy-going natures: Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Whippets and American Cocker Spaniels.
High-energy: If you are looking for a dog on the other end of the spectrum, check out a golden retriever. These popular dogs are a fun breed – they looooooove human interaction and enjoy lots of play time. If you like being active and spending time outdoors with your pet, the golden retriever is a great option for you.
Another energetic little creature is the beagle. These social dogs are usually good with kids. They also tend to do well with other breeds of dogs. Your beagle will be obsessed with sniffing, so always keep him on a leash when outdoors. Otherwise, the beagle may be tempted to run into traffic or other dangerous areas in pursuit of whatever caught its nose’s attention. Other high-energy breeds (read: need lots of exercise and discipline): Boxers, Dalmations, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, and English Cocker Spaniels.
Again, dogs of the same breed can have very different temperaments, so make sure the animal you have in mind is right for your family before bringing her into your home. One way to check her personality and temperament is with this test, which looks at how well she will tolerate being handled.
What can you do if you are allergic to cat dander?
Cat dander is dead tissue from the cat’s skin, like dandruff, mixed with its saliva from grooming itself.
This combination triggers an allergic reaction in many people. Itchy eyes and sneezing are common complaints for allergy sufferers. But what if you have a cat and find out you are allergic to cat dander? Although lots of doctors might urge you to give up your cat in this situation, pets are like family, and many cat owners can’t imagine getting rid of theirs.
There are other things you can try so you can keep your pet in your home and live in peace, without constant misery from your allergy.
First, though, talk to your doctor about seeing an allergist who can test you. That way you can find out if it really is the cat causing your allergy, or something else, like dust mites or pollen.
- If the allergy is confirmed, you might want to replace your carpets with wood or tile. Carpet traps dander, while tile and wood are easier to clean.
- Keep your pet in a specific area of the house, like a basement, and keep it out of the bedrooms (especially your closets, where they can rub their fur and dander on them), so you can limit your exposure. Keep a special shirt handy that you can put on to protect your clothes when handling the cat. Wash your hands after handling it.
- You may need to take medicine to control your symptoms. Your doctor can discuss this option with you and prescribe various drugs to reduce your allergic reaction. You can also talk to your vet about special medications that can alter the cat’s saliva so it doesn’t bother you as much.
- While these options can help reduce the impact of your allergies, one of the best options is to get rid of the particles that cause them. A CritterZone Air Naturalizer is a great product for this. It virtually eliminates allergens and odors from the air in your home. You can plug it in near a space where you will be working or relaxing, or keep it near where your cat frequently hangs out. It will target the cat dander particles that cause your sneezing and coughing and well as odors from your pet. And unlike air purifiers, it doesn't need a filter! Find out more here.
Caring for a hamster
Thinking of getting a hamster? Welcome your new pet to your home with these suggestions:
- Buy a roomy cage. Your hamster will want to have separate areas designated for burrowing, sleeping, eating and going to the bathroom. You can find detailed information on what types of cages are best by visiting The Humane Society of The United States’ website. That is where we found much of this information.
- Keep it cozy and comfy. Place the cage in a room that’s not too warm or too cool. The best temperatures for hamsters are between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t set it in direct sun or too close to a heat source.
- Prepare the cage with bedding. Use paper products (and stay away from cedar or pine shavings, which can be harmful to the hamster).
- Give your new pet a few days to get adjusted to its new surroundings. Abrupt change can stress the animal, so let it slowly get used to you and your home. Don’t handle the hamster for the first few days. Just give it fresh food and water each day, and then cover the cage with a thin piece of fabric that will let light in but keep out overwhelming distractions. After a few days, remove the fabric for several hours a day, until your hamster seems comfortable with the activity going on around your home. If you decide to let the hamster out of the cage for awhile, make sure it is in a safe area free of electrical cords (hamsters love to chew!).
- Roommates? If your hamster is a Syrian, it will need to live alone in its cage. If you have a dwarf hamster, you can possibly put more than one together, but don’t do it right away. Make sure the incoming hamster is healthy by keeping them apart for a few weeks, then gradually introduce them. First, put their cages next to each other for a few weeks. Then you can try moving them into the same space.
- Feeding time: Give your hamster one tablespoon of hamster pellet feed or seed mix each day. You also can give it treats, such as little bits of green vegetables, an apple slice, or a few raisins. Don’t overdo it; your hamster will likely stash some food for a snack for later, and you don’t want it to pile up and start to rot. Occasionally, you can give your hamster little bits of dog biscuit for it to chew on so it can wear down its teeth.
- Keep it clean. Every day, check the cage for hamster droppings, dirty bedding and pieces of food that are going bad. Once a week, change the bedding and clean the cage with hot, soapy water. Clean up the air near the cage with this air cleaner for pets.
These tips should help get you started! For more great information, check out the ASPCA’s website.
CritterZone Air Naturalizers are great
for pet odor control in the home or car
If you have pets in your home, you know they come with tons of love and great benefits. You also know they come with smells that are not so pleasant.
Whether you have cats, dogs, ferrets, birds or other animals, their fur, cages, crates, litter boxes and pee pads can be tough to keep clean and odor free.
As a busy pet owner, you may not have time to clean your home top to bottom constantly. That’s where a pet air naturalizer can help.
CritterZone, an ionic pet air naturalizer, can get to the root of the odor caused by the smelly cat or stinky dog in your life. It targets the odors and removes them, rather than covering them up. The CritterZone creates a continuous charged flow that restores the air to give it the natural cleaning power it has in the outdoors. The result is that odors are neutralized and removed from the air. And unlike an air purifier, it doesn’t require a filter.
Another benefit of the CritterZone: It can pull the odors out of fabric and carpet. If your cat or dog had an accident, hold the unit over the spot or set it nearby, and you’ll be able to tell the odor has been neutralized in minutes. You can find out more about how it works by visiting the Technology page on our site.
The key is that an ionic air naturalizer like CritterZone targets the source of odors, rather than just emitting something that covers them up. The result is air that smells fresh and clean.
And unlike many air purifiers for pet odors, the CritterZone doesn't use filters.
Banish hairballs with a few preventative tips
Hairballs are no fun for anyone – not you, the one who has to watch your cat hack them up and clean up afterward, or your cat, who has to experience the unpleasantness firsthand.
What causes hairballs? Well, you may have noticed cats LOVE to groom themselves. During all that licking, they sometimes swallow hair. It can get mixed in with undigested food and other materials and cause serious digestive problems. They will try to cough them up if they can, but sometimes, serious cases require surgery to remove the dense mixture.
How do you know if your cat has a hairball? These are a few common signs:
- You find tube-shaped masses on the floor.
- Your cat coughs a lot, especially after eating. You also might see your cat vomiting.
- Your cat is disinterested in food, or appears depressed or dazed.
- You find hard stools with hair mixed in them in the litter box.
Obviously, having a hairball is very uncomfortable for your pet. Here are some ways to help prevent them from forming:
- Use a grooming tool to remove excess hair.
- Buy special food or additives that help break up the hairballs or prevent them from forming in the cat’s digestive system. Formulas with extra fiber can help, as can some types of oils. Check with your vet to see what he or she recommends. Also ask your vet if your pet will need any vitamin supplements. Many of the special anti-hairball formula foods have extra fiber that can cause your pet to become depleted of some vitamins.
- Leave extra bowls of water around the house. This will encourage your cat to stay hydrated, helping to prevent constipation and hairball formation.
- Give your cat a new toy. Your cat may be over-grooming due to a compulsion or just sheer boredom. Stimulate the animal’s brain, to help distract it from the grooming obsession. Less grooming will mean less hair accumulating in its digestive system.
If your cat develops a hairball problem that persists, call your vet. You may need to take more drastic actions to get rid of the hairball and alleviate your cat’s discomfort.
Celebrate Earth Day With Eco-Friendly Pet Products
Although we all know we should treat the Earth kindly every day, Earth Day is a great time to evaluate what kinds of products we humans are using, and what they might be doing to our pets and the world around us.
Prevention Magazine has a great slideshow that lists “green” products for pets, such as biodegradable cat litter, bamboo dog bowls and compostable waste bags, plus tips on what all-natural products are unsafe for animals and should be avoided. You can check them out here.
Cleaners can come with harsh chemicals that do more harm to the earth than good. Find some earth-friendly pet cleaning products – like pet-safe laundry detergent for their clothes and bedding, cage cleaners and shampoos, on this website.
You can find ideas for allergen- and toxin-free dog chew toys, “green” pet training pads and an eco-friendly doghouse in this slideshow from thisoldhouse.com.
Ready for rabbits?
They look soooooo cute when you pass by their cage in the pet store, with their floppy ears and cute little tails. When you see one on your lawn, its nose twitching back and forth as it prepares to nibble on the tulips in your garden, you can’t even get angry – that bunny is just so adorable!
But while they are really cute, rabbits are a pet to think about seriously before purchasing. In fact, animal shelters in recent years have been seeing a sad trend: During the Easter season, parents flock to pet stores to buy cute little bunnies to give to their kids. However, many bring them home with little or no preparation, and the bunnies end up going back to the store or to a shelter when the families realize the cute little rabbits require a not-so-cute amount of work.
Don’t become one of the statistics. Instead, prepare yourself mentally, and get your house and family ready so the bunny can be well cared for when it enters your home.
Here are some things to consider before you buy or adopt a rabbit:
Outdoor rabbits should not be brought indoors. Wild rabbits will not accommodate to living in the house. Also, they frequently carry dangerous diseases that can spread to humans. Stick to reputable breeders and pet stores.
They need lots of interaction. In fact, rabbits should be around humans for at least 2-3 hours per day, so they don’t develop any behavioral problems. However, rabbits don’t necessarily like people to pick them up and hold them. They have delicate bone structures that can be easily damaged. It’s best to sit on the floor and handle them gently when they approach you. If you do need to pick up the rabbit – perhaps to move it to a safer area – hold its forequarters with one hand and its hindquarters with the other. Help the rabbit feel secure by holding it against your body. It will probably feel calmer if its eyes are covered while you are moving. Because rabbits have delicate ears, don’t ever use them to lift it.
When you let a rabbit out of the cage, it will start to “mark” its territory. It does so by leaving pellets of excrement and gland secretions. Keep this in mind when deciding where you will let your pet play; you’ll likely want to keep it in an area with easy-to-clean flooring. Also remember: Rabbits LOVE to chew. Keep cords, poisonous plants and anything else you don’t want the rabbit to gnaw on out of reach.
You’ll need to clip the rabbit’s nails on a regular basis, because if the grow too long, they can break off and become infected. Your veterinarian or pet groomer can teach you how to do this.
Leave toys with your rabbit, so it has something to occupy its attention when you are not around.
Your rabbit will likely prefer a diet of fresh grass hay and dark, leafy green vegetables. Despite what you have heard about rabbits, carrots are not a great option for them due to their high sugar content, which can disrupt rabbits’ digestion. Also, pellets from retailers should be given sparingly. Make sure the rabbit has fresh water constantly available.
Does your house have a distinctive cat odor?
We’ve all been there: You walk into the home of a pet owner, and you immediately notice that unmistakable cat smell in the air.
Sometimes it’s caused by a problem with the animal’s health. Other times, it may be a litter box that’s overdue for a change, or a result of multiple “accidents” on the carpet.
Whatever the cause, no one wants their house to have that “cat smell.”
If you own cats, what can you do to make sure your home smells clean and inviting to you and your guests?
First things first: Make sure your cat is healthy. Odors can be a sign of a health issue. Check your cat’s food: Does your pet seem to like it and digest it well? If not, you may need to switch to a different brand or variety. Have you noticed any change in your cat’s behavior or energy level? Or does your cat have any noticeable physical changes in weight, hair loss, etc.? It’s probably time to take it to the vet to make sure your cat is not ill.
If your cat gets a clean bill of health from the vet, it’s time to inspect the litter box. Waste should be removed from the box at least once a day. Clean the box itself at least once a week, and fill it with fresh litter. If the cat is having problems using the box, there may be some underlying stress or behavioral issues. This article has some good advice to help you determine the cause and make a change.
Now the carpets: If your cat is repeatedly doing its business on the same part of the carpet, it’s not unusual. Even after you clean up the mess, they can still detect a scent, and they will likely return to the spot again. To combat this, you need something that can pull the odors out for good. The CritterZone Air Naturalizer works great for this problem. Mist the air above the spot, and place the CritterZone unit next to it for a few minutes. The odor control device pulls the odor-causing particles out of the carpet and gets rid of them. The result is the cat won’t be able to find the spot and be tempted to mark it again with its urine.
You can find out more about how the CritterZone Air Naturalizer can be used for odor control to remove a cat smell from your home and carpet by following this link.
Caring for ferrets
Ferrets are bright, fun creatures that are increasing in popularity among pet owners. If you are considering bringing one into your home, there are a few things you should do to prepare.
Can you have them? First, make sure your state and city allow ferrets to be kept as pets (Hawaii and California don’t allow them).
Home sweet home: One is to make sure they have a den-like place to live. Wire cages with multiple levels are especially appealing to ferrets, who love to move around and go up and down. To protect their feet, cover the bottoms of each “floor” of their little ferret penthouse with pieces of a sturdy, removable, washable material such as carpet or linoleum. Add a litter box that’s secured to the side of the cage and away from the parts of the cage where the ferret is likely to want to sleep or play. It’s best to have a high back on it, to keep the ferret’s business in the box. In the play space, attach a toy in a secure manner, so the ferret can bat at it when it feels bored. If your allow the ferret to play in certain parts of your home, you can make them ferret-friendly by placing empty cardboard boxes, dryer hose and wide tubing around for playtime.
Safety: Make sure any room in your house where your ferret is allowed to play is safe for it to do so. Ferrets are inquisitive animals, so they will try to get into drawers, cabinets, ducts, box springs, buckets filled with water, recliner chairs, couches with fold-out beds, and anything else they can crawl into to hide and play. You may need to employ similar tactics as you would to baby-proof a home.
Food: Ferrets need good mix of meat protein and fat. They shouldn’t eat cat or dog food, and vegetables can give them stomach problems. Also avoid feeding them fruit, egg whites and raw onion, which can cause a host of health issues in ferrets. Keep a supply of fresh water in their cage at all times. Since they are playful and will likely topple over a bowl, try to train them to drink from a water bottle.
What about the smell? Ferrets can produce odors some people find unpleasant. Usually this “musk,” as it is called, is generated by various glands. Some of the glands can be removed, but this procedure is controversial in the ferret community. Talk to your veterinarian to find out more about the procedure if you think the smell is overpowering. A surgery-free way to tackle the odors is to plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. Unlike air purifiers, these devices create a charged flow in your home that breaks down the particles causing the bad smell. You can find out more about the CritterZone here.
Acupuncture for pain control in cats
Does your cat suffer from anxiety or chronic pain? One avenue you might want to explore is acupuncture.
The Western world is slowly beginning to grow in awareness of the benefits of acupuncture for pets and people alike.
The treatment, when performed by a qualified professional, can be a great way to help your pet relax, diminish its pain, increase immunity and circulation, and jump-start the healing process. It also has been known to help cats with urinary tract and gastrointestinal problems.
As always, check with your veterinarian first, to make sure this is a safe treatment for your pet. You also can find veterinarians who specialize in holistic medicine.
You can read more about the benefits and things to be aware of regarding acupuncture and cats by clicking this link.
How to get rid of a snake smell
Snakes are fascinating creatures, and they can be lots of fun to have as pets. But one unpleasant side effect of snake ownership is the smell.
Some types of snakes are smellier than others. Garter snakes are generally known to be among the worst offenders in the odor department. Boas have also been known to have a stinky aroma.
Why do they smell? Some secrete what’s called a “musk” when they are handled. Diet also is a huge factor. Snakes that eat fish tend to smell worse than others. Also, if they vomit their food back up, that can cause a huge odor issue.
A pet owner can usually whisk away any odors quite easily by following these tips:
- Sweep up any droppings as soon as they harden. Dispose of them in a garbage bin located outside of your home.
- Clean and disinfect the cage once a week.
- Check with a veterinarian to see if your snake has a parasite or infection. Either of these factors could increase the odor when they defecate.
Avoid using scented products to cover up the smell. Snakes have sensitive olfactory organs, and strongly scented sprays can be harmful to them.
Instead, plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. It cleans the air without the use of harsh chemicals. Unlike many pet air purifiers for odor control, it has no filter. Instead, it puts a charge in the air that energizes it and breaks down allergens and odors, using the same process that happens naturally outdoors. You can find out more about how it works by clicking here.
How to choose the right veterinarian for you and your pet
If you are bring home a new pet and are looking for a top-notch veterinarian, or if you moved to a new area, or maybe are just dissatisfied with your current veterinarian, we have some tips to help you find one you can trust.
- Ask friends or colleagues with pets. If you moved to a new city, ask people you meet at the dog park or who you see outdoors with their pets if they can recommend someone. Most people will be happy to pass along their opinion.
- Do a search for pet care providers near you by going to myveterinarian.com. The site is affiliated with the American Veterinary Medical Association. Doing a search through the site will give you a list of options near you. Check out their websites and see if their hours and specialties meet your needs. Also check on what their emergency coverage is like outside of standard business hours.
- Once you have found a list of top contenders, visit each clinic (you might want to make an appointment if you want to talk one-on-one with the veterinarian). Look around to see how clean and orderly it is — or isn’t. Watch how the staff interacts with the people and animals in the clinic. Do they seem knowledgeable, friendly and respectful? Ask them their philosophies on pain management and ask to see what types of equipment they use. If the answers satisfy you, you’ve likely found the right clinic for you and your pet.
- For more great suggestions on finding a veterinarian, click here to visit the ASPCA’s list of suggestions.
Picking the perfect pet sitter
Not all pet sitters are created equal. And just because someone owns a pet, they don’t necessary qualify as a trustworthy person to entrust your pet with while you are gone.
Case in point, illustrated by these two stories:
Mary has a college-aged son, Jason, who lives nearby. He has owned a dog in the past, and Mary thinks he will take good care of her dog, Lego, while she is on a three-day business trip. Jason agrees to dog sit, and he says he’ll probably stay at his mother’s house while she is gone. Mary leaves Wednesday, and she calls her son to check on Lego on Thursday night. “Sorry Mom,” he says. “I have two tests and a paper due. I’m not going to make it over to your house tonight.”
Jason says he hasn’t been staying at her house. He stopped by Wednesday, but he hasn’t been back. Mary realizes her dog will be going many hours without a bathroom break or fresh food and water. She calls her neighbor, Ginger, pleading with her to check on Lego and take him for a walk. Ginger loves animals and is happy to oblige. But something tells me Jason will be in the doghouse when Mary returns from her trip.
Now let’s look at another scenario. Carol and Gary are going on vacation. They aren’t taking their aging dog, Annie, because traveling will be too stressful for her. They hire a friend to stay at their home for the week and care for their dog. Their friend doesn’t own pets, but she is known to be a reliable and compassionate person. Carol and Gary find Annie happy and well cared for when they return. They discover their friend has even taught the old dog a few cute new tricks.
Maybe you’ve been in one of these situations. It can be nerve-racking to be away from your pet for an extended period of time, so you want to make sure the caretaker will be reliable. Here are a few ways to find a trustworthy pet sitter:
Consider the person’s history. Whether your prospective pet sitter is an “animal person” or not – if he or she is responsible and detail-oriented, that is a great start. If they take other obligations in their life seriously, they will likely do the same when caring for your pet.
Watch how they act with your pet. Invite the prospective sitter over to spend time with your pet before your trip. Does the person seem comfortable around your pet? Does he or she ask good questions? This shows the person is engaged and cares about the animal’s well-being.
Give your sitter a tour of your home and point out everything your pet could possibly need. Then write it all down and leave the note in an obvious place. They will be so busy trying to get to know your pet, they might not remember where you said the leash was, for example. Don’t forget to leave phone numbers to reach you and the veterinarian!
Think about hiring a professional: There are lots of great professional pet sitters out there, but there are some important things to consider when hiring a stranger to care for your pet. Ask fellow pet owners for recommendations of sitters they’ve had good success with. When you find someone, ask them for references, proof of training and commercial liability, and whether they are bonded. You can find more good information about hiring a professional pet sitter here.
Have a great trip!
Keep your pets safe from diseases spread by ticks
As the weather gets warmer (as we trust it will eventually, despite how it looks out there), you and your pets will probably spend more time outdoors.
Being able to enjoy Mother Nature is one of the great perks of summer. However, it also is a time when pets and people have a higher risk of contracting Lyme disease, which is spread by ticks.
Here are a few ways to keep your pet (and yourself) safe:
- Check out the number of reported human Lyme disease cases where you live or where you will be traveling by going to the Lyme Disease Association’s website. If the number of cases is high, you might want to think about getting a vaccine for your pet. Talk to your veterinarian to see if he or she offers one.
- Check your pet and yourself for ticks after taking walks outside. Ticks tend to dwell in grassy or wooded areas, but they are found on city streets, too. If you spot a tick, here’s what you need to do to properly remove it. You also can save the tick and send it for testing at the labs mentioned in the previous link.
- Pet expert Nikki Moustaki talks in this video about a product you can use to remove a tick from your dog (not for use on cats). It dissolves the bond between the tick and the dog. Nikki contracted Lyme disease a few years ago, so she knows it’s not something to take lightly.
- Keep the grass in your yard cut short.
- Rake up leaves, grass clippings and other debris and dispose of it.
- Set your patio furniture, picnic tables, kids’ play sets and the like in the sun. Ticks prefer cool, dark areas, so this will discourage them from hanging around places where you like to hang out.
- Get medical attention for yourself or your pet. If you see a bull’s eye-shaped rash appear on your skin or your dog’s skin, and you feel flu-like symptoms, get it checked out. Joint pain and neurological problems can also result from this condition. You can find out more here.
What to do when your cat gets sick — on your carpet
or couch (eeeew!)
Caution: If you are eating your lunch while reading this, you might want to put that sandwich down for a minute or two! Just sayin’!
So, when cats feel sick, they don’t have a way to tell you. They can’t run to the bathroom like people can. Instead, their vomit ends up on the carpet — or worse —the bed or sofa. Too often we, the pet owners, don’t realize it until we hear them in the process of throwing up, or find it after the fact.
Don’t panic! These quick tips will help you get the situation under control immediately.
- Watch your step! Not like you really need that warning. If you’ve heard your cat vomiting, we’re guessing you’ve been tiptoeing around the house, in fear of stepping in the mess by surprise. Now you have the unpleasant job of figuring out where it all went down. Check the cat’s favorite places, as well as the room where you found your pet hanging out after it got sick. Chances are good you’ll find the spot in question nearby.
- Put on some gloves, and grab a handful of paper towels. Lift as much as possible off the carpet or fabric. If there are solid pieces, scoop it up with a disposable spoon. (Now aren’t you glad you put your sandwich down!)
- Find a pet- and people-safe cleaner. Here’s a great DIY mixture you can make at home. Note: You might want to test this on a corner or less noticeable area first, to see how your particular carpet or fabric responds. This tip comes from The Nest: Mix together salt, borax and vinegar, using equal parts of each. It will form a paste that you can rub into the spot. After letting it dry for several hours, run a vacuum over it. You might need to do this once or twice to remove the stain and odor.
- Plug in a CritterZone. While the above-mentioned mixture does remove some of smell, you may still notice more. Plus, if you have a cat, you’ve got a host of other odor issues to worry about. The CritterZone Air Naturalizer can help with those. It targets odors, breaking them down and removing them. Unlike an air purifier, it doesn’t have a filter. Instead, it creates a charged flow that gets rid of odors.
- You also can rehydrate the spot with water and hold the CritterZone unit over the spot for a few minutes, and it will remove the particles causing the smell. You can see more about that here.
OK, the yucky part is over. You can resume your lunch now!
The heat is coming — is your pet ready for it?
Though it’s a bit hard to believe for those of us who live the northern part of the country, hot weather really is on its way. Here in Minnesota, spring is just a brief interlude between the brutal cold of winter and the scorching heat and humidity of summer. Those who are lucky are already planning their escape to a lake cabin during the worst of the dog days.
Heat presents its own challenges for pets and their owners. Here are some ways to keep your pet safe and comfortable during the heat waves of summer:
- Watch for signs of overheating. Dogs can get heat stroke, just like people can. Signs include panting and their tongue hanging out the side of their mouth.
- Bring water and bowl with you wherever you go to keep your pet well-hydrated.
- Protect their paws. If they are shaking their paws, the sidewalk may be burning them. Stick to morning or evening walks, when the asphalt is cooler, and check out pet stores’ selections of booties to protect their sensitive pads.
- Sunscreen for animals. Yep, it exists! You can read more about it here. It’s especially important for animals with short hair or bare areas of skin that are exposed to sun. Check with your vet to see what they recommend for your animal. Human sunscreen can be dangerous for pets if they ingest it.
- NEVER leave your pet in your car. Even with the windows cracked, the car can turn into a dangerous oven of hot air that can harm or kill your pet.
You can find more tips here.
Calm an anxious pet during travel
Does your pet get nervous when going to a new, unfamiliar place? We have some suggestions on how to reduce your pet’s anxiety and pave the way for a smooth trip.
Consider a crate: Many dogs feel secure in their crate, so this can help keep the animal calm during travel. Your pet will feel even more comfortable if the idea of going in the crate inside the car is associated with fun things. Try taking short trips around town to the dog park or other fun areas before your big trip. Your dog will begin to see that it’s nothing to worry about.
Before you crate your dog for travel, play with your pet and make sure it burns off a good amount of energy, since your dog’s movements will be limited during travel. Don’t feed your dog too much, since they can be prone to getting motion sickness. You can give them small snacks at stops along the way if you are driving. Don’t leave any leashes in the crate; they can be a hazard. Also, make sure the dog’s collar fits well and isn’t too loose. Speak in normal tones, and don’t make it a big, dramatic ordeal. If you are relaxed about the whole thing, your dog will take cues from you and be relaxed, too.
The same tips apply if you are crating your cat. Just make sure the size is right: Your cat should be able to turn around in it, and there should be plenty of ventilation. Acclimate your cat to the carrier ahead of time by tossing treats or catnip inside it. This will entice the kitty to go inside and become familiar with the space. You also can add a pheromone product to the carrier; ask your veterinarian which products he or she recommends.
A word on medicine: Some people like to give their pet a sedative during travel, but many veterinarians and animal experts discourage the practice, saying pets actually travel better without them. Check with your vet to see what he or she recommends.
If you are flying: Read up ahead of time on the airline’s rules for pets. You may need a health certificate. Even if your airline doesn’t require a certificate, you may need to present one if you are traveling to another country. Pop singer Justin Bieber recently had a kerfuffle regarding just this very issue, when he tried to bring his pet monkey into Germany and was stopped because he didn’t have a health certificate for the animal.
As always, keep your voice and nonverbal behavior calm and relaxed before and during the trip, to set the tone for your pet.
Once you arrive, take your dog out for some exercise, and give your cat some toys to play with to encourage movement. Spend time bonding and let your travel adventure begin!
Does your cat stink? What you can do about it
Cats are great additions to the home. They offer affection and can be great company (when they want to be). They can be cuddly, calm your nerves and make you feel great.
On the flip side, cats sometimes don’t smell that great. Does your cat stink? What could be causing it? It can be due to a variety of reasons: Your pet may be ill, it may have hygiene issues, or it could be having accidents in your house, causing a strong urine odor.
If your cat is well trained to use the litter box, and doesn’t seem to be having accidents, it’s probably time to take it to the vet to make sure it is not suffering from a digestive ailment. If your cat is sick, it also might not have the energy or desire to groom itself, which can also cause odor problems. Or, it could have a urinary tract problem, making it difficult or painful to control its bathroom habits.
If you have a male cat that is unneutered, you could also have a cat spraying problem. He is trying to mark his territory with this behavior or to send a message that he is unhappy or stressed. Neutering your cat is probably going to be the most effective way to stop this from happening. An alternative is to talk to your vet about anti-anxiety drugs, if you think a change in the home (a recent move, a new baby, etc.) could be causing stress for your cat. You could also try a pheromone. They come in sprays and diffusers and can help detract the cat from wanting to spray in an area where it has done so frequently in the past. You can also cover the spot with aluminum foil. Cats don’t like the sound of the foil when they step on it, so this will discourage them from spraying there.
What if your cat is healthy but still refuses to use the litter box? There are several things you can consider. First, look at the box – is it large enough? Is it cleaned frequently? Do you have separate boxes for each cat (some might not be willing to share)? Is it away from the food and water? They may not like to urinate near their food supply. Does the litter have a strong scent your cat might not like? Once you’ve remedied these problems, your cat may feel more comfortable using the litter box.
After you’ve dealt with the medical or behavior aspect, your house may still be left with the distinctive and unpleasant urine ammonia odor. This is where a pet air naturalizer can come in handy. Unlike air purifiers, the CritterZone air naturalizer doesn't require filters, and it doesn’t merely mask a smell. It removes from the air the particles that cause pet odors. It works great for removing smells from cat pee, dog urine odor, bird cages, ferrets and lots of other unpleasant animal smells. You can find out more about the CritterZone by clicking here.
How smart is your dog?
It’s undeniable that many dogs possess high levels of perception and intelligence. But how can you tell where your pet ranks on the smarts scale? And what, if anything, can you do to enhance his or her IQ?
- Experts say proper nutrition is one key element, especially for developing puppies. Make sure the animal – or its mother, if it is still nursing – is getting all it needs from its diet. Talk to your veterinarian for tips on what should be included in your pet’s food at each stage of life.
- Create a calm, restful environment, so your pet can get plenty of sleep without noisy distractions. This is important for a developing brain.
- Start lessons in vocabulary at a young age, by talking to your pet in simple sentences that tell your pet what you are doing or where you are going. Begin to add short (15-20 minute) training sessions starting at age seven to 12 weeks.
- Dog trainers in your community can be a helpful resource for learning ways to train your dog and improve its intelligence. Group training classes are a great way to help boost its social intelligence. Many pet stores and humane societies can recommend good, local classes if you aren’t sure where to start.
- Use an app to test your dog’s IQ. Yep, there’s an app for that! This story describes the really cool-sounding “Dognition” app, which uses games and other methods to test a dog’s empathy, communication, cunning, memory and reasoning – the five components of intelligence.
Someday, if you follow all these suggestions, you can hope your dog will be as awesome as the one in this video!
Tricks for handling tough odors from sports gear
If you have kids, you likely are familiar with the team-sports drill: Lots of practices; tired, hungry but happy competitors after games; and the inevitable, endless pile of smelly laundry.
Sports gear is notorious for the unpleasant odors that tag along for the ride. Added fun: When half the exuberant team piles into your vehicle to go out for pizza after practice, their sweaty, smelly selves can leave an odor in your car that lingers for hours afterward. Delightful.
However, it is possible to keep these smells at bay, so you can focus on the important things – like cheering on your favorite team of young athletes.
- The first thing to do is plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer – in your athlete’s bedroom, next to the pile of dirty clothes in the laundry room or in your car. Unlike air purifiers, the naturalizer uses a charged flow to clean up the air. It removes smells and leaves your home and car smelling fresh.
- Next: Wash those smelly clothes. It can feel like an impossible task sometimes. Sports sweat odors are stubborn. One really effective product is Sport-Wash. Use it in place of your regular detergent. It is great at getting rid of deep layers of sweat smell. You also can use this for towels that smell musty.
- Another way to tackle the smell in clothing is to kill the bacteria causing the odor. White vinegar is great for this. You can add a couple ounces during the rinse cycle. You also can put some in a spray bottle, and spray down gym bags, to cut down on odor-causing bacteria.
- Skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets. Many leave residues on sports fabric, which makes it harder to wick away sweat. The result? The odors get trapped in the clothing.
You can find more ideas here.
How to pick a pet for a small home
Children will be out of school for summer break soon, and many will be deciding they need a new pet to keep them company while they are at home all day.
There are so many awesome animals to choose from – but what if you live in a small space?
Here are some great pet options to consider:
1.) Chinchillas: These soft, furry animals can live up to 15 years, and can form strong bonds with their owners. They are playful and like to move a lot, so they will need a roomy cage and lots of toys to keep them busy. They also will need a “dust bath” to use to keep clean.
2.) Ferrets: Another playful creature, the ferret can be clever and curious. They live about 6-8 years. They sometimes have a slight odor. Having them fixed and “descented” can help.
3.) Hedgehogs: These little guys live 4-6 years, and they can keep themselves busy while you and your family are gone during the day. It may take some time, but they can be taught to allow human handling, so they don’t activate their spines around their caregivers.
4.) Pot-bellied pigs: They are intelligent and can be trained to follow house rules. However, can be determined to get to any source of food, so you’ll need to keep food stored securely, out of reach.
5.) Sugar gliders: These animals are social creatures that quickly form strong connections with humans. They do need a fair amount of attention to prevent them from getting depressed. They have a long lifespan, ranging from 12-14 years.
6.) Aquatic animals: The options are almost limitless in this realm, but popular options include tropical fish and hermit crabs.
7.) Caged critters: If you have room for a cage, you might consider a gerbil, hamster or guinea pig, or even a bird (just be prepared for the noise factor that can accompany birds).
A few things to keep in mind:
You will want to stay away from reptiles and amphibians if you have children younger than 5, due to the risk of contracting salmonellosis from these animals. Also, people with compromised immune systems should be careful when handling pets, and make sure to wash their hands after handling an animal. Pregnant women should stay away from pet rodents and stray cats and kittens to avoid contracting viruses that can cause birth defects.
Solutions for a stinky pet
We love our pets, and they bring us so much happiness. But they also often come with unpleasant odors.
Whether you have a beautiful cat, an energetic dog, a furry ferret or a precocious parrot, pet smells often just seem to be an unavoidable side effect.
If your pet has any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian to rule out a serious health problem:
- Bad breath (this odor could mean your pet has a dental disease).
- For cats, loss of interest in grooming (numerous internal problems can inhibit this natural instinct).
- Feces found hanging from your pet’s hind end (this could be due to diarrhea or another other digestive ailment).
- Damp hair that is tangled or knotted (this may be a sign of a skin disease or wound).
However, if you’ve ruled out any medical issue, you don’t have to suffer while you live with a stinky pet. There are solutions that can remove virtually all the odor-causing particles from the air.
The remedy for your home is a CritterZone air naturalizer. The compact, powerful device plugs into the wall, or into the cigarette lighter of your car, and within minutes, it starts tackling the smelliest of odors.
Although it is filterless and small, the CritterZone is mighty in its air purification ability. It can clean up the air on the main floor of an average-sized home. You can find out more about how it works here.
Keep ticks, fleas and other pests away from your pets
Spring is slowly making an appearance. Depending on where you live, that probably means melting snow, warmer weather, and an eagerness to spend more time outside with your pets. Fabulous all around!
However, as the snow melts, your pets will be more likely to get into things they shouldn’t – and bringing home things you’d rather they leave outdoors.
One troublesome example is fleas. These tiny bugs have no wings, but they are great at attaching themselves to animals and moving quickly to hide. When they bite pets, their saliva can irritate the skin, causing the animal to scratch itself furiously. When they bite humans, they cause itchy, little red bumps to develop.
You’ll know your pet probably has fleas if you see the telltale signs, such as your pet constantly scratching an area of skin – possibly even until the skin is raw. You also can sometimes spot the dark, seed-sized creatures moving around the animal’s rear and ears. You might also notice little black dots, which are the feces fleas leave behind.
Another trick to try is to put on white socks and walk around your house and yard. You’ll see the dark-colored fleas show up clearly against the white fabric. Put the socks in a bag and throw them away if you find any fleas. No sense helping them spread!
Now for the assault on the flea population: First, take a flea comb to the dog’s hair. This will remove the bugs from their fur, and you can kill them right away, before they jump out of view. Vacuum all floors thoroughly (fleas LOVE to hide in carpet). Cut the grass in your yard short. Then talk to your vet for recommendations of flea collars, sprays, and flea bombs that are safe to use indoors and outdoors and around people and animals. Make sure to keep all food and dishes away from exposure to any flea-killing chemicals that you may choose to use in the house.
You can also try a natural flea repellant recommended by PETA: Mix six or seven drops of the essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree, and citronella to a cup of water and shake. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray on your dog's coat every other day. Lavender oil has also been known to keep fleas away. NOTE: You don’t want to use essential oils to treat your cat, as their skin is too sensitive.
You might have to repeat treatments to your home again in a few weeks, after any remaining eggs have hatched. If the infestation is substantial and these treatments fail to get rid of the fleas, you’re probably best off calling an exterminator to tackle the problem.
There’s a dead rodent in my house!
How can I get rid of that horrible smell?
If a mouse or another rodent gets stuck somewhere in your house and dies, the smell is unmistakable and usually unbearable. And worse, still, is the knowledge that the decomposing carcass is most likely in a spot that will be hard to find and access.
Your nose will probably be your best guide to finding the rodent. The presence of flies is another indicator that the dead animal is nearby.
Common spaces for them to get trapped include snug spots in walls, the attic, the foundation or air vents. Also check behind appliances and in the corners of cabinets.
If it got stuck in an air vent, you sometimes can get to it by removing the grate and probing the darkness with a flashlight. If it seems like it’s coming from above you, open the trapdoor to the attic or crawl space and take a look.
Rodents can transmit diseases, so if you do find the dead mouse, make sure to wear disposable gloves when you remove it. Have a trash bag handy. Toss the carcass into the bag, tie it up tight, and remove it from the house right away. Spray disinfectant throughout the area where you found the carcass.
If the rodent got trapped in the wall, you might not be able to get to it without cutting a hole in the drywall. Most people would rather avoid that; in this situation, you are better off letting it decompose. This will take 1-2 weeks. You can help the process along by running a dehumidifier, which will cause it to dry out more quickly.
But in the meantime, you don’t have to put up with the awful smell. Plug in a CritterZone to get rid of the odor. The device is super powerful at removing bad smells. Within minutes, you’ll be able to tell an improvement is happening. The CritterZone isn’t covering up or filtering out the odors; it’s actually breaking them down and getting them out of the air. It’s the perfect solution to clean up the air anytime you have a strong, nasty smell in your home and need some odor control.
You can check out the CritterZone Air Naturalizer units here.
Help! I have a smelly bird cage and can’t get rid of the odor!
If you have birds, you know they come with some odors that aren’t exactly appealing. Their cages can quickly fill up with droppings, spoiled food and feathers.
How can you keep it clean so it doesn’t cause your house to smell? The key is to keep mold and bacteria at bay. Those are some of the key factors in causing bird cage odors. Here are a few tricks:
- Line the bottom of the cage with several layers of newspaper. Each day, remove the top layer of paper, fold it up and throw it away. That will get rid of any droppings as well as damp food, which can quickly get moldy and smell bad.
- Set a matt under the cage. Each day, after you’ve changed the paper, take the mat outside and shake it out to get rid of any debris that may have fallen from the cage.
- Once a week, give the whole cage a good cleaning. Remove your pet bird; empty out all the contents; throw the newspaper away; and wash everything with warm, soapy water or bleach water. Place the cage and all the items inside in direct sunlight and let it dry thoroughly. Clean under the cage well, too.
- Place food dishes on the floor of the cage. Then the food is less likely to end up on the floor beneath it.
- Keep your bird’s wings trimmed. Then they will be less likely to make a big mess when they flap about.
- You can keep odors at bay by plugging in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer next to the cage. The CritterZone is an air cleaner for the home. It creates a naturally charged flow that moves through the room, removing odors and germs. It also is awesome for people with allergies, because it removes allergens from the air.
Selling your home?
Don’t let a cat odor scare away buyers
If you own cats, you know it can be hard to stay on top of all the cleaning and odors that come with having furry animals around. For people selling their home, a cat odor is something that can be hard to remove. You might not even notice it, since you breathe the air in your home continually and probably get used to it. But you can bet prospective buyers will notice, especially if it is a strong urine odor. And it could turn into a loss of a sale for you, if they find it too offensive.
After a showing, you want prospective buyers to remember how great your home looked and how well-suited it was to their needs. You don’t want it to be memorable due to a cat odor.
And you don’t want to cover it up withother chemicals and sprays — that can be a red flag to buyers who will wonder what you are trying to hide. Instead, you want your air to be “neutral” smelling.
Plug a CritterZone Air Naturalizer in a “problem” area — such as next to the cat’s litter box. That way, it will keep working for you even when you aren’t there, and you don’t have to panic ahead of a last-minute showing. You may not have time to run home and empty the litter box, but the CritterZone will have your back. It will make sure the air in your home is clean and inviting for visiting buyers.
To find out more about how the CritterZone can help you handle the cat odor or other smells in your home, click here.
Worried your stinky cat will scare away houseguests?
With the holidays and cold winter weather come lots of parties and get-togethers spent indoors with friends and family. If you have pets, you know it can be a delicate situation if a guest is allergic to cats or if he or she has a dog allergy. Even if they don’t have an allergy, they will likely be very sensitive to any pet odors in your home. What you may need is a CritterZone pet air naturalizer.
You might be used to your stinky pet or the cat litter smell, or maybe your pet doesn’t have much of an odor. However, your guests are more likely to notice any smell than you are, since you live with the animals all the time.
Strong, long-lasting pet odors can be a sign of an ailment. If your pet has any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian:
- Bad breath (your pet could have a dental disease).
- Lack of self-grooming in cats (various internal issues can interfere with this natural instinct).
- Pieces of feces hanging from your pet’s fur (this could be from diarrhea or other digestive ailments).
- Damp hair that is tangled or knotted (this may be a sign your cat has a skin disease or wound).
Check out this article for more clues as to when it might be time to see a vet to determine whether your stinky pet has a serious medical problem.
However, if you’ve ruled out any medical issue, there is a solution that can remove virtually all the odor-causing particles from the air and make your houseguests more comfortable. The remedy for your home is a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. The compact, powerful device plugs into the wall, and within minutes, it starts tackling odors caused by stinky cats and other animals. It is an ionic pet air naturalizer that can quickly clean up the air. The CritterZone doesn’t mask the pet odor; rather it actually removes the particles in the air that make it smell bad.
The CritterZone can improve the air quality in a space as large as the main floor of an average-sized home. You can find out more about how the air naturalizer can clean up the smells caused by a stink cat by clicking here.
What if a guest in your home is allergic to pets?
During colder weather, you may find yourself spending more time indoors with friends and family. If you have pets, you know it can be a delicate situation if a guest is allergic to cats or if he or she has a dog allergy. You might be used to your stinky pet or the cat litter smell, or maybe your pet doesn’t have much of an odor. However, your guests are more likely to notice any smell than you are, since you live with the animals all the time.
Even if they don’t have an allergy, they will likely be very sensitive to any pet odors in your home. What you need is a CritterZone Air Naturalizer.
It’s usually not an option to keep your pet out of the house during a party or holiday event. And even if you do relocate the animal temporarily, the signs of a stinky dog or stinky cat can linger in your home for weeks after the animal has been moved. So what can you do to make sure your guests are comfortable?
You can put the pet in a room away from your guests prior to their visit. Vacuum and dust the main room your guests will be in a few days before, so any particles in the air that get disturbed will settle before your guest arrives. Then keep your pet out of that room until after the visit.
That will minimize some of the dander that can trigger allergies, but you won't be able to remove the dander completely just by cleaning.
Ionic pet air naturalizers can quickly remedy the problem and clean up the air. The CritterZone air naturalizer doesn’t mask the pet odor; rather it actually removes the particles in the air that make it smell bad. It also targets the dander that can trigger allergies in your friends and family. To see how it works, you can visit this page.
The result, after plugging in the compact, powerful CritterZone, is a home filled with air that smells fresh and is virtually free of odor- and allergy-inducing particle.
A dog allergy doesn’t have to keep you from your pet
It’s frustrating when a person who loves dogs is stuck with a dog allergy. All you want to do is spend time with your favorite pet, but when you do, the dander triggers constant sneezing and misery.
Fortunately, there are things you can do make it more comfortable for you to hang out with your dog.
- Frequent grooming: Brush the dog’s coat every day to remove loose hair.
- Bathtime: Make sure you are using shampoo made for dogs. You may want to check with your vet to see what he or she recommends. You can also take your dog to a pet spa for help with bathing.
- Air naturalizer: The CritterZone air naturalizer targets the particles in the air that trigger reactions in people who are allergic to dogs. It produces a charged flow that fills the rooms and cleans the air, virtually eliminating odors, germs and allergens. The CritterZone is so powerful, it can even help clean up after “accidents” on floors and other items in the home. It is filterless, cost-effective to run, and really beneficial for people with severe allergies. You can find out more by clicking here.
Pet air naturalizers can tackle wet dog smell
You let your dog play outside so it can get fresh air and exercise, like it needs to do. You are just doing a good thing, but how does your beloved pal thank you? By rolling in a puddle of water or a snow bank.
Once the dog is in the house, that wet dog smell comes with it.
There are special shampoos you can buy that can help clean your pup and curb the odor. The type you buy depends on the breed and the type of hair it has, so check with your vet to see what he or she recommends.
Another option is to take your pet to a pet spa, where they can trim its hair and give it a good shampoo.
But what if you are busy and don’t have time to shampoo your dog every time it gets damp from the outdoors? Or maybe you don’t have money in the budget for frequent expensive pet spa trips.
An ionic pet air naturalizer can help. CritterZone, which is a pet air naturalizer, can help remove the odors from the air and virtually eliminate the wet dog smell from your home. The CritterZone restores the air’s natural energy so it can continually clean itself and make the air fresh again.
That way your pet can keep enjoying that fresh air and freedom outdoors, and you can keep your home smelling good.
To find out more, click here.
Do you have a cat dander allergy?
Most of the time, when someone is allergic to cats, the actual thing they are allergic to is a chemical component of the cat’s saliva mixed with particles of the cat’s skin. Other substances that trigger allergies are also found in the cat’s urine and blood.
This allergy is very common and is found in about a quarter of people who have allergies.
If you have a cat and are constantly sneezing, you know the misery that can accompany a cat dander allergy. But your pet is part of your family. It’s not easy to just give the cat away in order to calm your sneezing and coughing.
Thankfully, there are many things you can do to tame your allergies and be able to keep your cat in your home. These include:
- Lots of brushing: Groom the cat’s coat every day to remove loose hair.
- Baths (about every six weeks or so): Don’t use human shampoo, which can dry out your cat’s skin and aggravate the problem. Instead, find a shampoo made for cats.
- Try a “coat conditioner.” It reduces shedding and moisturizes the cat’s skin, so it is less like to shed and spread dander. Ask your veterinarian what he or she thinks is the best coat conditioner for your cat.
- Frequently clean surfaces that dander likes to stick to: Carpets, furniture, bedding, curtains. Also clean hard surfaces like walls, counters, wood furniture and wood and laminate flooring.
- Don’t let the cat in your bedroom, especially the closet. It may try to burrow into your clothes, and the dander will be on everything you wear.
- There also are products you can add to your cat’s food that will change the makeup of its saliva, reducing the production of the components that trigger allergies. Again, you’ll want to talk with your vet to see what product is recommended for your breed of cat.
- Air naturalizer: The CritterZone air naturalizer targets the particles in the air that trigger reactions in people who have a cat dander allergy. It can remove virtually all these particles, making it comfortable for you to share the air with your pet. There is more information about the CritterZone here.
What to do about that stinky litter box
It’s great that cats can be quickly trained to use a litter box or cat pan for the bathroom in the house. However, with that convenience comes plenty of unwanted odors. Even if you change the litter frequently, it’s almost impossible to prevent a stinky litter box.
Fortunately, there are ways to tackle the odors.
One is to scoop the waste more frequently – twice a day or more. Each week, empty the whole box and, if it is washable, clean it and the scoop with detergent. Let it air dry before adding fresh litter.
Experiment with different brands. Each type of litter varies in the ingredients, and some might work better than others to neutralize your cat’s odors.
Plug in an air naturalizer. CritterZone air naturalizers are odor neutralizers. They quickly remove the particles from the air that cause odors, restoring it to a healthier, fresher state. Cats are notorious for refusing to share litter boxes due to the scent from other cats’ excrement. However, if you plug in the CritterZone near the box, it will remove the offending particles. Then the animals will be willing to share the box, saving you time spent cleaning multiple boxes and space in your home.
Visit this page to find out more about how the CritterZone air naturalizer can work as an odor neutralizer that will help with that stinky litter box.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Help! My ferrets are making my house stink!
If you have ferrets, even altered ones, you know they can sometimes be a little smelly.
The ferrets themselves, if altered, usually have just a minor “musky” odor, that many owners say they don’t notice or mind.
However, if you are having guests over, they won’t be accustomed to the smell, and they may notice.
Also, the litter box and bedding can quickly accumulate odors that you don’t want to have wafting around your home.
Here are some suggestions for getting rid of ferret odors in your house:
- Plug in a CritterZone Air Naturalizer: These tough little devices are great for big smells. They clean up the air indoors using the same power the sun uses to clean the air outdoors. The result is fresh air without all the pet smells that are otherwise accumulating in your home.
- Keep the litter fresh: Change it frequently to cut down on the stink factor.
- Wash the bedding once a week: Ferrets often transfer their odors to the bedding, so frequent washing will help reduce that problem.
- Check their diet: See what your vet recommends – ferrets need the right mix of high-quality protein and fats for optimum health and digestion.
- Bathe them (occasionally): One a month is probably often enough – any more than that, and you could risk drying out their skin. Check with your vet for a shampoo he or she recommends. Soap-free shampoos that contain fatty acids are often what you will need to avoid stripping the natural oils from your ferrets’ hair.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Keep the air in your car fresh during a road trip
As March approaches, so does spring break for many students. For some, that means vacation time and the chance to take a road trip with family, friends and pets.
But all those hours in close quarters — filled with stops at greasy fast-food restaurants, your dog's smelly breath after he ate your corn chips, aromas from dead skunks and other road kill, and that not-so-fresh smell of stinky shoes — can quickly result in stuffy, smelly, unpleasant air in the car.
Here are some suggestions for keeping bad odors at bay, so you can breathe easy and focus on enjoying your trip:
Bring baby wipes: These are easy to pack in your bag, and they make it easy to freshen up in a hot, humid vehicle. You also might want to keep a travel-sized deodorant stick in the car to help you freshen up along the way.
Pack healthful snacks and veer away from greasy pit stops: Drive-through burgers and fries might sound like a good, quick idea when you are in a hurry to get to your vacation destination. And they can be delicious! But the smell will linger in your car for hours, and it may also cause indigestion for passengers (you know what we mean). Instead, pack baby carrots with healthy dip like hummus, whole-grain chips, summer sausage and crackers, sandwiches, yogurt and fresh fruit. Take a break at mealtime and go into a restaurant, stretch your legs and eat your meal there, instead of bringing it into the vehicle to eat on the road. Your nose — and stomach —will thank you later.
Swap shoes for flip-flops: No more sweaty feet – and no more odor-causing bacteria as a result!
Get some fresh air: Stop for a breather now and then, or roll down the windows to let in fresh air and help it circulate.
Plug in a CritterZone: Often the air is too warm, cold or polluted to roll the windows down. If so, use a CritterZone Air Naturalizer. You can add an adapter to it to make it perfect for road trips. We also have a Travel Pack available. Just plug it in, and be amazed at how well it removes odors from the air. It’s also great for removing allergens such as pet dander as well as pollutants from outside that sneak into the car. Added bonus: The next time you drive by that poultry farm or pass a trailer full of livestock on the road, you won’t have to plug your nose!
To find out more about the CritterZone Air Naturalizer, click here.
Monday, February 4, 2013
How to get a skunk smell out of your house or car
If you frequently have skunks in your neighborhood, or if you drive your car or RV in areas where skunks tend to hang out, chances are good you’ve experienced the unpleasant smell of skunk spray.
The odor is super strong. It will stubbornly cling to pet fur, skin, clothing, carpets, and the air in your car or home for days, if you don’t have something effective to remove it.
We’ve collected tips from people who’ve battled this stink aroma in the past.
One product to use on your dog is Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. You can scrub the remover into the fur on a dog’s dry fur and let it sit there for a few hours, until it evaporates. The product says it uses enzymes to counteract the odor, and it works for “pets, people, clothing, carpets, and other contaminated surfaces.” It can be found at your local pet store. You can follow this treatment up with shampoos made specifically for removing skunk odor. You will also find those for sale at most pet stores. Your veterinarian can probably recommend a good one, if your pet has sensitive skin.
The next option to try is a homemade mixture used by dog groomers: Mix equal parts of baking soda, peroxide and Dawn dish soap. Start with the baking soda, then the peroxide, so the soda dissolves. Then add the dish soap. One groom said you also can use this mixture to hand wash your clothes. However, we would suggest testing it on an inconspicuous area of the fabric, first, to make sure it doesn’t bleach it. You also may want to contact a dry cleaner to see what they recommend for your more valuable articles of clothing.
Once you’ve removed the odor from your clothes or your pet’s fur, it’s time to get the stink out of your home, car or RV. That’s where a CritterZone Air Naturalizer can help. Rather than using chemicals to mask the odor, like many air purifiers do, the CritterZone creates a charged flow that removes the odor-causing particles from the air.
To use it, plug the CritterZone in the room with the strongest area of odor. You’ll notice an improvement right away. You also can set it near any clothing that got sprayed, to help pull the odor out of the fabric.
Dealing with skunk spray is an annoying task, but using the CritterZone and the other tips we mentioned should help make the stink fade much faster than it would on its own.
Monday, January 7, 2013
What can you do if you are allergic to cat dander?
Cat dander is dead tissue from the cat’s skin, like dandruff, mixed with its saliva from grooming itself.
This combination triggers an allergic reaction in many people. But what if you have a cat and find out you are allergic to cat dander? Although lots of doctors might urge you to give up your cat in this situation, pets are like family, and many cat owners can’t imagine getting rid of theirs.
There are other things you can try so you can keep your pet in your home and live in peace, without constant misery from your allergy.
First, though, talk to your doctor about seeing an allergist who can test you. That way you can find out if it really is the cat causing your allergy, or something else, like dust mites or pollen.
- If the allergy is confirmed, you might want to replace your carpets with wood or tile. Carpet traps dander, while tile and wood are easier to clean.
- Keep your pet in a specific area of the house, like a basement, and keep it out of the bedrooms (especially your closets, where they can rub their fur and dander on them), so you can limit your exposure. Keep a special shirt handy that you can put on to protect your clothes when handling the cat. Wash your hands after handling it.
- You may need to take medicine to control your symptoms. Your doctor can discuss this option with you and prescribe various drugs to reduce your allergic reaction. You can also talk to your vet about special medications that can alter the cat’s saliva so it doesn’t bother you as much.
- While these options can help reduce the impact of your allergies, one of the best options is to get rid of the particles that cause them. A CritterZone Air Naturalizer is a great product for this. It virtually eliminates allergens and odors from the air in your home. You can plug it in near a space where you will be working or relaxing, or keep it near where your cat frequently hangs out. It will target the cat dander particles that cause your sneezing and coughing and well as odors from your pet. Find out more by clicking here.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
What to do if you have a pet allergy
Pet saliva and dander are big triggers for people with a pet allergy. If your beloved pet is the cause of your reaction, it can cause a painful dilemma: Get rid of the pet, or continue to suffer from your reaction to it?
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do so you pet can stay in your home, and your allergies can be tamed. We’ve mentioned some of these before, but they are worth repeating:
- Medications. Talk to your veterinarian to see what he or she recommends for a coat conditioner. It can reduce the pet’s shedding and keep the animal’s skin from getting too dry and spreading dander.
- There are products you can add to your pet’s food that will alter the chemical makeup of its saliva so it is less likely to trigger a reaction. Check with your vet to see what product is recommended for your pet.
- Frequent grooming: Brush the animal’s coat every day to remove loose hair and keep it from spreading through the air.
- Bathtime: Use shampoo made specifically for your pet, whether it’s a dog or cat. If you use human shampoo, that could dry out its skin, which would increase the dander problem and worsen your allergies. You can also take your furry friend to a pet spa for help with bathing and grooming.
- Air naturalizer: The CritterZone air naturalizer targets the particles in the air that trigger reactions in people who are allergic to animal fur and dander. It can remove virtually all these particles, making it much more comfortable for you to share the air with your pet. You can find out more here.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Allergic to cats?
Don’t let that keep you from the pet you love
Does this sound familiar? You bring home an adorable kitten and fall in love with it, but soon you all you hear in the house is “aaaahhhh-choooo!” as a family member reacts to the cat dander. Or maybe you are the one who suddenly is overcome with sneezing and wheezing. Either way, it is a major disappointment to find out you or someone you love is allergic to cats.
But before you decide to take your pet back to the store or shelter, you should know there are lots of things you can do to reduce the allergic response in you or your relative. In fact, many people even build up a tolerance to animals over time.
In the meantime, here are other options:
- Medications added to your cat’s food. Talk to your veterinarian to see what he or she recommends for a coat conditioner, which can cut down on shedding and keep the cat’s skin from getting dry and spreading dander.
- There also are products you can add to your cat’s food that will alter the chemical makeup of its saliva so it is less likely to trigger a reaction. Check with your vet to see what product is recommended for your breed of cat.
- Frequent grooming: Brush the cat’s coat every day to remove loose hair.
- Bathtime (every six weeks or so): Use shampoo made specifically for cats, or you could dry out its skin, which would increase the cat dander in your house and make your allergies worse. You can also take your cat to a pet spa for help with bathing and grooming.
- Air Naturalizer: The CritterZone Air Naturalizer targets the particles in the air that trigger reactions in people who are allergic to cats. It can remove virtually all these particles, making it comfortable for you to share the air with your pet. You can find out more by watching this video. You can also find out more here.