Ch Ch Ch Chia!

Recently I’ve been making the rounds discussing healthy foods for the new year and featuring an item which I use in my everyday diet.  Loaded with Omega 3s, it’s a great alternative to flax seed when I’m short on time to pull out the grinder.

If you missed the ads in the late seventies, I’ve attached a picture of the Chia pet for your viewing pleasure.  (Actually it started out as a ram, but morphed into many other types of animals after breeding:)

What does this have to do with nutrition, you might ask?  An amazing amount as you will see… Click to continue reading »

Tips "Fur" Safe Holidays

As we nestle into the depths of the holiday season, there are many temptations for our four-leggeds to feast on – many of which may not necessarily be in the form of food.  A variety of holiday edibles and decorations can be harmful to pets. So while relishing in the spirit with all members of the family, I offer these tips on keeping pets safe amidst the frivolity:

Holly, mistletoe and poinsettia are hazardous to pets.  Keep these out of reach of all animals, especially cats which have access to higher places.

Christmas trees are also a potential danger for several reasons. Tinsel, ornaments, garlands and raffia are eye-candy to cats which can become choking hazards.  Even pine needles can upset their stomachs. Try to avoid decorating the lower branches and use a deterrent like ‘bitter apple’ to keep them at bay. You might also consider securing the tree by anchoring it to a wall if you have a tree climbing cat or Rover with a big, waggy tail.

Trees need water and so do pets.  Keep it pure and don’t add preservatives like sugar or aspirin to the bowl of the tree stand.

Electrical cords, such as those for light strings, are very dangerous if pets chew on them. Lighted candles should be placed in safe areas.

The hustle and bustle of the season can be stressful to many animals.  If entertaining, ask your guests not to feed your pets people food.  Many are toxic such as: apple/cherry seeds, chocolate, avocado, onions, coffee, and raisins.

Cooked chicken and turkey bones are very brittle which could shatter and possibly choke your pet.  A small steak can even become lodged in a pet’s throat, stomach or intestine.

Are you having fun yet?  Of course you are because now you can relax and rejoice in the festivities knowing your pets are safe.  Pull out the catnip and stuff a Kong so everyone can enjoy the merriment!

Trick or Treat? Beware Foods Toxic to Pets

A slight deviation this week – but it is seasonal! Our dog, Ellie, loves to romp in the vineyard (hubbie Jay is president of Cuvaison Estate Wines.)  So there we are on one of our regular outings when Ellie became enamored with the ‘bounty’ of dried grape clusters that didn’t make the cut for wine. She must have stopped at every other row, gobbling up at whatever her mouth could muster, devouring stems, seeds and all.  At first I thought, good – she’s getting her fruit ration for the day – until I suddenly remembered that grapes were on my list of toxic foods for pets!  Fast forward past the ‘loose’ evidence that something wasn’t right with her digestion and Ellie has recovered nicely.  She has found another ‘natural’ snack – carrots – which is safe and great for the teeth.

If you Google ‘toxic foods for pets’ you will discover a slew of tips and opinions on the subject. One of the better sources I found came from “” with regards to dogs ingesting grapes.  Thankfully, we did not need vet intervention this time, but it is something to watch closely.  Keep the ASPCA Poison Center number handy.  They are available 24/7 and have a team of experts to help.

For more information on other foods pets should avoid, check out Wise Geek.  You’ll notice chocolate is potentially fatal – something to make note of during the holidays, including Halloween.