5 Ways Pets Make Life Happier and Healthier

People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t.

(Family Features) More than 84 million U.S. homes have a pet, according to the National Pet Owners Survey, and in many of those homes, pets are a big part of the family. However, there are several barriers that can prevent people from spending time with their furry friends, including outdated housing rules and limited green space in communities.

To help create a more pet-friendly world, Mars Petcare introduced the “BETTER CITY FOR PETS” certification, as an extension of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS program. The certification celebrates cities that have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly by evaluating them across four categories: shelters, homes, parks and businesses.

“The presence of pets can help make people healthier – both physically and mentally,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “We hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”

Consider these benefits of pets, along with research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition that shows a number of ways pets make people and communities happier and healthier, and visit BetterCitiesForPets.com to learn more and to find out how to help make your city more pet-friendly.

  1. Ease Kids’ Minds – Pets are beneficial to people of all ages, but especially young children. Kids with pets tend to have less anxiety and loneliness, as well as greater self-esteem and social skills. Kids have also reported feeling more positive when completing a task if their dog is with them.

  1. Provide Stress Relief – As people get older, pets continue to be there for them. Even in the face of significant stressors – such as the loss of a loved one – pets are by their owners’ sides to help them through times of grief.

  1. Offer Therapy in Times of Need – Disasters can take many forms, and people need ways to cope and make sense of it all. That’s where the healing power of pets comes in. After tragedies, communities have brought in therapy pets to be a source of healing for people coping with hardships.

  1. Encourage Socialization for Pets and Owners – Pets help people connect. In fact, dog owners are five times more likely to know their neighbors than non-dog owners. While dogs socialize with people and other furry friends at the dog park, their owners have a chance to build relationships with other local dog owners. People also tend to feel safer in their neighborhood when walking their dog.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Encourage Owners to Be Active – People who walk their dog tend to get more physical activity more days a week than those who don’t. Pet ownership can even make a difference in the survival rate for heart attacks. In a Waltham study, 94 percent of heart patients with pets survived serious heart attacks for at least a year, compared to 72 percent without pets.

Mars Petcare

Help Pets Ward Off Winter Risks

Limit walks in extreme cold weather and monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of stress or discomfort…..

(Family Features) When temperatures drop, humans know to bundle up and avoid excess time outdoors. The same approach should be taken when it comes to pets. They may be covered by cozy fur coats, but not all of those coats are created equally.

“Hypothermia is a real danger for pets in the wintertime, and despite pets’ natural fur coats, it doesn’t take long for hypothermia to set in and cause serious problems,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert.

Freeman recommends keeping an eye out for the initial signs of hypothermia, such as skin that’s cold to the touch, pale skin and gums, intense shivering and lethargy. In addition, she offers these tips to help protect your pet from a blustery winter:

Outdoor access: Limit walks in extreme cold weather and monitor your pet’s behavior for signs of stress or discomfort. Never leave a pet outside during a winter storm. Do not let your dog off its leash after snowfall. Snow masks familiar scents and your pet may become lost and disoriented.

Chemical hazards: Snow-melting products like deicers, antifreeze and salt can cause skin irritations and, if ingested, can be fatal. If you live in an area where these products are used, it’s important to thoroughly rinse your pet’s paws and belly after a walk.

Adding extra layers: If your pet is small and short-haired, he or she is likely sensitive to the cold. The same goes for older pets and those that may be frail or ill. You can’t take your pet’s temperature by touching its nose, but a shivering body means he or she needs a sweater. Larger and long-haired pets can usually tolerate cold weather for longer periods of time, and even though you might bundle up, your pet has a long, thick coat prepared for long winter walks. Just remember paws get cold and sharp objects may be hiding under the powder – consider putting booties on your pet’s paws for added comfort.

Skin-saving solutions: Many pets get dry skin during the winter season. When they do need a bath, try using a pet-friendly moisturizing shampoo to help keep their skin healthy and pH-balanced.

In addition, a pet emergency preparedness kit should be packed and contain the supplies needed to help keep your pet fed, warm and secure in the event of emergency conditions such as blizzards and extreme cold weather. Items like a sweater, insulated vest, paw booties or wax, pet-safe ice melt and a heated bed or pad can all help head off risks associated with cold weather.

Emergencies can also create circumstances for pets to become separated from their families. In addition to ensuring your pet is wearing a tag with your cell phone number along with microchipping and registering him or her with current contact information, also tuck a copy of your pet’s vaccination and medical records, veterinary contact information and a current photo of your pet in your emergency kit.

Keeping your pet well-fed through an emergency also requires advanced planning. Store a one-week supply of food in a waterproof container, along with bottled water, portable bowls, a manual can opener (if your pet eats canned food) and a list of feeding routines and behavioral considerations in case someone else must take over care.

Also be sure to gather any other care items your pet may require, such as puppy pads, waste bags, litter box supplies and calming spray.

Find more advice for keeping your pet safe this winter at PetSmart.com.


4 Ways to Show Your Pets You’re Thankful for Them

If you have a high-energy dog or a curious cat, it’s important to make playtime a priority.

(Family Features) Pets can be morning jog partners and movie night snuggle buddies, but they often do much more than that: they can help make their owners healthier both physically and mentally. Research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that having a pet reduces the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, as well as stress, depression and fear. While you should show your pets you’re thankful for them all year round, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reassess and make sure your pets are feeling the love, in return for everything they do for you.

To help create a world where there are more healthy, happy pets and more places where pets are welcome, the experts at Mars Petcare created the Better Cities for Pets™ program, an initiative that offers tools to help cities become more pet-friendly, such as developing enough green spaces for pets to explore. This, in turn, creates more opportunities and places for people to spend time with their pets and shower them with love.

This holiday season, consider these four ways to show how thankful you are for your pet. Learn more about how to make the lives of pets happier and healthier at bettercitiesforpets.com.

  1. Spend an entire day together. Giving your undivided attention to your four-legged friend is one way to show how much you care, and exploring the neighborhood is an easy place to start. Round out your day with lunch on a patio and fetch in the park, and your pup will be wagging its tail all day long.

  1. Stay engaged with new toys. If you have a high-energy dog or a curious cat, it’s important to make playtime a priority. Furry felines are always on the prowl, so thank them for their constant companionship with stuffed mice or a climbing post. For your pups, show them your love with squeaky balls and rope toys. Playing with your pets shows you’re an engaged pet parent, and it’s also a way for them to get some exercise, both physically and mentally.

  1. Treat with a treat. Reward your pets for their endless cuddles with an extra treat every now and then, such as GREENIES™ Dental Treats. They help clean teeth and gums, and freshen breath, making it easier to give your furry friends loving snuggles without bad breath getting in the way.

  1. Keep health top of mind. It’s typically necessary for pet owners to be proactive when it comes to their four-legged best friends. Catching diseases early can help increase the number of treatment options available, which is especially true for kidney and heart disease. Other forms of preventative care, such as staying up-to-date on shots and routinely seeing the veterinarian, shows your pet you want them to be around for years to come.

Mars Petcare

Bring a Pet Home for the Holidays

The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys…..

(Family Features) The holiday season – and the lead-up to it – is a popular time to bring home a new puppy or kitten.

Consider these tips from the pet experts at PetSmart Charities to help make your new pet’s adjustment to its forever home merry and bright.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Know that pet parenting is a lifetime commitment. That oh-so-sweet puppy or kitten stage only lasts so long, so be sure that you’re prepared to give a lifetime of loving care. Nurturing the bond, you create during the early months can create a foundation for lifelong companionship.

Consider adoption first. There are literally thousands of animals of all breeds and ages looking for loving homes. Consider adopting a pet that needs a home from a local shelter or adoption event.

“When you consider an option like adoption, you can make sure one less dog or cat is spending the holiday season in a shelter while also providing the gift of unconditional love to a furry friend in need,” said David Haworth, DVM, Ph.D., president of PetSmart Charities, which helps find forever homes and families for more than 500,000 shelter pets each year. “As a way to make adoption more accessible, we work with local adoption partners to host regular adoption events at the Every Day Adoption Centers in nearly every PetSmart store nationwide.”

Select an appropriate pet. Integrating a pet into your household, especially for a first-time pet owner, can take some work. It’s important to consider factors like how often you travel, whether your work schedule will allow a visit home during the day for a potty-training puppy and if you’re willing to provide necessary care, such as daily brushing for a long-haired animal. Also consider whether you truly want a puppy or a kitten; an adult pet offers numerous benefits, such as potentially being house-trained already and more resilient for play with small kids.

Be realistic about the big reveal. Picturesque as it may be, the classic image of a puppy or kitten making a surprise leap from a box under the tree isn’t always as simple as it may appear, especially if kids are involved. Start by setting expectations with children so they don’t startle their new pet with a burst of excitement that can be scary for a small animal. Rather than putting the pet in a box, for an easier solution consider bringing the pet home before the excitement of the big day, and instead wrapping up supplies like a leash and feeding bowl to place under the tree and putting a festive collar on the new pet.

Prepare for pet parenting. The sweet kisses and cuddles are fun, but a new pet requires some preparation. Stock up on items like age-appropriate food and toys. Look into training classes and find a veterinarian you trust for regular checkups. Also take time to pet-proof your home, removing items that may pose a health threat or create temptations for undesirable behaviors.

Find more advice on introducing a new pet to your home this holiday season and locate an Every Day Adoption Center near you at petsmartcharities.org .

PetSmart Charities

4 Tips to Prepare Your Pup for Winter

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season……….

(Family Features) When winter approaches, it brings a number of distractions and factors that tend to keep people from getting outside and staying active. From holiday parties and vacations to bad weather, it’s important to keep health and exercise top of mind throughout the busy season. This is especially important for your furry friends since they depend on their owners to keep them healthy and active.

Help keep your dog happy and healthy throughout the holiday season with these tips, and for more information on healthy habits for your dog, visit IAMS.com.

  1. Keep Table Food on the Table – With colder weather comes heavier, heartier food. While you may be tempted to share some of your delicious dinner or toss your pup some party snacks, these rich foods can lead to digestive issues for your dog. If you want to treat your dog, try mixing a bit of wet food into his dry kibble for a savory surprise.

  1. Feed the Right Food – An important step in keeping a pet healthy is to establish and maintain proper nutrition habits, starting with selecting the right type of food. You’ll want to look for a pet food that includes high-quality ingredients, such as IAMS™ dog food, which also offers quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals to help dogs stay healthy and active during the colder months. The brand also offers breed specific dry dog food recipes, customized to meet the unique needs of six of the most popular dog breeds.

  1. Bundle Up – It may be too cold to enjoy an entire afternoon outside, but don’t forget, your dog has a fur coat and needs to stay active and expel energy all year round. Make sure you have the proper winter gear for you and your pup. Depending on your dog’s needs, consider protective gear for winter, such as a coat to keep him warm or booties for his feet to prevent salt on the ground from irritating his paws.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Stock Up on Toys – Some days, heading outside into winter weather just doesn’t happen. Whether it’s snowing, sleeting or just too cold, safety should come first. However, your dog will still have energy to release, so keep a variety of toys on-hand to keep him busy and active. Toss around a ball for a short-range game of fetch or play some tug-of-war with one of his favorite toys.


How to Choose the Right Food for Your Dog

Pet parents typically want to provide a well-balanced diet, made from quality ingredients……

(Family Features) When it comes to selecting the right food for their dogs, people often agonize about choosing among a myriad of options. Given that 95 percent of pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family, according to a Nielsen survey on The Humanization of Pet Food, pet parents typically want to provide a well-balanced diet, made from quality ingredients.

Whether looking to introduce variety into a pet’s diet or address a problem, such as a food sensitivity or weight issue, the right pet food can nurture pets and address health issues.

“There are so many well-formulated dog foods to choose from today,” said Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, senior nutritionist, Petcurean. “Like humans, all animals are unique, so it just takes a little patience and persistence to find the recipe that is best for each pet.”

Keep these tips in mind when evaluating what might be best for your pup:

Look at the ingredients
High-quality, whole-food ingredients like fresh meats, fruits, vegetables and grains provide the essential nutrients your dog requires. They are also a source of other important dietary components such as antioxidants and plant-based nutrients to support optimal health.

Select a protein source
For dogs with food sensitivities, selecting a protein source can be tricky. If you suspect a food sensitivity, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. You’ll also need to begin testing alternative food options to identify a formula your dog can tolerate. If you are not sure which proteins your dog is sensitive to, try something more obscure, such as duck or pollock.

A limited-ingredient diet may also be beneficial to lessen the chance of an adverse food reaction. These diets usually contain a single-source, novel protein and have a limited number of ingredients, which decreases the odds of your pup eating something that doesn’t agree with his or her stomach.

Consider activity level and weight
You may need to choose a food that is designed to meet specific needs. For example, an overweight dog may need a food with fewer calories. With a calorie-reduced food, you may be able to feed the same volume, but your dog will take in fewer calories. Alternatively, high-energy and active dogs may require food higher in fat and carbohydrates.

Look for healthy fats
Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can provide health benefits in dogs. The omega-3 content of a food can sometimes be found in the guaranteed analysis on the packaging. Some examples of ingredients that contain omega-3 fatty acids are salmon oil, flax oil and canola oil. A good guideline is to look for foods that contain an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio between 5:1-10:1.

Think about rotational feeding
You also may want to consider a rotational diet, which can allow your pet to experience different flavors and textures and discourage picky eating. This approach also encourages varied proteins and food forms.

For those looking to change things up for their pet without making a full switch, there are also creative ways to add variety to your pet’s diet, such as adding wet food, mixers or toppers. Consider an option like GO! Solutions Meal Mixers, which feature freeze-dried, functional ingredients including single-source primary proteins and whole fruits and veggies. Available in four recipes that address different dietary needs, the mixers can be incorporated into dry kibble, stews or pates or served as a snack to add a boost of concentrated nutrition.

Find additional help choosing the right food for your dog’s dietary needs at PetcureanGo.com.


BVHS Weekend Column: The Benefits of Pet Therapy

Petting or playing with animals can reduce stress levels and increase happiness in patients……

The Benefits of Pet Therapy

by Healther Schalk, Volunteer Coordinator, Blanchard Valley Hospital Auxiliary

Many of us consider our pets as family members. They are usually loving creatures who are great at lending an ear and keeping us company. But pets offer more benefits to our health than simply being good companions. Pets that are trained to be therapy animals have been scientifically proven to provide physical and mental benefits to owners and patients.

Pet therapy is the umbrella term used to describe animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy helps people cope with both mental and physical health problems, such as anxiety or cancer. Animal-assisted activities are more general, such as when animals comfort patients in a hospital as they receive treatment. While most people immediately think of dogs as the animals involved in pet therapy, almost any kind of tame, friendly animal can be used for pet therapy.

Petting or playing with animals can reduce stress levels and increase happiness in patients. This is because these actions cause endorphins to release in patients’ brains, helping them relax. As a result, relaxation can contribute to physical health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, decreased pain and increased cardiovascular health. For patients in need of physical therapy, the act of throwing a toy or simply playing with a therapy animal can increase joint movement, improve motor skill functions and produce a faster recovery time. Additionally, the presence of a therapy animal during physical therapy has been proven to increase motivation in patients, helping them improve on physical tasks.

Patients may also receive mental health benefits from engaging with therapy animals. Pet therapy can reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation, encourage communication and socialization skills, and provide comfort during stressful times, such as during cancer treatment or after the loss of a loved one. Additionally, depression and anxiety levels usually decrease in patients who receive pet therapy. This is one reason therapy animal visits to college campuses have been increasing in popularity: the presence of therapy animals reduces student stress and anxiety and increases happiness. Pet therapy can be beneficial virtually anywhere including schools, hospitals and even the workplace.

Children are particularly receptive to pet therapy and may receive the greatest benefit. Simply having an animal in the room during a therapy session can make children more likely to open up and communicate to a therapist. Therapy animals help reduce stress and promote relaxation in children during doctor visits, making it easier for providers to examine or treat children. Additionally, children with speech or literacy impediments may increase their skills if a therapy animal is present during practice.

While this treatment is great for children, pet therapy is beneficial for people of all ages. No matter what condition an individual is facing, engaging with a therapy animal can increase both mental and physical health. Ask your provider how to incorporate pet therapy into your life.


4 Benefits of Pet Adoption

Many adoptable animals are already spayed or neutered and up-to-date on their shots, meaning you won’t need to make a large up-front investment.

(Family Features) Pets have an incomparable ability to improve owners’ lives in a number of ways, so it’s only right that pet parents do the same for them. That’s why, if you’re considering adding a pet to the family, adoption can be a great choice.

Through pet adoption, you can not only help save dogs and cats from homelessness, but also have the opportunity to experience a lifetime of laughs, snuggles and memories. To unite pet owners with their new furry best friends this year, Mars Petcare celebrated its 10th annual adoption weekend, furthering the Mars Petcare purpose of A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS™.

Consider these benefits of pet adoption and learn more at bettercitiesforpets.com.

  1. Gain a New Best Friend – When you adopt a pet, you also gain a friend to accompany you on life’s adventures, a family member to share life’s sweetest moments and a therapist to listen when you need an ear. Whether it’s a dog, a cat or one of the many other types of four-legged friends, pets are the perfect sidekicks for activities like walks around the park or cozy cuddle sessions in front of the TV. They also offer comfort and unconditional love during life’s happy moments and challenges.

  1. Find the Right Companion for You – Shelter staff are often familiar with the animals, their personalities and their needs, which allows them to accurately match you with a furry family member that’s compatible with your lifestyle. In addition, many adoptable animals are already spayed or neutered and up-to-date on their shots, meaning you won’t need to make a large up-front investment. There are also several programs and events that cover adoption fees throughout the year. For example, the Mars Petcare BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program holds an annual adoption weekend each August, working with local shelters to cover adoption costs. However, it’s important to remember the necessary daily care costs – as well as the unexpected ones – that come with owning a pet. While costs may be lower when you adopt, pet parents still need to invest time and training in their adopted pets to make sure they are getting the love and attention they need.

Photos courtesy of Fotolia

  1. Rescue an Animal – More than 8 million pets end up in shelters nationwide each year, a majority of which are ready to be loving pets or can be ready with veterinary or behavioral care. Through pet adoption, you not only gain a new family member, you can feel the joy of knowing you gave a pet in need a loving forever home.

  1. Build a Strong Community – Pets are not only great companions for playing around in the yard, they also offer adoptive families a sense of community. Research from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition found that pet owners report stronger social connections in their neighborhoods than non-pet owners and experience social benefits such as friendliness, helpfulness and trust between neighbors. Adopting a pet can also provide motivation that pushes you to get out of the house and increase your daily activity.


Mars Petcare

Prepare Pets for Better Grooming Visits

Grooming is more than an attractive hairdo; every breed, regardless of size, age or coat type, needs regular grooming for overall wellbeing…….

(Family Features) While a haircut is often the first thing that comes to mind when pet parents contemplate a visit to the groomer, those visits can involve much more than a bath and trim. It can also include spa-like skin and paw treatments, deep moisturizing shampoos and conditioners for healthy skin and a lustrous coat, de-shedding and flea or tick treatments. These treatments are all in addition to the expert clipping, shaving and nail trims you might expect.

Grooming is more than an attractive hairdo; every breed, regardless of size, age or coat type, needs regular grooming for overall wellbeing and to help prevent problems such as excessive shedding, skin and paw irritation, painful mats and bad breath. For certain longer-haired breeds, more frequent grooming may be necessary.

While grooming is a necessity, it may sound more pleasant to pet parents than pets, especially dogs that are new to the experience or don’t visit the groomer regularly.

“While a day at the groomer is enjoyable for some pets, others may feel nervous or out of their comfort zones,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert. “Frequent visits are key to a less stressful experience and visiting the same trusted salon associate each time can help your pet build a connection and foster a relationship, making each visit more pleasant.”

Freeman also recommends flagging any pre-existing conditions with your groomer beforehand. This is especially important because grooming can elicit excitement or stress in some pets and aggravate underlying health issues like heart disease.

“Talk to your groomer about any known health concerns so he or she can be sure to watch out for signs of distress,” Freeman said. “For some pets, the stress of a visit to the salon can trigger an adverse clinical event due to pre-existing conditions. Salon associates care about the overall well-being of each pet. Talking to them about underlying health issues makes the grooming associates aware of any special needs and, in some cases, may even lead them to recommend holding off on grooming for the health and safety of the pet.”

Freeman also offers these tips for pet parents:

  • When deciding on a groomer, look for a salon that employs safety-certified groomers who have undergone extensive hands-on grooming instruction including bathing, trimming and styling.
  • Be proactive in raising questions or concerns. Being transparent about your pet is best for his or her well-being as well as that of other pets and associates in the salon.
  • Let your pet visit the store or salon beforehand to get familiar with the smells, sounds and salon associates.
  • Schedule groomer visits during slower times or request an express groom where the pet stays in the salon for a shorter time period.
  • Prepare your pup for having his or her feet, ears and tail handled by doing these things at home and using grooming tools like combs and brushes to reduce fear of strange objects. Try holding an electric toothbrush near your dog to familiarize him or her with the humming sound and vibrations that are similar to clippers in the salon.
  • Limit how much food, water and treats your pet consumes before grooming, as this can contribute to upset stomachs and digestive trouble.
  • Ask a salon associate to recommend appropriate basic grooming tools and supplies for at-home maintenance between appointments.

Find more advice for creating a safe and enjoyable grooming experience for your pet and learn about upcoming events where you can check out grooming options in your community at services.petsmart.com.


Keep Pets Safe this Halloween

Just like with children, there are safety issues to consider when costuming your pets…….

(Family Features) Halloween isn’t just for humans; four-legged friends have plenty of opportunity to get in on the fun, too. However, it’s important to take some pet precautions that allow the whole family to enjoy the holiday safely, as the costumes and excitement can be overwhelming and some of the candy is even dangerous.

As you’re filling the candy buckets and assembling the perfect costumes, be sure to heed these tips from the experts at PetSmart for a Halloween filled with pet-friendly fun:

Out and about
Make sure pets have proper identification by microchipping and registering your pet’s microchip, and keeping identification and registration tags on their collars. This is especially important around Halloween, when open doors offer more opportunity for escape.

If your pet will be joining the family while trick-or-treating, be sure they are visible to motorists by using a reflective collar, harness or leash.

Costume concerns
Just like with children, there are safety issues to consider when costuming your pets. Not all dogs like wearing clothes and some may become stressed or agitated while wearing a costume or sweater. However, many dogs just need a little coaxing and positive reinforcement.

  • Start with a simple accessory, like a bandana, working your way up to a costume.
  • Make sure costumes include eye and ear holes, and if they don’t, consider removing whole portions of the costume to ensure your pet’s ability to see, hear and breathe. Make sure there isn’t anything that could be a tripping hazard. Also, be sure to check the costume for little parts within biting or chewing distance.
  • Dogs can overheat easily, so ensure your dog’s clothing is not too bulky or heavy if the weather is warm.
  • In the end, the top priority should be your pet’s comfort level.

Hazardous food and decorations
“It’s fun to include our pets in our celebrations, but it’s also important to be aware of the dangers associated with Halloween to ensure their safety,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert. “Keep chocolate and candy out of paws’ reach. Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in candy, gum, mints and baked goods, is toxic to pets and can cause liver damage.”

Keep the Halloween fun going by establishing some rules for your family and any guests joining the festivities:

  • Xylitol can be extremely dangerous to pets, even in small amounts. Just 1/8 teaspoon can cause dangerously low blood sugar in dogs and 1/2 teaspoon can cause liver damage. If xylitol is consumed by your pet, take him or her to a veterinarian immediately.
  • Natural stimulants in chocolate can cause a range of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Raisins may cause a toxic reaction in dogs from vomiting to kidney failure.
  • Cellophane, plastic and paper from candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • As an alternative to sharing dangerous snacks, stock up on some seasonal dog-friendly treats and set out a pet-specific bowl.

Seasonal decorations can also pose a threat:

  • Fall decorations like jack-o’-lanterns can cause gastrointestinal upset.
  • Glow sticks can cause irritation, agitation and vomiting.
  • Hot wax and flames from candles can potentially burn your pet’s nose, tongue or tail.

Don’t forget the fun
Despite some concerns, Halloween can still provide fun moments for your pet:

  • Take your dog along for trick-or-treating.
  • Allow your four-legged friend to greet trick-or-treaters at the door.
  • Encourage friends to dress up their pets and join the festivities.

Find more tips and tricks for keeping your pets safe this Halloween at PetSmart.com.


The Evolution of Pumpkin Spice

How the iconic fall treat progressed from pumpkin pie to practically everything–including dog treats……

(Family Features) Pumpkin spice has become the quintessential symbol of fall. Check out these details about the evolution of the iconic autumn flavor, from holiday pie to lattes and even dog treats, such as GREENIES™ Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Flavor Dental Treats. Find these seasonal treats for your furry friend at Chewy.com.