We are a multiple-pet household, and always have been. Our pets are family. We do our very best to make sure that they are happy and healthy. Today I am sharing my favorite photos of our fur-babies (and some non-fur animals). We still can’t get outside very much yet with our doggos due to the cold, but every week brings us closer to a thaw with warm, sunny weather. We all know that there are dangers we need to watch out for outside – things like ticks, heartworms, toadstools and mushrooms that can be a danger to our pets, but have you heard of some of these little-known dangers to pets that lurk right in our own homes?
Our household currently has three dogs that are part of our family – two big fur babies and a wee five pounder.
Our chihuahua has a chronic illness, so we are super-careful about his diet. Our two big dogs love the occasional treat, and when they have had any illness, the vet always told us to put pills in peanut butter. But be careful – peanut butter is just one product of many that now may contain a natural sweetener called Xylitol.
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol, used as a sweetener, that is rapidly gaining popularity. Typically found in toothpastes, vitamins, and sugarless gums and mints, it’s finding its way into more foods, and is sometimes listed in ingredients as a “natural sweetener” or “birch sugar”.
This substance can also be found in ice creams, so that innocent lick of the spoon can turn into a pet owner’s worst nightmare. Even the smallest amount can lead to liver failure and death in our canine babies.
Make sure if you chew sugarless gum, it’s always well locked away where your pups can’t get to it, and when on walks, be careful if your pup tries to grab a chewed piece someone has carelessly thrown on the ground!
“Exotic” pets are pets that aren’t typical dogs and cats. Most have special needs that need to be met, but aside from that, they can be fun, and most are low-maintenance, all things considered. However, one thing I can recommend fully before becoming an exotic-pet parent, is to check in with your vet. He/she may not be able to treat an exotic pet should a need or emergency arise. Not all veterinarians can treat exotic pets, or they have a vet that treats exotics, but only part time. Find a vet in your area that can treat your exotic before you need one in an emergency.
We miss our pet lop-eared rabbit. She was our once-in-a-lifetime bunny. She lived a good, long life, but bunnies don’t live as long as most dogs and cats, and are actually very delicate. They should not be pets bought on a whim such as at Easter.
Our bunny had a lot of personality! We lost her a few years ago, but we still think about and miss her. They are sweet pets to have, but they are good at hiding when something is wrong, so monitor them closely. Also, did you know you do NOT bathe a bunny?
A dear friend got me thinking about “Patches” this week, when she asked my advice on a pet rabbit with a fur mite issue. Immersing or bathing a bunny in a bath can lead to severe health issues such as shock, hypothermia, or severe skin infections. Bathing can be so severe to a pet rabbit that it can actually kill them! If a bunny has areas it can not clean itself, a damp washcloth is all you should use to wipe the fur clean, or like we used to do when our bun got older, a “dry shampoo” comb out using corn starch.
My daughter has taught me not to be afraid of all snakes. I’ve actually grown very attached to our pet snake, “Pie”. But just as with other exotics, snakes tend to hide when they are unwell. Knowing your snake’s routine is good; that way if they are acting strangely you know something is wrong before it is too late to seek a vet’s help.
Also, if a pet snake has recently eaten, they should never be handled for a few days right after so that they do not have problems digesting their meal. They need a warm spot to just relax for a short while. A snake that doesn’t digest its meal properly can require emergency surgery or its situation can turn fatal very quickly.
We love our chickens. They give us eggs, and entertain us with their antics. We have trained them to get excited when we call out, “Treats”! They come running, knowing we have something special for them.
Chickens are little eating machines – they will nosh on just about anything offered to them. Kitchen scraps often become a happy snack. But did you know that you shouldn’t feed your chickens white or red potato peels? Actually, anything from the Nightshade family (white and red potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant) can run the risk of giving chickens solanine toxicity. The amount that can harm a chicken varies from bird to bird, so just to be safe, throw potato scraps in the compost instead.
No one wants to think about it, but have a plan in place for your beloved pets in case something awful happens. The Pandemic taught us that we are not immortal, no matter our age. It’s an awful thought, but too many times pets are broken-hearted and sent to shelters or pounds because a clear plan was not made by the pet’s owner in the case of an emergency. My mother’s dear friend, who was only in her sixties, died suddenly and unexpectedly (not from Covid). Fortunately, my mother was able to adopt her friend’s sweet pup, who just celebrated his eleventh birthday. He now looks so happy in his birthday photo, and I know my mom’s friend is smiling in Heaven!
Cats are notorious for getting into and onto EVERYTHING. Norman is no exception.
Thankfully, it is March, and here in New England we will see signs (hopefully) of Spring soon. Flowers will bloom; there will be Easter bouquets in grocery stores and florists will be delivering bouquets for Mother’s Day. But if you have cats, take the lilies out of the bouquets and out of your home. It isn’t worth the risk.
The tiniest piece of any part of a true lily or a daylily (stem included) – even a little bit of pollen or a sip of water from the vase they are contained in – can kill a cat. The amount that is lethal to a cat is so miniscule. Their kidneys fail within one to three days. Even brushing up against a lily and licking a grain of pollen from their fur can prove deadly. While these flowers are beautiful, they aren’t worth having if you are owned by a cat! It is rare that a poor kitty can recover from being poisoned by a lily. I would rather not take the chance and keep my two kitties safe from harm.
Having pets makes us happier, and can even help us live longer, less stressed lives. These facts aren’t meant to scare you, dear readers, but we love our pets so much, and we were surprised when we learned some of these!
From my furbabies to yours, we wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and a beautiful start to Spring! Remember to leave a comment so I know you stopped by! “See” you next month!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole