Archive for 2015

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30 Nov 15

2015 Holiday Pet Gift Guide! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Excited to bring you our 2015 Holiday Pet Gift Guide where you can find gifts for pets and pet parents alike this holiday season!  From gifts that help you cherish your pet’s life, their memory – to functional, stylish, comfy and even products to help your pet’s ailments.  I invite you to visit each product listed below and visit their website as well to learn more.  In the spirit of the Holiday season – while doing your holiday shopping perhaps you can purchase 1 extra gift to give to someone who could really use it for themselves or their pet.  Happy shopping!

We often think of our pets who may have passed on, during the holidays and all year long. MiY Pet Perennials Kit is a wonderful way to remember your pet for years to come.  It is the is the perfect healing activity for anyone experiencing pet loss. Each kit contains everything necessary to craft 12-14 planting wafers. Each wafer propagates a one square foot area with wildflowers.  What a beautiful way to remember you pet and help the earth at the same time!  Pet families can customize their
living memorial by incorporating a portion of a pet’s cremation remains into the process.  A meaningful gift for sure.

Another really sweet and meaningful holiday gift is to have a pet portrait painted by a talented artist.  It doesn’t have to be a memorial, it is something you can do now for your favorite pet parent.  I know for myself, when my dog Max passed, a few incredible people in my life had a couple paintings of him done.  It was perfect. Animal artist Michelle Kohler located on Long Island does hand painted portraits from your photo onto canvas or wood.  Prices start at $75.00 for 8×10 size and paintings are done in acrylic or oil. Michelle also does a mini portrait “CHRISTMAS COOKIE” tree ornament for $30.00. The Christmas Cookie is a miniature portrait of your pet on a slab of last years Christmas tree. They are absolutely beautiful! To order your gift today contact Michelle at or by calling (631) 374-6378.

Have a pet parent in your life that loves, loves, loves jewelry?  Well you have to check out this beautiful new dog motif jewelry and photo jewelry in
by Zelda’s Song in their Etsy Store! Brand new designs include our first-ever silver necklaces and photo necklaces.  To make gift-giving easy, they have created our Paw Print Cuff Bracelet, pictured below – which is a fashionable paw print emblem presented on their popularleather cuff bracelet.  You can just add a name to personalize for your  favorite dog lover! You also have to check out all their other products on you are sure to find something you love (and maybe just for yourself!)

If you’re like me you prefer a leather collar for your dog.  For me there are many reasons, durability, strength, beauty and of course the many choices there are today.  You cannot go wrong with a beautiful dog collar from Auburn Leathercrafters.  Hand crafted right here in New York and with high quality leather – a family owned and operated company.  They have matching collars and leashes like the ones pictured below, collars with bling, for the largest dog you can imagine down to the tiny pup.  You can find their collars in many fine retailers – but if you don’t have a pet store near you go to their consumer website

If you are looking for a healthy dog treat for spoil your pup with you need to check out Deb’s Healthy Pet Center!  Offering a wide range of food, treats and supplements. They sell only all natural items, and the majority of what they offer are single-ingredient products. There are NO steroids, antibiotics, preservatives, hormones, grain or gluten in any of their products, all of which are made in the USA with only farm fresh ingredients grown here.  They are committed to 100% sourcing ingredients and manufacturing in the USA.  So your pet can be healthy now and healthy for life.

The next two items are perfect to be given as a gift together, you’ll see what I mean in a minute!

The Torus Water Bowls are new to the market and high tech yet simple to use.  The water bowls store water inside its reservoir walls, filtering the water as it automatically dispenses.  The large capacity means less filling and it’s low profile and grips mean less mess or spills that you will have to clean up.  Torus has a lock, fill and drink function for portability and does NOT require batteries.  The 1 liter bowl is ideal for small pets and the 2 liter bowl is ideal for larger or mutliple pets.  The bowls are available in Charcoal, Red, Blue & Pink (1 L only). Torus includes one carbon filter, lasting 1 month and has a 12 month warranty. Visit their website for more information on this cool new bowl.

Ok, maybe you will get the tie into the next product! ;)

UGODOG is the #1 Indoor Dog Potty approved by the APA. This pet potty is environmentally friendly, keeps paws dry, is easy for pets to use,  has absorbent liners that are reusable and biodegradable and owners get a free training manual with purchase. Makes a great gift for pet owners, especially those who are in high rise apartment buildings, in cold weather areas (who can’t get out quickly to take their pets out), and it’s great for older dogs too for them to have a safe clean place to go in your home say if you are out longer than anticipated.  And for puppies too!

Brand new to the market, like literally launched 2 weeks ago is Deziner Dogs, brought to you by pet entrepreneur Heather Lehrman, “Deziner Dogs was created not only by me, but by every pet owner I run in to.”  Not only will Deziner Dogs differentiate your dog breed with their apparel and leash line, it will also start many conversations between dog owners.  Their mission is to make high quality, fashion forward & fun products for you and your pet! Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.

If you’re thinking holistic pet care, that can be a personal choice – but I am sure as you’re reading this you know of at least one person who has a dog, cat or horse that may have a specific type of aliment.  Perhaps the traditional way of treating that ailment hasn’t really help their pet, if so, I encourage you to check out Dr. Baker’s Canine System Saver.  It is an all-natural herbal supplement that is a safe and effective alternative to treating many dogs ailments – instead of using harsh anti-inflammatory medications. Suitable to help manage ailments dogs suffer from such as: Arthritis; Chronic Dermatitis; Inflammatory Bowel Disease; Respiratory Disorders; Hip Dysplasia; Cartilage Destruction; Geriatric Wasting; Athletic/Repetitive Stress and Autoimmune Disorders.  Created by a holistic veterinarian right here on Long Island, Dr. Don Baker who has 30 years experience and is passionate about helping our pets in a holistic effective way.  Of course with any treatment plan you should contact your own vet first – but you need to visit their website and find out more about this great product.

If you’re looking for luxury for your home and your pets, then Tall Tails Authentic Dog Textiles is where you want to look!  Tall Tails is a leader in manufacturing high quality textiles and accessories for dogs and their families. Tall Tails offers products that pet parents love to provide for comfortable living, beautiful design, and interaction with their pets. Tall Tails helps provide soothing solutions for everyone in the family after a long day on the mountain peaks or the city streets. Quality products include: supportive beds, super-soft blankets, absorbent grooming towels, interactive toys, durable leashes, and WaterwoofTM pads.  You will end up wanting their items for you and your pets, but they make beautiful holiday gifts as well.  You can find their products in over 500 pet boutiques across the country.

Wishing you and your pets a very Happy Holiday season!

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20 Nov 15

The Forgotten Dogs ...

by Nancy E. Hassel, – Cover Photo by Melissa Marie Photography

The forgotten dogs…

While I am grateful these dogs are alive and well cared for in our municipal shelters across Long Island, (many, many shelter dogs do not have this chance), I am still heartbroken over the fact that these dogs have been in our shelters for years.  YEARS, shall I say it again, Y E A R S! We all know dogs everywhere need to be saved, and I completely understand and am for that of course, however we collectively have over 1,000 dogs in our local Animal Shelters across Long Island, looking for homes. Over 1,000 dogs locally looking for homes.  My own dog Cody was in the Islip Animal shelter for 6-months before I brought him home, maybe if I didn’t adopt him, he would still be there almost a year now.  I get sad when I think of him there for that 6 months, I can’t even imagine the dogs for years.

Cody has brought so much joy and happiness into my life and now is even a little celebrity with his own facebook page.  This holiday season, I hope you take a few minutes to read about each and everyone of the dogs in this article and mabye this will help open your eyes – and maybe, just maybe open your heart and home to one of the dogs in this list.  And please, please, please share this to everyone you know, as a shelter is no place for a dog to live, the constant noise, the meet-and-greets that never come of anything, the concrete floors, stress levels, shall I go on?  The best part, many dogs fall right into a routine and after a few weeks are like they were never even in the shelter, because dogs are resilent by nature, but rescued dogs they just know when they are safe and home – ask anyone who has adopted a dog and they will tell you the same thing.  There many dogs featured below, please take your time reading about each one and sharing. Thank you.

Forgotten Dogs at Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter
300 Horseblock Road
Brookhaven, NY 11719
(631) 451-6950

Mama is about as sweet as they come! She will melt your heart the minute you meet her. She was originally brought into the shelter very pregnant and ready to pop. She gave birth to 10 beautiful pups who have all been adopted. Sadly, no one ever adopted Mama and she sat watching her puppies leave one by one. She has the most amazing disposition and will be your best friend until the end of time. She loves everyone she meets of all ages and is housebroken and knows commands. Mama would like to be your one and only pet.


Forgotten Dogs at Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter:

3320 Beltagh Ave
Wantagh, New York 11793
(516) 785-5220

Mason’s (#2318) been with us more than 2years. He is only about 3yrs old, sadly growning up here. Brought in stray when a Good Samaritan saw him digging through garbage. First, Mason was a nervous wreck & had to be carried into his kennel. He has settled in but is still anxious. Mason recently went to training to learn many things; the trainers were impressed. Mason NEEDS a home! He loves to run & play and loves water. An active home is best for him. At this time, Mason would do best in a home where he’s the only pet


Dean #3525, a mastiff mix, has been with us almost half of his 4 1/2yrs of life. He’s a big boy who is really a bit shy and a mush. Staff & volunteers love him; he’s been to training and enjoys walks, playtime, cuddles and being close. He knows “sit” and is happy learning new things like “down.” He’s fine walking past other dogs on leash but would prefer to be the only dog in the home. Dean does have a silly and playful side and since he is a strong boy he would do best in an experienced home.

Mason (he's smirking!!)

Polar’s (#3987) one of our deafies. About 6yrs old, she’s been in the shelter 1/3 of her life.
A staff favorite, this beautiful girl was surrendered when her owner lost her home. Polar was really scared but has blossomed into a loving, sweet, submissive girl. She seems to understand hand signals… ‘thumbs up’ is her fav! She needs an experienced home, either as a single dog or one in which the family is familiar with deaf dog introduction. Since Polar can’t hear, she is mostly found in the back of her kennel sleeping, making it harder to find her home!


Forgotten Dogs at Town of Huntington Animal Shelter:
106 Deposit road
East Northport, NY 11731
(631) 754-8722

Sally is a 3 year-old pit mix who appears to have had little or no real human companionship. She has benefitted from her time at the shelter, learning basic obedience and working on her leash-walking. Sally needs to be the only pet in the home and would do best with older, teenage, children. Sally is sweet, but needs a firm and consistent handler. An experienced dog owner is preferred. Sally has been at the shelter for 2 years.


Jack is a happy boy who loves being around people. He is training on leash-walking but responds well to correction if needed. He plays well with other dogs and older children. He gets excited but never aggressive with human contact. Jack is neutered, negative for heart worm and up to date on his vaccinations. All dogs leave the shelter with HomeAgain microchip which is registered for life – Jack has been at the shelter for 1 year.


Cecil is a 3 yr old Pit bull turned in by his owner because they were movng. He is endless energy and needs lots of exercise and training. He is not for a first time dog owner. He needs a owner that is familiar how to train a dog and be consistant.  Cecil has been at the shelter for 3 yeas! 3 years. :(


Buddy is a 2 and a half year-old male Lurcher mix. ( Buddy was surrendered by his owner due to a housing complication. Buddy is a smart dog who has had a tough time adjusting to life in a shelter. His kennel behavior is poor and fear-based, but outside of his kennel Buddy is affectionate and playful – he has been in he shelter for 1 year.


Susie is a 6 yr old simply delightful girl who lost her home due to eviction. She is extremely sweet and affectionate despite her size! She loves when people play with her and is looking for the right family to love her! Do not let her size fool you: her heart is as big as her entire body! She has been in the shelter for 3 years – THREE years! :(


Stewy is a handsome boy around two years of age. He came in as a stray and so we have had to spend time getting to know him. What we have learned is that Stewy’s heart is a reflection of his stature, that is to say large. Stewy is working hard learning his basic commands and leash training. Due to his size, around 70 lbs, and tall, he would do best in a home with older teenage children. Potential adopters should be experienced as Stewy is sweet but needs consistent training right now. Stewy has been in the animal shelter for 1 year.


Forgotten Dogs at Town of Islip Animal Shelter:
210 South Denver Ave
Bay Shore, NY 11706
(631) 224-5660  or (631) 742-4491
Islip Animals

Hazel is a petite American Staffordshire Terrier mix who is roughly 3 years old. She came to the shelter on June 14, 2013. She has been in training for close to two years. She knows her basic commands, walks well on a leash and is housebroken. She needs to be the only animal in the home and would do best with older children. She loves playtime and belly rubs. Hazel’s adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and she goes home with a collar, martingale, leash, a bed, bag of food, toys and treats and Free training for her is provided as well.


Sandy is a sweet female yellow Lab/ Pit mix, who is about 3 years old. She’s been at the shelter since November 11, 2013. She enjoys playtime, especially with squeaky toys and tennis balls. She would do great in an active home. She is currently in training and knows all of her basic commands, she walks nicely on a leash, and is house-trained. Sandy needs to be the only pet in the home, but gets along great with children. Sandy’s adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and goes home with a collar, leash, bed, food, toys, and free training.


Scrabble is a handsome male Pit mix who is about two and a half years old. He’s been at the shelter since January 17, 2014. He is an active dog who loves to run and play. He knows all of his basic commands, walks well on a leash, and does wonderfully in public settings. Scrabble gets along with all dogs and cats. He would do best with older children due to his energy level. His adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and he goes home with a collar, leash, bed, food, toys, and free training.


Momma is a petite Pit mix who came to the shelter pregnant and gave birth to her last litter of pups. She came in on May 6, 2014. She’s about 6 years old and loves to be outside, able to run around or go in the pool. Momma knows most of her basic commands and is house broken. Momma needs to be the only animal in the home and would do best with children five and up. Her adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and she goes home with a collar, leash, bed, food, and more.


Desi is a female Pit who is about two years old. She has been at the shelter since June 14, 2014. She grew up in a cage. She is a good girl who is in training and getting proper socialization. Desi is an active girl who would do great with some room to run around. Desi needs a home without little children due to her energy and strength. She tested well with cats. Desi’s adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and she goes home with a collar, leash, bed, toys, food, and more.


Cinnabon is an adorable female Pit mix who is about three years old. She just celebrated her one year anniversary at the shelter (11/6/14). This playful girl is very athletic and would make an incredible agility dog. She is a good listener and is learning her commands. She knows sit, down and come so far. She needs a home without other animals and would do best with children five and up due to her energy level. Cinnabon’s adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and she goes home with a collar, leash, food, bed, toys and treats.


Emma was with us for nearly a year until we thought she was finally safe and in a forever home. She was adopted almost two years ago, and recently was returned because of the owner’s medical issues. Emma is a sweet Pit mix who is about 5 years old now. She knows her sit and come command and walks decently on a leash. She gets along great with children but needs a home without other animals. Emma’s adoption is paid for by Live.Love.Bark and she goes home with a collar, leash, bed, food, toys, and more.


Forgotten Dogs at North Fork Animal Welfare League – Towns of Riverhead & Southold Animal Shelter:
165 Peconic lane
Peconic, NY 11958
(631) 765-1811

Sasha is 4 years old love all people!! is great in the car!! Good with kids . She was found running loose two years ago during a blizzard.


Cinnie: I came to the shelter is 2011 I got lost from my family and could not find my way home. I ended up at the shelter and my family has never come looking. I have been here 4 years and want nothing more then a family. I love long walks, car rides, I know many commands and am told I am very smart and trainable. I would like to be the only pet in the home although I might be willing to share my family with a special dog.


: I am 4 years old and I love every human I meet! I was living in a car with my owner and another dog when a good Samaritan who was trying to make my life better took me. I know it was a really nice thought but I ended up in a tiny pen with many very loud dogs around me. I was so scared! A volunteer noticed how scared I was and asked the shelter to take me in. Thank goodness they did! Now I am waiting for my forever home! I have some special health needs. Spudster has been in the shelter for 1.5 years.


Titan is a sweet guy he loves to play and snuggle ! he is a volunteer favorite. No cats! 3 years old . He came in as a stray he was emaciated and had a terrible skin infection. He is now healthy and ready for his family! He has been at the shelter for about 2 years.


Gracie is 9 years old she was used as a backyard breeder for years. She lived outside in a pen all year long. She finally go away and ended up at the shelter . She is very sweet but must me the only animal!  Gracie has been at the shelter for 1.5 years.


Lefty is a sweet girl a little shy at first meeting but once she knows you she is a love. high energy girl who loves long walks and to play! Lefty has been at the shelter for over a year. She is good with some other dogs. (I personally met her last year, what a sweetie).


Coco was left behind when her owner moved. She loves people! Is ok with some other dogs. She loves to play! Coco has been in the shelter for over 1.5 years.


Forgotten dogs at Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter
75 Marino Avenue
Port Washington, New York 11050
(516) 767-4615
The Shelter Connection

Zeus: In Greek mythology he was the highest of the gods and we all think the highest of our Zeus too! At the shelter for over three years now, Zeus knows all of his basic commands and beyond, and would be grateful to share a home with a human companion as goofy and fun-loving as himself. Could you be that person?
Zeus has been at the shelter since December 2011. :(


Forgotten dogs at Smithtown Animal Shelter Foundation:

410 E Main St
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 360-7575

Dinah is a 4yr old spayed female Bull Terrier Mix. She came into the shelter as a stray on 2/10/14.  She gets along with most dogs, but does great with male dogs. She would be best in a home with no kids or cats. She is very intelligent, easy to train and has a lot of energy.


is a 4yr old female spayed pit bull. She was found as a stray and came into the shelter on 11/5/2012! She goes to the Dog Park and does great! But living in a home she becomes very dominant, and will do best as the only pet. No Cats! No small children, as Kiko is very strong and doesn’t know her own strength. She is 75 pounds of love!


is an 8yr old Pit Bull, and was surrendered by her owner to the shelter in 2013. Her owner had to move and could not take her. Stella gets along with some dogs, but she would do best in an only pet home, as she can be territorial. She does not like when people stick there hands in the kennel, because she is protecting her home. A calm household is what Stella is looking for with No cats. She is 56 pounds.


Forgotten dogs at Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation:
102 Old Riverhead Road West
Hampton Bays, NY 11946
(631) 728-7387

Cowboy has not had much in his lifetime & has spent most of his 7 years in a kennel. Cowboy is looking for a home where he can finally live his authentic self. Cowboy is smart, athletic, & loves physical & mental activities like fetch & tug. Cowboy is one smart dog & loves to please the people he loves. Cowboy has lots of training. No dog should sit in a shelter for a majority of their life but Cowboys has as he patiently waits for his forever home. Cowboy will snuggle, loves physical play time he’s your guy.


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19 Nov 15

USA Made Dog Treats Cody Loves! ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Made in the USA Dog treats Cody loves, and mom approved!

Being in the pet industry for a long time, I see a ton of pet products on a regular basis and dog treats of all kinds – and the treat market is booming and seemingly not slowing down.  Being very picky of what I feed my dog Cody, here’s a list of treats that I approve of that are Made in the USA, made with great USA sourced ingredients, and some even serve a purpose.  Cody literally drools big time when he is patiently waiting to nosh on any one of these treats below!  In no particular order:

The SmartCookee Company PB’N Jelly Time - just too darn cute, right? Also, a 1 calorie treat – how cool is that? SmartCookee’s founder is passionate about feeding dogs treats that are of high quality and low in calorie.  Many pets across this country are sadly overweight and this is a really great option if you are doing training and/or just can’t resist those puppy dog eyes begging you for just one more treat.  Made with organic and natural ingredients and also chia seeds to help aid in digestion. Flavors include ‘The Great Pumpkin,’ ‘I Yam what I Yam,’ ‘Peas and Carrots’ and there are even holiday treats available now too.  You can see from the pictures below Cody could not wait for me to open this package!

Look Who’s Happy, yup you can tell from this picture below Cody is loving Look Who’s Happy treats. I literally have to hide these treats because Cody can sniff them out!  Look Who’s Happy has a few different line of treats – but the ones picture here are the Happy Wraps.  Cody has been loving all of the flavors picture, Carrot with Chicken recipe, Carrot with Turkey recipe and Sweet Potato with Turkey recipe.  Made with whole muscle chicken, and they contain no by-products, fillers or artificial perserveratives, flavors or colors added.  You can clearly see the carrot and the chicken in the treats.  They are also grain and gluten free. And of course made here in the USA at their family owned plant.  Cody is very happy!

Scout & Zoes has many different products, all sourced and made right here in the USA – and pictured below is a recent contest I held, “Where in the World is Cody” in which Sue Johnson correctly guessed where he was.  She won the Purple Sweet Potato Slabs and Venison Jerky treats.  Sue said, “Jake loves the sweet potato treats, and I can’t believe it because he normally doesn’t like sweet potato at all.”  She told me he of course also loves the venison treats.  Cody did not want to part with Jake’s prize when I handed it to Sue, can’t really blame him!  Visit their website to see the many great products for your pets as they also make treats and products for cats, birds, horses and small animals.

Doggables Dog Scoops are a uniquely shaped cookie that actually serve a purpose. Not wanting to use traditional pockets to give her dog a pill, the founder of the company came up with making an all natural edible scoop in 2 different sizes.  You can use them to administer medication to your dog by hiding it in peanut butter or pumpkin with the scoop – and your dog can eat the entire scoop, handle an all.  Or if you need to give a crated dog medication you can also use the scoop to feed him through the crate.  They have a larger size for big dogs and mini for the small pups, you can see below.  I am going to use these to start giving Cody his fish oil capsules, he loves them just as a treat, but I love what the purpose if for too.  Made with incredible ingredients like: coconut oil, flax seed, barley, salmon oil, pumpkin, oatmeal, cinnamon and peanut butter.  They come in 2 flavors: Pumpkinable and Peanutbutterable.

Halo Live-a-Littles (Cats love these too), ok so I have dubbed this for a long time as ‘Doggie and Kitty crack’ maybe not he best description, but I am telling you once your pet tries these they will be hooked!  I once had a client who’s cat I took care of and she introduced me to these – her cats went bananas for them, and I kid you not using these treats I trained her cat to sit on command, just like a dog for the treat.  If you own a cat you know that is not the norm!  Live-a-littles are freeze dried treats thac come in chicken, salmon or beef.  All sourced and made here in the USA. And if you have a fincky eater these treats crumble very easily – it could be used as that incentive for them to eat their food.  Cody loves them and I am using as a great training tool for him knowing it’s a great high protein snack.

When feeding any treats to your pets, be sure if you give them a lot during the day, (whether you’re doing training or feeling guilty for working so much), be sure to deduct that same amount of their regular food.  We love giving our pups treats, but if you don’t account for all the treats during the day – you could add unwanted extra lbs on your pup, and nobody wants that!

And as a side note, I do not feed my dog: pigs ears, rawhide, hooves, antlers, chicken feet or anything along those lines.  I even stopped giving him bully sticks as his belly didn’t do too well after eating one a few months ago.   It’s a personal choice to not feed him the random body parts of animals – there are too many concerns for blockages if a he didn’t chew a pigs ear enough or a piece of something that broke off that he was chewing on.  I know many dog owners swear by the antlers – again it is just a personal choice.

I do give him big heavy marrow bones – that I get from a health food store, (same place I have been buying them for 20 years), and of course he is montitored while getting all that marrow out – and the bones are sourced and processed from right here in the USA.  These marrow bones never break, splinter or get worn down too much – he loves to get his chew on – and he gets a new one monthly. (Helps keep his teeth clean too!)

All of the treats mentioned above were supplied to us for this pet product review, all reviews are honest and if we didn’t like something we would tell you!

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28 Oct 15

Keep your Pets Safe on Halloween! ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Keep your Pets Safe this Halloween!

I personally love Halloween – always have and now that our pets are more and more involved in the HOWL-o-ween celebrations with pet parades, costume contests, apple and pumpkin picking with our dogs – just love it!

But our pets can be really spooked by the creepy sites and sounds of trick-or-treaters, decorations, (and seriously – some of the decorations are gruesome and lifelike these days – and that can easily freak your pets out!), unfamiliar noises, the doorbell constantly ringing, etc.

Here are some simple tips to keep your pet safe at home on this haunted Halloween, and please share this to help others learn how to keep their pets safe while you’re having a bone chilling good time! ;)

Having a Halloween Party?

  • Provide a safe and secure place away from guests in costumes for your pet to be.  This can be a room away from the action and noise and if your dog is crate trained – have them inside their crate for added protection of them freaking out over Casper and reacting or trying to get out of the house!
  • Or if you need to Board your dog – if your worried about the comings and goings of people, trick or treaters, etc.
  • Remember kids and adults in costumes can be really scary for any pets – and the may react to those costumes in a way you were not expecting.
  • Even the most chill dog can be spooked or react – don’t set them up for failure – provide them that safe place.

Trick or Treaters:

  • Candy is super tempting to pets – be sure to keep that candy bowl for the trick or treaters out of reach from your pets. You don’t want to have to be at the ER with your pet because he or she ingested candy!
  • Don’t have your dog or cat at the door to greet trick or treaters.  You may think your pet is perfect and would never react or get scared and bolt out the door.  It just takes one time.

Walking your pet while trick or treating with your kids?

  • This is a know your dog situation!  NO DENIAL about your dog’s behavior here.  I have personally taken both of my dogs in the past with my niece trick or treating – because they were well socialized and not freaked out by decorations, costumes, etc.  If I had a super nervous dog or dog that would react to such things – I would not have brought them along.
  • Always have proper up-to-date ID on your dog.  Just in case you drop the leash, or he gets loose while out trick or treating. Dog forbid!
  • If you are unsure of how your do might react – leave him home!

Dressing Fido up in a costume?

  • Makesure the costume is fitted properly – that your pet can see, hear, walk normally and does not have dangling pieces of the costume that could get caught on something or they may eat.
  • Only dress your pet up if they don’t mind.  My last dog Max – no way he was wearing a costume – he hated any kind of clothing!
  • Dress your pet up a few times to get them used to the costume in 5 minute increaments (with rewards!) and they might get used to it and not mind.  But don’t force it if your pet is unhappy.

Happy HOWL-o-ween!

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21 Oct 15

How I saved my dog from Surgery ...

by Nancy E. Hassel,

Why is that pet emergencies always seem to happen on the weekend and at night?  Right?  You always hear about some awful story or you have gone through it yourself when you pet is presenting with an emergency and it’s never on a Tuesday at 10am.  A couple weeks ago, my dog Cody was not himself – lethargic and then started throwing up in the late afternoon (5:30pm on a Saturday) and continued to do so for another hour.  I am not one to rush to an emergency ER vet hospital over a dog throwing up.  But Cody was throwing up a lot and seemed to be in some pain – if you touched his abdomen, which was normal in size, he would tense up and started shaking.  He was not Bloating – just to be clear. (If you don’t know the symptoms of bloat you should – it could save your dog’s life!)

His gums were pink – and he was slightly dehydrated from what I could tell.  But it was the pain that was worrying me.  So at 6:45pm on that Saturday night – we were off to the ER Veterinary Hospital.  Of course when we got there he was wagging his tail very excited to see people – but even through that I could tell he was not feeling well.

In the exam room the vet tech asked me a ton of questions about his symptoms – and I explained that a few days earlier he had grabbed a mouthful of oak tree acorns, (the oblong shaped ones), but that he had passed most of them.  She took all the info and while waiting to get the doctor – Cody threw up again – so much, I didn’t know where all that fluid was coming from. Already worried, this was not helping my worrysome state.

The doctor came in and asked me pretty much the same questions the vet tech did and she suggested x-rays to make sure there was not a blockage.  Which is the reason I was there with him.  I have only had Cody for 5 months at this time and never had a dog that ate acorns – so I wanted them to do an x-ray.  A little while later – they took him to do x-rays and blood work.

After another 1/2 hour or so – the doctor came back with his x-rays:

The doctor said, “this is not good.” I said, “what is that?” I felt my face get hot – this did not look good!  She explained that his intestines were expanded 2 or 3 times their normal size.  I said, “oh that is all gas in there – that is would explain he was farting so much today.”  She nodded.  She explained that the next step would be to have a radiologist look at them to see if he could see any obvious blockage but that they highly suggested surgery in a case like this.  Now of course I want the best for my dog – but I didn’t want him go through surgery.  As she kept explaining it to me and telling me the cost could be anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000 grand for the surgery (remember we were at an Emergency ER).  My head was starting to swirl.   Then as she was talking I literally said out loud “WAIT – Wait wait wait.”  I am going to call my regular vet, I have his cell phone and text him the X-rays – do you mind.  The vet said, not at all – please do send it to him.

So panicked I called my vet, at 9:30pm on his cell phone, – rambling to him the situation and he said, ok text me the X-rays.  I did.  He called me back 2 minutes later and said, “do NOT do surgery.”  I said, “I knew you were going to say that!”  He then gave the vet there his suggestion of what to do, keep him overnight, IV, meds, etc.  Which they did.  He said, have them do the x-rays again in the morning and if they do not change then have them do surgery.   In the meantime the radiologist had said they we should do surgery – but the ER vet also sent the x-rays to their surgeon who said she couldn’t see anything specific and she was comfortable with my vets suggestions.

Now mind you this would have been exploratory surgery.  They could not see for sure if any acorns were logged in his intestional track.  Which, I was told exploratory surgery  is common.  Advocating for my dog so he wouldn’t have to go through a possible unnecessary surgery.  You have to be informed and adovcate for your pet – knowing full well I am not a veterinarian – which is why I called my vet for him to look at the x-rays.

So when I left Cody there – the vet said, we will moniter him and if anything changes throughout the night we will call you – I said absolutely.  And they would do a new set of x-rays in the morning.  I left, went home and tried to get some sleep.  My phone did NOT ring.  When I woke up I knew in my gut, not Cody’s gassy one, that he would be ok.

The ER hospital called me around 7:45am to tell me Cody did well during the night and that they did a 2nd set of x-rays and they only looked slightly better.  My panic started to set back in.  I said please email the X-rays so I can look and send them to my vet.  About 1/2 hour later I got the email, expecting the worst:

I literally said, ‘Wow’ outloud when I opened them, only slight better.  Looks a lot better to me and I am not a vet.  So I texted the photo’s to my vet asked him what he thought – and in the meantime, was waiting to hear back from the ER vet again – on what the radiologist and their surgeon said.  They also now quoted me $6,000 to $8,000 grand for the exploratory surgery – I said, “how does that go up $2,000 overnight?”  That was just and estimate.  Then I said, “well if he does need surgery I will not have it done there.” $8,000 for surgery they are not sure if anything is even there – seemed, well crazy to me.  The vet was very nice and said, she completely understood if I wanted to bring him elsewhere – but would I be able to find a vet to do it.  Yes, I am fortunate I am in the pet industry and know a lot of veterinarians.   So with my wheels spinning I started to make a few phone calls and found a vet who was willing to come in and do the surgery at their hospital AND my own vet got back to me and said he would come in (on his day off) if he needed surgery and do it.  How amazing is that?

The hospital was still saying he could need surgery.  I said, “what about the ultrasound that I was told the next step would be (if his xrays were still inconclusive).”  ”We don’t want you to incur the cost of an ultrasound if he needs surgery.”  What?  So I said, “I would rather pay for an ultrasound then Cody have to go through massive invasive surgery if they are still not sure about any blockage.”

Then the radiologist got back and said, he would not suggest surgery.  ”But our surgeon said he would do surgery if it was his dog” – I said, “Well it’s not his dog, so please get the specialist in to do the ultrasound.”  The vet agreed and I went up to the hospital to sign for the ultrasound and waited THREE hours for the specialist to come in (which is not any fault of the ER vet – this guy was on call), but I was pretty pissed off.  I said, last night you guys were pushing for surgery and this guy is taking his sweet time to get here.   (Also saying to the front office staff – I completely understand it’s not their fault – but still why isn’t anyone on staff that can do an ultrasound?)

Finally the ultrasound was done – they called me into the exam room – and guess what it was deteremined that NO surgery was needed there was NO blockage. WOHOOO!!!

Cody had to stay one more night on the IV and meds and I picked him up the next day.   He was diagnosed with: Gastroenteritis which eating those acorns can cause.

It took him about a week and a half to be fully back to normal (digestion wise) but he was basically 90% better the next day.

A few things, one I think the ER vet took very good care of Cody.  I understand the crazy high costs (they have a big overhead to cover) and their suggestions were based on Cody’s xrays and their experience-AND they were willing to work with me on everything I asked them to do, and were fine with me talking to my vet and others. They were also all very polite, nice while dealing with me and loved Cody.  So with that said, I am grateful that we are forunate to have many ER vets on Long Island to take our pets to – on a Saturday night.  If they were not open or nearby – I am not sure what I would have done – Cody would for sure have been sicker and in a lot of pain waiting through the night to go to his own vet on a Sunday.

  • But what I will say – whether your a new pet owner or seasoned pet owner, in the pet industry or not – is ASK a lot of questions, Get 2nd or 3rd opinions if you can.
  • Are there other options available for your pet?
  • Have your own vet’s cell phone # handy (develop a good relationship with your vet so you can call him/her in the case of an emergency)
  • Be your pets advocate. Always.
  • Even though our emotions can take over in these cases – stop yourself from being completely overwhelmed and THINK!  (If I let my emotions handle the situation…it probably would have not turned out this way)
  • Become more informed about your pets health, take a pet 1st aid and CPR class – you never know how that knowledge will help you.

And of course every situation is different – and I knew Cody was not bloating – in that kind of emergency – life saving surgery is an absolute – there is no other option if your dog is bloating.

Oh yea, and don’t let your dog eat acorns and other odd stuff.  I am hoping Cody’s acron (doggie crack) obession is just puppyhood problems.  We’ll see – he has learned leave and DROP it much better now – but he is not giving any opportunity to eat any acorns. Sheesh, silly adorable boy!