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Should you share Thanksgiving food with your pets?

Thanksgiving food for petsMost of us love to include our pets in our holiday celebrations. They’re family too, after all. But, before you prepare your cat or dog a plate of Thanksgiving dinner, be sure you know what food is safe for them to eat.

Care.com has some excellent advice about some of our favorite Thanksgiving foods, and whether or not our pets should partake.

Thanksgiving is at time for family, football and, of course, food. With a cornucopia of guests — and their kids — descending on your house, there will be lots of extra people trying to pass a tasty treat to your cat or dog. They may have the best of intentions, but “people food” isn’t always the best for your four-legged friend.

To keep things safe, read this list about which Turkey Day food favorites are safe for pets to eat and which ones may leave you cleaning up a mess.

Going to someone’s house? Even if your pet is great with table scraps, it doesn’t mean that your relative’s cat can tolerate the same amount. Always check with the owner before you offer a pet any additional food.

In general, any newly introduced food can induce vomiting, and even diarrhea. When we switch an animal from one diet to another, we generally do it gradually over one to two weeks. So keep new foods minimal, especially if Fido and Kitty haven’t added them to their palette before.

For pets with health problems, their owners should always check with their veterinarians prior to changing their diets.

Read more from Care.com: Thanksgiving Pet Safety: Can Our Pets Eat Our Favorite Thanksgiving Foods?

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New York dogs love their dog parks

New York City dog parksNew York City is a very cat and dog friendly city. Cats are pretty easy to care for and since they can spend their time indoors, without the need to go outside. Dogs, on the other hand, can be a bit more of a challenge in a city like New York.

Our clients with dogs want us to make sure their best friends expend some energy while they’re in our care. Sometimes this just means a long walk around the neighborhood, while for others it means getting out and socializing at a local dog park. So while our cat sitters don’t have to worry about getting their little house guests out and about, our dog sitters make the most of the dog walks and dog runs throughout the city. And thankfully here in NYC we have plenty to choose from.

According to dog lovers on Yelp, here are some of the better dog parks in the New York City area.

Carl Schurz Park
1624 York Ave
(b/t 86th St & 85th St in Yorkville, Upper East Side)
85 reviews
4.5 stars

Hillside Dog Park
Columbia Heights & Vine St
Brooklyn Heights
35 reviews
4.5 stars

DeWitt Clinton Park
W 52nd St and 11th Ave
Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West
19 reviews
4 stars

Pelham Bay Park
1 Orchard Beach Rd
Bronx, NY 10464
26 reviews
4 stars
While not specifically a dog park, there is a dog park in Pelham Bay Park.

Before taking your best friend to a dog park, you’ll want to be sure he or she is the type that gets along well with other dogs. If so, it can be great fun for your dog and you. Your dog will get the chance to get some great exercise and mingle with other dogs. And you will meet other dog-loving people and maybe make some new friends of your own.

Do you have a favorite dog park? If so, let us know if the comments section.

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Dining out with your dog in NYC

dog friendly restaurants in New York CityLast week we offered some tips on taking your dog out in public. This week we want to offer a few places in New York City that you might want to take your best friend when you’re in the mood for a bite – to eat, that is!

More and more businesses, in NYC and beyond, are recognizing the fact that our dogs (and other pets, too) are family. As a result, there are a number of NYC dog-friendly establishments that open their patios and outdoor eating areas to those of us who want to bring our best buddy along.

Here are a couple dog-friendly places you and your buddy are sure to love.

The Barking Dog Restaurant
1678 Third Ave at 94th St.

They say they’re “The best dog friendly restaurant on the Upper East Side of New York City.” They cater to the whole family, including the dog! So, while you’re enjoying a good meal, your dog can socialize with the canine crowd around the doggy fountain.

Fetch Bar and Grill
1649 Third Ave.

Not only does Fetch Bar & Grill have some awesome food, but they also have a wall papered with pictures of dogs looking for a new, forever home. They’re hoping you’ll have a great time while you’re there, but fall in love with one of the furry little guys looking for a new home.

Want more options? Here’s a list of  NYC dog friendly places to eat & drink.

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Tips for taking your dog out on the town

tips for taking your dog out in public in NYCNew Yorkers love their dogs! We are very fortunate to live in such a dog friendly place as New York City. With so many people taking their pets out with them to a neighborhood outdoor cafe, out for a morning run, or just an outing at one of the many local dog parks, it’s important that you and your dog have some manners. Remember, there are plenty of other people out there with dogs (and many without), so keeping others in mind is going to go along way in keeping our city dog friendly.

Here are some tips to help you ensure a fun time for you and your pooch when you’re out and about this summer.

They’re called the Dog Days of summer for a reason, you know.

Between the patios and the picnics, the sidewalks and the social events, there are plenty of places that will welcome your pooch this summer. But getting him to behave — well, that part isn’t always a walk in the park.

We asked professional dog trainer and behavior consultant Bradley Phifer to help us compile a list of best practices to make sure that you and your dog are best in show.

So what makes a well-behaved dog? According to Phifer, it’s one that has a good temperament, is confident, outgoing and trusting, not fearful or phobic.

“Dogs are dogs; they eat feces, chase cats, dig in the mud and jump on people for attention. But proactive training teaches dogs expectations and good habits — most behavior is pattern and habit which allows the dog to self-reinforce,” said Phifer, who has worked as a dog trainer since 2002. He favors the saying that a trained dog is a free dog.

Read more here.

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Help your dog keep his cool this summer

summer safety for dogsSummer is the time we all want to get out and have fun in the sun, our dogs included! It’s important though, to keep your dog’s health and safety in mind. The Humane Society of the United States offers these tips for summer safety.

Never leave your pets in a parked car
Not even for a minute. Not even with the car running and air conditioner on. On a warm day, temperatures inside a vehicle can rise rapidly to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. Your pet may suffer irreversible organ damage or die. Learn how to help a pet left inside a hot car

Watch the humidity
“It’s important to remember that it’s not just the ambient temperature but also the humidity that can affect your pet,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Animals pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs, which takes heat away from their body. If the humidity is too high, they are unable to cool themselves, and their temperature will skyrocket to dangerous levels—very quickly.”

Taking a dog’s temperature will quickly tell you if there is a serious problem. Dogs’ temperatures should not be allowed to get over 104 degrees. If your dog’s temperature does, follow the instructions for treating heat stroke.

Limit exercise on hot days
Take care when exercising your pet. Adjust intensity and duration of exercise in accordance with the temperature. On very hot days, limit exercise to early morning or evening hours, and be especially careful with pets with white-colored ears, who are more susceptible to skin cancer, and short-nosed pets, who typically have difficulty breathing. Asphalt gets very hot and can burn your pet’s paws, so walk your dog on the grass if possible. Always carry water with you to keep your dog from dehydrating.

Don’t rely on a fan
Pets respond differently to heat than humans do. (Dogs, for instance, sweat primarily through their feet.) And fans don’t cool off pets as effectively as they do people.

Provide ample shade and water
Any time your pet is outside, make sure he or she has protection from heat and sun and plenty of fresh, cold water. In heat waves, add ice to water when possible. Tree shade and tarps are ideal because they don’t obstruct air flow. A doghouse does not provide relief from heat—in fact, it makes it worse.

Cool your pet inside and out
Whip up a batch of quick and easy DIY peanut butter popsicles for dogs. (You can use peanut butter or another favorite food.) And always provide water, whether your pets are inside or out with you.

Keep your pet from overheating indoors or out with a cooling body wrap, vest, or mat (such as the Keep Cool Mat). Soak these products in cool water, and they’ll stay cool (but usually dry) for up to three days. If your dog doesn’t find baths stressful, see if she enjoys a cooling soak.

See the HSUS website for more, including how to recognize heatstroke.

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Newest MTA dogs named after NYC heroes

MTA dog graduationThe newest German shepherd graduates of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have been named after New York fallen heroes.

From Newsday:

The largest class of bomb-sniffing anti-terrorist German shepherds trained to work for the MTA graduated Friday.

Each of the 19 dogs, who bear the names of New York’s fallen heroes, received a badge with a collar and full color guard honors at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority ceremony at Grand Central Terminal.

The dogs and their handlers from the MTA police and sister agencies including the NYPD were honored for their “extensive 12-week training program for bomb detection that will protect our lives,” said Joseph Giulietti, president of Metro-North Railroad at the ceremony.

The dogs will patrol trains and station platforms of the Long Island Rail Road, subways and Metro-North.

Also attending the ceremony were families whose relatives died in the line of duty both as first responders and members of the armed forces. “I think this is a great honor because these dogs are protecting the city we love,” said Theresa Sack of St. James, whose husband, FDNY Safety Battalion Chief Lawrence T. Stack, 58, died on 9/11 when the North Tower collapsed while he was trying to save a man’s life.

“Knowing that this dog has been named Chief, which is what people called my father, will now be patrolling the subways and railroads fighting terrorism. This means a lot to this family,” said Michael Stack, 44, his son and a firefighter with Ladder 176 in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Read more here.

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Pet food recall: Lamb Crunchy’s dog treats

Lamb Crunchy’s dog treats recallLamb Crunchy dog treats, by Pet Center, Inc., are being recalled due to salmonella contamination. New York is not included in the recall, but even so, we want to help get the word out.

From the FDA:

Pet Center, Inc of Los Angeles, CA. is voluntarily recalling its 3 oz bag of Lamb Crunchy’s dog treats (LAM-003) (UPC# 727348200038) with date code 122015 product of USA, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is a risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surface exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

This product was distributed to CA, WI, CO, and WA. to the following distributors; Gelson’s Market, General Pet, Nor-Sky Pet Supply, and Independent Pet.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

Salmonella was detected by the State of Colorado, Department of Agriculture in a random sample.

Consumers who have purchased this product are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 800-390-0575 Monday-Friday between 7:30am through 4pm PST.

Visit the FDA website for more information.

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The newest NYPD canine is an ex-military dog

NYPD canine police officerThe newest dog to join the ranks of the NYPD canine unit is a former military dog.

From

The New York Police Department is welcoming a newcomer that’s the first of his kind for the nation’s largest police department: a former military service dog.

The 4-year-old German shepherd named Caeser served three tours of duty overseas. Now he’ll be patrolling the New York City subways with Officer Juan Rodriguez.

The Defense Department has long made some of its retired dogs available to law enforcement agencies, but the NYPD hasn’t had one before. The arrangement saves the police force the $6,000 to $8,000 cost of training an inexperienced dog.

Read more here.

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NYC dog walkers urged to be careful of metal surfaces

Dogs electrocuted in New York City due to melting snow, ice, and metal surfacesDog owners in New York City are being urged to be careful when walking their dogs. As the ice melts, the snow and water come in contact with metal surfaces, which can electrocution. The New York Daily News reports that a number of dogs and people have been electrocuted so far.

A group of concerned dog owners has issued an emergency alert warning pet owners in all five boroughs to be careful of stray voltage while walking the sidewalks.

The New York Council of Dog Owner Groups said the melting snow mixed with salt is a potentially dangerous combination for pets, who can get shocked while walking over Con Ed manhole covers and grates.

“NYCdog urges all pet owners to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings,” said the alert, which was posted to the group’s Facebook page Wednesday night.

The group advised dog walkers to avoid manhole covers, sewer caps, metal gratings and Con Edison repair sites, as well as all overhead scaffolding at construction sites.

This is just one more reason why we’re all so ready for warmer weather to get here. With any luck, spring is just around the corner. But, as long as there is melting snow NYC dog owners and dog walkers need to be careful where we are walking.

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iCPooch lets pet owners video chat with their pets

iCPooch interactive pet appA fourteen year old girl is the brains behind a clever new app that will let pet owners interact with their pets via a mobile device.

From Mobile Marketing Watch:

Last year the remote treat dispenser PetziConnect introduced the idea of providing treats to your dog while you are at the office, or on vacation, as well as giving you the ability to talk to your pet through a device mounted to the wall. However, a new invention called the iCPooch created by 14 year old Brooke Martin takes this idea one step further.

iCPooch is a remote treat dispenser that allows pet owners to communicate with their pets via FaceTime from a smartphone connected to a treat dispenser that sits on the ground. Brooke came up with this idea when her dog was suffering from separation anxiety. The device allows your pet to see your face and hear your voice on FaceTime, then you can dispense a treat remotely so your pet knows you are thinking of them.

Read more here, or visit the iCPooch website for more information.

Would you use the iCPooch app to interact with your pet?

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