Saturday, October 31, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #1

Death by Chocolate--and other lurking pet-poisons
What hazards lurk in the treat basket?
One of the biggest hazards to your pet at Halloween is the treat basket by the door. Chocolate is a major no-no (causes heart and nervous system damage), the artificial sweetener Xylitol is poison to your pet (liver failure hazard), and even that "healthy" box of raisins could cause kidney failure.
Here are the top "Dog DON'Ts"
Cat "DOs" and "DON'Ts"

Keep the human treats for the human trick-or-treaters. Fix your own, or invest in some pet-appropriate treats for you beloved furry companions. 
More appropriate dog treats--recipes available from Cesar's Way.
Petfinder offers recipes for both cats and dogs.
And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

IMAGES: the spilled bucket of Halloween treats photo is from Fabulously Frugal. Many thanks also to Animal General for the great poster of foods that are dangerous for dogs, and to Kara's Critter Care, for the handy "Cat DOs and DON'Ts" chart. Thanks to Cesar's Way for the photo of the bowl of dog treats (along with some homemade treat recipes to try), and to Petfinder for the image of treats for both dogs and cats (plus more recipes).

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #2

Avoid the Lost Pet Apocalypse
One Halloween tradition that can terrorize your pet is the dreaded night-stalking trick-or-treater. Even normally level-headed pets can get weirded out by all the strange, and strange-looking, humans appearing at your door. Cats and dogs are equally at risk for bolting out into the night.
Especially if your pet normally hides from visitors, make sure he or she is in a secure, safe place far from trick-or-treat "invaders."
How can you tell if your dog is afraid? Here are some body-language cues. Watch for them!
Even normally-gregarious creatures can get freaked out by large groups of strangers. It's usually best--both for the pets and for trick-or-treating children who may not be used to animals--if your animals are secured somewhere far from the door on Halloween.
Goes equally for other pets! Halloween night is a particularly bad time for an animal to be lost, because sometimes pranksters can be cruel.
The Top of Ohio Pet Shelter has posted a list of preventive measures you can take to protect your pet before s/he gets lost. Have you done all of these things for your best friend? If not, now's a great time to do them!
You do NOT want your pet portrayed on a wall like this! But make sure you have photos in case s/he does get lost.
#1 Take pictures! 
Think "mug shots," here. Take images from front and side(s), and any identifying marks, tattoos, or other characteristics that could be used to identify your pet on sight. Should the worst happen, you'll be prepared to create posters, post on Facebook, etc.
A microchip can make the difference between losing your pet forever and getting him or her safely back home. 
#2 Microchip your pet!
It's quick, almost painless, and getting less expensive the more people do this. It also is an extremely good way to make sure your pet can be identified.
Yes, it's a "cat scan." Microchipping is safe, and all vets and shelters now routinely scan lost pets for them.
#3 License your Pet 
It's the law in most places, anyway--and another form of identification, should your pet become lost. An ID tag on the collar is another good idea.
"Critterbling" on Etsy offers a cute ID tag--the other side can be engraved.
IMAGES: Many thanks to Pet Cat Health for the photo of the cat in hiding, and to the ASPCA for the quick photo-pictorial on frightened-dog body language. The "Please don't let the Cat out" sign is from Scalawags Online, the pano-shot of the lost-pet posters is from The Humane Society of South Mississippi, the comparison of the dog microchip and the grain of rice is from the My Mini-Doxie website (devoted to Miniature Dachshunds). The "cat scan" photo is courtesy of Vet Co (New Mexico), and the clever "Have your people call my people" ID tag is from Critterbling, on Etsy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #3

Dressed for Terror?
Who isn't a sucker for a creative pet costume? I mean, seriously. If it's fun for people to dress themselves up as whatever their imaginations can devise, it's just as much fun for many of them, to dress up their pets.
I think the verdict is still out for this Italian Greyhound. I know mine would freak out.
Fun for them, not necessarily for their pets. If your pet is a ham at heart--and plenty of them are--then you might want to try some of the ideas in the photos I've been unable to resist, below. But keep scrolling--because not all pets are into this whole "costume" thing.

This "Fluffy" seems to be taking things in stride.
And I'd swear some of these ghost-dogs are smiling.
Nor does this terrier seem particularly terrorized.
Other pets, however, may not be so sanguine about dressing up. Pay attention to their reactions and body language. The cutest idea in the world won't be cute at all, if it turns your loving companion into a freaked-out basket case.

I'm less than sure the E-collar martini-dog is happy about this particular happy hour.
According to the ASPCA, "If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Also, be sure to try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana."

While this Chia-Pet Frenchie is being a good sport, that look says, "Mom, can I take it off now?"
Is there an unwritten law that IGs get afflicted with more costumes? I'm not sure Sniffer is thrilled.
I couldn't find as many costumed cats as dogs (big surprise), but while we're on a Tootsie-Roll theme . . .
Another thing to consider is the choking hazard that may be posed by some costumes. The ASPCA advises, "make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury." 

After all, it's no treat if your pet feels he's been trapped in a cruel trick, or if she is injured by an ill-conceived costume. Let's keep Halloween fun and safe for all!

IMAGES: many thanks to Funny Image Collection, for the “Tootsie Roll Pup,” “Fluffy and Harry,” and “Ghost Dog Lineup” photos, and to Romp Rescue for the "Star Wars At-At," "Terrier Package," "Martini E-Collar" and "Chia Pet" photos. The "Tootsie-Roll Cats" photo is from the IGN "Kitties" thread.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #4

Fireproof?
Nearly every creative person I know loves to decorate for Halloween, and one of the most popular decorations is a carved Jack-o-Lantern. Even if we aren't sculptors most of the time, there's something about pumpkin-carving that can stimulate creative juices.
A friend of mine used to have a pumpkin-carving party every year--but it wasn't this big! Wow!
For many of us, there's nothing better than a genuine, burning candle to make old Jack glow at his spookiest, whether he's channeling Batman, lighting up a mini-pumpkin, or otherwise haunting the premises.


But pet-owners, beware! Especially if you own cats (black or other colors).

According to the ASPCA, curious kittens are at particular risk of "getting burned or singed by candle flames," or knocking over pumpkins and starting fires.

We also know how the "cat-in-box" syndrome might sometimes become cat-in-pumpkin, with a potential for things to get knocked off, or for cat-and-all to fall from a table or porch railing to a hard surface below.



In the name of kittens everywhere, please decorate with care, and keep an eye on fierce baby paws!


Yes, I am shamelessly exploiting this opportunity to post cute kitten pictures.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Nassau Happening, for the photo of all the lighted Jack-o-lanterns in a big group. The candles-in-pumpkins images are from Movie Chronicles (Batman) and Instructables (mini-pumpkin). The kittens in the pumpkins are from IGN's "Kitties" thread (single kitten) and Pixdaus (two kittens). Finally, the totally gratuitous "Deadly Predators" fierce kittens pic is from W Files Subreddit.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety #5

Wired for Safety?
Decorating for Halloween! Many of my creative friends love this time of year. The decorations can be so colorful, so fanciful, so atmospheric!
Paper Jack-o-Lantern lights for a spooky lighting effect.
I think every year there are more fun lighting options available. For just a little bit of money, you can string up spooky Jack-o-Lanterns, skulls, or other colorful glow-in-the-dark decorations, both indoors and outside.
DIY "eyeball" lights.
But as fun as the lights may be, it pays to remember all the members of your family and household. New kitten? New puppy? Pet gerbils or bunnies? Strings of lights and electrical cords can be too much temptation for some!




Bunny was here! Ouch!
Spooky can be fun! But all the fun goes away if the decorations turn deadly. 

Please take wise precautions!

For the ASPCA's list of Halloween pet safety tips, please see their Halloween Safety page. Please check some of the hyperlinks given in the image credits for other excellent resources:

IMAGES: the photo of the paper Jack-o-Lanterns is from Ideal Home & Garden's Holiday Decorations page. The DIY string of "eyeball" lights is from Landeelu--see the page for full DIY instructions. Many thanks to Canidae for the lolcats-style Corgi (check the page for techniques to keep pets from chewing power cords), to Way of Cats for the "chewin' wires" pic (see that page for kitty-safety tips), and to Bunnyproof for the image of the rabbit-chewed power cord (and ways to keep pet rabbits safe).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Artdog Photo of Interest: Are you ready for Halloween?

Decorations are important.

So is timing, when you're taking pictures of animals interacting with them!


I could not find information on which zoo's meerkats were playing with the carved pumpkin, but I thought you'd enjoy the resulting photo.

Might help get you in the mood for the season!

IMAGE: Many thanks to the Dream Home Design blog for this image.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Artdog Photo of Interest: K9 Needs Backup!

Sometimes it's just too much . . .


This is a wonderful photo. I've also seen it captioned "Who forgot to feed the cat???" What other accompanying messages could you suggest?

IMAGE: Many thanks for this particular photo/message combination, to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Facebook page

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Voice Actor Tribute: Elizabeth Pena

Voices touch our lives in ways we may not even realize. For many of my friends, this is one of the voices of their childhood.
Gone a year. Still not forgotten.

IMAGE CREDIT: Many thanks to Sheila M. Gagne for this tribute collage. See more of her work on her Facebook Page. Thanks also to Ty's Shufflings, for alerting me to this material.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Artdog Image of Interest:Faith in Humanity--and in Police

I used to tell my students, "I did not go into teaching so I could oppress students!" (Although some of them acted as if they thought I was only there to make their lives onerous).

Likewise, in my experience, people don't normally go into police work so they can oppress, beat up, racially profile, or kill others. They go into that line of work to help people. Indeed, for many it is a calling to community service.


The next time you read or hear a story about officers who fell short of the ideal--remind yourself that most are not like that.

IMAGE: Many thanks to the K9s4Cops Facebook page, for this image. To learn more about K9s4Cops and its mission, please go to their website.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Artdog Photo of Interest: The Neighborhood Watch

We get by with a little help from the terrier . . .

IMAGE: Many thanks to the K9s4Cops Facebook Page, for this image. For more information about this organization's work, go to the K9s4Cops website.