The 10 Best Live Action Animal Movies

Pal as Lassie 1942

A picture of “Pal” who played Lassie in the original film

Judging by the popularity of Disney’s Zootopia, it’s safe to say people love films with animals in them. Because animals can sometimes lead a stressful life on-set, it’s a good thing live animal actors are being replaced by animations and CGI effects; however, that doesn’t stop us from loving the animals who had starring roles in some of the most cherished movies of all time. These are my picks for the best movies that starred live animals. What are some of yours? Leave a comment at the bottom of this post to let me know if I missed anything.

1. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

I was lucky enough to see Homeward Bound in the theater with my childhood bff. It was one of the best movie going experiences of my life. Now, I get to relive the story of Chance, Shadow, and Sassy with my kids and they treasure it as much as I do. Homeward Bound is truly a timeless classic, and continues to delight kids, which is why it’s at the top of my list. Also, I ship Shadow and Sassy… I don’t care that one is a cat and one is a dog; those two were meant for each other and love knows no bounds.

2. Milo and Otis

I remember the first time both of my daughters watched Milo and Otis. My oldest was around six years old and cried “This looks old…” and “The animals don’t talk…” The narrator soon grabbed her interest and to this day she’s a huge Milo and Otis fan. When my youngest had the same complaints, her older sister told her, “Hush, you’re going to love it.” An orange cat and a pug on a wild adventure with bears and a snake; what’s not to love about that?

3. Benji

I’m an 80s and 90s kid, and growing up it seemed there was a new Benji movie every year. The seminal film, 1974’s Benji introduced us to the heroic mix-breed stray who saved two kidnapped child and found a forever home. Amazingly, the original film grossed $39 million and cost just $500,000 to make.

4. Lassie Come Home

To my late grandmother and me, Lassie Come Home was so much more than a movie. It was a book to read and a television show to watch on lazy summer afternoons. Lassie made us drive really slowly by the neighbor’s house because they had a few collies roaming around. She was the dog growing up, the name you always thought of when the Family Feud question was, “What’s a popular name for a dog?” The original film and its six sequels released throughout 1951.

5. Marley & Me

The 2008 film based on the book that made me cry for two days… Marley & Me is the story of a writer and his golden retriever, who is comical in his disobedience, but beautiful in his ability to love unconditionally. If you haven’t seen the movie, read the book first. Both are a true joy to experience.

6. Babe

Babe is one of those startling deep movies that’s cute enough to make you laugh and then cry. You don’t walk into a lot of kid’s movies thinking they’ll change you in any significant way, but Babe was one of those movies that did because it dealt with issues of abandonment and finding peace and acceptance between widely different cultures. For its time, it was incredible and it remains a treasured classic. Babe won an Academy Award for best visual effects, and was nominated for six more awards, including best picture.

7. Beethoven

I’m not a huge fan of the myriad of sequels Beethoven spurned, but I am forever a fan of the original. I’ll never forget when Beethoven rushed to save the little girl from drowning in the pool, but disappointed her father at every turn until such a time that he could save the family. St. Bernard’s are among the giant breeds, and this film perfectly highlights the difficulties and the joys of owning one.

8. Free Willy

The plight of the orca (killer whale) is one not widely known before Free Willy. It introduced the world to the horrors of captivity, and the magical way orcas communicate. They are among the smartest creatures of the animal kingdom, and in Free Willy it became a boy’s mission to return him to the wild.

9. Shiloh

Based on a book of the same name, Shiloh tells the story of Marty, who finds a runaway beagle. Unfortunately, the dog’s owner is abusive to him. It becomes the boy’s mission to secretly care for the dog and keep him from his abusive owner. Don’t watch this film until you’ve read the book, which expertly raises ethical questions kids can relate to, such as is it ever okay to lie?

10. Old Yeller

Okay… Old Yeller isn’t one of my favorite movies per say. There’s no denying it’s a classic, but the end is full of so much shocking sadness, only the strongest among us can get through it without crying. But, it has to make the list because I still watch it if it’s on television, and before it’s sad it’s a beautiful tribute to the relationship kids have with their dogs.

What are your favorite movies starring animals? Leave a comment and let me know.

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3 Quick and Delicious Homemade Dog Treat Recipes

homemade dog treats

Healthy, homemade dog biscuits.

Why bother with the store when you can whip up delicious and healthy dog treats in less than the time it takes to run to the pet store? Dog treats are an essential part of training, and that means you’ll need a lot which can get costly. By making your own dog treats, you ensure you’ve always got treats on hand and you know exactly what you’re feeding your dog.

The following is a few of my dog’s favorite recipes, which are adapted from the recipes of some of the best human chefs in the world. Yes, they make dog treats too. The links to the actual recipes are below the recipe.

  • Please consult with your dog’s veterinarian about possible allergies before feeding him any new foods.

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

Damn Delicious calls these treats, “The easiest homemade dog treats ever.” They take only 25-minutes to make, and they feature a dog’s favorite ingredient: peanut butter. With only four ingredients, you may already have everything you need to make these treats in your fridge and pantry.

Set your oven to 350 degrees, and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat together 2/3-cup pumpkin puree, ¼-cup peanut butter, and 2 large eggs. Once fully combined, slowly mix in about 3 cups whole wheat flour. You may need more or less than this amount; basically, you want the dough to be well-mixed and not sticky.

Knead the dough for a few minutes, and then roll it out with your rolling pin. Use cookie cutters and then transfer the cookies to the baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the edges are golden brown (about 20 to 25 minutes). Let cool before serving.

Get the full recipe here:

Julia’s Barkilicious No-Bake Bites

This recipes makes about 18 balls. They’re a little sticky, so maybe store them in a container where they won’t be flattened, dried out, or mushed together. Your dog is going to love these treats, and they only take a couple minutes to whip up.

You’ll need a food processor, but if you don’t have one a pestle and mortar will work too. Grind about a ½-cup of rolled oats up this way until you’ve got a soft oat flour. Then mix the grinded oats up with another ½-cup of rolled oats (not ground), 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/3-cup coconut oil, ½-cup low-sodium chicken stock, and a small handful of finely chopped fresh parsley.

With wet hands, you can roll up the dough into yummy balls or flatten them for more traditional looking treats. You can freeze some of them if you don’t think you’ll use them all before they go bad, or you can store them in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Get the full recipe here:

Martha Stewart’s Easy Homemade Dog Biscuits

The great thing about Martha’s biscuits is how many they produce. The recipe makes about 5 dozen biscuits, and calls for only a few ingredients. The biscuits are flavorful to dogs and they make inexpensive treats for training, but they’re not as healthy as a few of the other recipes; however, they have no dangerous filler ingredients, which makes them a great alternative to store-bought, non-organic biscuits. They take a little over an hour to prepare, and another hour or so is needed for cooling.

Mix together 1-cup all-purpose flour, ¼-cup wheat germ, ¼-cup brewer’s yeast, and 1 teaspoon salt. In a separate bowl add 1 ½-tablespoons of canola oil. You’ll need approximately 1 cup of low-sodium canned chicken stock. You’ll need to ration some out for brushing the baking biscuits, but most will be mixed into the oil as you also mix in the flour mixture. Once fully combined, roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 3/8-inch thick. Then use a cookie cutter, such as a bone shape, to cut the biscuits. Bake them for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 400-degrees, and then brush them with the remaining chicken stock. Bake another 10 minutes or until they’re done. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for at least one hour.

Get the full recipe here:

Dog Collar Boutique has a vast array of training tools to help you train your dog. This includes specially designed training collars, gentle leaders and head collars, and dog training leashes, harnesses, and additional accessories.



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Lhasa Apso Holds the Record for Longest Eyelashes on a Dog

longest eye lashes on a dogAt a whopping 13.6-cm (5.35-in), Prince Albert of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada currently holds the world record for longest eyelashes ever measured on a dog. If you’re looking for a breed with beautiful long lashes, Lhasa apsos are certainly the breed to buy; or, perhaps, you’re reading this because you think your dog may have the longest lashes. If you think your dog can give Prince Albert a run for his money, you’ll need to first measure his lashes and determine they’re longer than 13.6-cm and give Guinness World Records a call, so they can send someone out to verify the length truly wins. Prince Albert has held his record since November 27th, 2004.

Breeds with the Longest Lashes

Lhasa apso are predisposed to thick, long lashes because they have such long hair. The lashes grow to keep their long tresses from falling into their eyes. Any dog that is predisposed to long hair is also going to be predisposed to long lashes. Cocker spaniels, Old English sheepdogs, and Maltese are a few breeds that are predisposed to very long lashes.

How to Get Your Dog’s Lashes to Grow

Although it’s never recommended by groomers to let your dog’s hair grow too long (because of matting and other issues), you can encourage lash growth by choosing a longer hair cut especially around the eyes. This doesn’t guarantee your dog’s lashes will grow longer, but it could help. The most important thing is that you don’t allow your dog’s hair to grow so long it irritates the surface of his eyes. His eyes are extremely delicate, and it’s essential they’re kept free from hair, particles, and debris.

You can avoid matting by regularly brushing your dog and by washing with high-quality shampoos and conditioners. A great choice is Tora Honey & Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner. Follow up with the Wild Orchid & Almond Detangler when you go to brush his fur. Be careful not to let any of the products you use get into your dog’s eyes, although Tora products are safer than most because they’re formulated with no volatile organic compounds and no questionable preservatives or toxic chemicals, such as parabens, sulphates, and formaldehyde. You can view the full range of Tora’s grooming products by clicking here.

Long eyelashes are beautiful on a dog and they’re harmless; unless, they somehow become entangled in his fur. If they become entangled call your veterinarian to schedule a visit or get his advice before you trim the lashes. You can choose to trim your dog’s lashes at any time, but be careful if you do because a single scratch or poke could cause permanent damage. If you’re worried, ask your groomer to do the trimming for you.

Finally, it’s important to be aware of trichiasis (aka distichiasis), which is a rare eyelash disorder. These eyelashes should never be trimmed, and instead your veterinarian should be contacted immediately. Trichiasis is when one or more eyelashes grow from an abnormal spot, such as higher on the eyelid or inside the eyelid (ectopic cilia). Your veterinarian is the only one that should remove these lashes.


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How to Silence Dog Tags

Engraved dog tag

Pewter Square Best Friend ID Dog Tag

Your dog needs tags for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, tags tell strangers your dog is yours and that he’s been vaccinated. If your dog is picked up for any reason, the shelter is going to use the tags to let you know he’s safe. This is why engraved dog tags are so necessary; unfortunately, they can jingle obnoxiously when the metal pieces of your dog’s tags and his collar bump together. Here’s a few ways you can silence his tags:

Use Silicone Dog Tag Silencers

Silicone dog tag silencers fit around your dog’s tags and keep them from making noise. The rubber silicone is flexible, and stretches to fit around the tags. They’re easily found in most pet stores and online, and they’re typically very inexpensive. Silicone silencers are easily the best method for solving this issue.

You’ll need to choose a fairly standard shape for your dog’s tag to fit it with a silicone dog tag silencer. If the dog tag is a star shape or some other sort of odd shape, you’re not going to find a silicone cover to fit it. Choose dog tags in a circle, oval, or square shape, such as the Pewter Friend ID Dog Tag, the Doggie ID Tag with Paw, or the Pewter Square Best Friend ID Dog Tag.

Make Your Own Dog Tag Silencer

There are a few ways you can DIY a dog tag silencer, including the easiest method which is to hot glue your dog’s tags directly onto his collar. Because of the coarseness of nylon or braided collars, this method won’t typically work on those collar types. You’ll need a flat material collar, such as leather or faux leather, to affix the tags. Allow the glue to dry fully before you put the collar back on your dog.

Another method is to wrap the dog tags in braided paracord. The cord can be found in most hardware sections, including at Walmart and Target. Simply wrap it around the edges of the tags, and then hot glue or tie off the ends to keep it secure. It’s small enough to keep the lettering visible, but thick enough to ensure no obnoxious sounds are heard from metal-on-metal clanking.

The final DIY method is to wrap string around both the tag and the collar. Wrap the string so tight that the tags don’t move even when your dog is in motion, but don’t use so much string the words on the tags are no longer visible.

Check Pinterest for even more DIY dog tag silencers, but avoid the ones that ask you to make a tag bag because the bag obscures the writing on your dog’s tag, which may confuse someone who comes across your dog.

Use a Brass Nameplate

Nameplates are a bit more effective than hot gluing your dog’s tags directly onto the collar. They cost more than DIY, but are guaranteed to last a bit longer and won’t fall off when the glue wears off. The nameplates attaches to the collar using rivets, and because the tags are no longer hanging, there’s no noise. Nameplates are sold in pet stores and online.

Overall, there are a number of ways to eliminate the obnoxious jingle of clanging dog tags. A dog’s hearing is so much stronger than a human’s, it can be assumed if the sound is annoying to you it’s even more annoying to your dog. By silencing the jingle, you’re doing your dog a favor too.


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Don’t Let Your Dog Get “Flipped” By Dog Thieves (Infographic)

Dog theft is on the rise, and it comes in more forms than just a backyard snatch-up. Shady dog nappers have been known to scout out popular off-leash locations, rob homes, and even “flip” dogs they promised a good home.

As many as two million animals are stolen every year, and only 10 percent are ever returned to their owners. Check out this infographic and learn some tips for preventing dog theft. Then, keep reading to learn exactly what dog thieves are planning to do with your dog once they’ve kidnapped him. Remember: tagging your dog with identifying information, such as his name and your phone number, is among the top ways to ensure he’s returned if ever lost.

Preventing dog theft

What Happens to Stolen Pets?

In best case scenarios, your dog will not be mistreated. Instead, the thief (or thieves) will list your dog for sale. This is called “dog flipping,” and it’s when thieves steal or sometimes adopt dogs in order to sell them for profits. If your dog has been stolen, check Craigslist and Pet Finder to see if he’s been listed for sale there.

Unfortunately, a best case scenario is rarely the scenario. In most cases, dog thieves are going to mistreat your dog. For some dogs, their lives are considerably changed after being stolen because they’re likely entering an abusive situation. People steal dogs for all sorts of nefarious reasons, including to kill them. Pet Finder lists the following as ways a stolen pet may be abused:

  • Sold to research laboratories
  • Fighters or bait in dog-fighting
  • Breeders for puppy mills
  • Meat for human consumption
  • Fur for clothing and accessories
  • Dissection Protective guard dogs
  • Ritual sacrifice for satanic cults
  • Sadistic acts

Sometimes, a stolen dog is surrendered to the pound. Perhaps the thief couldn’t sell the dog and didn’t want to keep up the costs of caring for him. Whatever the reason, stolen dogs sometimes show up in pounds weeks after a theft occurred. Make sure to check your local shelters often, and give them a photograph of your dog. Pound seizure happen when the law requires animal shelters to turn unwanted animals over to laboratories for experimentation. By checking in with pounds often, you can ensure this isn’t the fate of your dog should he be surrendered for any reason.

Dishonest people take dogs. They are unscrupulous, dangerous, and caring for your dog is not a top priority for them. Unfortunately, it’s due to this lack of morals that terrible, sometimes horrendous challenges await a stolen dog. Learn the dangers of pet theft, and use the knowledge you gain to educate others. This will help protect other dogs from the terrible fate of being stolen.

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What to Do When Your Dog Escapes

Der-kreativ-schmied-mitarbeiter-02Alabama is a one year old German shepherd mix. Her owners thought she was secure in the backyard because the fence was tall and the all-metal gate had a fork latch. They discovered too late that Alabama had learned to lift the latch with her snout to come and go as she pleases. It wasn’t until a neighbor walked her home that they’d discovered the need for a more secure gate. In the days to come, Alabama would frequently escape even though her owner’s had taken to keeping an eye on her.

Don’t Give in to the Chase

One of her owner’s biggest concerns was how much fun Alabama found the chase. She’d get loose and play a game with them. They’d get close to nabbing her and she’d dodge them to run farther away. It was a dangerous game of cat and mouse because the family resided by a busy road.

If your dog is like Alabama and escapes, don’t make the mistake of chasing her. She’s enjoying the thrill of freedom and she believes it’s a game. The best way to get her to respond and return is to not chase her; instead, stop running, get low to the ground, and call her. If she’s had some obedience training, use her commands to make her sit or stay.

The “come” command is your best friend in this situation. In the case of Alabama, it only took an afternoon to teach her this command. It begins with leash training. Walk your dog in a dog-friendly off-leash location (or, your backyard). Hold a treat under her nose, drop her leash, and run a bit away. Yell, “come,” and then feed it to her immediately. Do this enough times and your dog should learn the command forever.

Here’s a few more tips to get your dog to return to you if she’s running away:

  • Lie down and curl into a ball
  • Run in an opposite direction
  • Turn your back to her and sit down
  • Open your car door and ask her if she wants to go for a ride

What to Do When Your Dog Escapes and You’re Not Home

Remember: Always license your dog and ensure she’s wearing her tags. Call local shelters and animal control to warn them to keep a lookout for her. Her tags will provide anyone who comes across her with her name and your phone number. This is your best method for ensuring her safe return. Check out our article: Everything You Need to Know About Licensing Your Dog learn more. 

It can be scary to return home and find your dog missing. This is why it’s never a good idea to leave your dog unattended outdoors (even if she’s tied up). Of course, there’s always the chance she’ll find a way out of the house too.

It’s important to first consider the reasons your dog ran away. Is she bored? Does she have sexual urges? (This is a good reason to get your dog fixed.) Is she curious or afraid? Sometimes, dogs escape because you’ve moved and they’re compelled to return to an old residence.

Knowing why your dog escaped is going to provide you with places to search for her. For example, if it’s a sexual urge, you can start looking around the neighborhood and checking with local dog owners to see if they’ve seen her. She may be drawn to other dogs if she’s bored as well. If she was curious or afraid, check nearby natural locations, such as parks. If you didn’t move too far away, the old house may be where you’ll find her.

How far she’s gone is dependent on her size. In general, if your dog is athletic, there is a five-mile or more radius where you’ll need to search. Small dogs and puppies won’t travel as far; perhaps, a half-mile to full-mile radius. In most cases, you’ll find your dog within two-miles of where you live.

In the case of Alabama, she only escaped a half block to a neighbor’s property. Her owners installed a more appropriate locking mechanism to their gate and never left her unattended again. Once you’ve recovered your dog, it’s important that you make changes so she never escapes again. Teach her the appropriate commands and she’ll return to you. Make changes around your home to prevent her escape, and make sure she’s fully licensed just in case she’s picked up by a stranger or animal control.


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Everything You Need to Know About Licensing Your Dog (Infographic)

Animal control uses your dog’s license to contact you in the event that he’s picked up or dropped off at the pound. A study conducted by the ASPCA reports that 15 percent of pet owners have lost their pets (dogs and cats). Licensed animals are more likely to be returned, but what are some of the other reasons you should license your dog? (Additional reading below infographic.)

What you need to know about licensing your dog

It’s the Law to License Your Dog

You could ignore the law, but if your dog escapes you’re in for a hefty penalty. “The cost of the license is far less than the penalty for being caught without one,” reports Cesar Milan contributor, Nicole Pajer. Penalties up to and in excess of $250 may be charged if it’s determined your dog is unlicensed. There’s even the potential to be charged with a misdemeanor crime.

Here’s a few ways you could be caught:

  • Your dog escapes
  • You’re visited by the police for any reason and they inquire
  • Your dog bites someone
  • Someone reports you (a neighbor, a veterinarian, etc.)
  • A government employee sees your dog and looks into his licensing

As you can see it’s quite easy to be caught without a license. And, the penalties are too steep not to spend the few bucks it takes to license him.

Remember: you must license your dog once per year. After the first time, most local agencies will mail you reminder. If you choose to microchip your dog, you may only have to register him once in his lifetime. Check with your local agency to determine their policy on microchipping.

Your Licensing Fees Benefit the Entire Community

Vaccinations are what keep dogs alive and disease free, and licensing makes vaccinating your dog mandatory. It also allows animal control to monitor potential health threats. By understanding how many dogs in a community are vaccinated, an animal health expert can make logical estimations about a rabies threat level (or any diseases’ threat level). If there’s a potential health threat, they’ll have your information on file to warn you, which means you’ll be able to better protect him.

Of course, licensing also increases the likelihood that you will be reunited with your lost dog. Beyond these benefits, there’s also the community-wide benefits of your licensing fees. The funds you contribute are typically used to support animal control’s budget, as well as operate local animal shelters, wildlife refuges, and support low cost vaccinations and spay and neutering programs.

It’s Easy to License Your Dog

Licensing begins at your dog’s first veterinary appointment. Once vaccinated for rabies you can license him. The only necessary document is your rabies vaccination form. Your dog doesn’t have to be spayed or neutered to be licensed; however, some communities charge more for dogs that aren’t fixed. So, you may want to get him fixed before licensing him too.

Your first time licensing your dog will require a trip to your local county offices. In most cases, licensing happens at the City Clerk’s office; however, animal control and other buildings may handle it. Check your local listings to determine where you have to go. You don’t have to bring your dog, and once you’ve licensed him initially all future renewals can be mailed in.



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Easter Update–Pet Egg Owners Scramble to Find Dog Collars!

The pet egg world has been set on its ear this year as pet egg owners’ scramble to get collars for their pet eggs.

As one owner eggslaimed, “A collar really helps to keep our pet egg from rolling around, which, as you can imagine, is very important, especially when sitting on the table! And there are styles for every kind of egg!”

Easter Egg Collar

Easter Egg Collars: The most popular theme this time of year for pet eggs! Also a cleaner alternative to the usual decorative methods.


Faux Ostrich and Lizard leather collars: New interspecies faux leather collars a big hit with exotic pet eggs. Cross species collars are the newest trend with exotic pet eggs.


Caution Collars: Don’t take chances with your hard boiled egg. It’s best to keep a distance from these tough characters. They’ve been known to crack a head or two over practically nothing!


Pink Spike Leather Collars: Perfect for soft-boiled eggs with tough shells and soft yolks.


Spring Collars: What better way to celebrate the hatching of Spring?


Black Leather Acid Wash Bling Collar: Feeling cooped up and need to get out and have some fun? Saddle up with this over-the-top jeweled collar, perfect for line dancing and cock-a-doodling, barn-shaking, hoedowns!

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Keep Kitty and Fido Safe: Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

Christmas Dog

A Christmas tree twinkling with lights, rooms glowing with candles, halls decked with wreaths and ivy all may bring the holiday spirit to your home. But the holiday hazards to your pets are aplenty during this Christmas season. As a responsible pet owner, it is up to you to make sure that your holiday celebrations are safe for your pet. From decorations to gifts and treats, these tips can help you have a safe holiday for you and your pets.

Christmas Trees

Photo by ZaMoose via Flickr

Whether you choose to put up a majestic pine or easily managed artificial tree, Christmas trees hold many temptations and hazards to pets. The American Humane Association recommends the following tips for keeping your pet safe from these risks.

  • Anchor your tree securely. Climbing cats and excited dogs can easily knock over unstable trees.
  • Keep breakable, glass and food decorations up higher where pets cannot reach them.
  • Avoid using tinsel or keep it up high. It can block your pets intestines leading to surgery, or even death for both cats and dogs.
  • Clean up live pine needles often, they are toxic if ingested.
  • Don’t allow your pet to drink the water from the tree stand; it is toxic.
  • Put gifts under the tree at the last minute. Leaving them there for long periods of time is too tempting for pets to resist and the wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift contents all can harm your pet.

Poisonous Substances

Photo by L.m.k via Wikimedia Commons

From food, to plants, to potpourri, the smells and treats are a wonderful part of celebrating Christmas. However, those same enjoyments may mean serious problems for your pet. Be aware of some of the most common toxic substances to your pets, according to the Pet Poison Helpline:

  • Chocolate contains theobromine, a highly toxic chemical to both cats and dogs.
  • Foods with grapes, raisins and currants can result in kidney failure for dogs.
  • Sugarless gums and candies that contain xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs.
  • Imported snow globes have been found to contain antifreeze in them.
  • Holiday plants, including poinsettia, lilies, holly and mistletoe are all dangerous to both cats and dogs.
  • Candles and fragrant oils, which often smell like food, are dangerous if ingested by pets.

Holiday Safety

Photo by kurafire via Flickr

There are many increased risks during the holiday seasons, from a higher chance of break-ins, higher fire risks in the home and an increased chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protecting you and your pets in your home from the hazards is easy to do with DIY home security. Today’s technology enables home owners to install wireless systems themselves. Recommended steps from the experts include:

  • Installing and testing carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Checking smoke detectors are operational.
  • Installing motion sensor lights.
  • Installing alarms or closed-circuit video surveillance.
  • Avoiding advertising that your house will be empty.
  • Not putting boxes outside your house from expensive gifts.

The holidays don’t have to be a stressful time for you or your pet. Taking steps to avoid problems before they happen can ensure that you and your pets have a safe and happy holiday season.

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My Rescue Dog Resuced Me

Growing up, my family lived on a farm and we always had dogs. Once I became an adult, I joined the military and really couldn’t have a dog. In 2006, I was stationed in Kansas and bought a home. I knew that I wanted a dog, but wasn’t really ready to make the commitment. Then came Kya. I first met Kya in August of 2009, and my life was forever changed.

kya and shelby

Kya is a beautiful Siberian Husky and German Shepherd Dog mix. Someone dumped her on my sister and my sister really couldn’t keep her. I wasn’t looking for a dog, and had always imagined that when the time came, I’d get a small dog. The minute I laid eyes on Kya, any preconceived notions I’d had about what kind of dog I wanted flew out the window. Kya stole my heart. My husband said we weren’t ready for a dog, but I somehow convinced him to let me bring her home. I didn’t really know much about dogs since my parents had always taken care of ours, but a kind doctor at one of the veterinary clinics in Wichita taught me everything I needed to know.

Kya is a high energy dog and likes to run and play. In looking for socialization opportunities for her, I got in touch with a local meetup group that hosted playdates at one of the dog parks in Wichita. Through that group, I not only made some amazing friends, but I found my way into dog rescue. I didn’t realize what I was getting into. I just volunteered to transport a French Bulldog that was being surrended by his owner from Oklahoma City to Wichita. Before I knew it, I was driving dogs all over the Midwest, several days a week. I had to purchase a Mazda minivan and some extra crates because I was helping so many dogs. That wouldn’t have happened if Kya hadn’t come into my life.

In the spring of 2010, I kept feeling like Kya needed a canine sibling. I have two human children that adore her, but she needed doggie interaction. Again, I wasn’t actively looking. I had met a couple dogs during my volunteer hours at the Kansas Humane Society that I really loved, but they ended up not getting along with Kya when we took her in to meet them.

One day I stumbled on to the website for a local dog rescue. It had to be fate, because I was searching for patterns for dog dresses. I opened their website, and the first dog I saw looked exactly like Kya. She was a Husky and Shepherd mix with quite a bit of Yellow Lab added in. The rescue named her Shelby; I had dreamed of having a daughter named Shelby since I was 15. In my dreams, she was a human daughter, but fate has a funny way of giving us what we need without us knowing it.

As with Kya, convincing my husband that we needed another dog was nearly impossible, but somehow I pulled it off. The next obstacle was the meeting between Kya and Shelby. I was so afraid they would not be a good fit personality-wise. My worries were for naught; the girls fell in love at first sight. It was meant to be.

Shelby has some special needs. While Kya is outgoing and has never met a stranger, Shelby is terrified of new people. The rescue that pulled her from Wichita Animal Control believes that she was abused and then dumped. Much of her fear has dissipated simply because we shower her with love, but we don’t coddle her. The military has taught me to confront scary situations with confidence; I have tried to pass this lesson on to Shelby. She has gotten so much better, and Kya helps her conquer her fears.

I wasn’t looking for a dog when I adopted my girls, but like I said, I believe fate has a way of getting us what we need when we need it. The right dog will find us when the time is right. I can’t imagine how desolate my life would be without my girls, and I am so glad they found me.

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