Five Halloween Treats to Avoid Giving Pets

Decorating the house, getting dressed up, and indulging in a variety of treats is what Halloween is all about. Waking up the day after Halloween with a ‘post party’ sugar crash and a stomach ache—not so much. Although you may not be feeling so great post-party, that doesn’t mean Fido has to be in the same state. Avoid these five Halloween treats to keep your pets happy and healthy during your spooky festivities:

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Chocolate Covered Raisins

This sweet treat is a double ‘no-no’ as chocolate and raisins are toxic for pets. Chocolate is known to cause vomiting, seizures, and diarrhea; and raisins are known to potentially cause severe kidney failure. Avoid giving this sweet nightmare to your pets; in the case that your animal does consume this candy, be sure quickly contact your veterinarian to advise on next steps.

Candy Corn

This Halloween staple is difficult for anyone to stop eating after popping a couple pieces into their mouth. Just think – if people have a hard time resisting eating a whole bag at one time, imagine how hard Fido has to refrain from indulging. Candy corn is almost purely sugar and can cause severe diarrhea and gas in your furry friends, so be sure to stash these sweets away from paws reach.

Hard Candies and Wrappers

Small, hard candies are difficult for animals to chew and can end up getting caught in your animal’s windpipe causing potential choking. Also, just as you wouldn’t deliberately give your pet dangerous candies, be aware that candy wrappers can also pose serious, life-threatening hazards that could lead to surgical intervention.

Salty Foods

Many people like to pair salty snacks, like chips and pretzels, alongside sweet treats during Halloween. Although you may enjoy these salty-sweet flavors, avoid sharing these snacks with your animals as it can lead to serious side effects including vomiting, diarrhea, high temperatures, and seizures.

Alcohol

You may be thinking, “well that’s a no-brainer,” but we’re not just referring to drinking. What most pet parents don’t realize is that giving animals foods that are baked with alcohol (i.e. cakes, cookies) can potentially cause the same effects as giving them the real thing. If you plan on baking Halloween treats that contain alcohol, be sure to place it in an area where your furry friends are unable to reach.

We don’t mean to frighten you before All Hallows Eve—but let’s face it, no one wants to become a sick puppy during the festivities. By avoiding these five foods during this spooky evening, you can ensure your animal’s health stays up to par.

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Six Halloween Party Safety Tips

It’s no secret – everyone loves a good Halloween party. The excuse to dress up, decorate, and indulge in an abundance of candy while dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” makes any person count down the days until party time. But before you get down to enjoy this haunted holiday, remember that your pet’s safety comes first. Ensure your pets have a happy, spook-free Halloween with these six party tips:

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Designate a ‘Safe Room’

Although Halloween is a fun and exciting time for people, it may seem like a true nightmare for pets. If you know that your animal gets easily overwhelmed and anxious around loud noises or large groups, create a safe room that is solely theirs to escape to. Keep the door closed and provide a cozy bed with a few toys, a bowl of Precise Naturals®, and water to keep them occupied until your party comes to an end.

Stash the Sweets

Halloween candy is tempting for people and pets alike. So be sure to stash the Halloween food and candy somewhere where your furry friends are unable to get their paws into trouble – because after all, ‘tis the season for mischief and mayhem.

Stay Away from Harmful Decorations

When decorating for Halloween, we often don’t take into account our pet’s safety. Before you decide to go all out this year with the spookiest decor you can find, be aware of which decorations pose threats and could result in harmful effects for your furry friend. Although some are obvious (such as candle-lit pumpkins), here are some not-so-obvious potentially dangerous decorations.

Be Careful When Choosing Halloween Costumes

We agree, finding that perfect matching costume with your pet might just be the highlight of your Halloween. Even though they’ll look cuter than ever dressed as superman, make sure that your pets enjoy being in the costume as much as you enjoy seeing them in it. If the costume constrains their movements, breathing, or causes distress, be sure to remove the costume and let them go au natural in their birthday suit.

Keep Pets Away from the Door

Because of the frequent opening and closing of doors during Halloween, along with the frightening factor that unusual costumes have on our furry friends, this night could scare your animals and cause extreme anxiety, which could lead to your animals escape out of the front or back door. Be aware that these factors can cause fear in your pets, and if you are unable to secure a safety room, always keep tags and ID’s on your animals in the case that Fido slips away.

Don’t Leave Your Pets in the Yard

Although Halloween can be fun and festive, remember that it’s also the time of year that pranksters may decide to mess with your pets by letting them go or feeding them harmful snacks. Be sure to bring your animals (especially cats) inside before the sun sets to ensure their safety, or take them out on a leash if necessary. It’s always a good idea to especially adorn your animal with their collar and identification during Halloween.

As pet parents, we want the best for our furry loved ones. Keep these tips in mind as you enjoy this spooky holiday, so that your pets can too have a happy, safe Halloween.

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Five Household Dangers That Could Turn Your Fur-ever Friends into ‘Sick Puppies’

One of the greatest joys of having a pet is the unconditional, non-stop love and affection that they give. For most of us, we consider our pets to be like our children — and, just like children, they require a lot of TLC to keep them safe from harmful dangers that lie around the house.

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Here are a few potential household items that you should keep an eye out for while your furry friends are around, in order to avoid the “uh-oh’s” and “oh-no’s” that accompany being a pet parent:

1. Human medications

While this may seem like a no-brainer, if cats and dogs are able to reach your prescriptions, most of the time they will do whatever it takes to get their paws into trouble, which could cause serious life-threatening harm. Be aware of the placement of any type of medication as these are toxic and could harm your animals — ie. NSAID’s, birth control, sleep aids, acetaminophen, and more. To avoid the risk of consumption, place medicine into cabinets where animals are unable to access; make sure that medicines are not left on the counter and are always closed properly.

2. String, yarn, rubber bands

Although cat’s love playing with strings and other types of bands, be sure that you remove these items from their reach when you are done using them. An unattended pet with these small items could result in a choking hazard. Place these items in containers and drawers that are impossible for your pet to open while they are unsupervised.

3. Plants

Your guests aren’t the only ones who admire your indoor and outdoor plants—pets seem to enjoy them as well; whether that be for entertainment, or as a post-dinner chew toy. However, some plants are known to be be toxic — ie. oleander, hyacinth bulbs. To avoid the possibility of ingestion, try hanging plants where your pets cannot reach, place fences around outdoor gardens, or simply avoid purchasing these items.

4. Cleaning Products

Be aware of where you store cleaning products and if they are easily accessible to your pets. Keeping toilet bowl cleaner on the bathroom floor, for example, could seem like a curious chew toy for some pets, when in reality, it contains harmful toxins that could result in serious injuries for your animal. Try storing your household cleaning items on a shelf in your laundry room, or underneath the kitchen sink (if the cabinets are secure).

5. Leftovers 

Most of the time, it’s hard to resist the tableside begging for your leftover dinner scraps. Though it takes a lot of willpower, be aware that there are many ‘people foods’ that are harmful for animals to ingest. Some of these include: chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and even bones. To keep your canine safe, try to resist those big eyes and stick to their kibble, or dry food diet. We strongly advise against feeding your animal from the table, but if you just can’t resist, keep some Healthy Habits® treats around to pacify your playful pet while you attempt to eat in peace.

In the case that your pet happens to ingest any of the items above, be sure to call poison control for precautionary steps to ensure your pet’s safety.

General rule of thumb: if it’s hazardous for you to consume, it’s more than likely harmful for your pet to consume. Do you have any of these items at-bay for your pets’ curiosity to take over? Try keeping these tips in mind in order to keep your little (or big!) fur balls happy and healthy.

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Tips for a Fur-Friendly Petcation 2016

Adventure is calling for you—and your furry friend, too. This summer, skip the puppy dog pout as you leave for vacation, and bring your pet along for the ride!

First time Petcation-er? No worries, the Precise Team has compiled a few tips to keep your companion safe and comfortable on your summer journey:

Petcation Safety

What’s Up, Doc?  

Be sure to drop by the vet before embarking on your Petcation. Airlines and hotels often require proof of vaccination before the fun can begin, so it’s important to make sure that all shots and medications are up-to-date, and that your furry friend is healthy and ready to travel. Also make sure that the tags for your furry friend include your mobile number or the number of the hotel, in case they try to take a little adventure of their own.

Vroom Vroom, Road Trip:

Though cars don’t have seat belts for our pets, we still need to take proper precautions to keep them safe on the road. Cats should be placed in a travel carrier and dogs should also be kept out of the front seat. Allowing pets to roam freely causes a large number of car accidents each year. And although Fido may love sticking his head out of the window on short trips, enabling this long-term can cause damage to his ears or infections in his lungs, so do your best to keep pets inside the car when possible.

Make sure to bring along plenty of water and some Healthy Habit Treats to keep your pet hydrated and comfortable during the trip. Of course, this means they will also need plenty of bathroom breaks. It is also a good idea to do a few short trial trips in the car before the big day. Believe us, seven hours in the car with a carsick pet is one of the worst ways to kick-off vacation.

Up, Up and Away!

If you are taking your travels to the sky, you will need to do some extra planning. Decide which airline to use based on pet accommodations and reviews, and book your flight well in advance to reserve a spot for your pet. Be mindful of weight limits and breed restrictions, as flying can be more dangerous for some pets than others.

Try to tire out your pet before the big flight, and take them for a potty break before boarding. Give them a blanket or shirt that they are familiar with to make them more comfortable. You may even wish to try a thunder shirt to keep them calm, especially if they are in the cargo hold.

Petcation is more than just a relaxing escape from reality. It’s a time for you and your number one companion to seek adventure and make memories of a lifetime, together.

So pack your bags, some PHC for the road, and prep your pet—it’s time for a getaway! Interested in learning about pet friendly hotel suggestions, airline requirements, beaches, restaurants and parks? Click here.

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6 Tips to Keep Your Pet Cool During the Dog Days of Summer

It’s hot out there. As the temperature rises, so does the amount of potential dangers for our pets — sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke, yikes! So the Precise team has compiled six tips for keeping it cool in the summer heat and humidity. Let’s get the sprinklers going:

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Add some ice, ice, baby

In addition to always making sure your pet is staying hydrated, add in a few ice cubes to their water bowl to help cool them down. Another option is to make your pet a yummy iced popsicle to treat and cool them. Might we recommend making catsicles out of your Precise Naturals canned food?

Hang inside between 10 and 2

The midday sun shines the brightest and burns the hottest. To prevent dehydration and possible heatstroke, keep your pet out of the sun during this hottest time of the day. Bring your pet indoors between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Play with your kitten or walk your puppy in the morning or evening in order to keep their core temperatures down while exuding strenuous activity.

Walk on grass, not asphalt

A dog’s paw pads are both adorable and sensitive. When the temperature is high, the hot asphalt can quickly become too hot and burn your pup’s paws. Have your dog walk on the grass and not the cement to prevent any damage.

Keep it breezy in the shade

If your pet has to be in the sun and hot weather, provide lots of shade for them to relax in. Trees and tarps are the best providers of shade because they allow for a breeze to blow through. Doghouses are actually not good options for pets to escape the sun because they don’t allow wind circulation to filter through, retaining the warmth.

Prevent your pet from feelin’ the burn

Dogs and cats can get sunburned too. However, human sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, like the white lotion lifeguards slather on themselves, are toxic to dogs.  Sunscreens with salicylates are also dangerous for cats. Instead of sunscreen, put your pet in a hat or rash guard with UPF protection built in.

Never leave your pet in the locked car

This is one of the biggest precautions to take in order to prevent your pet from overheating this summer. When it is 80 degrees outside, it can reach 99 degrees in a locked car within 10 minutes. Leaving a pet in a car in the heat can cause heat stroke, irreparable organ damage, and even death. In some states, it is actually illegal.

The dog days of summer are upon us. If you follow the advice of these six tips, you and your furry friend can have fun and stay safe in the summer heat!

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Fourth of July – Here Comes the “Boom,” Ready or Not:

We know our American friends are anxiously awaiting Monday’s festivities, along with our furry companions. Let’s make sure friends four-legged and two are prepared for an amazing night with no surprises. Picture this. It’s the 4th of July:

Fourth of July

All of your friends and neighbors are over, you have an amazing feast laid out–complete with your famous pigs in a blanket, and everyone is having a great time. Of course, Fido is looking as adorable as ever, and patiently waiting for something to drop so he can have a taste of the celebration too. Naturally, all of your guests find him as irresistible as you do, and keep asking to feed him food right off of their plates, but you are strong, you don’t give in. You know already that people food can wreak havoc on your furry friend’s tummy. To avoid the puppy dog pout, let your guests give him some food made especially for him, like our Healthy Habits Treats. Also, be sure to have a water bowl at-the-ready so your pup can rehydrate in between performances.

As kids are running around the yard, friends are shuffling in and out, and fireworks are in “boom,” it’s no surprise that more pets get lost on the 4th of July than any other holiday. Make sure you’re prepared. Ensure that all of your pets have up to date tags and IDs on their collar, and make sure that the information in the microchip database is current in case they wander off in the mix of excitement. Be aware of when your neighbors intend to set off fireworks if your dog is frightened by them, and have a quiet room set up in your house with some soft music or the television on for your pet’s comfort. If your pet get super anxious when they hear a big boom, you may want to talk to your veterinarian about medications that may help them relax.

Sparklers are also a staple at any Fourth of July celebration, but they can easily spell danger for pets. Piles of sparklers, fireworks and lighters or matches can seem like fun new toys to your curious pet, but there can be pretty severe side effects from eating or inhaling them. Be sure to keep fireworks, sparklers, glow sticks and lighters out of your pet’s reach to keep the merriment of the evening going.

Ready for Monday? Us too. Be sure to dress your pet in their best patriotic gear, and don’t forget to let us in on the celebration by sharing your photos with us! Your furry friend and their patriotic paws might just break the internet.

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Seven Hurricane Safety Tips for Your Pet

It’s June, and you know what that means—summer sun, days outside with your furry friend, and…hurricane season. But instead of worrying about these severe summer storms, prepare for them! These seven tips will help to get you and your pets get ready for the possibility of a hurricane.

Hurricane Season

  1. Make sure your pet’s ID and shot records are up to date

Check to make sure your pets’ tags have your correct address and cell phone number, in case you need to evacuate your house, and move to a more secure location. Make sure you have documentation of your pets’ recent shot record, as many pet shelters will not admit pets without a rabies shot.

  1. Make a pet emergency kit

Be sure to include food, water, fist aid supplies and waste cleanup supplies for your pet. Keep a leash, ID collar, rabies tag and your pets’ medications inside. Instead of scrambling to pack everything up in a panic, you’ll already have the necessities ready to go.

  1. Have a kennel or cage on hand

This will help transport your furry friend if they’re confused or frightened. A kennel will also help if the shelter you’re bringing them to requires a solid carrier, or if there are many pets at the shelter during an emergency.

  1. Bring your pet with you

Unless you’re out of town, it’s always better to bring your pet with you. If your area is evacuated, you may not be allowed to return home, even if your pet is there.

  1. Keep a picture of your pet with you, or on your phone

In case you lose track of your pet, and they don’t have a microchip, you can track them down more easily with a current photo.

  1. Stay calm

This is probably the most important tip. Pets can sense your demeanor, and they can tell if you’re upset. No matter what you do, keeping your composure is one of the best ways to ensure that your pet will be comfortable and cooperative in your evacuation.

By following these seven tips, preparing for hurricane season will be a little less stressful. Have any questions? Leave us a note in the comment box below! We’re happy to help.

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Are You Ready for It? It’s Here!

We can finally say it: Fall is officially here! Bring on the colorful leaves, cider, pumpkins, tricks, treats and a break from the hot, muggy weather of summer. A change in the season can bring excitement but it also means a change in the potential problems for your furry friend. Here are some helpful tips to keeping your pet happy and healthy during fall:

  • Fall and spring are seasons when you’ll begin to see mushrooms sprout up from the ground. While most mushrooms are not harmful when eaten, one percent of mushrooms are highly toxic. If your pet digests one of these dangerous mushrooms, it can be life threatening. Keep an eye out for mushrooms when your pet is outside and keep them away from areas with infested with mushrooms. Just to be safe, contact your local Animal Poison Control Center if your pet does consume a mushroom.
  • With the kids back in school, it’s important to keep the glue, glitter, markers and other school supplies away from your curious pets! While not very toxic, school supplies can give your pet an upset stomach and your child a lack of arts supplies – so keep those supplies out of your pet’s reach!
  • In the fall, snakes are preparing to hibernate and can become especially irritable resulting in an increase of snakebites. Know where snakes are found in your area and keep your precious pets away!
  • If the summer heat kept you and your dog inside in the air condition, now is the time to bring out the leash or Frisbee! Start becoming more active with your pet in these cooler times. They’ll love it and the exercise will benefit you both!

Have other tips for keeping your pets safe during the fall? We’d love to hear them! Comment on this post to share!

 

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Quality Time: Near-infrared testing

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Another important test we perform on our pet foods here at Precise is Near-infrared (NIR) testing. These tests analyze properties such as fat, fiber and amino acids, and help us provide ongoing analysis along the production line as our food is being made.

What used to take hours can now be done in 15 seconds, which allows us to test more often and in a more effective way. Here are a few photos of the process. First, here is a sample being prepared for NIR analysis:

Then the sample is loaded onto the NIR machine:

Finally, our staff monitors the NIR results to be sure it meets our stringent standards:

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Quality Time: Chicken fat

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

After sharing information on our salmonella testing, new packaging machines and shift tests, I’m back this month with an overview of our chicken fat tests.

Chicken fat has essential fatty acid levels to improve your pet’s skin and coat. Chicken fat is also a healthy source of energy.

Here’s a photo of a chicken fat sample:

To prevent rancidity, we perform these quality checks on our chicken fat samples:

  • Free fatty acids
  • Peroxides
  • Percentage of fines
  • Color
  • Temperature
  • Odor

Here is a photo of the the free fatty acid test being done:

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