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Tag Archive | "pets"

Top 10 most often forgotten spring cleaning steps


(BPT) – Spring is a great time to clear out the old, bring in the new and welcome a fresh start. From coast to coast, consumers are eager to usher in new home decor and air out spring attire; however, the areas of one’s home that are the hardest hit during the winter months – floors and carpets – are often overlooked.

If you’re thinking of skipping your carpet cleaning for a vacuum session, think again. According to the homecare experts at BISSELL, vacuums, even the best ones, simply can’t reach the deeply imbedded dirt within your carpet’s fibers. The carpet cleaning process is engineered to reach the dirt and allergens vacuums leave behind. Incidentally, although carpet cleaning does so much more than vacuuming, the actual process itself is about as easy as vacuuming.

“Deep cleaning is a must for washing the winter out during spring cleaning. After cleaning their carpets, people are often amazed by what they’ve pulled out of their carpets and how different their carpets look – it can be a very eye-opening, yet satisfying experience,” says Eric Hansen, chief chemist at BISSELL.

Get out the serious cleaning supplies, stretch your scrubbing muscles and tackle those hard-to-reach places you ignore most of the year so you can be the envy of all your houseguests. Be sure to review the top 10 spring cleaning steps that often fall to the wayside:

1. Safety first: Don’t forget to change batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; and inspect all light fixtures for damaged wires or faulty connections. Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary.

2. Wash the washing machine: Run an empty load, one cycle filled with 4 cups of bleach, the other with 4 cups of distilled white vinegar.

3. Dust refrigerator coils: Want to lower your energy bill and extend the life of your fridge? Always unplug your refrigerator before dusting the refrigerator’s coils.

4. Clean out your cabinets: Wipe down the inside and outside of medicine and linen cabinets. Throw away expired products, including medicine, makeup and hair products. Update your first aid kit.

5. Deep clean carpets and rugs: Vacuum, spot treat and deep clean your carpets and rugs. Liquid solutions such as the BISSELL Professional Deep Cleaning with Febreze Formula contains Scotchgard protection that can be used with any BISSELL deep cleaner. It works by placing a barrier on the surface of carpet fibers to not only deep clean and freshen, but also protect against future stains.

6. Sanitize children’s and pets’ toys: Toys can carry harmful bacteria on their surfaces. After cleaning toys with warm water and a mild detergent, sanitize plastic toys by soaking them in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Donate or discard toys where needed.

7. Breathe easy: Clean your air vents and change your furnace filters if necessary.

8. Let in more light: Cleaning blinds can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Mix equal parts of warm water and distilled white vinegar in a bowl. Slip a sock on your hand and dip the sock into the water and vinegar mixture. Wipe down each individual slat and rinse sock after every few slats.

9. Dust from high to low: Dust the ceiling, corners of walls, ceiling fan and light fixtures. Use a lint roller to easily clean dust off your lampshade.

10. Wash your windows: After the direct sunlight has subsided, remove your window’s screens and dust with a soft-bristle brush. Spray on your favorite window cleaning solution and wipe down with a lint-free cloth.

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This Easter, give toy bunnies, not live ones 


From the Kent County Health Dept.

Baby bunnies and chicks grow up to be rabbits and chickens. Before you decide live Easter pets would be a cute gift for your kids, be sure you do plenty of homework. Adults should consider the life cycle, as well as health and safety issues, of giving bunnies or chicks to children for Easter. The Kent County Health Department recommends giving children toy stuffed animals instead.

“Those who adopt these pets should be aware of the responsibilities and the health-related concerns that come with these pets—both human and animal health concerns,” according to Adam London, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Municipalities may have restrictions on adult

chickens. Be sure you know what the legal or neighborhood association requirements are before you buy chicks.”

Every year, the Kent County Animal Shelter receives dozens of unwanted rabbits from people who can’t care for them. The shelter no longer takes in unwanted or stray chicks or chickens.

Raising chicks and other poultry is popular and can be safe, but in recent years, there has been an increase in Salmonella outbreaks in humans. Salmonella is common in baby poultry and spreads from contact with the birds or their environments. Birds with Salmonella may appear healthy, but in humans, the bacteria can cause diarrhea, stomach cramping, fever, and dehydration. Illness can last for up to a week and can be serious in young children, older adults, or those with weakened immune systems.

Children under the age of five should have adult supervision when handling chicks or chickens. Be sure to wash your hands and your child’s hands thoroughly after handling chicks or chickens. Don’t let children snuggle or kiss chicks. And never allow chicks or chickens into bathrooms, kitchens, or areas where food is

prepared, stored, or eaten. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information at http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellababybirds/.

Rabbits can live seven to ten years. Pet rabbits have specific health needs, special diets, and must live indoors. While they can be very social with the right care and supervision, they don’t like to be held or cuddled. Releasing a house-raised rabbit into the wild leaves the animal vulnerable to predators.

If giving or receiving plants for the holiday, make sure they stay out of the reach of any pets. Some items, such as lilies and daisies, can be toxic to pets. For a complete list, check out: www.aspca.org/Pet-care/poison-control/Plants.

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Cold temps tough on pets, too

Just because your pet has a fur coat, doesn’t mean he or she can handle the cold temperatures. The Kent County Animal Shelter wants pet owners to take some precautions this time of year to keep pets safe.

Try to keep pets indoors as much as possible when temperatures and wind chill factors are in the teens, single digits, or less. Make sure you keep your pet on a leash or in a fenced in area when they need to relieve themselves.

“The smaller the pet, the quicker the cold impacts them,” says Carly Luttmann, Shelter Supervisor for the Kent County Animal Shelter. “Puppies and kittens are especially sensitive to the cold, as are older pets. Be sure you minimize the amount of time they are outdoors.” Also make sure they are sleeping in a warm place, away from drafty doors or windows.

Luttmann also says watch out for community cats that might crawl under the hood of your car to keep warm. “Bang loudly on the hood before starting the car,” she says. “If a cat is under the hood when you turn on the car, it could be injured or killed by the fan belt.”

Never leave pets in a car during the winter. Temperatures can be just as cold inside the car as they are outdoors.

If you or your neighbors use salt on sidewalks or driveways, be sure to wipe off your pets paws and stomach. Salt can cause a pet’s paws to become very dry and brittle. If they groom by licking it off, they can get sick from the chemicals. Also beware of antifreeze. Even a small amount can be lethal in pets.

The Kent County Animal Shelter recommends residents who see a pet being neglected or left in a dangerous situation call Animal Control at 616.632.7300. For more cold weather tips, check out the American Veterinary Medical Association website at:


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Is your pet ready for outdoor weather?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

(Family Features) When the weather’s nice, many people like to head outdoors – and their pets do, too. Before you let your pet go outside, make sure you’ve taken steps to prevent pests, care for their skin, and know how to spot signs of allergies.

Fleas and Ticks: Pets are susceptible to a variety of bugs and pests – especially fleas and ticks. Both should be avoided as fleas can trigger allergies and dermatitis in pets as well as infectious diseases in people and pets. Ticks may also carry diseases that can be harmful to pets. However, in a survey by the American Pet Products Association, only 64 percent of dog owners and 41 percent of cat owners purchased a flea and tick product for their pet last year. Be sure to purchase preventative topical treatments like K9 Advantix® II for dogs only or Advantix® II for dogs or cats to protect your pet. And after pets go outdoors, inspect them carefully for ticks and other insects to ensure their safety.

Grooming: A winter indoors often leaves pets with dry skin, tangled fur and a thick undercoat, which begins to shed when the weather warms. A professional grooming salon, like those found in PetSmart stores, will help keep pets cool with services like a bath, brush or hair cut to remove loose hair. Have their skin and coat moisturized with a hypoallergenic conditioner for a softer, shinier coat. Medicated flea and tick baths or spot treatments can also be added for instant relief and to help prevent flea and ticks from returning.

Allergies: Warm weather lets loose high amounts of pollen in many areas of the country and since pets can experience allergic reactions to inhaled particles like dust or pollen, pet parents should be on the lookout for signs that their pet may be suffering from allergies. Dr. Simon Starkey, veterinary expert for PetSmart, says you should monitor your pet’s behavior and consult your veterinarian if your pet exhibits reactions such as:

• Swelling or irritation of the skin, especially around the eyes, face, head and feet.

• Hives, rashes, blisters, clear discharge from eyes or nostrils, sneezing, itching and mild discomfort may also be present.

• Pets may also chew on or lick their feet constantly.

• Allergy treatment for pets varies based on severity, but usually includes antihistamines and other medications to control the allergic reaction.

To learn more about pet essentials and services for spring, visit a store near you or www.petsmart.com.

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Poison prevention means keep out of reach for pets, too

Doctors from Michigan Veterinary Specialists are encouraging people to also remember their pets during National Poison Prevention Week.

National Poison Prevention Week started Sunday and runs through Saturday. The purpose is to create awareness and prevent injury or death due to poisoning.

“While many precautions are taken to prevent humans from being exposed to toxins, it is equally important to remember to take precautions for pets,” said Dr. Sayra Reyes, senior emergency clinician at Michigan Veterinary Specialists. “A good way to do this is to know what types of items can be toxic to pets.”

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the top 10 pet toxins of 2012 were:

Prescription human medications


Over-the-counter human medications

Veterinary products and medications

Household products

People food




Lawn and garden products

Additionally, garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, raisins, the sugar substitute xylitol, and raw or undercooked food can create major problems for pets.

While rodenticides may not be intended for pets, they are designed to attract animals. Should pets encounter these indiscriminate poisons, the condition is life-threatening and the pet must be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Antifreeze is another toxic substance pets are often attracted to due to its sweet taste. If ingested, pets can almost certainly die if the condition is left untreated.

If a pet does ingest something that may be toxic, make sure to bring the label or packaging of the substance with you to your veterinarian. For example, there are different types of rodenticides with different forms of treatment. It’s important for veterinarians to know what substance they are treating for.

“Most importantly, if you believe your pet has gotten into something that may be toxic, get him or her to your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Reyes. “Time can ultimately be the difference between life and death.”

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How to protect your pet from the heat

(ARA) – When the weather warms and the heat arrives, it seems everyone has a reason to smile. Whether you prefer to cool off with a dip in the pool or with a tall cool drink in the shade, we all have ways to beat the heat. But what about your dog? Pets can suffer from heat just like people.
There are steps you can take to help ensure your dog doesn’t overheat in hot weather. Dawn Bolka is a registered veterinary technologist (RVT) and full time veterinary technology instructor at Brown Mackie College – Michigan City. She offers insight into keeping your dog safe during the hot months.

“A dog’s normal body temperature is 101 degrees, and sometimes up to 102.5 degrees,” Bolka says. “Match this base with rising temperatures, and a pet can get hot quickly.” Fortunately, your pet has two ways of cooling down. “Panting through the mouth is a form of sweating. Dogs also sweat through the bottoms of their feet,” she continues.

With a little knowledge and a lot of common sense, you can help ensure your dog safely enjoys outdoor summer activities and sunny weather.

One of the first things Bolka recommends doing for your pet is take time to brush out the undercoat during the spring shed. Dogs shed twice a year – once in the spring to get rid of the winter coat, and once in the fall to lose the summer coat. “Most dogs like the brush. Removing the thicker winter coat helps to keep your dog cooler,” says Bolka.

Two of the most important things you can give your dog in the summer are water and shade. “Never leave a dog out in the sun – even in the backyard – without an ample supply of drinking water,” Bolka continues. “A shady area should be within easy reach, providing the dog with a place to get out of the heat. When given the options of both sun and shade, dogs know when to take them.”

Another way to protect your dog from summer heat is to be aware of the ground temperature. “Pavement can get hot enough to fry an egg,” says Bolka. “Taking a dog out for a mid-day walk is a common mistake dog owners make, and it can result in burnt pads. It’s best not to walk or run your animal in the heat of the day.” Much like pavement, sand at the beach gets hot. Bolka advises giving your dog access to a grassy area, or protecting the dog’s feet with booties. Pool decks are another culprit to consider. Bolka’s rule of thumb is: If it burns your feet, it will burn your dog’s feet.

It is not a good idea to shave a dog during hot weather. “A dog’s summer coat actually insulates the skin, offering protection from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays,” says Bolka. However, it is possible for a dog to experience sunburn. “If your dog has a black nose, the nose is protected from sunburn,” she continues. “A pink nose is more susceptible to UV rays. You will sometimes see a dog bury his nose in dirt, caking mud on it for protection. As long as dogs have shade and water, they tend to do well.”

Another bad idea is to leave your dog in a car on a hot day, even with the windows cracked. The American Veterinary Medical Association, reports that temperatures in a car can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, and 30 degrees in half an hour. “Heat builds up fast inside a sitting car,” Bolka says. “A dog can suffer heat exhaustion in just 20 minutes.”

Heat exhaustion is defined by DogChannel.com as a life-threatening condition that “occurs when a dog’s respiratory tract cannot evacuate heat quickly enough.” Signs that a dog is in heat distress include excessive panting, thick saliva, dark red gums, and non-responsiveness. “A dog experiencing any of these symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian immediately,” Bolka says. “You can offer water, and place wet washcloths on the dog, especially around the head and paw pads.” The Indiana Veterinary Medical Association cautions dog owners not to use ice or extremely cold water on a dog with symptoms of heat exhaustion. A veterinarian can run tests to find out if any internal damage has occurred.

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Protect Michigan pets and livestock

Vaccinate before summer


Now that it’s spring, animal health officials at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are reminding Michigan owners that vaccinating pets and livestock protects them from diseases, even if they are exposed to an infected animal or disease-carrier, such as mosquitoes and ticks.

“Vaccinating, deworming, and routine animal health activities should occur in the spring before moving to sales, exhibitions, or even before going on vacation,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead. “State law also requires all dogs six months and older to be licensed. To get a license, an owner must show proof that a veterinarian has vaccinated the dog against rabies, and that the vaccine is current. Each year we remind animal owners of the importance of vaccinating, which not only protects the pet, but also the food-animal industry.”

Core vaccines are recommended for most pets. Additional “non-core vaccines” (e.g., feline leukemia, canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate if the animals are going to pet care facilities, kennels, or shows where they will be co-mingling. Additionally, pet and livestock owners are encouraged to have their veterinarian check for internal parasites and heartworms.

MDARD recommends owners speak with their private veterinarian regarding the following vaccinations:

Dogs: rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus. In addition, owners should have the dogs checked for heartworm and intestinal parasites. Some veterinarians also recommend vaccination against leptospirosis and treatment to prevent Lyme disease.

Cats: rabies, herpes virus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

Horses: MDARD mandates Equine infectious anemia (EIA) testing if traveling to a public event, as part of a sale, or importing a horse into Michigan from another state; and owners should talk to their veterinarian about the following vaccines: Tetanus toxoid, rabies, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4).

Horse owners should prepare to follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

Vaccinate your horses. Inexpensive vaccines for EEE and WNV are readily available and should be repeated at least annually. It is never too late to vaccinate horses. Talk to your veterinarian for details.

Use approved insect repellants to protect horses.

If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns during the prime mosquito exposure hours of dusk and dawn.

Eliminate standing water, and drain troughs and buckets at least two times a week.

Sheep and goats: CD-T toxoid provides three-way protection against enterotoxemia (overeating disease) caused by Clostridium perfringins types C and D and tetanus (lockjaw) caused by Clostridium tetani. The large animal rabies vaccine is approved for use in sheep. No rabies vaccine is currently licensed for goats.

Cattle: Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (commonly called IBR); Bovine Viral Diarrhea, PI3, BRSV (viruses causing pneumonia/sickness); Leptospirosis (5-Way); Vibriosis; Calfhood vaccination for Brucellosis; Bovine Tuberculosis testing in the Modified Accredited Area (contact MDARD for additional information).

For information on animal health fair requirements visit: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/ExReq_225448_7.pdf

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Keeping pets safe this summer

With summer temperatures already breaking well-over 80 degrees, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s (MDARD) Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Nancy Frank offers a few tips to keep your furry, four-legged family members healthy and happy this summer.  “Our cats, dogs and other companion animals can be just as uncomfortable in the heat and humidity as we are and can quickly become dangerously overheated,” said Frank. “Pets can suffer from heat stroke, dehydration, and even sunburn. So it’s critical you use sound, common sense practices like not leaving your pet in a car. Even if you park it in the shade and have the windows partially open, it only takes a few minutes for temperatures inside the car to reach deadly levels.” While all dogs and cats are at risk, older or very young pets, overweight pets, those with heavy coats, and short-nosed dogs may need extra care. Owners need to limit their exercise to early morning and evening on hot and humid days as asphalt becomes very hot, keep the water bowl refreshed, and be sure a cool environment is always nearby. If your pet is panting excessively or has difficulty breathing, drools excessively or un-characteristically, has difficulty walking, appears weak or in a stupor, immediately place your pet in the shade or air conditioning and apply cool—not cold—water to reduce the animal’s core body temperature. Get help from a licensed veterinarian as soon as possible.  The following are some other simple summer pet safety tips: *Beware of toxic agents such as plant food, insecticides, fertilizer, coolants, citronella candles, oil products, and insect coils that may be around the home and yard. *The heat, loud noise, and confusion of crowded summer events can stress pets and isn’t an enjoyable experience for them. Even unlit fireworks can be an issue as many contain toxic compounds like potassium nitrate, copper, chlorates, and arsenic. *Make sure your pet is always wearing a collar or identification such as a tag or microchip. *Maintain recommended heartworm medication since the potentially deadly heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes.

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