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Family Matters: Making Your Home Safe for Your Dog


Making Your Home Safe for Your DogGetting a dog is sort of like having a toddler – they can get into things you never saw coming!

To prepare a safe haven for your pooch, consider pet-proofing very much the same way you’d child-proof.

Use child-proof locks on cabinets that contain cleaning agents, chemicals or even food that your dog could get into and could be potentially harmful. Make sure all medications are on high shelves or in other places your dog can’t reach.

Consider putting a latch or at least a lid on your trash can, or secure it in a cabinet with a latch. That way, your dog can’t get into it and eat something he shouldn’t!

Keep the toilet lids closed. Do you really want your pet drinking toilet water?

Secure cords that your pet could trip over, so he doesn’t knock lamps or other appliances over on top of him.

Keep children’s toys with small parts out of reach of your dog, too.

Some house plants are poisonous. Research them before bringing them into your home and around your pet.

In your garage, make sure that your car isn’t leaking antifreeze, which can cause kidney failure in your pet, or that you don’t have paint, oil, gas, fertilizer or any other chemical agent accessible to your pet.



Family Matters: Keeping Kitty Safe At Home


Keeping Kitty Safe At HomeThey say cats have nine lives, but you don’t want them using up any of those in an unsafe living environment!

Keeping your cat safe in your home requires a few simple steps.

First, think like a cat! You’re going to have to examine your home for nooks, crannies and crevices that your cat can get into (look high, look low), and make sure they aren’t a safety hazard for your cat. Make sure nothing can fall on them and that they can’t get stuck anywhere. Patch any holes in walls or closets.

Keep an eye on your cat! Check the dryer before turning it on (cats like to climb into warm spaces). When outside in the winter, bang on your car hood before starting the car to make sure kitty hasn’t climbed up inside the warm engine.

Certain plants can be poisonous to pets. Research plants before bringing them into your home or remove ones you already have that might be dangerous.

Keep food put away; not all human food (or the packages it comes in) is good for cats.

Many bathroom essentials are toxic to cats, so be sure to keep makeup, cleaning agents and personal hygiene products behind closed doors.

Cats are notorious for playing with cords from electronics or strings dangling from blinds. Be sure to keep those out of reach so they don’t get tangled in them or chew through them, which can be fatal to your feline.



Family Matters: Feeding Do’s and Don’ts


Feeding Do’s and Don’tsSmall animals are just that…small! You don’t want to overfeed them or they will get fat, which will tax their hearts.

Hamsters and gerbils should eat one tablespoon or less of food per day. For a treat, they can have unshelled nuts with no salt added. Do not give your hamster or gerbil iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, chocolate, raw beans, potatoes, or sugary or salty foods. Too much green food will cause diarrhea. Never give sticky food to a hamster, as it will stick to their pouches.

Guinea pigs love grass hay and green foods, in addition to high-quality pellets. They need vitamin C, such as kale, dandelion greens, collard greens and peppers. They should be fed twice a day. Great treats for your guinea pig include apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries, grapes, kiwi, melon, oranges, pears and strawberries.

Do not give them celery – they can’t digest the “strings.” Do not feed them raw beans or rhubarb, as those foods are poisonous to these animals.

Your bunny will love you for providing grass hay, and they can eat it without restraint. Pellets should be fed in the amount of no more than 1/8 cup per day. Avoid high-starch or fatty foods such as beans, breads, seeds, peas, corn, nuts, cereals, oats or other grains, but they can have kiwi, strawberries, pears, melons, apples, oranges and vegetables in limited quantities.



Family Matters: Do’s And Don’ts of Feeding Your Feathered Friend


Do’s And Don’ts of Feeding Your Feathered FriendFeeding your birds all seed?

Your feathered friend might call ‘fowl’!

Most birds kept as pets should eat very little seed, even though it’s intuitively what a lot of bird owners flock to. Seeds are fattening and not healthy in high quantities. There are conflicting reports on the benefits of seed for birds, but if you stick to natural seeds like sunflowers, your bird should be fine.

Instead, your bird should be ingesting organic pellets and a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and grains. Of course, this comes with rules, too. Avocado can be toxic to parrots. Avoid it with other birds as well. The pit contains an oil toxin called persin that can seep into the fruit. Signs of avocado toxicity include lethargy, anorexia, breathing difficulty and sudden death. Onions can cause irritation to a bird’s mouth, esophagus and crop, and they can also cause ulcers. Fresh tomatoes can also cause ulcers because of high acidity, but dried tomatoes are fine in moderation. Mushrooms, a fungus, can cause digestive problems in your bird. It’s best to avoid them all together. The strings from celery are not good for your bird, but small, stringless morsels are fine.

Apples, pears, plums, grapes and other soft fruits are great for birds.

Hardened fat cut from unsalted meat is also a great treat. Bread is okay in small quantities, just remember that it doesn’t really have nutritional value for your bird; it’s basically a filler. Cooked brown or white rice and potatoes (no salt added) are fine foods for your bird.

Don’t give your bird anything with margarine or butter as it can bog down the bird’s feathers.

No salt. Salt is toxic to birds.

No milk. Birds cannot digest it.

Be very careful of peanuts. No large morsels, no salt, no molds.



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.



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