This is a fabulous time of the year to be outside with your pets while you do a late Spring clean up of your flower beds and shrubbery and put in new plantings. However, managing your garden can also present dangers to your pets which you probably don’t even realize.
Plants to Avoid at All Costs
There are a number of common garden shrubs and flowers which have no business being on a property where pets reside. Many people do not realize that amaryllis, rhododendron, chrysanthemum, dieffenbachia and lilies are all highly toxic to dogs and cats. Not only should you avoid adding them to your landscaping, you should seriously consider removing them if you already have them in the ground. Otherwise, consider fully fencing them off from pets.
For more about plants toxic to dogs and cats, click here to the Cornell University website.
Embrace your Weeds and Dandelions!
In the all-American quest for a lawn that is a smooth carpet of green, you may very well be creating a chemically infused landscape. The most dangerous thing many gardeners touch is probably the “fertilizer” they spread all over the lawn, not realizing that most of the commercial products use chemicals to help grow a luscious green lawn and are also laden with poisons to kill weeds.
Those toxic ingredients pose a terrible danger to pets (and small children, too) who are all over the grass, nibbling on it, getting it on their paws and then licking it off later. Dogs and cats are grazers, frequently nibbling on grass, which is unfortunately now drenched in herbicides and pesticides.
Don’t be afraid of weeds! Once you cut them when you mow, they don’t look all that different than grass. There are many good organic fertilizers for the lawn and garden and companies that have “Safe Paws” education about natural gardening solutions for organic weed and insect control.
A few tips everyone should keep in mind are:
* Keep compost in an area or container pets cannot access – decomposing organic material can seriously sicken pets while it is breaking down.
* Never put bones or other waste human food materials in compost because ti is too attractive to pets, who may go to great lengths to access it.
* Never use cocoa mulch which is really appealing to dogs and has been linked to fatalities.
* Be very careful about any mulch you use to top dress garden areas – it can smell or taste good to dogs and can contain mold or bacteria if it has been bagged or piled up for long periods.
* Grass clippings can be fatal to dogs if they become moldy, depending on the type of grass and grass seeds – disperse grass after mowing, so not allow it to pile up anywhere.
* Mow grass frequently to make it less hospitable to insect and parasite populations.
* Do not allow even small amounts of water to form a pool in pots, bird baths, or wheelbarrows since standing water becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, parasites, and mosquitoes.
* When fertilizing the garden with organic preparations (like fish emulsion or chicken or cow manure) be aware that they are highly aromatic to dogs and cats, who will be drawn to eat that treated soil. Monitor your pet outdoors in the early gardening period when applying these products and try to dissuade your pet from ingesting your gardening handiwork. One way to do this is to dramatically say “Oh no!” or Uh oh!” to interrupt their interest in the area and then say “Good girl!” and send them away from the garden by tossing a high value treat (like a Halo Liv-a-Little pure protein treat) at a distance, making a game of it.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.
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Diabetes Mellitus (diabetes) is a disorder in which the body is unable to regulate blood sugar levels due to a lack of insulin or insulin action. Insulin is a hormone required to move sugar into body cells where it is used for energy.
Without this energy, the cells of the body starve, shut down and eventually die, which leads to multiple complications.
Just as for people, there has been a tremendous increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in cats over the last 30 years. Diabetes now affects one out of every 100 cats—approximately 800,000 cats in the U.S.
Pet Obesity often leads to Feline diabetes and results from indoor confinement, decreased physical activity and feeding high carbohydrate foods.
Watch the video to learn more about your cat’s dietary requirements and how high-quality, natural cat food like Halo Pets may help the health of your cat.
By Food + Drink Contributor Sara Little
I love onions and I love pickles, so I thought it would make perfect sense to prepare pickled onions to keep as a permanent pantry item at home. I have had them many times at Puerto Rican restaurants and in simple balanced Asian dishes, so why not just at home? For me, they always just seemed like too much work, but amazingly enough, they are the easiest accompaniment ever to make for any occasion.
1 Red Onion
1 c Apple Cider Vinegar
1 c Water
2 T Sugar
1 T Kosher Salt
Slice onion and throw them in a large mason jar. You can boil the other ingredients before you add them to the jar, but I simply add the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and peppercorns to the jar and shake after putting the lid on to help dissolve the solids in the liquid. Within 1-2 hours, you have perfectly pickled onions.
You can add these to black bean tacos, grilled pork chops, or scrambled eggs in the morning. The possibilities are almost endless. It adds the perfect amount of acid to really any dish! Enjoy! – Sara
I’m actually not a big onion fan – unless they’re pickled. So I’m stoked to try this recipe. Sara is an event planner and “expert in indulgence” who has lived in the heart of Sonoma County California’s wine country for 12 years. In addition to sharing her favorite foods and wines, recipes and more as our Food and Drink Contributor, she plans unique, personalized getaways to and events in wine country for her hospitality business, Wine Country Goodness, and travels the country in search of the best places to stay, explore, eat, and drink. You can also find Sara on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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They say adopted cats choose their humans and that’s certainly what happened with Ann Bosche and her adopted cat, Mr. Fancy.
According to Care2.com, it all began when Bosche was in her backyard with her dog, Gracie. The pup noticed something in the bushes, watching them. “What came out from under that bush was a large beautiful cat with a white tip on his tail. I said, ‘Aren’t you a fancy thing?’”
The cat looked thin and dirty so Ann fed him. Although skittish at first, the cat eventually ate. And, he came back the next night and every night after that. Eventually he would wait on the porch in the morning and again in the evening.
After a month, Bosche’s husband gently reminded her that they already had a houseful of pets and it would be best to find the cat another permanent home.
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