Mushrooms: A Dangerous Uprising

Spring is in the air! The sun warms the soul after its slumber behind the clouds, the birds and crickets are chirping, the kids can finally be let outside to play and flowers of all varieties are blooming in all colors of the rainbow. But something else is taking the season’s cue to raise its deathly stem above the Earth; mushrooms. A lovely decoration with the backyard gnomes, however, mushrooms, as we all know, can be deadly for humans. But what about our beloved animal friends?

Here at Fit’n’Furry, we make sure to share all information we find that is beneficial for the health and well being of your furry family members. We recently discovered a post by Dr. Nancy Kay, author of “Speaking For Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life”, who shares the story of her friend Diana who had recently lost her 6 month old Bernese Mountain Dog, Donato, to the ingestion of a mushroom from her backyard; a tragic loss due to an unforeseen danger.

While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. The top three deadly mushrooms to dogs, as well as cats, are: Amanita phalloides, pale yellow and greenish tops, Amanita muscaria, the classic red cap with white spots, and Amanita pantherina, chocolate brown caps with white spots. Amanita phallodies, the “Death Cap”, is the most common of the poisonous species in Northern California and Southern Oregon and grows yearly in soil surrounding oak trees. Visit www.aspca.org/toxicplants for a list of poisonous mushrooms and plants.

The result of eating a mushroom is liver failure. The symptoms include vomiting, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, delayed blood clotting and neurological abnormalities. Other signs include dilated pupils, salivation, seizures, and/or shock. If you discover that Fido has even nibbled on a possibly deadly fungus, take him to an Emergency Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible. Remember to bring a portion of the suspect with you in a paper bag so that it can be analyzed for faster and accurate treatment. You may also call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435for advice on what to do.

As with most poisonings, the best method of controlling mushroom consumption is preventing exposure. Remove all mushrooms you may have growing in your yard as well as being aware of your surroundings when walking your dog especially if you have a young one or a “not-so-picky” eater.

Everyone wants the best for their pet’s health. Our furry, family members bring us joy and fulfillment and it is so important to keep in tune with what is around their environment whether it be at home, at their favorite park or even on a camping trip. It is common knowledge that foods like chocolate and grapes can cause adverse reactions in our pets; it’s time to spread the word about these toxic pests.

1 – North American Mycological Association; http://www.namyco.org/toxicology/pet_poisonings.html
2 – Kay, Nancy. “Speaking For Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life”; http://speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=2340

Satisify Your Pup’s Tummy While Supporting a Great Cause!

Starting February 7th through February 14th, Fit ‘n’ Furry Pet Resort will be selling PUPcakes for those pooches that feel left out on all the treats on Valentine’s Day. Fit ‘n’ Furry will be joining forces with Ma Snax Superior Dog Treats to provide PUPcakes especially formulated for doggie tummies. PUPcakes will be on sale at Fit ‘N’ Furry Pet Resort at 860 Lindberg Lane, Petaluma, CA, 94952, at the Sonoma Humane Society at 5345 Hwy 12 W, Santa Rosa, or at Brocco’s Old Barn at 19660 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

Not only will these PUPcakes make your dogs happy, but you will be making a difference for countless dogs who have yet to find their forever homes at the Sonoma County Humane Society as all the proceeds from the PUPcake sales will go directly to this organization. Small PUPcakes will sell for $2.50 each, large PUPcakes for $5.00, or 3 small PUPcakes for $6.00.

Does your pup have a sensitive stomach or is already too ‘spoiled’? Make a donation or purchase PUPcakes for the less fortunate dogs at the Humane Society and become a special PUPpy Valentine to a deserving pet! Or maybe you are feeling extra loving on Valentine’s Day? Help your dog’s love life by purchasing and sending a PUPcake to the pretty pooch they secretly admire! Grateful licks and kisses will be handed out generously!

Fit ‘n’ Furry Pet Resort will also be holding a party on Valentine’s Day from 1:00-3:00PM for all those who wish to attend! Attendance is only $5.00 per pet and will include a festive bandana; pictures will be taken a placed on Fit ‘n’ Furry’s facebook page for owners to show off! Not currently a client at Fit ‘n’ Furry? Just bring a copy of your doggie’s current shot records (Rabies, DHLP, & Bordetella) and they can join in on the fun. Remember dogs over 6 months of age must be spayed or neutered to participate in group play.

Holiday Safety Tips by Fit ‘N’ Furry

With Christmas and New Year’s just right around the corner we want to make sure that both you and your four-legged companions enjoy this festive season safely.  It’s best to keep-up your pets eating and exercise routine as much as possible. During this busy time we often get distracted and tend to break away from our normal daily activities, and since pets, dogs especially, are so routine based, they too can pick up on our bad behavior and start acting up. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this holiday:

  • NO TABLE SCRAPS – We know it’s tempting to give your furry pals a treat from the dinner table, but holiday foods tend to be richer than what they are used to eating and can cause severe diarrhea and stomach upset.  Bones are really bad idea because they can be swallowed and get stuck in the digestive tract, causing painful stomach cramps for your pooch and painful cramps in your wallet from the visit to the vet.  Avoid the passing of human foods and opt for a pet-friendly treat, you’ll be thankful when you’re not stuck cleaning up a dog mess right before the friends and relatives arrive.
  • NO TINSEL – These shiny, light reflecting strands are very attractive to kitties. They love batting it around and getting all tangled up in it, but whats even worse is when they start biting on these little strands. If swallowed your cat may suffer from severe vomiting, dehydration, and an obstructed digestive tract, which could require expensive surgery.
  • NO HOLLY or MISTLETOE – When ingested by four-legged pals gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems may occur. Try artificial plants. Contrary to popular belief Poinsettias, also known as the Christmas Star plant, are not poisonous to you or your pets.  Also be sure your Christmas tree is safely secured to prevent it tipping over and possibly injuring a pet, family member, or guest.
  • NO WIRES – Be sure to keep wires such as tree lights or electronics up off the floor and out of reach from your pets. They could get a severe shock if they took a nibble on those wires.  Be especially aware of new puppies, we all know they find everything to get into.

If you are traveling this season keep your pets in mind.  Ask yourself,  “Who’s going to take care of Sparky and Garfield?”  Check out local pet care facilities and ask the right questions.

  • Are they able to provide the care and attention you give at home? Remember, pets are very routine-based, they probably let you know when it’s time to eat or go to the bathroom, right?
  • Are the pets indoors or outdoors for most of their visit? Keep in mind the weather temperatures and climate of your area or the area you are traveling to.
  • What vaccinations are required for your pets?
  • Will the facility need to meet your pets before they come to visit?
  • What kind of pet food they serve?  Can you bring your own?
  • Can they administer medication for pets who need extra-special care?

These are all important things to know before checking your pets in for a holiday.  Hope everyone and their beloved furry, four-legged friends have a Happy Holiday and a Merry New Year!

Canine’s and Leadership According to Fit ‘N’ Furry

Whether you’re looking to train your new pup or teach your old dog new tricks, it’s never an easy task. It’s always a good idea to start training right away with a new pooch, they learn to take direction and understand that you’re the pack leader. Socialization is also key when acclimating a new puppy. Basic and foundation commands should be established between you and your dog. Dogs sense of hearing tend to be much better than humans, so when giving commands, you don’t need to yell, just use a very “mater-of-fact” tone.

We tend to humanize our pets with lots of affection and not enough discipline. Because of this, many of us find it difficult to scold our pets or provide consequences in regards to behavior.  It is important for us to find a balance between affection and discipline. The most important thing to remember is to not expect results immediately, especially with an older dog. A dog’s behavior might take weeks to break, but consistency is of the utmost importance.

Many trainers use different techniques when training. When looking for a trainer, keep in mind the necessary tasks that may need to be incorporated into your pet’s home life, for example: new commands, feeding habits, new accessories, etc. Be sure to ask your trainer questions and follow up on their recommendations. Many trainers can customize training sessions for the specific needs of you and your dog. Call around to local trainers in your area for more information on the kind of training they provide. Like children, dogs crave structure, discipline and leadership. Remember to be patient, calm, and balanced, but also have fun when working with your pet!

Fit ‘n’ Furry’s Pet Grooming Tips

If you’re a new pet owner, you may be surprised by all the necessary tasks and things it takes to raise a pet. For example: the cost of food, the veterinary visits, daily activities such as walks, trips to the dog park, and did you ever imagine the grooming upkeep of a pet? Maintenance grooming of your pet varies by type of pet and breed. Some breeds need more routine upkeep of their coats. They may require more frequent hair cuts or trims and daily brushings to keep their coats from getting matted. Nail trims are also recommended for all dogs about once a month. Ear cleaning should also be incorporated into your pet’s grooming routine. Pets can also develop cavities, just like humans. Most grooming facilities offer teeth brushing, and for a more thorough cleaning, ask your veterinarian.

Many think grooming is just for the dogs, but cats sometimes require upkeep too. Cat’s fur tends to require brushing and occasional hair cuts to keep from matting. It’s not necessary to cut the nails of a cat, but if you want to keep them from scratching you when you pick them up or tearing apart your furniture, you may want to consider routine nail trims. Don’t forget about your cat’s ears and teeth, they too may need some cleaning.

Some pets are self-groomers, but still require some help to ensure that they are properly groomed. Grooming isn’t just about keeping your pet’s coat clean, maintenance of all parts help in keeping your pet more hygienic and contributes to their physical appearance. Check with groomers in your area, some specialize in hair cuts/bathing of certain breeds; many also do a variety of breeds. Most groomers will need to assess new pets and speak to the owners about their temperament; you can schedule appointments to guarantee a convenient time for you and your pet. Here’s to a clean, healthy, beautiful pet!

Fit’n’Furry’s Canine Summer Safety Tips

Keeping your canine companion cool during these hot summer months is crucial to your pet’s health.  Dogs are very susceptible to dehydration and heat exhaustion, especially those “short-faced” breeds, such as pugs and bulldogs because of their vulnerable breathing ability. A canine’s only way of releasing heat is through the bottoms of their paws, where the sweat glands are located, and by panting. Even with these unique cooling systems, when temperatures climb, your pet may become overwhelmed, especially in humid conditions.

So what happens when dogs get too hot? The most common result is heatstroke. Symptoms of canine heatstroke can include an increase in heart rate, labored breathing, purplish gum color, weakness resulting in collapsing, and even seizures, coma, or sudden death can be an onset of heatstroke. Most cases involving canine heatstroke are a result of confinement to a non-ventilated area, such as a car. Temperatures inside a vehicle even with the windows rolled down can rise to above 120 degrees.

Heatstroke can also occur due to over-activity on hot days. The excitement of chasing a ball or a Frisbee outweighs everything else in a dog mind. Your dog may not know when it’s time to stop playing and take a break, so be aware of your dog’s activity and breathing.

Also keep in mind that you are wearing shoes to protect your feet from the hot surfaces on the ground but your pooch isn’t and the severe heat of pavement or sand on a hot summer day can be very damaging to their little pads. Most pet stores or boutiques will carry adjustable dog booties that come in different sizes to protect your dog’s paws. Dr. Nancy Kay, author of Speaking for Spot, suggests going for walks in the early morning or evening hours when temperatures are generally cooler.

Another suggestion Martha Stewart makes is putting Vaseline on the pads of your pooch to reduce its heat level.

Summertime and playtime go hand-in-hand for both humans and their beloved furry pals. We especially want to take them everywhere with us on our exciting adventures, but be advised that the best place for your pet is indoors. You may want to consider taking your canine companion to an indoor doggie play area where temperatures are controlled and your dog can be monitored. This would provide your pet with some fun exercise without getting overheated or burning their paws.

Be sure your dog has access to plenty of fresh, cool water throughout the day and is kept in a cool area, preferably in an air-conditioned home or facility. Sunscreen is also important for our furry friends, especially dogs with white noses and/or markings. When slathering on the sunscreen, be sure to put some on those white spots of your pooch.

Here’s to a cool, comfortable, fun-for-all canine summer!

Fit ‘N’ Furry says, “Make Sure Your Pet Is Safe And Has Fun On The 4th of July!”

Are you and your pets ready for the 4th of July festivities?  More pets are lost on this holiday than at any other time during the year.  To keep your pets safe the first step is securing a safe location for your pets.  Look for an indoor facility to occupy and shield your pets from the loud blasts of the fireworks. These are exciting times for both you and your pet, but your pet may start to demonstrate some nervous behaviors he or she normally wouldn’t, such as: chewing through leashes, jumping over walls, bolting away from you, running into traffic, etc. I suggest taking them to a facility where they’ll be kept busy playing with the other pets and monitored closely.

Keeping the pets at home this year? Here are a few tips to keep them safe:

  1. Do not bring your pets to a fireworks display. (This should go without saying)
  2. Keep a collar and ID tag on them at all times, even if they are micro-chipped.
  3. Keep pets indoors in a cool, quiet, familiar room with music or the TV on to mask the sound of the fireworks.
  4. Do not leave your pet outside in the yard on a leash or chain.
  5. Do not leave them in the car.
  6. If you know that your pet is seriously distressed by loud noises like fireworks and thunder, consult your veterinarian before the 4th of July for ways to alleviate the fear and anxiety your pet may experience.
  7. If you find a lost a pet, please take it to your local animal shelter immediately so that it may be reunited with its family.

Whether you’re celebrating at home or joining the community to watch your local fireworks displays make sure your pets are in a safe and secure place.  Happy 4th everyone!