Avoid giving your pets toxic holiday treats!

With the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow and the other holiday celebrations in the upcoming months, I’m sure your pets may try to tempt you to share your tasty food.  But beware: many foods that can be safe for us are actually toxic to our pets!  Before you share your food with your pets, please be sure to make sure it’s safe.  The last thing you’ll want over the holidays (or ever) is a sick pet and/or vet bills.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a free download available of their book “Household Hazards” which is full of good information.

Boston.com also has some great information to look at regarding some more Thanksgiving-specific foods to avoid.


There are lots of foods and treats that are pet safe that you can find in your local pet supply store, including Merrick’s Turducken canned dog and cat food.  Look into these options before giving in to those puppy dog eyes 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your pets!  Be safe!


November 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

LA Bans the Sale of Cats, Dogs and Rabbits


Good news!  In an effort to stop puppy mills and irresponsible breeding, Los Angeles, California has banned the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet shops.  Pet stores now will only be allowed to keep dogs, cats, and rabbits from shelters and rescue groups.  Way to go, LA!  Read the San Francisco Chronicle here.

I find it sad that law enforcement must get involved for people to do the right thing.  If I were the owner of a pet store, here’s what I’d do:

  1. Stop Ordering – quit giving my money to pet vendors/breeders
  2. Start Talking – learn about all of my local rescues, cat, dog, small animal, bird, reptile…
  3. Collaborate – work with rescues and volunteers to ensure each animal would receive more than adequate care
  4. Replace – get my habitats full of rescue animals in need of homes
  5. Network – get to know my community.  Share my story.  Encourage others to do the same; to volunteer, to rescue, to stop supporting irresponsible breeding

The big problems with this plan?  Losing money?  Some.  But it’s not unreasonable for a shop owner to ask a rental fee from a rescue to house some of their animals and get them adopted out more quickly.  And I could cut down on staff, being as volunteers would be caring for the animals – after all, animal care should be the most important part of owning a pet store.  And as far as supplies to care for the animals–food, bedding, litter, etc, again, the rescue would be responsible for these things.  Think of how much overhead that cuts.  Sure, I wouldn’t be making quite as much money as I would by selling all of the animals I used to sell, but for me, that’s worth it.  I would imagine my customer base would grow immensely due to respect for what I’m promoting; consider that for a moment.

Another problem you’re probably seeing is “How can you ensure responsible owners are adopting these animals if you’re dealing out of a pet store?”  Excellent question.  As the rescue groups would still be heading their adoptions, they would be responsible for using the same process at the store as they would at their shelter, probably including application, background check, home visit, etc.  Yes, people can and will lie about these things, but they can do that even at a shelter.  The pet store setting should be treated no differently than an adoption from a shelter, as far as the measures taken to ensure the pet is going to the right home.

If there are any pet store owners reading this, please listen:  I respect you and I understand why you do the things you do.  In fact, I currently work in a pet store (we don’t sell dogs or cats, and we do work with a cat rescue to adopt cats out of our store), whether I always like to admit it or not.  However, I have spoken with many, many customers who only come into the store when they’re looking for a product they absolutely can’t find somewhere else–and here’s the kicker–it’s because of the animals we sell.  Even if the habitats are vet approved and the animals are given great care, we are still promoting irresponsible breeding by continually purchasing these animals from vendors.  On top of that, though we have customers sign a form saying they’re legally responsible for the animal, we do not do any applications or questionnaires; we have no way of knowing whether the pet is going to a home where it will receive the proper care.  Yes, yes, employees should ask about these things and be a human form of a questionnaire.  Can you definitely count on your employees?  Do your employees feel empowered to deny a customer the sale of an animal?  These are some things I recommend you consider seriously.

I understand that your hands may be tied at your level.  But I encourage you to start asking questions.  Start seeking opportunities.  Put together an offer to save animals that your company has a hard time ethically turning down.  And when they say no, keep your chin up.  Keep helping to save lives.  And by no means should you ever, ever, ever decide that you just don’t have enough time or resources to even consider trying to make a change.  If that is your attitude, please get out of the pet business.

Having said all that, I feel I should say this:  I hope I’ve made the distinction between irresponsible pet breeding and responsible, caring, reputable, licensed breeding.  I understand why people would turn to the purebred option, trying to preserve a genetic line that has been around for centuries, etc.  Getting into the politics of this begins to get into the politics of whether a family should adopt a human child that needs a home, or create their own child together… and I most certainly won’t go there!  In any case, please understand that I make the distinction between responsible breeding and irresponsible breeding.

The moral of the story?  Congratulations, LA, for having some law makers that really do care about the animals!  And if you are not involved yet, try to become involved with your local animal rescues and pet stores to get people talking and thinking about making some big changes in your community!  Every change starts with sharing an idea.  🙂

November 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm Leave a comment

Welcome to the new Your Family Dog blog!

Thanks for joining me!

There are some exciting things happening for Your Family Dog right now!

Husband and I have recently taken in a new Luv A Dog foster dog, Perniece.  She’s a sweet 9-year old Pyranese/Border Collie mix.  I had forgotten what an adjustment it is for the other dogs to take in a new one.   I’m reminded that was why we stopped fostering for a while – it was too much stress on our dogs all the time.  I believe this will continue to be a once-in-a-while thing we do.  I certainly want to keep helping dogs in their transition period before finding their forever homes, but I also want to keep my own dogs happy and healthy, as that’s a promise I made to them when we adopted them.  A few fun facts about Perniece:  She weighs about 60 lbs, loves belly rubs, stretches out her feet when you brush her because she enjoys her feet being brushed, has a blast when you chase her around…. and there’s more if you’re interested.  If interested, please contact me or Christina with Luv A Dog Rescue!

I’m also pleased to announce that, along with some work with foster dogs on the side, I’ve been working with my first client!  His name is Bailey and he’s a sweet little Daschund who is lacking in some social skills and really enjoys barking.  Bailey has made great progress in just 3 weeks because his pet parents are so dedicated in their training efforts.  Congratulations to Bailey and family on your progress, and keep up the good work!

In other news, I’ll be working with Linda of Ask Linda Pet Sitting to put together some seminars regarding pet safety and preventing dog bites.  I’m very excited about this opportunity as I’m passionate about helping people understand the gravity of the dog bite situation and how it is very preventable.  Keep an eye out for more information in the coming months.  If you are interested in hosting one of these seminars, please let me know!

October 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm Leave a comment

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