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National Pet Month

PetMonth

We love our pets year round, but National Pet Month calls for a pause to truly appreciate all the ways pets enrich our lives.

The benefits of owning a pet are endless, but here are the top five reasons for letting a furry friend into your life.

1. According to the American Heart Association owning a pet can help lower the risk of heart disease. Pets may provide social support for their owner, which will help them stick with or adopt healthy behaviors or habits. A pet can help lower stress, which may result in lower blood pressure. People with dogs tend to be more active because of the exercise their pooch requires.

2. Pets can help an owner that is feeling blue through unconditional love. A pet may also give an owner a sense of purpose that will help if they are feeling down. Pets provide companionship, which keeps you from feeling lonely and can improve your overall mood.

3. Having a pet may expose you to more social situations, such as training classes or being out in a park. A pet can provide a topic of conversation when trying to get to know new people. Pets are sometimes used as ice breakers to get a conversation moving.

4. Children growing up with pets benefit in numerous ways. They can learn more ways to express themselves and caring for a pet can help to teach responsibility. Having a pet can improve a child’s immune system and prevent allergies.

5. There is nothing quite like the unconditional love a pet can provide. A pet is willing to play when you’re feeling energetic and adventurous, sit by your side and listen when you need an ear and offer a snuggly cuddle when you’re feeling down. When properly cared for a pet can provide years of companionship, health benefits, love and affection.

 Take a moment to show your pet extra love this month with a bonus treat, a few more throws of the ball or five more minutes of cuddle time.

Grooming Your Pets at Home

Groomingblog

Regular grooming of your pet's coat will keep it clean and healthy, and time spent grooming increases the bond between you and your pet. Half of dog owners perform grooming themselves at home, with an incidence even higher among owners of large dogs. These tools and tips will help ease the grooming process at home.

Frequent brushing helps prevent hairballs and enhances the coat's natural luster. Brush in the direction of hair growth, from head to tail and then down the legs. Use flowing strokes, separating the hair as needed. To fluff the coat, brush against direction of hair growth. Avoid removing too much hair at one time. Watch for mats behind ears, on chest, stomach and hind legs.

For coats with mats or tangles, use a comb or rake to detangle the hair prior to brushing. Starting at the head, move toward the tail, then down the legs using long strokes that follow the direction of hair growth. 

Be sure to accustom your pet to having its nails trimmed at an early age to make the experience an enjoyable one and increase the bond between you and your pet. It is important to your pet's well-being to keep the nails properly trimmed. Holding the paw firmly, trim tip of nail with a single stroke. Be careful to stop short of the quick, the blood vessel inside the nail.

To use a shedding blade, gently pull the toothed side through your pet's coat. Begin at the head, working toward the tail following the direction of hair growth. Be sure to thoroughly groom the chest, underbelly and hind legs.

This grooming chart will help you find the combs, brushes and tools needed to properly groom your specific dog or cat breed.

Safari® by Coastal offers a wide selection of grooming tools to meet your pet’s needs for a happy, healthy pet and home.

Prepare for Flea and Tick Season

FleaandtickAs the weather gets nicer your pet will most likely be spending more time outdoors and become more susceptible to bringing summer pests into the home. It is important to protect pets from fleas and ticks and know the proper steps for treating them.

The best way to avoid fleas and ticks is by taking preventative measures. The most common prevention methods are topical treatments that are generally applied once a month to your pet’s back. Oral and injectable treatment options are also available. Different brands and methods may treat different common pests, like fleas, ticks and other pests, so be sure to note the capabilities of the treatment you’ve selected.  Sprays and flea collars can be effective prevention methods if used properly and reapplied per the directions on the product. You can also take preventative measures in your outdoor space. Fleas tend to be in warm, moist, shady areas with organic debris so focus efforts on taking care of leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc.  

If you find a flea or tick the problem should be addressed immediately for the health of your pet.

A pet that spends a lot of time outdoors should be checked regularly for ticks so it can’t move from your pet to a person or another pet. This will also help catch a tick before the 24 to 48 hours it takes a tick to transmit an infection. A tick can be removed using a clean pair of tweezers or tick remover. Be sure to pull the tick straight out and remove all of it, including the head. If a part of the tick is left behind it can cause infection. The wound should be treated with a disinfectant and treated with a triple antibiotic ointment.        

Flea bites can be painful and itchy and some pets can have an allergy to the flea saliva, which causes red skin, scabs and hair loss from scratching and biting. When the pet bites and grooms it ingests adult fleas that may carry tapeworms, a parasite that lives in the intestines. A large flea infestation may also cause a pet to become anemic from blood loss. Bathing an infected pet with a flea shampoo will help to kill the adult fleas. Flea combs can be used to help pull adult fleas out of the hair. Keeping up with bathing or using an above mentioned prevention treatment is imperative to ridding your pet of fleas because they have multiple stages in their life-cycle.

If your pet brings fleas into the home it will need to be treated while the pet is undergoing treatment. Vacuum high traffic areas every day and the entire home thoroughly once a week. Putting a flea collar in the vacuum will help to kill fleas quicker, but make sure to empty the vacuum and discard bags after each use. Flea foggers, powders and sprays can be used on carpets, furniture and baseboards to kill adult fleas and stop the development of eggs and larvae. The pet’s bedding should be washed weekly until the home and pet are clear of fleas.

Keeping up with flea and tick prevention and treatment will ensure a happy and healthy pest free summer with your pets.

Poison Prevention for Dogs and Cats

Pet Poison Prevention WeekA house is filled with items that may be toxic for your pet if they ingest something they shouldn’t. The first step to prevent accidental poisoning is to be aware of what household items are dangerous to your pet. Help ensure your pet’s safety by making sure these most common toxins are out of your pet’s reach.

Household Cleaning Products

Make sure cleaning products are kept away from animals and watched during use. Removing a pet from the room you are cleaning can give peace of mind that they won’t get into the products while you’re hard at work. If you use a cleaning product to clean a pet’s crate, toys, bowls, etc. make sure it is properly diluted, everything is rinsed thoroughly and air dried. Immediately after cleaning, chemicals should be properly disposed of or put away.

Human Medications and Cosmetics

Medications and cosmetics should be stored in a cabinet or a closed off bathroom. Some common toxic medications and cosmetics include anti-inflammatory drugs, ADD drugs, nasal decongestants, mosquito repellent, breath fresheners and soaps.

Plants

When dealing with a plant that is toxic to cats and dogs it is best to keep the plant locked in a room that the pet doesn’t go in. House plants poisonous to both cats and dogs are emerald ferns, elephant ears, lilies, jade plants and aloe plants. Make sure to research plants before bringing them into the home.

Human Food

Sometimes it’s impossible to resist those begging eyes and we cave to feeding table scraps. The following list includes some of the most toxic foods for pets. 

  • Alcohol
  • Avocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Nuts
  • Onions
  • Raw Eggs
  • Raw meat
  • Salty foods
  • Yeast Dough

If you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, contact your vet immediately.

National Heart Month for Dogs

Heartblog

February is National Heart Month, and we know your dog’s heart health is just as important as any other member of the family. Here are some tips on how to help your dog have a healthy ticker.

Educate yourself on your breed of dog and if he is more susceptible to heart conditions. If he is at a higher risk, be sure to know the warning signs of heart disease. Some of the warning signs include coughing, difficulty breathing, weakness, weight loss or gain and a swollen abdomen.

A dog’s diet can play a huge role in maintaining heart health. A dog should always have a well-balanced diet of high quality ingredients and high quality treats should be given in moderation. Reading the labels on food and treats will help ensure that you know what is in your dog’s food, the nutritional benefits of the ingredients and provide feeding guidelines. An overweight dog’s heart has to work harder than the heart of a dog that is at an ideal weight for his breed.  

It’s a proven fact that exercise can decrease the risk of disease in humans and your dog is no different. Keeping a regular exercise plan for your dog will help to keep both of you active and healthy.

Regular veterinary checkups are crucial to ensure that your dog is healthy and has no signs of heart disease. A vet will be able to listen to his heart, perform any additional tests he may need and diagnose if something is wrong. A vet can also help you select the proper food and diet for him, as well as recommend an exercise plan.

What It Takes To Be A Responsible Pet Owner

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February is National Responsible Pet Ownership month.  Being a pet owner has many different meanings to everyone so how do you know if you’re responsible? We have created a list for you.

  • Before buying or adopting a pet, do your research. Animals have different personalities just as humans do. Some animals require more grooming than others. This takes time and patience. So make sure you find an animal that is the right fit for your family’s lifestyle before you make a commitment.
  • Chew-proof your home. Puppies and kittens are very curious and will get in to places that may surprise you. Household cleaners should be stored and electrical cords secured out of the way of sharp teeth and paws. Move breakable items out of reach.
  • Spay and neuter your pets. Studies show that spayed and neutered pets live longer, healthier lives. Regular yearly visits to the vet are important, too. Rabies, distemper, feline leukemia and parvovirus vaccinations are just a few that require yearly booster shots.  
  • Use a pet ID tag. We try our best to keep our pets from getting loose but when it happens help ensure they get home safe and sound by using reflective waterproof ID tags or pet microchips. Contact your veterinarian for more information. 
  • Feed them right and give them plenty of exercise.  Overfeeding and inactivity leads to obesity and can cause health issues such as diabetes and early arthritis. Stick to a healthy feeding schedule, give your pets plenty of fresh water and make sure to get them moving!
  • Teach them to sit and stay. We realize that you may have trouble teaching your favorite feline to do this but we definitely recommend teaching Fido! This will make socializing with other animals and people easier and more enjoyable.

Just remember to give your pets lots of love, companionship and make a commitment of love for their lifetime.

 

 

Tips for Bringing Home and Training a New Kitten

Americans own more than 75 million cats, which means 3Kittenblog0 – 37% of US households have at least one cat as a pet (2015 – 2016 APPA National Pet Owner Survey). Making a kitten a member of the family can be a breeze with a few helpful tips.

Kitten Proof Your Home

A kitten is curious and may get into things he isn’t supposed to be in. Make sure small items he can chew and risk choking on are picked up off the floor and put in a proper place out of reach. Keep all cabinets securely closed and check the home for house plants that could be dangerous to a cat. Loose cords should be tied back so he doesn’t trip over or chew them. Create a safe, quiet room where he can be put when unsupervised in the house or go when he feels overwhelmed.

Use a Cat Carrier

When adopting a kitten make sure to bring a cat carrier along. A cat carrier provides a safe place for him during the adoption transition and introduces him to a carrier at a young age. Make the carrier a part of his safe place by leaving the carrier in the safe room as a place to sleep and hide. As he is introduced to new rooms in the home take the carrier as a safe hiding place if something in the room spooks him. Taking him on frequent car rides in a Bergan® Comfort Carrier™, which can be secured in the vehicle with the Seat-Belt Loop™ for safety, can help make future travel and vet visits easier on him.

Litterbox Training

Cats have a natural instinct to bury their waste and should start to use the litterbox on their own. Keep the litterbox in the corner of his safe room so he always knows where to find it. Encourage him to use the litterbox by placing him in the box after meals and using his paw to dig in the litter.

Play

Playtime helps exercise a kitten’s body and mind, and will help to make him part of the family. When at home engage him in play by using a laser light or a toy securely attached to a plastic pole. When no one is home to play with him make sure he has toys he can bat around and interact with on his own. A Turbo Scratcher® allows him to spin the ball and doubles as a scratch pad.

Check out Coastal Pet’s offering of Soft-sided Carriers and cat toys.

Tips for Bringing Home and Training a New Puppy

Janblog

In a nation where more than 45 million households own dogs as pets, raising a puppy has become an integral part of American life. Pets now outnumber American children by more than four to one and are considered more of a family member (2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owner Survey). Following these few tips will help break a new puppy in to become a new family member

The first few days and weeks of a puppy’s life at home are vital.  You want to make sure they get trained to keep them safe in the house and outside.

First Day

When a new puppy is brought in the house for the first time, show him around. Don’t let him wander alone because he isn’t familiar with the environment and may get scared or overwhelmed. Explore one room at a time starting with where his food and water are located. This can provide a sense of calm.

 If you already have a dog at home, make sure both dogs are leashed. Don’t be concerned if they don’t get along at first. The original dog may feel insecure, so reassure him with a little more attention. Try not to spoil either dog too much or create habits you will have to break later. The more you socialize both dogs, the less time it will take them to become friendly.

 Training

A puppy is often unsure of collars, leashes and harnesses. It usually takes a few hours for a puppy to adjust to a collar.  Choose a collar that fits comfortably, but securely.  Be sure to check the collar weekly and increase size with growth.  Buckled collars may be best to use as they’re quick and easy.

 Once the puppy accepts the collar, put the leash on for a short time. Let the puppy safely drag it behind him to see what it is. After the puppy seems comfortable with the leash, pick up the handle and just hold it.  Try walking the puppy naturally as soon as they seem ready. Shorter, 4’ leashes work well on growing dogs so you have more control.

 When the puppy is comfortable walking with a leash, a harness is another great option. A “Figure-8” style harness helps prevent puppies and dogs from backing out of their harnesses.

 Enjoy walking a puppy with the dual-connection Walk Right!® Front-Connect Padded Harness. This harness is designed to stop pulling while walking. The front connection guides the puppy by the chest strap and naturally redirects its attention without causing neck strain. Once the puppy is walking right, the optional back connection of the harness can be used.

 Coastal’s Li’l Pals® collection is designed with comfort and style in mind specifically for those precious little puppies or petite dogs. Smaller sizes and extra narrow widths provide just the right fit for petite pals.

 

Winter Bonding Activities for Pets

Winter Bonding Activities for You and Your PupWinteractivities

There’s no denying that it can be “ruff” finding activities to keep your pup active during the winter months.  Despite the cold, wintry weather, it is important that your dog still receives his or her necessary exercise. On days where taking a walk or playing outside is too unbearable, try these indoor bonding activities to keep your dog’s mind and body active.

Hide and Seek

If your dog has a strong nose, this game is the one for you. Hide your dog’s favorite toy or treat somewhere in the house and tell him to “find it.” This is a prime time to teach your pup the “go find” command.

Brain Games

Collect three empty containers in the house (these can be plastic bowls or even coffee canisters) and place your pup’s favorite treat underneath one of the containers. Tell your dog to “go get it” and wait until he finds his treat under the right canister. This is a great way to test your pup’s sniffer and to stimulate his mind.

Tug and Fetch

The traditional tug of war and fetch don’t require too much moving room – and are great ways to keep your dog’s frame strong during the winter months. Just be sure to take down any breakable items that may get in the way during play time.

Clean Up

Channel your dog’s energy with the “clean-up” command. First, place all of your dog’s toys on the ground. Then have your dog pick up a toy and bring it back to your toy bin. Reward your pup with treats at this time and continue until each toy is picked up.

Bubble Chase

It’s true – dogs really do love bubbles! Find animal-friendly bubbles at the store and let ‘em blow once you get to the house. If anything will get a dog to prance around, it’ll be this when he gets the chance to chase and pop them.

Stair Dash 

Throw one of your pup’s ball toys down the stairs and wait for him to bring the toy back up the stairs to you. This is a great way for him to burn calories and stay strong while stuck inside. Get some exercise yourself by running up and down the stairs with your pup.

 

 

Holiday Pet Safety Tips

The holiday season brings decorations, celebrations and travel. There are, however, things to keep in mind to make the holidays a happy and safe time for your pets, too.  With a Holidaysafetyfew holiday pet safety tips, your pets are sure to enjoy the holidays.

The Christmas Tree

Pets, especially cats will eat tinsel, which blocks the digestive system. Skipping the tinsel may be smart while having pets in the house.

If you have a live tree, make sure your pets don’t drink the water. This water can be a source of toxic fertilizer.

One of the most dangerous parts of the Christmas tree is the lights.  They are attractive to pets, and if they chew on them they can get burned, shocked or even start a fire. Make sure to unplug light strands when you are not around to supervise.

Poisonous Plants

Poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and lilies can make pets very ill.  Poinsettias are only mildly poisonous and may cause an upset stomach or rash. Holly can cause vomiting and diarrhea and mistletoe can cause an upset stomach or even seizures.  Lilies are one of the most toxic plants, especially to cats. Just one or two bites can cause kidney failure. Keep these plants out of reach or consider using imitations.

Holiday Treats

Turkey, gravy, dressing and pumpkin pie are delicious, but these fatty, rich foods pose serious health risks to your pet. Too much can lead to pancreatitis. Be sure to tell your guests not to feed your pets.

A good deal of holiday candies and cookies contain chocolate. Some varieties of baking chocolate can be fatal to dogs while others can make them very ill. Cats become very sick after eating chocolate, too.

Make sure garbage cans are out of reach.  Bones and fatty leftovers are tempting to pets and can be a choking hazard.

Traveling with Pets

The season comes with a lot of traveling to see family and friends. If your pet is traveling with you, it’s important to keep them comfortable and safe.

Using pet carriers, safety auto harnesses or boosters are great ways to protect your pets while traveling.

Check out how Coastal’s travel line helps reduce distractions while driving and keeps your pets comfortable while traveling.

 We all want the holidays to be the most wonderful time of the year. Taking the time to follow these holiday pet safety tips will ensure you and your pets have a wonderful holiday season.