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Family Matters: The Weather Outside Is Frightful!


Oh, The Weather Outside Is Frightful!Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but it’s your job to keep your pup delightful!

Dogs might have a shaggy winter coat (some breeds, at least), but this doesn’t mean they’re fine outside in cold weather. If you’re cold, so is your pooch.

If you can, let your pet stay inside during cold times. Make sure their bed or crate is away from a drafty area. If they must stay outside during the day, an insulated doghouse filled with clean, dry hay will help them find refuge from the cold. It’s even better if it has a door to block the wind.

If you’re at risk of frostbite, so is your pup! Don’t allow them to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long periods of time. If you do go for a romp through the snow, knock snow and ice off their feet as soon as you come back inside. The pads of their feet are very sensitive to extreme temperatures. Make sure you dry off their coat, especially any hair that hangs down close to the ground.

Another good reason to wipe your pet thoroughly after they come inside is that some chemicals used for snow removal can be toxic to your dog. Salt and other deicers can irritate their feet and skin, and they should be wiped off immediately.

‘Tis the season for antifreeze, but make sure it stays in your car. Your pup might like to lick it because it has a sweet taste, but it can be fatal to pets, causing kidney failure.

Another cold weather car hazard is its warm engine. Pets might seek shelter in the mechanical areas of a recently-driven car. Honk your horn before driving off to startle any sleeping pet out of the car engine.

Finally, in the cold months, check to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen over, and you may have to adjust their food intake to help them regulate their body heat. Ask your veterinarian about appropriate amounts of food and how to adjust it.



Family Matters: Small Pet Balanced Diet


Small Pet Balanced DietOnce upon a time, I got a hamster for my birthday, and it pretty much lived on my shoulder. It went where I went, played where I played and wanted to eat what I ate.

That’s not always a good thing for your small pet.

A balanced diet is important for your wee furry friend whether it’s a hamster, guinea pig or rabbit. Fresh fruits and vegetables are a great addition to our Thomas Moore Feed products. Be sure to check with your veterinarian about what fruits and vegetables are best for each kind of animal and what kind of people treats are pet-appropriate.

Brookshire’s Thomas Moore Feed Small Pet Feeds are all made of Timothy hay-based formulas. Timothy hay is important for good digestive health for your small pet. Our hamster and gerbil feed is a seed-based blend that will provide the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates for growth, energy and warmth, while our guinea pig and rabbit blends are pellet-based to ensure a balanced diet for those kinds of small pets. You should always provide Timothy hay for your guinea pig and rabbit to help with their digestive and dental health.

Make sure you are providing your small pet with enough fresh water and fresh Thomas Moore Feed products!



Family Matters: Keep Your Feathered Friend Healthy


Keep Your Feathered Friend HealthyHumans aren’t the only ones watching their diets in this new year! We should be watching the diets of our feathered friends as well.

Wild birds can forage for a variety of seeds and plant parts, but our caged birds sing for the scrumptious morsels we feed them. It’s our job to meet their nutritional needs to keep them happy and healthy.

Seeds are a wonderful food for your exotic bird. Your exotics have refined tastes and need a varied menu to keep them interested in eating properly. Seed mixes add diversity to their diet if you offer canary grass seed, millet, safflower and more.

Further diversify their offerings with fruits, vegetables and pellets. Vegetables like radishes, carrots, turnips, cooked sweet potatoes, kale and green beans should make up about 30 percent of your bird’s diet, while sweeter fruits like apples, berries, kiwi and mango should account for about 15 percent of their diet.

Make sure you’re keeping your bird healthy with Thomas Moore Feeds Exotic Bird Seeds, a great source of omega-3 fatty acids for bird’s well-being!



Family Matters: Make Winter Purr-fect


Make Winter Purr-fectMake sure your cat has a purr-fect winter by keeping him warm, well-nourished and, of course, well-loved.

Keeping kitty warm starts from within, with more calories, that is. Your feline friend might need extra food to keep him well-insulated this winter, so leave out a little extra if he’s meowing more or indicating he’s still hungry. Now, if he starts out extra fluffy, he might not need the extra nutrients, so consult your veterinarian if you think your kitty is hungry.

You might also check with your veterinarian if you want to supplement your cat’s diet with extra vitamin E and B complex, which some studies show will help your cat be more resistant to the cold. Don’t just give them vitamins, however, because most of their nutritional needs are met with a high-quality food, and too much can cause some medical problems and a chemical imbalance.

Speaking of high-quality food, good nutrition promotes a thick, glossy coat, which can help keep your cat warm! Be sure to still groom him properly though. Excess hair can lead to problems with their digestive system. In addition, matted hair doesn’t keep your cat as warm as nature intended.

Inside your house, make sure the area where your cat sleeps is warm and draft-free. Keep his bed away from heat sources such as the fireplace or space heaters.

Also, when you start your car in the morning, honk the horn first. Cats are notorious for seeking shelter in warm vehicle engines.



Family Matters: Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful


Oh, the Weather Outside is FrightfulIt’s the time of year where the weather can change as rapidly as a teenager’s mood.

Last week, I left for work at 46 degrees and came home to 74 degrees. Yesterday, it started out in the high 60s and plunged into the high 30s by day’s end.

Just as you would send your children off to school ready for any weather, your pet needs to be treated with the same consideration, especially if they’ll be outside during the day.

Obviously, you don’t want to leave them outside for extended periods in freezing weather or precipitation during cold weather months. If you’re at work all day, consider crate training your pet inside, or hiring a pet sitter to come by and let him out during the day.

Don’t worry about cutting your pet’s hair during winter months. Like yours, it gets a little thicker to keep him warm in cold weather. If he’s naturally short-haired or a smaller dog, a coat or sweater might be appropriate for those really cold days.

When your pets come in from outside, especially if it’s snowing or raining, towel them off and pay special attention to their feet, which were coming in contact with the cold ground.

You also want to wash any chemicals from road de-icing off your pet as quickly as possible, so they don’t irritate their skin, or worse – lick it off.

Putting a thick layer of petroleum jelly on the bottom of their paws, on the pads of their feet, can help protect them when they go outside in cold weather.

Bottom line: If you are cold, your pet is cold, so keep him in with you when he’s not using the bathroom outside.

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Family Matters: Pets and Holiday Food


Pets and Holiday FoodI don’t know about you, but I’m pretty thankful for my dog, Astro. He’s sweet, loving, even-keeled, a great and loyal friend, and a great protector.

It’s so important, at this time of the year, to make sure you’re taking care of your pet and protecting their health, too. While you might think that you’re giving them treats, some things around the holidays we enjoy can be very, very bad for your pet!

First of all, no candy. At all. Especially not chocolate, which can be deadly for dogs.

The ASPCA offers these other tips:

  • A small bite of turkey is okay as long as it’s not on the bone and is well-cooked.
  • Sage is an essential component of most turkey seasonings and dressings, but it may contain small amounts of essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal distress, especially in cats.
  • No cakes, pies or other sweets!
  • Watch the bread dough, too, especially if your pet likes to snatch things off of the kitchen counter. Bread dough can expand in their stomachs, causing them all kinds of problems.

Bottom line, pets don’t celebrate holidays with food the way we do. It’s perfectly fine to keep them on their regular feeding schedule with their regular food.



Family Matters: Shedding


pet sheddingDid you know that your pet requires some seasonal care, just like your lawn and yard might? They do!

In the fall, a lot of pets go through a period of shedding their fur, getting rid of damaged hair and old skin cells. This is perfectly normal unless you note it’s excessive, then it could be a sign of something else like illness, stress or poor diet. Like I said, a little shedding is completely normal, albeit kind of messy.

Shedding can be managed and minimized with a few easy tips and tricks.

First of all, buy a grooming tool. Your pet might actually LOVE being brushed, and it’s nice bonding time with you. Brushing removes excess hair, stimulates the skin and promotes a shiny, healthy, clean coat. If your dog has dense hair, this job might best be left to a professional groomer who can work out knots and kinks, and even shave your pet’s hair down if necessary.

If you’re doing it at home, groom your pet on a weekly basis so you control the hair loss, and it doesn’t end up all over your sofa and carpets.

Secondly, make sure they’re eating good, high-quality food. Diet can affect how much your pet sheds. Check labels for the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional adequacy statement to ensure the product offers balanced nutrition.

Next, during high-shed season, consider covering your furniture where your pet will be with a sheet or a slipcover to minimize hair on your furniture. Vacuum, dust and sweep as often as you can as well.

Bathing your pet during the summer months can also help reduce shedding during the fall.

The bottom line is that some shedding is normal, and it usually only lasts for a few weeks!



Family Matters: Doggie Ice Cream


Doggie Ice CreamMy pup, Astro, loves a good bowl of ice cream.

He discovered it when his person, Paul, brought him some Frosty Paws ice cream for dogs on one hot, early summer day. I can’t tell you how many cold, tasty “treats” Astro has had since.

He loves his person, and he loves his ice cream.

(Oh, the mischievous part of me was hoping that one day the boys would mistake the Frosty Paws for one of their ice cream treats…Yes, it’s safe for human consumption, but that would have made me laugh. Hard.)

Anyway, I decided to see how difficult it would be to make homemade doggie ice cream for Astro.

It’s so simple that I couldn’t NOT try it!

Basically, you combine yogurt with some dog-safe ingredients, freeze and voila! Homemade doggie ice cream.

This is Astro’s favorite.

AstroCream

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups natural plain yogurt
2 Tbs honey

Directions:
Mash the banana and stir it into the yogurt, mixing well. Microwave the peanut butter for 30 seconds or until it’s easier to stir. Add the peanut butter to the banana-yogurt mixture, then stir in the honey and mix until well-combined. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. When your pooch needs a treat, pop out a cube and let him enjoy!



Family Matters: Getting a Pet-icure


Getting a Pet-icureMy 95-pound hunka hunka burning love, a.k.a my dog Astro, pretty much has one trick.

“Gimme paw,” we say, and he presents us with one massive doggie paw.

Whether or not he’s recently had a nail trim is the difference between the trick being cute and sweet or nearly lethal.

There are lots of good reasons to trim a dog’s nails. Dogs’ nails are constantly growing, just like those of humans. They don’t always wear them down walking on floors or concrete, either. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own paws, ‘er hands, that is. Left to their own devices, a pup’s nails could grow so long that they curl into your pet’s foot pads.

Ouch.

A good rule of thumb to follow is to trim your pet’s nails when they touch the floor when they are standing still. You’ll probably hear that little click, click, click before you see them.

To prepare him for a trim, hold his paws several times a day. He should be comfortable doing this because he’ll sense affection. Keep your attitude upbeat and give him a treat after the trim. You might want to enlist someone else the dog loves if you have a big pooch. When we trim Astro’s nails, I sit with him, hold his collar and talk puppy talk to him while Paul does the trimming.

Don’t trim them too short. Look at your pooch’s paws before you start, and you’ll notice that part of the nail is white and part is clearer. Stay away from the inner white part! That could hurt him and make him bleed.

There are a variety of tools you can use to trim your pal’s nails, but simple nail clippers should work just fine.

When you’re done, praise your doggie and get him a treat!



Family Matters: Thomas Moore Small Animal Food


Thomas Moore Small Animal FoodWhen my sister was in middle school, she begged my parents for a pet rabbit.

They refused.

She wheedled.

Cajoled.

Needled.

Pouted.

Stomped around.

Poured on the sweetness.

Begged.

And begged some more.

I forget what finally tipped the scales because my parents aren’t the type to give in to a whiny kid, but my sister got her bunny. It was a fuzzy brown thing that she kept in a large bunny hutch on a stand my father built in the backyard. She’d bring the bunny inside to play, to hop around her bedroom and to cuddle. I think even my parents had to admit that the bunny was pretty cute.

Small animals need a special diet. Pets like rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and hamsters can benefit from carefully-formulated food designed for their unique needs.

Thomas Moore offers a line of small-animal foods that are available at Brookshire’s and perfect for your cuddly pet.

Thomas Moore Feed’s Bunny Cuisine Premium Feed is a source of omega-3 fatty acids that support rabbit’s heart, brain and visual functions.

The Guinea Pig Premium Feed is a timothy hay-based pellet that is rich in fiber to promote gastrointestinal health of your guinea pig.

Thomas Moore Feed’s Hamster & Gerbil Premium Feed has wholesome, palatable ingredients that help maintain proper weight, growth and dental health.

Thomas Moore’s foods will keep your pet in tip-top shape, so you can enjoy him for a long and healthy life.

 



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