14 Ways to Show Your Dog Love This Valentine’s Day

valentines pug

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. TOMORROW!! Are you ready?!

Forget the flowers; forget the chocolates; forget the fancy dinner reservations. If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got the perfect Valentine and, best of all, he doesn’t care about any of that stuff. As long as he has your love, he has all that he needs. Here are 14 ways to show your dog just how much you love them this Valentine’s Day, or any day, for that matter:

  1. Bake them homemade treats: what dog doesn’t love treats?! Have you ever considered making your own dog treats? It’s simple and cost-effective to do and you have absolute control over what ingredients end up (and don’t end up) in them. Here’s one of our favorite recipes and the internet is full of tons of others that your pooch will be sure to love.
  2. Take them out exploring: there is so much to see and do in our city! Don’t let the cold weather hold you back. Bundle up and head out for an adventure! Check out this post from our blog archives, which talks about five super cool places in Philly to explore with your pooch.
  3. Brush their teeth: even if they hate it. It’s one of the best things you can do for their health. Most pets end up with dental disease at some point in their life, but by getting them on a regular dental routine, which includes brushing at home, you can add up to two years onto their life expectancy!
  4. Set up a photo shoot: our pets don’t live long enough — that’s their only downfall, I think — so be sure to capture the moments you’ll want to remember forever. Set up an impromptu photo shoot with your pet. It can be staged, or candid, but should capture your pet’s true personality and interests.
  5. Make a paw print casting: this is another easy and fun way to make a memory that will last a lifetime. You can buy a kit online or from most craft stores, but it’s simple enough to make your own using a basic salt dough recipe.
  6. Challenge their mind: dogs are among the smartest animals in the animal kingdom. Keep their minds sharp with new training routines or brain games to make them think a little harder than usual.
  7. Have a play date: does your dog have a best bud? Invite him over for some fun!
  8. Go to a dog park: a trip to the dog park is a great way for Fido to burn off some extra energy and help him work on his social skills. We should also mention that dog parks are great places to meet other dog-loving folks, too. Who knows… maybe you will meet next year’s Valentine there!!!
  9. Make them a new toy: play is such an important component to a dog’s life and they should have access to a few fun toys to keep them entertained. Toys don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, though. In fact, you can even DIY toys out of stuff you probably already have laying around your house. Your dog will love them just as much as any fancy and expensive toy from the pet store.
  10. Give them your undivided attention: your time is the most precious gift you can give anyone and your dog would love to have your undivided attention for a few hours. Put down the phone, turn off the TV and do whatever your dog wants to do, whether that be a good snuggle on the couch or a fun game of fetch in the yard.
  11. Groom them: it’s a good idea to get your hands on your dog as often as you can to check them over for lumps, bumps, bruises, scratches or irritations and grooming time is a great opportunity to do so. Learn what their normals are so you can recognize a problem as soon as it arises. And what dog doesn’t love a good brushing?!
  12. Make an emergency plan: this one may not be fun, but it’s so, so important! An emergency can strike at any time, and if you’re not prepared, it can mean the difference between life and death for your pet. Check out RedRover.org for tips for creating an emergency plan that’s right for you and your pets.
  13. Update their ID: the only jewelry your pet needs is a reliable ID tag. If they were ever to become lost, it’s their best chance of finding their way safely back to you. If they don’t have an ID tag, get them one. If theirs is hard to read, get them a new one. If your information has changed, update their ID. If your pet is microchipped, don’t forget to check your contact information for accuracy. ID and microchips only work when the information they contain is accurate!
  14. Make a donation in their name: of course you love your dog, but so many other wonderful animals are not fortunate enough to know what love feels like. For those who are still waiting for their forever homes, shelters and rescues may be their only chance, and those organizations can only operate if they have adequate funding. Consider making a donation in your pet’s name and help another deserving dog get his chance.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone! Enjoy your time with your four-legged loves!!!

Gifts that Give Back

dog gift

The holiday rush is here! As you’re trimming the tree, decking the halls, fa-la-la-ing and shopping ’til you drop, keep in mind that it’s not only the season of giving, but of giving back, as well. If you’ve got some animal-lovers on your shopping list, are on the lookout for something exciting for your own pets, or maybe want to treat yourself to something new, check out the awesome companies below. They offer wonderful products for both humans and animals and each gives back to animals in need.

  • Rescue Chocolate: Seriously — who doesn’t love chocolate!? Rescue Chocolate offers an array of delectable chocolate confections (With adorable names, we might add!) and gives back 100% of its profits to animal rescues around the country. Rescue Chocolate products are available online and at select retailers. All products are vegan, kosher, organic and made with fair-trade ingredients.
  • Dog for Dog: This company, specializing in all-natural food and treats for dogs, operates on a “one-for-one” business model. You buy one, they give one. They are available online, as well as at many retail locations throughout the country. Buy your dog a treat or two for his stocking and know that your purchase is providing the same for another dog in need.
  • The Animal Rescue Site: This is a one-stop shop for all the animal-lovers on your shopping list. Here, you’ll find everything from jewelry and apparel to home decor and trinkets. A portion of sales and 100% of the site’s sponsor advertising fees are donated to programs that help homeless animals.
  • BarkBox: If you really want to spoil your dog this holiday, sign her up for a BarkBox subscription! Each month, she’ll receive a box full of goodies to keep her happy and entertained. The best part? BarkBox is all about giving back. They give a portion of their proceeds to animal charities and donate more than 1,000 BarkBoxes each year.
  • ASPCA Store: The online store of the ASPCA, one of the oldest animal-welfare organizations in the country, offers something for everyone — whether they’re four legged or two-legged. Proceeds from sales go to fund their life-saving programs.
  • Be Pawsitive: Like Dog for Dog, Be Pawsitive also operates on a one-for-one platform. They offer yummy treats for dogs and have an option for monthly subscriptions and when you buy from them, they donate product to animal shelters and rescues across the country. All treats are organic and wheat-free.
  • Thrift for Tails: Located right here in Philadelphia, Thrift for Tails is a pet-specific thrift shop, run by Street Tails Animal Rescue, which funnels all profits back into the rescue. Pick up some gently-used stuff for your pet this holiday at a nice discount and help animals at the same time! We love this concept!! The shop is always looking for donations of gently-used pet items, so if you have some stuff you’d like to get rid of, contact Thrift for Tails to find out how to donate.

Have we sparked your interest at all? Maybe given you some gift ideas for your pets or animal-lovers on your shopping list? We sure hope we have! Now… Go do some shopping! It’s for a good cause! 🙂

All of us here at Philly Pet Care wish you, your families and your pets a very happy and healthy holiday season!!

Things to Think About Before Giving Thanks

dog turkey

Thanksgiving is next week! Eeek! Where has this year gone?! Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays and I don’t think we’re alone on that sentiment. Feasting, family, friends and fun — what’s not to love about it?!

As you are preparing to gather and give thanks, keep your pets in mind, as well. During this time of year, it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but taking a few moments, now, to ensure your pets’ safety and well-being during Thanksgiving, will allow both you and your pets to enjoy the holiday to the fullest.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

ID: Be sure your pet is wearing proper identification, whether your pet is traveling with you over the holiday, or if he/she is staying home. With all the comings and goings during this time of year, it’s easy for Fido or Fluffy to slip out the door and even if they’re microchipped, an ID tag will up the chances of a timely reunion if they were to go missing.

Travel: If you’ll be bringing your pets along to friends’ or relatives’ homes for Thanksgiving, make sure your pet is traveling safely. If you’ll be driving, keep your pet confined to a travel crate or use a seatbelt-type restraint. It’s safer for both you and them. If flying or taking a train, be sure to follow all guidelines set forth by the airline or rail line and take a look at this post from the Humane Society of the United States for important information about the risks associated with pet travel.

Table scraps: Of course, most of us want to include our pets in our Thanksgiving feasting, but it’s not the best idea. Certain foods can cause a very painful and potentially serious condition called pancreatitis and some foods are downright toxic to pets. Small amounts of foods like plain veggies or rice are okay to feed as a special holiday snack, but be sure not to overdo it! No one wants upset tummies on Thanksgiving night! Below are two handy charts which give ideas about what foods are and are not okay for your pets to snack on:

Thanksgiving-Foods-That-Are-Dangerous-to-Dogs-and-Cats-Learn-More-at-IrresistiblePets.com_1    

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Garbage: Just because you don’t feed it to your pet doesn’t mean he or she won’t try to get it themselves. A trashcan full of bits of Thanksgiving goodness can be irresistible to a dog or cat. Aside from food scraps they shouldn’t be eating, garbage such as tin foil, strings, and packaging can pose dangers to pets who may raid the trashcan in search of a snack. Be sure to keep trashcans and full trash bags secured away from where pets can reach them.

Plants and decorations: Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas season. If you’ll be decorating next weekend, keep in mind that certain plants, including pointsettia, holly and mistletoe can be harmful to your pets. Opt for pet-safe plants, or artificial ones, instead. Also, if your holiday table or decorating will include candles, be sure to keep them clear of curious pets’ reach.

If your pets won’t be taking part in Thanksgiving festivities this year, make sure to enlist the help of a trusted friend or relative to check in on them while you’re gone. Better yet, hire a professional! Our spots are filling up fast, so if you’ll need pet care services from us over the holiday, contact us as soon as possible to see if we can accommodate you.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Pet Costumes

halloween dog

Halloween is just a few days away… Have you picked out your costume yet? How about for your kids? And don’t forget the pets! Whether you’re planning on bringing your pooch along for Trick-or-Treating, entering him in a costume contest, or just want to celebrate at home on Halloween night, it’s easy and fun to include your pet in the festivities.

If you need a costume for your four-legged pal, but are having a hard time coming up with ideas, check out these tips to help you decide on the perfect one!

Stick with a theme

If your kids are being superheroes, let the dog be one, too! Everyone knows a superhero needs a super-dog sidekick! Just about every theme you could imagine can include a canine member or two.

Play up a unique trait

Maybe your dog has a ton of brown, shaggy fur. He’d make an awesome Ewok. Or, maybe she has only one eye. A perfect pirate. Maybe he’s white and a little pudgy. Turn him into a marshmallow! Play up what’s already there.

Give DIY a try

If the thought of making a costume for your dog makes you shudder, don’t let it. It’s not as hard as you may think. Check out some DIY tutorials for an inexpensive option. DIYing is the way to go for last-minute costumes.

Throw in some wit

Think outside the box a little for a humorous twist. Poop factory, anyone? Or, maybe you can dress up your dog’s back end, instead. Heck, he doesn’t even need a costume at all! Tap into that creative side for a one-of-a-kind costume.

Keep it simple

If you’re stuck for ideas, stop thinking so hard. Raid the kids’ dress-up box or even your own closet for inspiration. Put a cowboy hat on your pooch and tie a bandana around his neck or wrap a feather boa around her and throw on a strand of faux pearls. Voila —  instant cowboy or glam girl!

Hit the internet

If all else fails, hit the internet for inspiration! Type  “dog costume ideas” into a search engine and get lost in the results. You’re bound to find something that catches your eye! Here are some of the coolest ideas we found:

Play it safe

Whatever costume you decide on for your dog, please remember to keep their safety your number one priority! Costumes should not obstruct their sight or ability to walk, eat and drink normally. Be sure to keep small parts or anything they could chew off away from their mouths and remember, no candy for Fido!!!

Happy Halloween, everyone!!

 

 

Autumn Pet Safety

pup in leaves

Ah, autumn! This time of the year brings beautiful, changing leaves, cool, crisp weather, ghouls and goblins, pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns… and a whole host of safety concerns for your pets. As you enjoy this beautiful and festive season, keep your pets happy and safe with these important tips and reminders.

Antifreeze: During these cooler months, many car owners fill up on antifreeze, which is highly toxic to pets. The sweet aroma of this poison is irresistibly attractive to pets and it only takes a very small amount to have fatal consequences. Be sure that antifreeze containers are tightly sealed are stored far from your pet’s reach. If you spill any antifreeze, clean it up immediately and completely and always have an animal poison control number stored in your phone and displayed somewhere in your home at all times, as well, just in case.

Mushrooms: Fall and spring are the heights of mushroom season and while most species of fungi are harmless to curious pets who may try to sneak a bite, some are highly toxic and even fatal. Remove mushrooms from your yard and be sure to closely monitor Fido on walks to make sure he doesn’t ingest any mushrooms. Call animal poison control immediately if you think your pet may have eaten a mushroom.

Rodenticides: Rodenticides present another highly toxic threat to pets, especially during this time of year. As rodents move into homes to find warmth during cold months, skip the rodenticides for a pet-friendly alternative or consider adopting a cat or two — they make great companions and serve as excellent rodent-control!

Decorations: While you’re busy turning your home into a fantastic fall wonderland or a spooky haunted house, always keep your pets and their safety in mind. Keep objects that they could chew on or that could pose a choking hazard far from their reach. Jack-o-Lanterns should be kept away from curious pets who may be inclined to investigate further. If your decorating plans include bringing plants into your home, remember that many varieties of plants are toxic to pets.

Parties & Gatherings: During parties and get-togethers this season (and in every season!), it’s perfectly okay to let your pets join in the fun, just make sure to take a few extra measures to keep them safe. Ensure that they’re wearing ID at all times and keep doors, gates, and any other means of escape closed at all times. Keep food and decorations out of their way and be sure to relay your safety concerns to all of your guests, as well.

Halloween night: If you’re hosting a party, make sure to follow the guidelines above, but with the addition of Trick-or-Treating thrown into the mix, be sure to keep your pets on a leash, crated or confined to a separate room while you are loading up the kids’ treat bags to keep Fido from getting too spooked or excited and making a run for it out the door. Also, be sure to keep any candy that you receive out of his reach, especially chocolate and gum!

Halloween costumes: If you’re planning on dressing up your pet, make sure to keep their safety just as important as the wow factor. Be sure that costumes fit properly and aren’t too tight on them or inhibit their ability to walk or move properly. Keep costume components away from their mouths and eyes and make sure they’re supervised at all times while wearing their costume. Immediately remove the costume if they begin to chew at its parts or if they seem overly stressed or bothered because of it.

Enjoy this wonderful time of year, everyone, and keep those pets safe!