Keri Matthews, a mom of two, has worked in the ASPCA’s licensing department for more than five years. She lives on Long Island with her husband, Tom, her children, Gabriella and Tommy, and their Greyhound, Clyde.
As Thanksgiving approaches, many families are gearing up to celebrate the holiday with their kids and pets. My family is starting to think about how we will safely incorporate our dog, Clyde, into the preparation and day-of festivities. This time of year, there are so many food hazards to pets in the home. And since Clyde is a large dog, he can reach the table and garbage pail quite readily. We will take the following steps to keep him safe before, during and after the holiday:
Take out the trash: Throughout Thanksgiving Day, we will empty our garbage more often than usual. Bones, chocolate, onions and other Thanksgiving food staples are all hazards to Clyde that will make their way into our kitchen during the festivities.
Food tasting: We will explain to our daughter Gabriella that we can’t give Clyde a taste of every food item we’re making for Thanksgiving dinner, but we can stuff his Kong toy with veggies of Gabriella’s choosing, a bit of cooked turkey and some gravy. Clyde will be thrilled!
Quiet time: We’d like Clyde to have an extra quiet space (other than his bed) while company is visiting so he doesn’t get too stressed out. We’ll set aside a few towels on the floor to give him another nook where he can sit back and relax—something we all hope to do this Thanksgiving!
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for over 10 years. Danielle also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’s Babble.com. Find her on her blog, Some Puppy To Love, Twitter, or Facebook.
I was stressed out last week. I had one of those days when I had a million things to do in about an hour, and everything was going wrong. I was running late, forgot to make my son’s lunch, was further held up by the mounting ice forming on our front walk and the phone was ringing off the hook.
“Calm down, Mom,” my daughter said. “You’re making Django nervous.” She was right. Our black lab, Django, didn’t want to be near me and walked around with her head down. It was something I had noticed before. You know how when someone comes into the room frazzled, and you can feel their nervous energy? Well, Django does the same with me. She knows my tones, and when I’m stressed or feeling sick, she knows it.
Many dog owners have long known this to be true. How many times have we told our friends and family that our dogs sense when we are feeling sick or down in the dumps? Fellow pet owners understand right away, but non-pet people sometimes look at us as if we’re crazy. Recent studies suggest that dogs read our emotions based on our vocal cues.
It’s surely not news to those of us that love our pets; we have already known that they understand us. But it sure is affirming to have science back us up!
With Halloween just a few days away, by now you’ve likely lined up costumes for your kids and pets and mapped out your route for trick-or-treating. Before your family heads out for a night of candy and costumes, be sure to check out our Halloween safety tips:
Keep the candy bowl out of your pet’s reach. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems if consumed. Ask your kids to keep their Halloween treats away from your pets, and if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
Be safe around candles and electric lights. If chewed, wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations might cause your pets to suffer cuts or burns, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock. Pets might also knock over carved pumpkins containing lit candles.
Test out your pet’s costume before the big night. Your pet’s costume should not constrict her movement or hearing, or impede her ability to breathe, bark or meow. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider having her skip the costume or don a festive bandana. Also, be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag.
Expecting trick-or-treaters? When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
Guest Blogger Emily Cappo is a writer and blogger at Oh Boy Mom. She is a mom to three boys and one girl dog named Matilda, a sweet and cuddly Labradoodle. Matilda and Emily are also a certified pet therapy team.
When we adopted our sweet Labradoodle, Matilda, more than five years ago, our friends and family members assumed our three boys had pushed us for another dog after our Portuguese Water Dog, Bosley, passed away at the age of 13.
Although the kids were all in favor of adopting a new dog, I was equally enthusiastic. I had always had a dog in my life, and couldn’t imagine not having a furry companion living with us.
Matilda was a joy from the moment we brought her home, and she was the perfect addition to our family. At first, I did not considered adopting a second dog, but when a friend of mine rescued a mixed- breed puppy that curled up in my lap as soon as he met me, I started to seriously consider the idea.
We haven’t yet taken the plunge to give Matilda a sibling, and I wonder if Matilda would enjoy having a companion. She seems perfectly content to be the lone dog, of the house and when we go to the dog park, she shows more interest in the other dog owners than the dogs themselves.
I have heard stories of people adopting a second dog who doesn’t get along with their resident dog. I have plenty of chaos in my house with three rowdy boys—do I really need to add another dog to the mix? And, what if our second dog is like our old dog, Bosley, who was a loud barker with an insatiable appetite for stealing human food?
I have realized that these are trivial concerns, because family is not something you can dictate by waving a magic wand. You can make a conscious decision to add to your family – with both kids and pets – and yet you can’t control the dynamic anymore than you can control the weather. I know that well, as I watch my three boys forge three very different paths in this world.
We’ve decided that a second dog is definitely in our future. I can’t wait to find Matilda a brother or a sister!
Danielle Sullivan, a mom of three, has worked as a writer and editor in the parenting world for over 10 years. Danielle also writes about pets and parenting for Disney’sBabble.com. Find her on her blog,Some Puppy To Love,Twitter, or Facebook.
Our black Lab, Django, and our Chihuahua, Hayley, have been pretty spoiled this summer. There is usually someone home at any given time for them to play with, hang out with outside or to hand off a treat here and there. I was just thinking about how dramatically their worlds will change when our kids head back to school.
As my kids are in grammar school, high school and college, our schedules have just changed at the speed of lighting. The once-lazy days of hanging poolside with a barbecue going have been replaced by fast-paced mornings and hectic evenings. The dogs won’t likely receive much affection each day until late afternoon.
Hayley is about 10-years-old, and she does fine on her own if left to her own devices. Django, on the other hand, is three-years-old and a total mush. She loves nothing more than hanging out with her people, and as long as she is with us, she’s perfectly happy. As it turns out, that may problematic.