Happy New Year!

dogJust wanted to wish everyone and their pets a “furry” happy New Year.

As iconic Chinese philosopher Confucius once said, “May you live in interesting times.” The year 2014 certainly fit the bill, as it was very trying time for many people, and the world in general.

On the personal front, this past year was quite challenging for me. Murphy bit me and put me in the hospital. Then I adopted Lily, who bit Murphy and put him in the hospital. I and a number of other esteemed writer friends and colleagues were cruelly cut loose by a company whose name I won’t mention. I and some close friends lost loved ones. Then my dad had to undergo major heart surgery.

On the national and global front, we were all rocked by a number of cataclysmic events during the past year, which are too numerous to mention. On the bright side, I survived, with my strength, courage and dignity intact. And I could not have done so without the love and support of an extraordinary network of family, friends and colleagues.

I have been so very fortunate to be surrounded by people who truly love animals. Humans who care about the well being of critters have exceptionally big hearts, and possess a rare sense of caring and compassion for all living beings.

Yes, the past year has been a tough one. But I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people, and animals in my life, which has been a great comfort to me in the darkest moments.

So thanks to all who have been a part of this crazy game called life, and may the New Year bring you the happiness, prosperity and peace you all so richly deserve.

Love,

Alissa, Murphy and Lily

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Get ‘Veterinary Secrets: Natural Health For Dogs and Cats’ for Only 99 Cents

Veterinary SecretsFor the next three days, you can purchase the Kindle edition of the book Veterinary Secrets: Natural Health For Dogs and Cats by Dr. Andrew Jones DVM − a must-have for all pet parents − for the special sale price of 99 cents.

Dr. Andrew is a retired vet and best-selling author from British Columbia, Canada, who is an expert on natural and nontraditional pet care.

His latest book, which contains a wealth of helpful tips and advice about treating pets naturally, has received rave reviews from pet lovers. The book also provides no-nonsense insights into conventional veterinary medicine, which often times can do more harm than good.

For more info about the book, you may visit the doc’s website. For ordering info, visit Amazon.com. Remember, this is a limited time offer. In three days, the price goes back up to $.9.97. So don’t delay; get your copy today.

Photo from Dr. Andrew Jones

Winter Safety Tips for Pets

First walk in the snowWeather forecasters predict that Old Man Winter is going to be especially fierce this year in many parts of the world. So it’s important for pet parents to take certain precautions to keep their critters safe. Below are some tips for ensuring that your companion animals remain healthy and happy during the harsh weather months.

Protect Your Pooch’s PawsSafe-Paw-Ice-Melt

Whenever the weather is frightful, many people scatter rock salt products on their walkways to melt the ice and snow. This can be very irritating to a pet’s paws, and harmful to them if they lick their paws after exposure to this.

So be sure to thoroughly wipe a dog’s paws with a warm, damp cloth after walks. The same goes for kitties that are permitted to roam outdoors during snowy and icy weather. For pet parents who use ice melt products, it’s advisable to opt for pet-friendly brands such as Safe Paw. This is a salt-free product that is safe for pets, kids and the environment. You can learn more about this here.

Protect Kitties from Car Enginescat-car-safety

Many times, stray cats and kitties that are allowed outdoors will crawl into a car’s hood and into the engine for warmth and protection from the elements when the weather is especially cold.

So animal welfare advocates strongly encourage people to knock on their vehicle hoods and honk their horns, then wait at least 30 seconds before starting their vehicle, to ensure that kitties who may have snuggled in there can escape. For more details, click on the  image provided by Petfinder.com at the right to enlarge it.

Better, yet I advise people to keep their cats indoors, at all times. If there are ferals and strays in your neighborhood, you might consider providing them with a shelter, which you can learn more about here.

Protect Pet Birds from the Cold

Parrot-Hooide

The vast majority of birds kept as pets hail from tropical climates. Not only is it important to keep them away from drafts; it’s also crucial that you refrain from exposing your feathered friends to unsafe heating sources.

Gas fireplaces, certain types of space heaters such as those that use kerosene and electric heaters with open elements can be deadly to birds, and can be fire hazards. The same goes for heated light bulbs, which can shatter if splashed with water, which can also result in fires and severe injuries or even death to birds.

It’s also very important to maintain the proper level of humidity in a bird’s environment. So taking your bird into the shower and purchasing a humidifier are advisable. For in-depth winter bird safety tips, you may refer to the Bird Channel.

Here’s wishing you and your pets a safe, happy winter.

Photos from Wikimedia Commons, Safe Paw, Petfinder and the Bird Channel

Pooch Party Tips

Pg 20

For those who are planning a party for their dogs, whether it be a “howli-day” soiree, “bark mitzvah,” Bowser birthday celebration or other event, be sure to check out my article about Over the Top Dog Parties on Dogster.

You will find some doggone great tips to help make your canine celebration a howling success!

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

New York Passes Pet Tattoos and Piercings Ban

New-York-Bans-Pet-TattoosThanks to a law just signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, subjecting pets to tattooing and/or body piercing is now a crime in the Empire State.

With the exception of markings for identification purposes performed under the supervision of a veterinarian or animal shelter, pet owners can be fined up to $250 and sentenced to 15 days in jail if they break the law.

The legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat, who said in a press statement: “While people can decide whether they would like to undergo the pain associated with a tattoo or piercing, animals do not have that luxury. Subjecting animals to painful cosmetic procedures, such as tattooing and piercing, merely to satisfy an individual’s misguided and selfish aesthetic predilections is inhumane and should be considered cruelty by the law.”

The law, which was signed by Gov. Cuomo on Monday and officially goes into effect in 120 days, was introduced following reports of sales of “gothic kittens” that were subjected to multiple body piercings, and the public outrage sparked by a Brooklyn tattoo artist who goes by the name “Mistah Metro” who inked his own dog while she was under anesthesia for surgery.

The dumb dude was rightfully fired from his job at a Prospect Heights tattoo parlor after he posted the above pic of his newly inked, passed out pooch on Instagram.

As always, I applaud any legislation that keeps people from doing awful things to animals. So thanks to Gov. Cuomo and Assemblywoman Rosenthal for fighting the good fight.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Unique Holiday Gifts for Pet Lovers

Because people are more in love with their critters than ever, there are any number of paw-some animal-themed items for humans that make terrific holiday gifts. Check out some of my faves, which are perfect for the animals lovers on your Christmas or Hanukkah gift list.

Pet Themed Gifts for Some ‘Furry’ Worthy Causes

Pet-Jewelry-For-a-CauseA great way to honor the animal lovers in your life is by presenting them with gifts with proceeds that benefit animal rescue and welfare causes. The Glamour Puss Watch pictured above left is one of the many enchanting pet-themed items available from the Animal Rescue Site, an online store that’s under the Greater Good umbrella of charitable organizations that sell goods to aid a variety of causes.

The two-toned silver and diamond accent cat pendant on the right is just one of the many beautiful pet-themed pieces from the ASPCA Tender Voices collection of items that benefit animal causes. These are available at such retailers as JC Penney, Sears and Zales.

Sweet Treats for Pet Lovers

Pet-Shaped-Candy

As if our pets weren’t sweet enough as it is, a number of chocolatiers, confectioners and baked good makers have capitalized on our love affair with our animals by producing adorably festive critter shaped goodies. Above left are the enchanting dog and cat chocolates from Kron Chocolatier of Washington, D.C. The fur-bulous cat bons on the right are from the Animal Chocolates collection available from acclaimed Japanese candy maker Goncharoff.

Oh-So-Cute Pet Clothing and Accessories

Pet-Themed-Clothes-Accessories

Clothing and accessories designers and manufacturers have taken the pet-themed market to new heights with a huge variety of cool items for critter lovers. Chinese online retailer Aliexpress carries a voluminous collection of kitty-inspired shoes, handbags and other accessories, including the black cat shoulder purse above left, and the embroidered feline flats on the right.

Dogs lovers can proudly sport images of their favorite breeds with the intricately airbrushed Big Face T-shirts from The Mountain.com, based in New Hampshire. This iconic maker of quality casual wear, which started out in the 1990s by producing licensed apparel for the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, prides itself on its environmentally friendly manufacturing approach. The company exclusively uses eco-friendly, water-based inks and dyes. Plus, the designs are free of any chemicals that could be harmful to the body.

Do you have any suggestions for unique holiday gifts for pet lovers? Please feel free to share these in the comment sections below.

Photos from retailers and manufacturers

Philadelphia Pet Rescue Agency to Hold Black Friday Adoption Event

black-friday-flyer2The Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly) will host a most unique Black Friday event tomorrow, by offering reduced pet adoption fees, with an especially deep discount for those who adopt black pets.

For just one day, the adoption fees will be $5 for cats, $10 for dogs, $100 for puppies, with fees waived for black animals. So they’re free! Plus, the agency will be open during extended hours, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

As those who work at rescues will tell you, black pets, especially cats, are the least likely to be adopted and the most likely to get euthanized in shelters. As I have been mom to two black kitties, I can tell you that they are wonderful pets that deserve good homes. And you sure can’t beat that price.

ACCT Philly is at 111 W. Hunting Park Ave. in North Philadelphia. Visit their website at www.acctphilly.org.

Photo from ACCT Philly

Thanksgiving Safety Tips for Pets

thanksgiving-dogsThanksgiving is a day to enjoy great food and the company of loved ones, including our pets. But while it’s okay for our companion animals to join in the celebration, it’s also important for pet parents to observe certain precautions in order to keep their critters out of harm’s way on Turkey Day.

Below are some important tips.

Avoid Giving Your Pets Foods That May Be Toxic to Them

While it’s okay to feed your pets a little bit of turkey or steamed veggies, as long as you remove the skin, excess fat, gravy and seasonings, please do not feed dogs and cats such foods as chocolate, grapes, raisins and others that may make them sick, or even have fatal consequences.

And never feed pets raw turkey, as this may contain Salmonella bacteria. The same goes for cooked bones, as these may splinter which results in fragments that a pet can choke on, or can cause intestinal blockages or punctures. So it’s best to feed your pets healthy species-specific foods before you sit down to dinner. For a list of foods that can be toxic to pets, you may refer to the Humane Society of the United States website.

Keep Foreign Objects Away From Pets Thanksgiving-Cat-Cropped

At this time of the year, pets are more likely to get into the garbage or play with and subsequently ingest holiday decorations. So it’s very important that you secure your trash cans with sturdy lids or in a closet, garage or cupboard to ensure that your pets don’t get into them and munch on such items as aluminum foil and plastic wrap, as well as foods they should not have.

Remember Car Travel Safety Tips

Many people hit the road with Rover and Whiskers when traveling by car during the holiday. So be sure to take along first aid items. And do properly restrain your pets when traveling with them by motor vehicle. Unrestrained pets are the cause of thousands of accidents each year. As a result, many states have passed strict laws requiring that pets be properly secured in moving vehicles, and will slap those who don’t comply with large fines. For more about this, please see my article on Dogster.

Until we meet again, Murphy, Lily and I wish you, your families and pets a very happy, safe Thanksgiving.

Photos from Wikimedia Commons