Monthly Archives: October 2010

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Things to Watch For on Halloween

Halloween is a fun time for kids and many adults, but can be a frightening and stressful time for your pets. As a pet owner, you know your pet best, but here are some points to consider for your pet’s safety.

•Continual doorbell ringing and people at the door (in costume, no less!) can be stressful for a pet. Some pets may experience stress-related diarrhea or potentially injure themselves if crated or otherwise contained. Keep your pet in a quiet and safe place on Halloween.

•Strangers in costume – some animals may become unexpectedly aggressive or fearful, even normally friendly pets.

•Candles and Jack-O’-Lanterns within a pet’s range are a fire hazard. Wagging tails and frightened cats zooming through the house can easily tip over a candle or carved pumpkin, causing burns or a fire.

•Keep your pets indoors on Halloween night, especially black cats. Animals are at risk for cruel treatment by some Halloween pranksters. Many adoption agencies and humane societies will not allow adoption of black cats around Halloween for this reason.

•Candy – For many people, Halloween = candy. Many pets have a sweet tooth. Please warn children not to share their goodies with the family pet.

Candy Concerns
Candies, gums, mints, baked goods and chocolate containing the “sugar free” sweetener xylitol are especially poisonous, causing rapid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs and possibly other species (ferrets).

Chocolate is toxic to pets. Granted, a 50 pound dog would have to eat about 50 ounces of milk chocolate (but only 5 ounces of baking chocolate) for a toxic dose, but much smaller amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include tremors, nervousness, vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures and death. If you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, consult your veterinarian.

Other candies, such as lollipops and those with plastic components, pose a danger if ingested. Lollipop sticks and plastic parts can cause intestinal obstruction and potentially rupture the intestines, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Look at the variety of pet costumes! How can I resist?
Halloween costumes for pets have been around for many years. This year, however, I am finding them everywhere; even in the grocery store! While the costumes can be entertaining for the human counterparts, caution is advised before dressing your pet up.

•While viewed as fun and adorable for some pet owners, caution is advised when putting a costume on a pet. A pet in costume should NEVER be left alone and unsupervised.

•Tight elastics on the costumes can get lost in the pet’s hair, potentially causing owners to overlook them, leading to swelling and pain in the area of the elastic.

•Some pets, if left alone in costume, may chew it up and ingest it. This could cause intestinal obstruction if more than small shreds of material are consumed.

•If the costumed pet escapes or is frightened away, the costume could entangle the pet on trees, fences, etc.

Pet clothing for safety and fun

Consider reflective collars and gear for pets (and people) – a great safety item for Halloween and all year-round. For more information on pet clothing, please see the related article: Should your pet wear clothes? Does your pet wear clothes on Halloween or any other time? You are invited to vote in the poll and see how your pet’s wardrobe compares with other viewer’s pets.

Play it safe and enjoy Halloween

With a little caution and some common sense, Halloween can be a fun time for kids and pets alike. If any acts of animal cruelty are seen or suspected, please call your local shelter or animal authorities. Happy and safe Halloween to everyone

Hocus Pocus- Why are black cats a symbol of Halloween?

Black cats, pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, and scare crows are things we think of when we hear “Halloween”.

But why black cats?

Folklore tells stories of black cats being bad luck and being associated with witchcraft and pagan religions.

During the Salem Witch Trials, black cats were thought to be a form a witch could change into and were persecuted.

In Pagan religions, natural life is worshiped, including animals like cats. In early Christianity, Pagans and their cats were considered evil.

Despite all that hocus pocus, we know that black cats are no different than any other cat and bring love and companionship to their owners.

Bert and Ernie pictured above are such feline friends. They are 1.5 year old brothers and are very friendly and were wonderful patients today!

Allergies Related to Coat Color?

Are dark colored cats more likely to cause allergies in their owners than light colored cats? Studies have shown conflicting data. For more information, go to

No matter the color of your pet, if you have allergies, we recommend HEPA air filters, keeping the pet out of the bedroom and bathing it often.

Garden Enemy?

A dog may be man’s best friend, but are they a garden’s worst enemy? Many people assume that if you have a dog, the garden will suffer from digging, urine burns, or that the dog will get sick from eating things they shouldn’t! Two recent articles in the New York Times offered suggestions on how to have a garden and a dog as well.

Horses Helping the Disabled

Horseback riding can help everyone—from wounded vets to children with cerebral palsy—get back in the saddle when it comes to certain kinds of muscle control. Cerebral palsy patients treated with hippotherapy and recreational horseback riding therapy (which are fancy ways of saying, “spending time with and on horses”) saw improvements in muscle control and motor function, according to a 2006 study published in the journal Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology.

Nami the Tegu

This is Nami. She is a 3 year old female Tegu. She is 40 in long and just now considered an adult. They can live to be 15-20 years and up to 5 feet long! She is an omnivore, eating chicken, rats and fruit like strawberries and apples. In the wild, Tegu’s live in Argentina. They like hot days, cool night and high humidity.

Some of the World’s Most Bizarre Creatures!

1. Star-nosed Mole
Star-nosed moles are easily identified by the eleven pairs of pink fleshy appendages ringing their snout which are used as a touch organ with more than 25,000 minute sensory receptors, known as Eimer’s organs, with which this hamster-sized mole feels its way around.

2. Aye Aye
It is the world’s largest nocturnal primate, and is characterized by its unusual method of finding food; it taps on trees to find grubs, then gnaws holes in the wood and inserts its elongated middle finger to pull the grubs out.

3. Silky Anteater
It is the smallest member of the anteaters, with total length ranging from 360 to 450 mm (14.1-17.7 in) and usually weighing less than 400 g (0.88 lbs). It has a dense and soft golden brown fur, short snout, partially prehensile tail and two very enlarged claws in each forepaw.

4. Hellbender
The hellbender is a giant salamander, native to North America, which inhabits large, swiftly flowing streams with rocky bottoms.

5. Cornish Sucker
A large headed fish that has two blue spots at the back of the head and 2 small tentacles near the eyes. On the underside is a sizeable sucker that helps it grip to rocks, seaweeds etc. The overall body colour is purplish with black markings. Otherwise known as Shore Clingfish.

6. Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe crabs are arthropods that live primarily in shallow ocean waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms. They will, however, occasionally come on shore, e.g. for mating.