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Indoor allergies the forgotten cause of itching, licking and more

by Erik Wright on 10/28/17


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Mold In Your Home: Your Furry Friends Are At Risk

Many people don’t realize that a small amount of water or moisture in their homes can quickly create the conditions for mold growth. Mold isn’t just a financial worry -- it is a health hazard for humans and pets alike. Airborne mold can cause all types of problems for your pet. And since they can’t easily communicate with you about how they’re feeling, it’s up to you to look out for the common signs and symptoms. Pets, particularly guinea pigs, rabbits, kittens and puppies, will often begin to show signs of mold exposure before humans do because of their small size.

Mold in the home

Mold is a fungus that grows in damp environments. Mold needs two things to grow: a small amount of water inside the home, and common household surfaces such as curtains, carpets, upholstery, drywall and tile. Once these two factors combine, a mold spore can latch on and establish a new colony in less than 24 hours. This fungus can actually thrive without displaying any visible signs or noticeable odors, which can make it quite difficult to detect and manage.

Homes with basements are highly vulnerable to dampness and mold growth. According to a 2017 consumer survey, 55% of U.S. homeowners and renters have lived in a home with a wet basement and 76% of them feared that their family was being harmed by mold.

No home is completely watertight. Nearly every home is subject to flooding from heavy rain or leaky or broken pipes. Even high humidity and condensation can create the perfect storm of conditions for mold to colonize.

Symptoms of Mold Exposure in Pets

While human mold allergy sufferers typically have respiratory problems, dogs, cats and other animals often display symptoms on their skin. Some common symptoms of mold allergies in pets are:

  • Itchiness and scratching when no fleas are present

  • Chewing/licking skin and paws

  • Hair loss and sores due to excessive scratching and/or licking

  • Constant shaking of the head and the ears

  • Ear infections that don’t go away

  • Coughing/Sneezing

  • Runny nose and eyes

  • Labored breathing

  • Wheezing sound when breathing

  • Loss of appetite

  • Lethargy

Where to Look

Some of the most common locations for mold allergy symptoms to appear in both cats and dogs are:

  • Inside of the ears

  • Muzzle

  • Groin

  • Underarms

  • Around the eyes

  • Between the toes

Symptoms of mold exposure can mimic other health conditions so it’s important to see a veterinarian and have r pet evaluated. Do advise your vet if you’re concerned that your pet has been exposed to mold.

Keep Mold In Check

To suppress mold growth, keep the interior of your home as dry as possible.

  1. Make sure your kitchen and bathroom fans are in good working order so they remove the damp and humid air

  2. Repair or seal a leaky roof, windows, doors, basement, pipes and any spot that is allowing water to settle in your home.

  3. Check for moisture in hidden areas like the back side of dry wall, underneath wallpaper, the top side of ceiling tiles, the underside and padding of carpets, around pipes and inside ductwork.

  4. Thoroughly clean and dry any areas that are wet or damp.

The World Is a Moldy Place!

Mold is all around us. It’s part of the natural world. For pets that go outdoors, the autumn season is the time to be most vigilant. Mold is found on plants, trees, leaves and even in soil. Wipe your dog’s paws when you come in from a walk or outdoor play. A bath might be in order if your dog has been rolling around in a pile of leaves.

Author Bio:

Austin Werner is the President of Real Seal LLC, a basement waterproofing company based in Schaumburg, IL. Real Seal is committed to personalized and expedited service and, of course, dry basements!

Images: Licensed from

Dogs in the DogDays of Summer and Hot Cars

by Erik Wright on 07/31/17

I have the official info about leaving dogs (or children for that matter) in a car during the summer or warm temps.  I know there is a huge debate over this where people get their windows bashed-in because of a concerned and a pet in the car.  The car owner gets very upset because they feel someone was invading their privacy and it's not up to another person to make that call.

Here's what the American Veterinary Medical Foundation says on the matter:

"Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles. We've heard the excuses: "Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,"or "But I cracked the windows..." These excuses don't amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a vehicle.

The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30º F...and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that's 110 degrees inside your vehicle!

Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness and even death, even on a day that doesn't seem hot to you. And cracking the windows makes no difference.

Want numbers? An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96º F rose steadily as time increased. Another study?, performed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, found that the temperatures in a dark sedan as well as a light gray minivan parked on a hot, but partly cloudy day, exceeded 125oF within 20 minutes. 

Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed timeOutside Air Temperature (F)
0 minutes707580859095
10 minutes899499104109114
20 minutes99104109114119124
30 minutes104109114119124129
40 minutes108113118123128133
50 minutes111116121126131136
60 minutes113118123128133138
> 1 hour115120125130135140
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle. This is definitely a situation where "love 'em and leave 'em" is a good thing. Please leave your pets at home at home when you can...they'll be safe and happily waiting for you to come home.

...but wait, there's more!

The risks associated with pets in vehicles don't end with heatstroke. Just as you should always wear your seatbelt to protect you in case of a collision, your pet should always be properly restrained while in the vehicle. That means a secure harness or a carrier.

A loose, small pet could crawl down in the footwell, interfering with use of the brake or accelerator pedal. A small pet sitting in your lap could be injured or killed by the airbag or could be crushed between your body and the airbag in a collision, and a large pet leaning across your lap can interfere with your view of the road and can be injured by the air bag in a collision. Unrestrained pets could be thrown out or through windows or windshields in a collision. And not only could your pet be injured in the collision, but it might also increase your risk of collision by distracting you and taking your attention away from where it should be – on the road.

Most of us smile when we see a dog's face happily hanging out a window, digging the ride and the smells wafting on the breeze, but this is a very risky venture for the dog for three reasons. One, it means your dog isn't properly restrained – and we've already told you why that's so important. Two, your dog is at high risk of eye, ear, face and mouth injury from airborne objects when it's got its face hanging out the window. Three, letting your dog hang any part of its body out of the window increases the risk that (s)he could be thrown out of the vehicle during a collision, lose its balance and fall out of the open window during an abrupt turn or maneuver, or jump out of the vehicle to threaten another dog or a person.

And let's not forget the severe dangers of driving with your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. Dogs can fall or jump from the truck bed and be injured or killed on impact, or be struck by other traffic. And just as letting your dog hang its head out of the window puts it at risk of injury from debris, a dog in a truck bed is even more exposed to airborne hazards. Using a appropriate-length tether may reduce the risk that your dog will exit the truck bed, but the tether could tangle, injure, or even choke your dog. If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup truck, use a secured and appropriately sized and ventilated dog kennel. (For more information, read our Dogs Traveling in Truck Beds literature review.)

Before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need to take your pet with you – and if the answer is no, leave your pet safely at home. If you must take your pet with you, make sure (s)he is properly restrained so the trip is as safe as possible for both of you.

If you would like to see videos on this or review more information about this topic you can go to their website. Here is the link to this article:

Thanks all and if in doubt on this, just leave the pet at home!  If you see a pet in a car and you feel the animal is in distress, always call the police first!

Myths and Facts about dogs and cats

by Erik Wright on 05/15/17

This was originally written by Michele C. Hollow. I have found these to be very true.

Cats don’t have nine lives—even though cat lovers wish they did—and dogs are not color blind. A lot of falsehoods about cats and dogs are often mistakenly accepted as facts. Here are the top 10 myths about our pets.

1. Cats always land on their feet.

Yes, cats are agile. They can jump high and twist their bodies like grand acrobats, often landing feet first. But cats falling from great heights—even if they land feet first—can suffer severe injuries or death. Keep your cats safe by making sure that all windows have secure screens.

2. Cats are aloof.

Cats may seem aloof, but they can also be cuddly and extremely sensitive to your moods. An aloof cat is often a nervous cat that is unsure of his surroundings. Fortunately, that behavior can be solved with patience and kindness. We have to earn their trust. Once we’ve gained that trust, we will have a friend for life.

3. Declawing a cat is akin to trimming his nails.

Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. It is a painful operation, and many veterinarians refuse to do it. Plus, if your cat goes outdoors, he’ll be defenseless. Clip your cats’ nails; don’t declaw them. Teach your cat to use a scratching post, not the sofa, and praise him each time he does. If he attempts to scratch the furniture, gently spray him with water. You can also put bubble wrap around the area your cat wants to scratch. One or two pops will keep him away from the furniture.

4. Cats can live on a vegan diet.

This myth is dangerous. Cats are natural hunters and carnivores. They rely on taurine, an amino acid found in meat that is essential for normal heart muscle function and vision. A taurine-free diet can result in blindness and heart problems.

5. Cats can’t be trained.

At the ASPCA in New York City, a cat was taught to turn pages of a book and to toss a ball. You can teach your cat to use a scratching post and a litter box. You can even teach your cat tricks. You need a clicker, treats, and lots of praise. Cats respond negatively to punishment. So be positive and patient.

6. A female cat or dog needs to have a litter before it is spayed.

Belief in this major misconception brings more cats and dogs into an overcrowded world. Spaying reduces risks of mammary gland tumors and ovarian and uterine cancers. It also helps cats and dogs live longer healthier lives.

7. Dogs wag their tails when they’re happy.

Okay, this is partially true. A wagging tail usually means a dog is happy. But it can also mean that the dog is agitated, tense, frightened, or feeling aggressive. To understand your dog’s mood, you must look at the whole package. Are his ears upright, or pointed back and low to his head? Upright means he is listening. Low to his head means he may be ready to attack. You should never approach a dog you don’t know without asking his owner if the dog is friendly.

8. Letting your dog out alone in the yard is enough exercise.

Ever spy on a dog left alone in a yard? Chances are high that he will just lie down and go to sleep. Dogs need you to interact with them, to throw them a ball, and to take them on long walks.

9. A dry nose means a dog is ill.

Many of us believe that a cool wet nose on a dog means the dog is healthy, and that a dry nose means he’s sick. Not true! A dry nose can be caused by poor air circulation in a room, or even just by the dog sitting in the sun. A dog’s nose can change from dry to wet and back to dry several times a day.

10.  Using food to train a dog results in an overweight dog.

Dogs respond well to rewards and praise. The trick is not to overfeed your dog. Take a small handful of the food from your dog’s daily diet—about 10-15 pieces of dry food—and give him one small piece for each task he completes. If you choose to give your dog a treat instead, break that treat into halves or quarters, and give him one small piece each time he accomplishes the task. As much as dogs like food, they like spending time with you even more. So each time your dog (or cat) looks at you with those soulful eyes, give him attention instead of food. He will be a healthier and happier pet.

Michele C. Hollow writes the pet and wildlife blog Pet News and Views. She is the author of The Everything Guide to Working with Animals. She also writes about interiors and travel for DIYNetwork, Family Circle, and the New York Daily News.

Know what is in the treats your pets eat. Yummy Pumpkin cookies

by Erik Wright on 08/17/16

I found this recipe on FaceBook.  As soon as I can find plain canned pumpkin.

Pumpkin Dog Cookies

These pumpkin dog cookies are barktastic!!!

Pumpkin Dog Cookies Recipe


3 C whole wheat flour

? C oats

1 C canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

2 eggs

½ C grated carrot

½ tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place wax paper on a large baking sheet.

  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl add the flour and the oats, then mix together and set aside.

  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, add the pumpkin, eggs, carrot, and cinnamon and whisk together.

  4. Add ½ of the dry mix into the wet mix and stir together.

  5. Add the remainder of the dry mix to the wet mix and begin to mix together until it becomes a hard dough.

  6. Knead the dough until everything is completely mixed.

  7. On a flat, clean surface, spread some flour and also place some on a rolling pin.

  8. Place the dough down and roll it out until it’s ¼ inch – ½ inch thick.

  9. Using a cookie cutter, glass, etc, cut out the shapes/cookies from the dough and place on the baking sheet.

  10. With excess dough, ball it up and roll it out again to cut out more cookies. Repeat until the dough is gone.

  11. Bake cookies 25-30 min and then let them cool.

  12. Give one to your furry four legged friends and watch them enjoy!!!

Looking for a Pet Sitter. Questions you should ask.

by Erik Wright on 08/04/16

Questions you should ask the person who is going to take care of your beloved pets while you are out of town or working those long days.  Do you want to spend time on your vacation, on a business trip or while at work worrying about your furry babies at home or a kennel?  Put your pets and house in the good hands of a Professional Pet Sitter.  

What are questions any Professional Pet Sitter should be able to answer?

  • Does the sitter have the proper business license for your city, county, or state?   

    • These are required to do business.  This assures the sitter files and pays taxes. (is a real business)

  • Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? 

    • You should be able to see a copy of their Certification of Insurance and bonding.  

    • Who is covered by this policy?

  • Does the pet sitter provide client references? 

    • Ask for references and be sure to call a couple of them, otherwise, why did you ask for them?

  • Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract?

    • This protects you and the sitter.  Also explains what will happen in any emergencies.

  • Will you be meeting the person that will be taking care of you pets?

    • If for some reason the sitter is not at the meet and greet you should be given the opportunity meet the sitter

  • What happens if that person can not come?

    • Each sitter should have a back-up person. Be sure to ask what would happen if they can't make it.

    • Ask if you will be notified if a substitution person is taking care of your pets

  • Is the pet sitter trained in animal first aid and CPR?

    • Do they have the certification with them?

  • Will the sitter be in contact with you during the sit?  

    • Do they send text or email if so how often?

  • Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International or National Association of Professional Pet Sitters?

    • These associations provider continuing education. Including behavior issues, first aid, and basic business habits and laws. They are the sitters resource for learning.


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