Pets: A Varying Palette

September 11, 2018

I’m sure that everyone at some point in their pet’s life have heard that human food is not good for your them. Though there are certain spices and foods that you should avoid, not all human food is actually bad for your pet companion!

Think about it this way, your cat and your dog, they eat foods that are enriched with chicken, turkey, beef, etc. Well aren’t those all foods that we as humans eat? Have you ever taken a look in your pet’s wet food and noticed veggies? How about looking at the back of the food bag and reading the ingredients. I bet that you will find some familiar foods, some of which might be some of your favorites!

Not only do your dogs and cats have a wide variety with in their food, so do some of the not so average pets such as pigs, birds and lizards to name a few. Just like Humans our companions also have quote the varying palette.

Lizards, dogs and birds are predominately carnivorous , but it doesn’t mean that they won’t eat those healthy fruits and veggies. For example Apples are a great snack ( sans the seeds ) for your furry AND scaly friends in moderation. They are high in fiber and low in fat making for a yummy change up for the pets that you love. Another fruit that is has a dual purpose is watermelon. Not only is this good for your pet but it will also help keep them hydrated seeing as it is mostly water based. Watermelon is packed with vitamins that help with muscle and nerve function.

Lets not leave those veggies out either! Carrots are a favorite of dogs, lizards and birds because of the crunch that comes with it. They also promote great eye and skin health. Sweet potato is a base that is used in several brands of treats, but can easily just be cut up and fed to your pet raw. This is also a nutrient rich treat, and much healthier than white potato.

Here are a list of safe fruits and veggies that you can give your pets in moderation:

Spinach                Green Beans      Pumpkin              Broccoli                Brussel Sprouts Apricot

Cabbage              Carrots                 Cucumber           Celery                   Apple                    Mango

Banana                                 Blueberries         Raspberries         Pear                       Cantaloupe         Watermelon

Here is a list that you should try and avoid:

Cherries               Grapes                 Raisins                  Lime                      Lemon                  Grapefruit

Persimmons     Onion                    Garlic                     Rhubarb               Mushrooms

When it comes to meat, you can never go wrong with added protein as a treat, or as an addition to meals every once in a while. What you want to look out for here is seasoning. You should never give your pet meat that has been seasoned. Most seasonings have adverse effects that could cause long term damage when ingested, so make sure you are paying attention! A great treat for any type of pet would actually be eggs! This is a tasty treat that has great benefits for your furry ( or scaly ) friends skin. This is generally something that you would not give your bird.

So next time you go to grab yourself a snack or cook dinner, go ahead and look what you are making and maybe surprise your pet with a new treat!

Fundraising 5k

August 24, 2018

Running a marathon, that sounds fun right? No I didn’t think so. But you know what sounds fun? A 5k! Whether you are walking or running, it’s something that you can do solo, with your family, with a group, even with your dog! In the past couple of years 5k’s have been making there way on to the scene being used as a great way to get people together to exercise for a cause. Who wouldn’t want to get fit while supporting their favorite organization?

Being in the animal field, such as running a sanctuary, or being a foster, you are relying a lot on the donations that come in from the general public. Sometimes you need to get creative to get the community involved, and what better way than by jumping in on the band wagon and hosting a 5k in honor of your facility. These types of events are also really great to get some face to face interaction with those who are potential supporters and make a more personal connection, not only with you the owner, but with the animals that they will be donating too.

5k walks or runs are great for the community because you can host a larger amount of people at one time. In a time where health is a big focus, these types of fundraising events give people motivation to get out and do something while supporting something they are passionate about. To make it even better you, could make the 5k dog friendly so that people can bring their best friend out and support his furry brothers and sisters.

Other local animal products can set up stands at the beginning of the race and a portion of their proceeds can be donated to you. This is also a great way to spread the word about local business that people might not realize is in their very own community.

This is also a great time to spotlight some of your furry friends that the walk is benefitting. If you are in the business of adoption, bring some of your adoptable. Who knows they might even find their furrever home, or at the least get someone to sponser them! If you are trying to raise funds for a santuary, or a facility that doesn’t adopt animals, and you just give them a safe haven, bring them out so they can show their appreciation!

Whats wonderful about events like this, and most other types of events, is that most of the policies that we at Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program write for our organizations will already have this covered. If they don’t they make it really easy to get the coverage so that it’s one less thing for you to worry about when you are putting on your 5k.

Fundraising is a tough thing to do , but when you can make it fun and interactive, people are more likely to come out and see what you are all about! Spread your love for your animals to other’s by walking it out for a cause.

Halloween is the second largest consumer holiday in the United States. Even though many nonprofit animal welfare organizations consider Christmas to be the best time to launch fundraising campaigns, Halloween is actually better. 30% more consumers entered promotion campaigns at Halloween than at during the Christmas season. Why? Your supporters aren’t feeling the financial stress of the expensive holiday season – yet.

Advantages
Consider these four advantages before skipping Halloween this year.

  1. Increased donations.
    Launching your fundraising campaign months before the holiday craziness boosts your overall donations. Your animal welfare organization supporters haven’t maxed out their budget buying gifts and are more willing to donate.
  2. Less competition.
    Shhh! Halloween fundraising success is still relatively new and many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues still overlook it as a prime fundraising time. Less competition means your campaign or fundraisers are more likely to capture supporters’ attention. Often times, supporters become overwhelmed and inundated with donation requests in November and December, they ignore or politely decline all requests.
  3. More volunteer involvement.
    Volunteers keep you up and running every day. Without their commitment and time, many animal shelters and rescues are forced to close their doors. Many volunteers have out of control schedules with extra family events and holiday preparation in December. Launching a big fundraising campaign at Halloween increases their ability to help.
  4. Innovative ideas.
    Chances are your past major fundraising drives revolved around the spirit of giving in December. You probably copied the same fundraiser from year to year. Focusing on Halloween this year gives you a NEW list of fundraising ideas. Your long-term supporters will be happy for the change.

Fundraising ideas
Do you avoid Halloween fundraising because you don’t want to reinvent the wheel or start from scratch? Schedule a meeting with your fundraising committee to review these # ideas and pick one to start with.

  • Partner with a local pumpkin patch or fall fest. Contact local organizations and see if they are willing to host fundraising days for your animal welfare organization. Request a portion of the ticket sales be donated to you. In addition, set up a table the day of to collect donations and hand out information.
  • It’s all about the treats. Invite supporters to your location encouraging them to bring “treats” (food, toys, blankets, bowls, etc.) for your animals.
  • Sponsor a costume ball. Invite your community to a costume party. Sell tickets in advance and then offer dinner, raffles, and costume prizes the night of the event.
  • Launch a social media contest. Encourage your online followers to participate in a Halloween-themed contest. Invite participants to submit pictures of their Halloween decorations, carved pumpkins or pets in costume. Publish them online and request donations. Every five dollars = one vote. Award your winners with online recognition and prize.
  • Trick or treat for adopters. Promote adoptions in the month of October by offering a special gift to adopting families. They can pick either a ‘trick’ (training DVD or CD) or a ‘treat’ to take home with their new loved one.
  • “Mommy and me” costume contest. Host a costume contest for pets and their parents! Encourage participants to dress as famous duos or family members.

There is success in Halloween fundraising drives and events. Don’t less this time of year pass your animal welfare organization by. Brainstorm innovative fundraising ideas or use one of these to increase your donations this fall.

Animals in shelters typically come from a background of abuse and neglect. Sometimes these animals have little or no social skills with other animals or humans. Similar to humans, social skills with humans or other animals are vital.

What is socialization?

Socialization teaches dogs to interact with humans and other animals in a friendly manner. Those responsible for socializing dogs use different tactics and methods. Placing dogs in foster homes and forever homes requires they have certain socialization skills. The skills required depend on the makeup of those homes. Do the homes have children, other dogs, or other pets? How does the dog respond to children, males, females, and other animals?

Often times, animal shelters know little about the dogs in their care. Especially when the dogs are found abandoned. In these situations, how do you know what type of environment they will thrive in? The best shelters perform aggression testing to determine what social skills are in place and which need to be worked on.

Proper socialization decreases the dog’s stress and the chance of lashing out. Shelter dogs need to be introduced to socializing differently than a 3-week old puppy. Follow these steps for socializing your shelter dogs:

  1. Choose the right volunteer. Choose volunteers who are calm by nature. Anxiousness is easily detected by the dogs. If the volunteer is anxious or quick to yank on the leash, the dogs get scared.
  2. Introduce them to other shelter dogs. During the initial meetings keep both dogs on a loose leash. This gives the dogs chance to move freely to check out the surrounding environment. Keep the dogs about 8 feet apart to avoid a face to face meeting which many dogs don’t enjoy.
  3. Pay attention. Take notice of how the dogs react to one another. Look for signs of discomfort – stiff body, bared teeth, or growling. Maintain distance between the dogs in these situations or stop for the day if they don’t calm down.
  4. Introduce them to a group setting. After the dogs do well in the one on one introduction, they can be introduced to a group setting. Have the volunteer take the dog into a group environment on a leash. Drop the leash inside – give them chance to explore while still having a method to manage them. Take them off the leash after 20-30 minutes of good behavior. Continue to watch them for another 20- 30 minutes to make sure they remain calm.
  5. Slowly move them full-time to the group setting. Move new dogs into the group setting in stages. Let them stay for a few hours adding time every day until you work up to a full day with the other dogs.

Animal Shelters and rescues attend adoption events as exhibitors to help raise mission awareness and increase adoptions.  Events range from a small open house to a larger event with multiple animal shelters and rescues.  Deciding to attend an event comes with risks. Plan in advance to minimize these risks. Train your volunteer team on how their actions can help protect your animal shelter or rescue. Here are five things your animal shelter needs to know before attending a special event:

  1. Does the event align with your mission? Look at the mission or goal of the event.  Does their goal align with your mission? If the two do not align, the event is not in your best interest.  Attending an event that does not promote your mission, leaves you open to negative publicity or loss of a positive reputation.
  2. Read the contract. Most event organizers require you to comply with rules and an agreement to become an exhibitor. Make sure you read the contract or agreement to determine if you can meet these requirements. Common event guidelines include set-up and tear down times, proof of insurance, vaccine requirements for animals, and expectations for how you present yourself during the event. If you are unable to meet the requirements outlined in the agreement do not register as an exhibitor.  You risk a negative impact to your animal shelter or rescue if you attend and do not follow the guidelines.
  3. What can go wrong? Prior to attending an event, make a list of all the potential risks. Risks include animals getting loose, volunteers not showing, animals injuring attendees or volunteers.  Once you have a list of possibilities, create a proactive plan that identifies how you will minimize the potential for these.  For example, one significant risk is an animal jumping on an attendee and scratching that individual.  A plan to keep that from occurring includes making sure volunteers are assisting the attendees while talking to, petting and playing with the animals.
  4. Choose the right animals. Choosing the right animals to take is a key in minimizing the risk of injury to attendees. Your goal is to increase adoptions by attending the event.  Animals that have just recently entered your care may not be a good fit.  Choose animals that can handle social situations and interaction with strangers.  Animals that are skittish or easily scared have unpredictable behaviors and should remain at the shelter or in their foster home during events.
  5. Choose the right volunteer team. Volunteers who attend the event need to be knowledgeable of your animal shelter or rescue, your mission and how to present themselves during an event. If you choose to send new volunteers, make sure you pair them with an experienced volunteer that understands adoption event logistics and your expectations.

Adoption and special events are a powerful way to educate and involve your community with your shelter.  Follow these steps before attending an event to create a positive experience for all involved.

 

Winters aren’t just tough on humans they’re also hard for pets. True, they don’t have to shovel snow but unless they’re pulling sleds in Alaska, their activity is mostly limited to indoors. So take advantage of the many summer animal activities available in your area before those cold months return.

WATER. There are different forms everywhere; oceans, lakes, rivers, swimming pools. If your dog loves the water, this can be a great break from the heat. Make sure to take safety precautions when allowing your pet into the water:

  • Be aware of currents in oceans and rivers.
  • Life jackets are made for dogs too, and available in all sizes.
  • Use canine ear-drying solution to avoid ear infections.
  • Make sure the water is clean. If you wouldn’t go in, don’t allow your pet to.

CANINE AGILITY COURSES are popping up all over. You don’t have to be in training for a competition to enjoy the fun these courses have to offer. Dogs of all shapes and sizes will find something fun to do. Most courses are equipped with obstacles like tunnels, ladders and jumps. You can even build a DIY course in your own backyard.

PARKS are a haven for our four legged friends. Just make sure to check each park’s leash rules before releasing your dog. Some parks offer specific off-leash hours. If you’re camping out for the day, don’t forget to bring your pet’s favorite toy, a blanket, water, food and maybe even a small collapsible tent for shade.

NIGHT TIME ACTIVITIES are great during heat waves. Wait until the sun goes down then bring your pet along for your run, not only good for him but healthier for you.  Take your dog to a lit tennis court and toss her the ball or better yet, let her play “doggie in the middle” as you and a mate hit the ball back and forth.

OPEN THE WINDOWS in the house. Cats love to look outside, even if they’re too “scaredy“, or not allowed to go out there. When windows are closed they only get half the show. By opening the windows they get the smells and sound effects too.

No matter what animal activities you choose for you and your pet make sure you protect them from common summer dangers like fleas & ticks, heartworm, dehydration and heatstroke.

Have a safe, happy & fun summer!

As the winter fades away and the temperatures rise, we naturally spend more time outdoors. Spring is a glorious time of year, but for allergy sufferers, it can be an extremely irritating season.  You may not realize it, but your dog and cat can suffer from seasonal allergies as well. You don’t need to be an animal health expert to figure out if your pet has allergies. Here are a few things to consider to help alleviate your pet’s symptoms.

How to tell if your pet has allergies

As the trees start to bloom, they release pollen into the air. These tiny airborne particles can cause your dog’s eyes to itch, but you’ll most likely notice your pooch scratching a lot. Their skin becomes very itchy and they’ll scratch, bite, and rub themselves against hard surfaces to find some sort of relief. You might also notice hot spots on your dog. According to an animal health expert, a hot spot is noticeably red and there can be bleeding and hair loss around a small area of skin.

How to help your pet cope with allergies

Environmental allergies are almost impossible to avoid for dogs who need to go outside to do their business. For cats, it’s quite simple – keep them indoors. To help alleviate your dog’s allergy symptoms, bath them frequently. The more they scratch, the more inflamed and tender the skin will become. Regular baths throughout the spring and summer months can help sooth their dry, itchy skin.

How to help prevent allergies

It may not be possible to prevent all seasonal allergies, but you can help prevent the symptoms.

  • Clean your pet’s bedding frequently and vacuum and clean the floors regularly.
  • Use non-toxic cleaners. Household cleaners with harsh chemicals can irritate their skin even more.
  • Animal health is a priority. Keep your pet healthy by visiting the vet yearly for their regular checkup. Allergies are an immune system response, so it’s important to keep your pet’s immune system strong.
  • An anti-inflammatory diet or raw food diet may also help alleviate allergy symptoms.

Valentine’s Day is a special holiday that celebrates love. This special day is not just for humans either. In fact, this holiday is for celebrating the love you have for your pets too. Spoiling them with new toys and tasty treats along with lots of tender care to celebrate love with them is necessary, but there are some safety tips you should keep in mind.
1) Avoids Treats that are Poisonous to Your Pets
Spoiling your pets with people food is not always best to do on Valentine’s Day to show your love and appreciation towards them. In fact, some human foods are poisonous to pets. For instances, chocolates are harmful to cats and dogs, the seeds of apples and pears are poisonous to rabbits along with mushrooms, avocados and cherries, people food can pollute fish tanks and birds should never be offered rhubarb, eggplant, onions or olives. Only feed your pet, pet foods.
2) Stay Away from Valentine’s Day Costumes
Dressing up your pet for Valentine’s Day may be cute, but costumes should never be forced onto your pet. Doing so could cause injury. Costumes with tiny buttons, love arrows and other gadgets sticking out of them should also be avoided. Oh, and that includes cherub wings. While you are pet may look cute in them, during playtime they can be caught in things and cause injury.
3) Always Put Chocolate Boxes Up and Away
If someone you love gives you a box of chocolates or some sort of candy that contains an artificial sweetener it is best to put your treats out of your pets reach. Not doing so could cause them to get curious and get into your treats causing poisoning in your pal. Be kind to your pets this Valentine’s Day and put your treats out of reach.
4) Flowers are a No, No
Flowers are lovely, but they should never be given to your pet to play with on Valentine’s Day. In fact, some could be poisonous to your pet while flowers such as rose have thorns that could cause possible harm or serious injury, which require immediate vet care.
5) Pets as Gifts
Giving a pet as a Valentine’s Day gift is a sweet gesture, but they should never be given to love ones who cannot take care of them properly. Remember, pets are beings too that need lots of tender love and care.

Dates are not just for humans. Dates are for furry friends as well since after all, they do provide a kind of love that never dies. If you have some furry friends in your life that need a bit of tender love and care, it is time to schedule a date with them today. If you do not, it is time to make a date with some at your local shelter who could use a bit of extra loving. If you are wondering what types of things, you can do on your furry friend date the ideas below should help.
1) Dinner for Two
Dinner for two is not just for a romantic relationship between humans, it can also be for two pals wanting to spend time together such as with the furry kind. If your feline or canine loves meat, cook up some oven-roasted chicken for you and your pal and serve it up to them and yourself for a tasty dinner for two. Just make sure you add a side dish or two to yours.
2) Have a Play Date with Friends
If the furry pal in your life, loves playing with other kitties and doggies, make a play date with other pet owners who have kitties and doggies that love playing with their own kind as well. Play dates can be had at parks, pet friendly beaches, or simply at home indoors or in the backyard. Play dates help your furry pals have a bit of fun and help them get a bit of exercise.
3) Make a Trip to the Pet Store or Bakery
Taking your furry pal to the pet store or pet bakery in your local area is an amazing way to spend a date day or evening with your pet. This is especially true if your furry pal loves going for rides in the car or truck. Best of all, furry pals are always allowed to go with you to pet stores and bakeries specifically for pets to pick out new toys, bedding, food, treats and grooming supplies.
End Notes for Save a Date with Some Furry Friends
Again, if you don’t have furry friends, save a date to go spend some time with ones in the shelter that could use a bit of extra tender love and care. It will help you feel good and help the animals there feel good too.

Whether your dog is small or large, getting into stuff is their specialty and that includes chocolate, but what do you do if your dog gets into chocolate? Well, immediate medical treatment is usually required since chocolate contains a toxin known as theobromine, which is a stimulant beneficial to humans, but not to dogs. In fact, if chocolate gets into your pup’s system side effects could occur almost immediately.
Side Effects that Occur in Dogs that Have Eaten Chocolate
• Heart Rhythm Problems
• Central Nervous System Failure
• Muscle Tremors
• Seizures
• Coma
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Excessive Urinating
• Hyperactivity
• Balance Problems
• Increased Thirst due to Dehydration
• Inflammation of the Pancreatic
• Possible Death
What amounts of chocolate are consider toxicity levels for dogs?
The amounts of chocolate needed to cause toxicity in dogs is around three milk chocolate bars, but chocolate bars made from pure dark chocolate are even more poisonous to pups. In fact, baking cocoa and bars contain 70% more theobromine that a milk chocolate bar, which makes it deadly to dogs who consume even an ounce. If you suspect your pup has gotten into a considerable about of chocolate it is wise to call your vet for immediate help.
Treatments Prescribed to Help with Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
The treatments prescribed by a veterinarian to help aid in chocolate poisoning are simple. The doctor will prescribe a pill that induces vomiting or use an IV to provide fluids to flush the toxin out of the dogs body. Sometimes charcoal medications are prescribes if large amounts of chocolate have been in your dogs system for more than two hours to help relief a racing heart and to prevent seizures and other possible side effects from occurring or worsening.
Chocolate Foods to Keep Out of Your Dogs Reach
• Chocolate Bars
• Hershey Kisses
• Chocolate Ice Cream
• Chocolate Cakes
• Chocolate Milk
• Chocolate Frosting
• Hot Cocoa
• Chocolate Chips
• Baking Chips
• Chocolate Pies
• Fudges
• Homemade Fudge
• Chocolate Sauces
• Hot Fudge
• Chocolate Chip Pancakes
• Cocoa Based Cereals
• Cocoa Powder
End Notes for Dogs Consuming Chocolate
The best way to prevent your pup from ever consuming chocolate is to keep it up and out of the way. If your eating it and drop some on the floor, pick it up immediately. Remember, large amounts of chocolate can cause deaths in dogs so if you suspect your dog has chocolate poisoning the best thing to do is seek veterinarian help immediately.