We’ve all seen the cat zapped by Christmas Lights in “Christmas: Vacation.” In the spirit of the season, California veterinarians remind pet owners to be extra cautious so the holidays don’t send their pooch or kitty to the animal hospital’s emergency room… or up in smoke. To ensure your pet’s holidays are safe and carefree, the CVMA offers a few safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Keep all sweets away from pets. Chocolate, in particular, contains theobromine, a caffeine-like ingredient that can be potentially lethal to dogs. Gobbling up too much chocolate can result in vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and in severe cases, death. Do not place gifts of chocolate under your tree or on a tabletop where an inquisitive pooch might find them enticing.
  2. Keep wrapped candy away from pets. Small candies can cause choking, and the crinkly cellophane or aluminum wrappers can lead to stomach obstructions, if swallowed.
  3. Avoid tying yarn or ribbon around your pet’s neck. If you want to dress him/her up for the holidays, buy a festive, seasonal collar.
  4. Holiday plants — particularly poinsettias, mistletoe, holly, and amaryllis — can be toxic to pets. Keep them out of your dog or cat’s reach.
  5. Feed your pet nutritious snacks rather than “treating” them to high-calorie holiday foods. Our pets can put on extra pounds as quickly as we do during the holidays! Also, keep plenty of fresh water available for drinking. Pets should not be allowed to drink Christmas tree water, as it may contain pesticides or bacteria from the tree.
  6. Keep a careful eye on holiday decorations. All the extra cords for lighting can be tempting targets for chewing by pets. If possible, hide or tape them to the floor to prevent shocks or electrocution. Styrofoam decorations that look like candy or berries can be appealing to puppies, but can cause distressing consequences if chewed and swallowed.
  7. Christmas trees can become climbing posts, particularly for new kittens. Be sure your tree is secure and stable; consider anchoring it to the wall with fishing line, if necessary. To avoid pets shattering glass ornaments, hang breakable ornaments higher up on the tree. Loose tinsel is especially dangerous for cats, who consider it a play toy, but swallowing the metallic string can cause severe intestinal distress and damage.
  8. If you’re traveling for the holidays, bring along your pet’s favorite blanket, toy, and foods so he/she feels as comfortable as possible. Bring your veterinarian’s phone number with you, in case of an emergency.

National Dog Week — September 20-26

A celebration is to bring attention to man’s best friend and to educate all dog owners. Part of man’s education is to know the top dog breeds to help men attract women According to pet columnist Dr. Jeff Nichol of the Albuquerque Journal:

  • Mini pincher — chicks love mini versions of big dogs. They are little so they don’t cost a lot to feed, and they look really tough especially with a studded collar.
  • Beagle — Charlie Brown was the sensitive underdog. You too can be the sensitive guy with a Beagle.
  • Dalmatian — any dog who hangs out with firemen is a sure bet with the ladies. This dog is a born hero.
  • English Pointer — Cute enough for a lady to swoon over; tough enough so you won’t look like a wimp.
  • Dachshund — This little guy is a wonder with the ladies. They are cute and are begging to be cared for.
  • Greyhound — Sleek and aerodynamic plus many Greyhounds need rescuing so you’ll score some serious points with the ladies. So, cook some linguini and introduce her to Vincenzo the Italian Greyhound.
  • Golden Retriever — Goldens are easy to train and strong, but their most outstanding trait is character. They are outgoing and devoted companions to all sorts of people, happy and trusting. But they can also be protective. Every woman’s dream.
  • Labrador Retriever — Labs are playful, loving to people and hardworking. Put a bandanna on him and he’s an instant chick magnet. The Lab can be counted on as a true friend anytime, anyplace.
  • Border Collie — These dogs are brilliant, you can train them to do anything from catching Frisbees to delivering roses to lovely ladies on the street. They are clean, cute and wonderful herders. They are not too big to scare the lady off and their soft coat is irresistible to the touch. A woman just has to pet this dog.
  • Mutt — Most mutts are found as strays, rescued from shelters. The Mutt is a natural conversation starter. “What kind of dog is that?” is the usual question the proud owner may hear. A guy with a mutt shows the world that substance matters. His dog may not have the cachet and price tag of a pure breed but, like a rare priceless work of art, the mutt owner knows the dog is unique and one of a kind.

Pet Pic Of The Week

From Sally, here’s the email she sent with her “Pet Pic” attached. Hope your having a wonderful week. – Justin

I caught my two tom cats having a “moment”. Ben decided Barney needed a bath apparently.  We live on acreage in the boonies so have a lot of cats dropped off along our road.  These two were both abandoned feral kittens about 7 yrs. ago.  Naturally I take them in, get them fixed and their shots ~ they in turn keep the mice and critters at bay around the property.  These two came to us about 8 mos apart but bonded immediately.  Barney & Ben are quite the pair, and were lucky to avoid the animal shelter.  Or should I say we’re the lucky ones?

    One short funny story about lil’ Ben, a couple years ago one of my neighbors was widowed, so I offered Ben to her for a companion.  She took him away in a carrier, in the back of her car, about a mile away.  Next morning he was back home at the kibble bowl in the barn.  She came and got him again, locked him in her house for several days, next time I looked out here was Ben back.  We call him our “Lassie come home kitty”.   I don’t know how he found his way, but apparently the bond he has with Barney is pretty strong.  We gave up and my neighbor went to the shelter and adopted her own cat.  I’ll never try to split these two up again.


 • Neither teenagers nor cats turn their heads when you call them by name.

 • No matter what you do for them, it is not enough. Indeed, all humane efforts are barely adequate to compensate for the privilege of waiting on them hand and foot.

 • You rarely see a cat walking outside of the house with an adult human being, and it can be safely said that no teenager in his or her right mind wants to be seen in public with his or her parents.

 • Even if you tell jokes as well as David Letterman, neither your cat nor you teen will ever crack a smile.

 • No cat or teenager shares you taste in music.

 • Cats and teenagers can lie on the living-room sofa for hours on end without moving, barely breathing.

 • Cats have nine lives. Teenagers carry on as if they did.

 • Cats and teenagers yawn in exactly the same manner, communicating that ultimate human ecstasy — a sense of complete and utter boredom.

 • Cats and teenagers do not improve anyone’s furniture.

 • Cats that are free to roam outside sometimes have been known to return in the middle of the night to deposit a dead animal in your bedroom. Teenagers are not above that sort of behavior.


Tips to train and communicate with your (or anyone else’s) dog

» Watch your dog’s ears. If their ears are standing up, and their tail is wagging, that usually means: “I’m happy” or “come on, let’s play.” If the ears are pitched back, and the tail is down, that’s a sign of anger, fear or stress. Your dog is thinking: “stay back and leave me alone.”

» Sniffing. Dogs sniff the ground for a lot of reasons. Usually, they’re just exploring an enticing scent, or looking for a place to relieve themselves. However, dogs also sniff the ground when they’re worried, or ill at ease.  So if your dog suddenly starts sniffing the ground, take a look around to see what’s in the area. If there’s a bigger dog nearby, or a strange person, that sniffing could be your dog’s way of saying: “I see you. I’m minding my own business here, and I don’t want any trouble.”

» Any unusual panting, yawning or drooling. That’s often a sign of stress. You’ll usually see this when your dog is in an unfamiliar surrounding, when they hear a sudden loud noise, or when they’re left alone at home for the first time.

» Your OWN body language. Dogs are very sensitive to slight changes in humans breathing and behavior. So if they see you pacing around the kitchen because you’re nervous, happy, or angry, they’ll zero in on that – and respond accordingly.  On the other hand, if you project a calm demeanor – by sitting comfortably, controlling your breathing, and talking in a steady tone of voice, your dog will be more receptive to your commands.

Man, I must stress my dog out, he yawns a lot! – Justin