Keep Your Dog Happy and Well by Ensuring Your Yard Is Safe

With the holidays being a time when lots of families add a four-legged friend to their midst, or alternatively go out numerous parties and other events and leave animals home alone more often, it’s important to be sure your yard is safe for your loved pooch.

As a valued part of your family, your dog should be happy and well – and you should want to do everything you can to keep it that way. And, by doing this, you’ll save yourself from having to pay for expensive and unexpected visits to the vet. Read on for some top ways you can make your yard secure today, and ensure your fur baby stays safe.

Get Rid of Toxic Plants

Get rid of any plants toxic to dogs. With exposure to the wrong things, pooches can display symptoms such as sore eyes, irritated skin, seizures and more. In some unfortunate cases, death can result.

Go through your garden to see if you can spot any plants that could be an issue, and remove them or stop your dog from being able to access them. Also, when buying new plants, check to see if they could cause any dramas for your four-legged friends before you bring them home.

The list of potentially dangerous plants is long, but here are some of the most common ones:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Tulips
  • Hydrangeas
  • Sago palm (particularly nasty, it can lead to severe liver failure)
  • Rhododendrons
  • Marigold
  • Wisterias
  • Ivy
  • Lily of the Valley (it can cause cardiac arrhythmias, amongst other things)
  • Sweet pea
  • Daffodils
  • Geraniums
  • Bougainvillea
  • Cyclamen
  • Azaleas
  • Oleanders
  • Lantana
  • Wisterias
  • Crocuses (the fall crocus, Meadow Saffron, is an especially nasty one to be on the lookout for, as it can cause multisystem organ failure)

Keep Pests at Bay

Look for ways to keep pests at bay in your yard, too. For instance, keep your lawns trimmed regularly so there is less coverage for pests to hide in. Also, ward off mosquitos by removing standing pools of water. If these biting insects remain a problem even after you do this, consider using a specialist mosquito service to help you remove infestations.

Mosquito bites can give your dog diseases, just as happens with humans; plus if dogs scratch at bites on their ears or other areas, they can develop hematomas and skin conditions. As such, a safe yard must be safe from such pests.

Don’t Use or Leave Harmful Chemicals and Other Substances in Your Yard

Next, be careful about using and leaving harmful chemicals and other substances in your yard that could make your pet very ill if ingested. For example, pest sprays and fertilizers can be a problem, as can blood and bone meals. These smell great to dogs as they’re made up of dried, ground-up, flash-frozen animal bones, but if canines eat a lot they can get bad cement-like blockages in their GI tracts.

Steer clear of mole, rat, gopher or other baits around your property because if your dog eats any of these they could develop severe health issues and even die. Be wary about the mulch you use in your gardens, too. This trips a lot of pet owners up, as it doesn’t seem like an issue. However, many mulches are made from the discarded shells or hulls of cocoa beans. These contain the two toxins which are the reason behind why we can’t feed our pets chocolate treats – caffeine and theobromine.

Keep Your Dog Happy and Well

Ensure Dogs Can’t Get Into Dangerous Areas

Another way to keep your dog happy and well is to ensure it cannot get into any dangerous areas in your yard. For example, deny furry friends access from spaces such as garden sheds containing sharp objects; pools, ponds and other deep water sources; and netting, in which they could potentially get trapped in and choke. Also, stop dogs from being able to enter neighbors’ yards as you don’t know what kinds of risky areas or items could be in there.

Keep your dog well away from compost heaps. Again, this might not seem like such an obvious risk, but these piles often contain organic materials which attract dogs because of their smell (e.g. food scraps), but which can lead to health concerns. On top of there being generally dangerous substances in your compost for dogs, note that another problem is that organic materials in compost heaps sit and mold. When this occurs, harmful mycotoxins arise. These can cause your pooch to develop tremors, seizures or vomiting attacks or fall ill in other ways. Keep any compost stored securely in a container your dog cannot dig into or tip over.

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Decorating a Room for Your Pet Dog at Your Home

Your dog is a part of your family as much as anyone else, and such special bonds call for a proper living space for your furry friend as well. You might have to leave the sweet face alone for some time of the day but these short periods can be handled by your dog quite easily if he is comfortable and engaged. The living space can range from a small kennel to an entire room itself, and it should be designed to resemble the perfect dog zone for your pooch. Decorating a room according to your dog’s liking and convenience can be a little challenging, but here are a few guidelines that can help you give your best.


Consider the safety of the room first

Dogs are the curious kind and tend to put everything in their mouth first. They can also create quite a ruckus and harm themselves in the process if the room is not dog-proof. Make sure you remove all edible items from the room or keep it higher up, out of access, hide the electrical wires strategically, put away plastic toys, shoes, etc., which your dog might destroy, replace trash cans with dog-proof models and set the temperature of the room right. Experts who have undergone training from the best vet tech schools always profess safety first for pets.

Keep all medicines, medical records, clothing and other necessary items handy in case you need them. Taking care of all this should be your primary target if you are vouching for a safe environment.

Make sure the room is comfortable to stay

The general decorum of the room should reflect your dog’s personality and also reveal your style in interior decoration. The color and lighting of the room should be soothing to the eye. Paint the room with non-toxic satin colors that not only add a bright aura to the room but also spread a welcoming aroma. You can also use semi-gloss paint for your convenience as any paw or dirt mark is easily removable.

Install flooring that can tolerate the scratching from your dog’s nail as it is impossible to stop them from doing so. You could also play soft music through the day or mount a television securely and play something that will hold your dog’s attention. Keeping some dog toys lying around can also ensure that your dog remains engaged and has something to play with.

Compartmentalize the room

Divide the room into areas, not necessarily by boundaries, for various purposes. Assign a corner to place the food and water dishes, place a bed in the most comfortable area of the room as your dog will spend most of its time there, place a litter box in one corner so he could go about with the process of elimination within the room itself. You could also put a separate crate for relaxation during the day.

Keeping these few basic things in mind will go a long way in decorating a perfect room for your furry friend. A smile on your pet’s face will also make you happy!

Preparing Your Home for a New Pet

Getting a new pet is a big responsibility and one that should never be taken likely. That is why you need to plan if you are welcoming a new animal into your home. The environment that you create for them is just as important as the food you give them, so having the right things in place will make them happy and calm. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself before choosing and bringing home your new pet.

Choosing the Right Pet for Your Family

If you have children, then they will probably have their own ideas about what pet they want. However, it is important that you look at your family’s circumstances to see what animal will be best suited. If you are a family that is out for most of the day, then an animal such as a dog would be the wrong decision, as they get lonely and depressed being on their own all day, and nor would they get enough exercise. Cats, on the other hand, are independent and won’t mind being on their own.

Where Will They Live?

Depending on what animal you eventually choose, you will need to find a good space for them to live in. A dog can stay inside or outside the house, although in bad weather they should be allowed to stay inside; even if they are inside all the time, they will still need a space of their own to sleep, relax and rest. Cats are more independent, though you should still provide a safe space for them out of the way of children or other animals. Some cat breeds need a lot of mental stimulation, or they become aggressive and destructive. Other animals such as mice and gerbils can be kept in cages, though you will still need to keep them in a place that is warm and dry. You should also keep them out of reach of other animals and small children!

Are Your Other Animals Healthy?

If you are getting a pet that hasn’t had its injections yet, then you need to ensure that all your other animals are fit and healthy. If any of them haven’t had their injections, then it is best to get this done before bringing other animals into the house. You must also treat your animals for fleas using an easy to apply treatment such as Advecta, which is especially important when you introduce a new animal into your menagerie. It is also a good idea to make sure that the new animal is taken to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible to confirm their health.

Is Your Home Ready for Your New Arrival?

You might think that you have your home ready for your new pet; however, there could be areas you have not considered that could affect the wellbeing of your pet. If you are getting a dog, is your fence in your backyard high and secure enough? Dogs can jump great heights, and dig under low fences, so regularly check for any holes in the fence that an animal can get in or out. If you are getting a smaller animal that will live in a cage, then you will need to be mindful of objects around their cage, for example, you will need to keep wires away from the cage as rabbits in particular like to eat them thinking they are roots.

Who Will be Responsible for the Pet?

It is a question that many parents are left to ask when a new pet arrives. Who Will be Responsible for the Pet? Many children will promise to look after a new pet, though it eventually becomes more of the responsibility of the parents. One way to minimize this is to set out a cleaning or walking route that encourages your children to play their part. Your kids may soon get bored if they are only cleaning out the cage, so try to get them involved in other activities too. Encourage them to play with the pet and feed it, caged animals such as gerbils and rabbits can be let out of their cage occasionally to have more freedom.

Will a New Pet Get Along with Your Existing Animals?

One consideration you need to keep in mind is whether a new pet will be accepted by the other pets in the household. It can be a particular issue with cats and dogs as they have a tendency to be territorial. If you have a pet that displays aggressive behavior towards other animals, you should choose an animal that won’t be considered a threat.  

Are You Prepared for the Odd Accident?

If you are getting a cat or a puppy, then you should be aware that toilet training can be difficult. At first, they may well have accidents as this is part of their learning curve. It is important to have a clean-up plan in place so that if an accident does happen, you are ready to deal with it. Have you researched the best ways to toilet train your animal? It might give you some useful advice and make the process a lot easier. The most important thing to remember is that this period takes patience, it will eventually get sorted out.

Have You Researched the Pets Food Requirements?

There are many types of pet food on the market, and they are all designed specifically for each animal type. However, some products are better for your pet than others, so it is important to research and get the best one for them. Your vet may be able to recommend a specific brand or type, especially if your animal has any allergies. It is also vital to learn how much food you need to give them. There is usually a feeding guide on the side of the food, if you administer the correct amount, your pet may become overweight and suffer the health consequences.

There are many joys of being a pet owner, as long as you are prepared, you will get many years of love and fun from your new pet.

4 Things to Look for in a Good Pet Sitter

Whether you have a cat, dog, rabbit, horse, or even a hamster, most pet owners will agree that their animal is a huge part of their family. So, if you have booked a vacation and are unable to take your furry friend along with you, you will want to ensure that they get the best possible care and are looked after and loved during your absence. In order to do this, the best thing to do is find a reputable pet sitter who will look after your pet as if they were their own. We’ve put together some top tips to help you find the perfect pet sitter.


pet sitter

Home Visits

Staying in a boarding kennel, a cattery or another facility for pets can be very stressful for your pet, as they will be in an unfamiliar environment with strange surroundings and other animals in close proximity. Although certain pets may be able to thrive well in this environment, others, for example cats, may become anxious and distressed when away from the place that they call home.  So, when looking for a pet sitter, be sure to ask whether or not they provide a home visit service, where your pet can receive the care and attention that they need without having to stay elsewhere.


Type of Pet

Some pet sitters will happily look after a wide variety of pets, for example, Classic Sitting Services.  However, in some cases it may be essential to find a sitter who specializes in looking after a certain type of animal. For example, if your pet is more exotic than mainstream, such as a snake or a lizard, you will have better peace of mind when leaving them with somebody who is experienced with looking after that particular kind of pet.



When looking for a suitable pet sitter you should ensure that your pet insurance covers any accidents that they might have whilst you are away. A good pet sitter may even provide their own insurance and will have contacts in the form of local veterinarians so that you know your furry friend will be in the best hands should anything go wrong. When searching for somebody to care for your pet, it’s important to ensure that they are registered with the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.


Training, Qualifications and Experience

It’s certainly true that you don’t need any special training or qualifications to look after a pet. So, before you hire a pet sitter, it’s important to consider any experience that they have along with training and qualifications. For example, somebody with no qualifications but a lifetime of owning and looking after their own dogs will still be able to give your dog a great standard of care. When interviewing any potential pet sitters before hiring them, be sure to enquire about the amount and type of experience that they have so that you can determine how suitable they will be for your pet.


pet sitter


Leaving your pet behind when you go on vacation is often essential, so ensure that you’re both happy and stress-free with a good pet sitter.


Photo credits to my dear friend Marie Gizelle

The Dangers of Buying from a Puppy Farm

Dogs make great family pets. They are loyal, playful, and offer their love unconditionally, so when you arrive home at the end of a stressful day, your dog will be more than happy to greet you with all the enthusiasm they can muster. There are always lots of mixed breed adult pooches looking for a new home, but many people prefer to buy a puppy instead. They know what breed they want and are willing to pay extra for a pure bred puppy to call their own.

Puppy Farms

Puppy farms are a big problem in many countries. The definition of a puppy farm is an establishment where puppies are churned out in huge numbers with very little regard for their health or welfare. There are many unscrupulous breeders out there who are more interested in turning a profit than raising happy, healthy dogs. These people don’t bother to breed selectively so genetic problems are passed on through successive generations and unwitting buyers end up buying dogs with serious health problems. So how can you tell if the breeder is a puppy farmer?

Look for a Registered Breeder

The best way to avoid buying a puppy from a puppy farm is to look for a registered breeder. Reputable breeders of pedigree dogs for sale like Florida Puppies Online will be registered with the American Kennel Club. In order to be a registered breeder, you have to go through a number of rigorous checks to ensure you are adhering to strict health and welfare standards. This means anyone buying a puppy from a registered breeder has complete peace of mind that the puppy will be happy and free from disease.

Visit the Breeder’s Establishment

KC registered breeders tend to charge more than “hobby” breeders, so you may prefer to buy from a non-registered breeder. This is fine as long as you are very careful about the type of person you buy from, but you should take a good look around when you go to view the puppies.

Reputable breeders raise their puppies in a family home, so if you go to look at a puppy and it’s in an outdoor shed, along with a lot of other dogs and puppies, be very suspicious. This type of set-up is often a commercial breeding establishment and welfare standards will be low. Sometimes a breeder will bring the puppy to you instead, but insist on seeing the mother as well as the pup, to rule out the possibility that the puppies have been bred elsewhere and removed from their mother too early.

Check the Puppy Carefully

A well-bred puppy is lively, bright-eyed, and clean. He or she will want to make friends and can be handled without any sign of anxiety. A puppy bred on a puppy farm will smell unpleasant, will probably be terrified of human contact, and may be malnourished or small for its age. If there is a lot of discharge from the eyes or the puppy has a cough, be suspicious.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a puppy if you are at all concerned about the state of its health or surroundings. No matter how cute the puppy is all you will be doing is perpetuating the practice. Instead walk away and report the breeder to the appropriate animal welfare authorities.