• How to Rid Your Home of Pet Odors, Without Getting Rid of Your Beloved Pet

    How harmful can fragrance in the home (or car) be to your pet? What other ways can you freshen up your home when the cause of the odor is your beloved dog or cat?

    There have been many posts popping up on Facebook lately about essential oil diffusers being harmful and possibly toxic to dogs and cats. Some people seem to be using them to cover up pet odors, but they might be actually causing more harm than they people realize.

    While some people are not affected by pet odors and some people do find that it bothers them, pet owners should be careful and aware of what works best and does not cause harm to humans or pets.
    The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals provides assistance and guides to help keep dogs and cats safe in society, safe in homes and outdoors.

    Do you know which cleaning products, human medications and cosmetic items to keep out of your pet’s reach? If you suspect your pet has been exposed to any poisonous substances, contact your veterinarian or call APCC’s hotline at (888) 426-4435 immediately.

    Unfortunately, products that pet owners and homeowners think makes the air in their home (or car) smell better can possibly pollute the air with chemicals that are dangerous to your pets. According to experts, a large percentage of U.S. households use a variety of these products. Studies have found harmful chemicals in air fresheners (all types), scented candles and incense. Most of the effects of these products aren’t immediately obvious and may not even manifest as respiratory issues.

    There are safe, natural alternatives that can freshen the air in your home – these include pet-safe indoor plants, an air purifier and diffusing diluted pet-safe essential oils. The products you should consider not using due to the health-related issues include air freshener sprays, upholstery sprays, plug-ins, gels, candles and incense. Some of the reasons this can be related to the size of pets. Also, both dogs and cats tend to spend a lot of time near the floor where all indoor air pollutants eventually wind up. Then they groom themselves and sometimes each other, ingesting the harmful particles that have accumulated on their fur and in the environment.

    In air fresheners in the form of both aerosol sprays and plug-ins, there are a number of toxic chemicals that can be dangerous to your pet's health as well as yours.

    Here are some ideas on natural alternatives to keep your home smelling fresh. Besides opening up your windows when weather allows, consider adding some pet-safe indoor house plants that can clean the air.

    To make your own deodorizers:
    • Fill a spray bottle with plain vinegar, then add five to 10 drops of essential oils if you like, such as lemon, lavender, or vanilla. Spray the vinegar around the house.
    • Add one-quarter cup of baking soda to a spray bottle and fill it with water. Shake well and spray liberally.

    Other ways to add natural scents to your home are to simmer some mint tea or cinnamon in water or grind up a fresh orange.

    Most of all, enjoy your best friends company--dogs and cats--at home or your car, without overdoing it on the air fresheners. Woof, woof & meow!

  • 4 Recommendations for Favorite Dog & Cat Toys

    When the holidays are upon us and we are fortunate to be able to celebrate with family and friends, of course we naturally want our dogs and cats to be a part of the celebration and they will want to be with us as well. Our pets are valuable members of the family and we enjoy having them with us as we celebrate during the holidays and the spirit of togetherness.

    Take along or have ready a favorite toy if your dog or cat is able to join in the holiday celebrations – better yet, take along a toy for dogs and cats at homes you are visiting, if that’s the case.

    Family Togetherness

    1. For example, our dog Spanky loves his Flippy Flopper and carries it everywhere. It seems to give him additional security to hold it in his mouth or have it nearby.
    2. Our friends’ cat Teddy loves our foam soccer balls for activity, so they are a great gift for a cat.
    3. Big dogs we know love our rope toys and the Flippy Flopper is always a favorite.
    4. Small dogs, like our neighbor’s dog, seem to like the plush toys and sometimes go for the rope toys, too.

    Parties, dinners and gift exchanges can mean extra commotion, noise, food and aromas, rustling paper and new things. When our pets are not used to having more than a few people around, they can get overly excited so a good distraction is a toy.

    Remember to keep your eye on the food, too. When there is more food than usual and it is in easily accessible places, it is best to keep your eye on your pet or make sure temptation is out of the way. Otherwise, pets can end up getting unexpected “floor d’oeuvres.” And “turbo tales” can take out a glass of wine or punch, so that’s another thing to keep your eyes on.

    Whether you are hosting or visiting, you will want to prepare thoughtfully when it comes to your furry friends and family members to keep everyone calm and comfortable, so that everyone has a good time. Some people can be leery if they are not used to pets and being around someone else’s dogs and cats can be a new experience so be sure to check with everyone for familiarity and comfort levels. Pet toys are a good way to keep familiarity and comfort nearby at all times.

    Happy holidays to you and yours and enjoy! Woof, woof & meow.

  • 5 Dog Sitting Choices To Consider If You’re Planning Holiday Travel

    Whatever the occasion, but especially at joyous and stressful times like the holidays in December and New Year’s, there are plenty of good options to consider if you need someone to care for your dog while you are away. The key is to explore the options available to you and your dog and then pick the one that will give you and your best friend a chance to be apart but be comfortable at the same time. Knowing your dog is well taken care of while you’re gone requires some research and planning.

    5 Dog Sitting Choices To Consider If You’re Planning Holiday Travel

    Holidays Can Present Challenges For You And Your Pet

    If you are traveling and traveling with your beloved dog presents more issues than it solves, then consider this short list. The 5 choices include 1) a pet sitter at your home 2) a pet sitter at their home, 3) a local pet hotel nearby, 4) a boarding facility in the country, or 5) a veterinarian’s office that offers boarding as well. Prices can vary anywhere from $15 an hour to $40 a day per dog at a facility. Costs also vary if you have more than one dog or even a cat or two!

    A Pet Sitter at Your Home

    If you already know a pet sitter and are comfortable having that pet sitter stay in your home, that’s the best scenario for your dog. It allows your dog to keep a familiar routine in a familiar place. If you don’t know the pet sitter personally but feel comfortable hiring one from a company, be sure to get recommendations and check out the reviews.

    A Pet Sitter at Their Home

    If you know the pet sitter and are comfortable with him or her, and are comfortable with your dog being at the pet sitter’s home, that’s great. It will take your dog out of usual surroundings and routine, so be sure the pet sitter and surroundings are going to work. You’ll need to check it out together with your dog ahead of time and provide some familiar things for your dog to have during the stay. Find out about other pets that will be present. Again, be sure to ask for references and check out the reviews.

    A Local Pet Hotel Nearby

    A number of pet stores have added what they refer to as a pet “hotel” that is part of the pet store, usually off to the side or back of the store where the pets are able to be on their own without too many distractions. Again, it will be unfamiliar and out of routine, so you should check it out together with your dog ahead of time, get a feel for the demeanor of the staff and surroundings and provide some familiar things for your dog to have during the stay. Also be sure to check out references and reviews.

    A Kennel or Boarding Facility in the Country

    While a kennel or boarding facility can be anywhere, there tend to be facilities in the countryside where dogs can stay in a natural environment and get a chance to run and explore more than in the pet hotels or veterinarian offices that also provide boarding. As with the local pet hotel, it will be unfamiliar and out of routine, so you should check it out together with your dog ahead of time, get a feel for the demeanor of the staff and surroundings and provide some familiar things for your dog to have during the stay. Also be sure to check out references and reviews.

    A Veterinarian’s Office With Overnight Stay

    This is an option if your dog is elderly or has medical issues that need some monitoring from a professional. If it is your veterinarian’s office and they know you and your dog, even better. All the precautions of the first four choices apply here to some extent, so be sure to check it out, ask for references and recommendations, and look at the reviews.

    Definitely ask around, your friends and family will definitely have suggestions. Check out the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, which also offers a certification program.

    We love our pets and owe it to them and ourselves to never let any harm come to them on our watch.

    Happy Holidays!

  • No Tricks...7 Things to Know About Keeping Your Dog Away From Chocolate

    With costumes, scary faces and, especially, the candy—Halloween is one of the biggest days of the year for children seeking fun and sweets. However, this is not true for pets and especially not true for dogs that might inadvertently eat some candy, worse yet that might eat some chocolate. Chocolate can be deadly to dogs, so be sure to keep your beloved furry friend away from Halloween candy and chocolate at any time of the year.

    Happy Halloween from The Flippy Flopper

    How It Happens

    Inadvertently a dog gets into a bowl of candy or a piece of candy, that’s one thing to prevent. Another is someone actually giving the dog candy when sugar is not good for the dog but chocolate can be deadly.

    No matter how much a dog begs, never give a dog candy. And if a dog should eat some chocolate, there are steps you need to take right away.

    What To Do

    First step is call your veterinarian to ascertain best steps to follow in the situation at hand. If your vet’s office is not open, call an emergency vet. The ASPCA’s 24-hour poison hotline (888-426-4435) is always a great call to make.

    Note: It’s best to have those phone numbers and addresses ready and handy at all times so that you’re not spending time looking when the situation is urgent.

    Second step is usually to get your dog to vomit so that the chocolate is out of the system, but let an expert tell you what to do based on the circumstances.

    Keep a watchful eye over your pet in the meantime for such symptoms of poisoning as:

    • Extreme thirst
    • Diarrhea
    • Too much energy
    • Pacing
    • Panting
    • Shaking
    • Seizures

    How Much Is Too Much

    Any amount of chocolate can be deadly, so any amount is too much.

    The toxic component of chocolate is theobromine. Humans easily metabolize theobromine, but dogs process it much more slowly, allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.

    No Amount of Chocolate Is Safe

    Even a little bit of chocolate can make your dog ill.

    Dark chocolates, baking chocolate and dry cocoa powder (for example, hot chocolate mix) are more dangerous than white chocolate or milk chocolate. But 1 ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight could still be deadly.

    By the Way

    Theobromine is also found in tea, cola beverages and açaí berries, among other food and beverage products. And it is also dangerous and deadly to cats and other animals, so be aware of any pet getting into candy and chocolate around the house.

    Cocoa Shell Mulch: A Little-Known Danger

    Think twice before you spread cocoa shell mulch on your property. It’s dangerous for pets, too, and dogs are attracted to its sweet smell. Use shredded pine, cedar or hemlock bark instead, ASPCA suggests.

    We love our pets and owe it to them and ourselves to never let any harm come to them on our watch.

    Just because you dog can't celebrate with candy this Halloween, don't forget, you can keep them happy with a number of our products!


  • Why Do Dogs Chew, Lick or Scratch Repeatedly and Compulsively?

    A visitor to our facebook page asked us recently about dogs licking his/her paws in the evening. This could be for a number of reasons. A veterinarian once told us about our own dog that it can be a sign of arthritis pain, so definitely something you’d want to look into with your dog. Pet and dog experts also point to other reasons, like allergies, boredom, even obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s especially a concern when a dog is licking a paw or any area nonstop. In part because it can be awfully distracting to observe, but it also might mean your dog is very uncomfortable or in pain and that’s never an acceptable situation.

    For those of you who have had at least one dog in your life, let alone numerous dogs, you have probably experienced some chewing, licking and scratching behaviors and know they can be quite common in dogs. The harder part is getting to the cause, as there can be a variety of causes. Sometimes you can notice what looks like a raw spot that might be red and irritated. This is usually a result of licking. Some diagnoses can include dermatitis. Again, there can be a number of reasons dogs chew, lick or scratch repeatedly and compulsively.

    Taking dog for walk

    Here are some possible reasons:


    This could mean food allergies or environmental triggers like including mold and pollen.  Dogs can develop contact dermatitis from encountering irritants in pesticides or soap.

    Anxiety & Boredom

    Just as people get bored and chew their nails or cuticles or pull at their hair, dogs can have similar responses to their life situation, especially when the home situation is in an upheaval with the humans in their lives.  Becoming obsessive and compulsive in response to something that is out of their control can result in chewing, licking and scratching behaviors that can cause severe damage.


    This is something we never want to think and see in our pets and where we need to do everything we can to identify if a dog is in pain; if so, what is the cause; and what is the treatment? There could be an acute issue, like something stepped on, a bee sting or spider bite, or arthritis or joint problem.

    Skin Issues

    Many common factors like climate and diet can cause skin issues in dogs that then result in discomfort for your dog that causes chewing, licking or scratching repeatedly. Besides a skin issue, the dog could have been affected by fleas, mites or ticks and that must be addressed with a professional to be sure to eradicate the situation as quickly as possible for your dog’s sake and yours.

     We all make a promise to our dogs when we take them in to our lives, so be sure to honor that commitment along with the bond and dedication from your dog by making sure he or she is always well cared for and sees a veterinarian regularly as well as when needed. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

  • 5 Tips to Help Ensure Your Pets’ Well Being in the Event of a Natural Disaster

    How best to plan for pets in the unfortunate circumstances of evacuating your home due to a natural disaster

    Unfortunately as we’ve seen in the last month or so in the USA and nearby in the Caribbean with such natural disasters as forest fires and hurricanes, there is a need to be prepared for your pets’ safety and wellness as well as your own. The only way to be prepared is to plan ahead. This allows you to minimize risk of injury and death to yourself and your beloved pet(s), as well as keeping first responders and emergency personnel from taking on unnecessary risk to rescue someone who stayed behind because of their pet.

    On Facebook, there were many people posting about how they were going to deal with their pets during hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida – some by hiding in closets to avoid local government-mandated evacuation. This is a last resort and should be avoided by planning ahead as best as possible.

    Disaster Preparedness for Your Pet

    Sheltering Pets With Humans Can Be Problematic But Is Necessary

    It is reported that as one of the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, many government programs now include pets in their shelter accommodations.

    This can be difficult due to closeness in shelters and allergies and other medical issues that can be suffered by those humans allergic to pet dander. In Katrina, many residents stayed put—and died in some cases—rather than heed rescuers’ instructions to leave pets behind as waters inundated homes. Others faced wrenching choices when they arrived at shelters that would not allow animals.

    One small white dog, Snowball, became a national symbol of these emotional separations after he was taken from the arms of a child who was boarding a bus to Texas that did not take pets. The boy cried so hard, he vomited.

    Be Prepared – Tip #1

    Prepare a pet emergency kit with information from local government regarding sheltering pets, a list of veterinarian offices and pet emergency care contact information. Have enough crates to hold each pet in the event of a storm in the designated area for each pet. Panic can give rise to out of the ordinary behaviors in pets and fast confinement will be required. These crates can also make or break a situation in a shelter where there are unknown people and situations for your pet.

    Be Prepared – Tip #2

    Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification. Also microchip your pet(s) and be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

    Be Prepared – Tip #3

    Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information. If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located ahead of time and make a list and keep it where you can find it easily. Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current, so keep those together and in a waterproof bag.

    Be Prepared – Tip #4

    Post a rescue alert sticker on your front door at home–and keep it up to date, including updating it if you can if and when you evacuate with your pets. This will let first responders and other people know that pets are inside your home. Include the types and number of pets in your home as well as the name and number of your veterinarian.

    Be Prepared – Tip #5

    Be sure to talk to your family, friends, neighbors and pet caretakers, including veterinarians, about taking care of your pets in an emergency situation. Doing this during calm and predictable times is the best way to be prepared in the event you need to act quickly.

    We all love our pets and when we welcome them into our lives we make a promise to them to always do the right thing by them. Please be sure to plan ahead if you have pets so that you can always take care of them as well as yourself in the event of any type of emergency, especially a natural disaster where many people and pets need to be taken care of safely and thoughtfully at the same time.

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