Pet Products Industry Heats Up: Top Must-Haves and Splurge Items

There’s no doubt that we live in a consumer’s world. Today with easy access to just about anything we can think of, it’s become important for brands to be innovative and offer the “next best thing.” The pet product industry is the latest market to see some steam in the way of new fun things you can buy for your four-legged friends and other pets.

Our pets have always kept a special place in our homes, but lately, they are becoming even more incorporated into families – many even taking them along on vacations, eating meals at the same time and admitting to letting them share snuggling time in their beds at night.

It’s no surprise that products targeted at pets are also on the rise. From fresh, healthy food options to tech gadgets – there are start-ups and longtime pet brands all vying for a piece of the emerging market.

According to one estimate from the American Pet Products Association, U.S. consumers spend about $72 million on their pets in 2018. Here are some of the latest trends. We’ll let you decide if they’re a must or just a splurge.

Pet Subscription Boxes

Why not let pets get in on the fun everyone else in the house is having to get a monthly curated subscription box sent to them with fun things like new toys and treats to try out. There are companies emerging each targeting a specific need. From fun themes to boxes for the big, rough chewers.

Activity Tracker for Your Dog

And what would new product development be for dogs without the ability to track and manage their daily activity levels? Much like humans, dogs are required a certain amount of exercise each day. Now you’ll never be left wondering if your pet has had enough of the requirement when retiring for the day.

CBD Products for Pets

This is still a new emerging market even for the rest of consumers, but it’s taken off in just about every avenue. Naturally, there are companies developing products for the market that they claim help dogs and cats relax and keep a more, “normalized”, “healthy” state.

Nothing beats allowing your pet to have the freedom to run around and enjoy themselves. This doesn’t have to come at a cost to their safety. With DogWatch pet containment systems we help you set-up pre-determined perimeters indoors and outside.

Give your pet the ultimate freedom and let one of our experts at DogWatch of Western Massachusetts guide you through the process.

CONTACT US TODAY!

Beware These Toxic Household Cleaners When Spring Cleaning

With the spring season and warmer weather finally making its way to New England, now’s the time when most homeowners are taking the opportunity to open the windows, let in the fresh air and finally clean up some of the dust and clutter that’s settled indoors over the winter months.

While doing some deep cleaning each season is beneficial there are things to be aware of when it comes to the types of cleaning products you use. Both for your family and your pet’s safety.

Harsh chemicals used in many cleaners actually do more harm than good when they’re released into the air. Everything from asthma to other respiratory conditions and even some cancers has been linked to these toxins.

When it comes time to clean your house, be sure to do your research and use environmentally safe products so you’re still cleaning the house without putting yourself or your pets at risk. For this post, we’re specifically looking at those products that pose risks to your four-legged friends in your home and that, while safe for humans, can be poisonous to pets.

Swap to Natural Alternatives

Thanks to the power of the Internet today it’s only a search away to locate the natural, DIY alternatives for all kinds of cleaners for the home. From polishing pastes, to shower cleaners and even fragrances for the home, there is a way to mix common and safe household items to create a product that will work and is much healthier for everyone who comes in contact with it. Doing this will also lessen the incidences of residue causing allergic reactions or illnesses.

Keep Everything Locked Away

Like children, pets can be curious and get into anything within their reach. It’s important in a home with pets or children that these dangerous chemicals are always tucked away in a safe and locked cabinet where they won’t mistakenly be ingested.

Even with everything locked away, it’s important to set-up safe perimeters around your home for your dog or cat that you feel comfortable with them having access to and blocking from traveling to other hazardous areas of the house. This is achieved by setting up a wireless containment system for your pet.

If you’re in Massachusetts and surrounding areas let DogWatch of Western Mass come help you gain peace of mind while giving your pet freedom.

Contact us today!

Tips for National Pet Dental Health Month

February is National Pet Dental Health Month and we’re celebrating by going over some of the best ways to ensure your dog or cat are getting the best care for their oral health.

The American Dental Association recommends adults and children brush at least twice a day after meals and floss regularly. They also recommend regular visits to the dentist and provide guidelines on healthy eating habits and foods and drinks to avoid to keep teeth healthy.

For pets, it can be easy to forget that they too need some routine and attention when it comes to oral care. The month of February serves as a great reminder to put a plan in action for your pet’s dental care.

Here are some of our top tips.

Brushing at Home is a Good First Step

While there are many products on the market that claim to help keep your dog’s breath fresh and clean their teeth, there’s really nothing that can match the benefits of a good old toothbrush and toothpaste. Be sure to use a small brush and veterinary-grade paste and reward them with a treat once you’re done. This positive reinforcement will help train them so they are willing to sit through the cleanings each time. It is recommended that teeth are brushed every 1-3 days for the best results. Cats can also benefit from regular cleaning of their teeth and specially designed paste and gauze on your fingertips to clean their choppers.

Hard Chew Toys Won’t Help

Just like treats and toys won’t work to clean the teeth, they should also be avoided because some can actually do more harm to the integrity of the teeth and gums. Especially super hard toys that scrape against the tooth, there is an increased risk of cracking a tooth while biting down or even tearing into the gum line and loosening the teeth unnecessarily. As with all toys and treats, never leave your pet unsupervised and if they’re extreme chewers and have started to break apart the toy, it’s time toss it in the garbage.

Treat Your Pet’s Dental Visits Seriously

Both cats and dogs should be taken for regular dental check-ups just like their human owners. Whether an exam is done while at their vet check-ups or you set aside some time for actual dental cleanings and procedures, this is the best way to protect them from future health issues. Maintaining a quality diet and taking your pet to be checked out at the first sign of discomfort are also great ways to keep their teeth clean and safe.

At Dogwatch of Western Mass, we care deeply about your pets and want to be sure they’re always safe and healthy. Happy cleaning!

Pet Ownership on the Rise

Here at Dogwatch of Western Mass, we love our four-legged friends and it looks like most of the population does too. A new study “2017-2018 Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook” by the American Veterinary Medical Association, says having pets is on the rise today with dogs topping the list as our most popular companions.

The study found that around 38 percent of households across the nation own one or more dogs. This is the highest it’s ever been since beginning its annual study back in 1982. And have no fear feline lovers, cats came in as the second most popular pet with 25 percent of U.S. households owning them.

There’s more.

Another study conducted by Kelton Research for Banfield Pet Hospital uncovered that most C-suite executives today attribute their professional success to the bond they shared with a pet as a child.

They also touted benefits to having a pet for building better relationships with coworkers and clients as well as getting big business ideas while walking their dog.

We love hearing this news and know that responsible owners welcoming these furry friends into their homes want to keep them safe while also offering them freedom.

dogwatch hidden fence system

That’s where our hidden fences can offer the most value. With DogWatch Hidden Fences you choose the boundaries you want your dog or cat to stay within (indoors or outdoors) and they can play freely (without getting into the trash or jumping on the couch). It’s a win-win for all!

Contact DogWatch of Western Massachusetts

5 ‘Paw-some’ Gift Ideas for Pets this Holiday

The holiday season has officially arrived. If you’re scrambling for ideas to complete the shopping list for your loved ones, don’t forget the four-legged friends we spend so much time with throughout the year.

Here are 5 ‘paw-some’ ideas for the pets in your life.

1.      Give the Gift of Comfort

Aside from running around and playing, most dogs and cats really enjoy lounging around the house, napping, and snuggling. If you prefer your pets didn’t add fur to the family couch, consider giving them their own space to lay. There are lots of options for mini couches, pet beds, and even cat hammocks. Opt for one made of quality materials and beds that include therapeutic support for maximum comfort.

2.      Treats for Days

Outside of what we mentioned above as top activities, some of our feline and pup family members love food and treats. In moderation, treats can be a great way to reinforce positive behaviors and to show appreciation. If your pet is a lover or treats consider loading them up on some as a gift this year that you’ll provide responsibly over the year as they complete required tasks. There are also many subscription options out to consider if you’d like some surprise treats and toys to arrive on your doorstep each month.

3.      Grooming Bliss

A visit to the groomer is something that’s necessary for pets. Proper hygiene is critical for overall health and makes them all that more enjoyable to cuddle with. Consider taking your pup for the works as a gift this holiday. If they usually go in once a month for a wash, make this gift extra special and take them in for a wash, special conditioning, nail trimming, and haircut to make them feel ultra-pampered.

4.      Snuggle Time

Some of the best gifts are those that aren’t bought at all. The same is true for our pets. Most of them appreciate attention and time more than any gift. If you’re constantly on the go and haven’t found as much time to bond with your dog or cat this year, consider giving them the gift of extra time this holiday. They’ll be sure to purr and wag their tails in excitement at the gesture.

5.      Freedom!

If you’re looking to give your pet more freedom around your yard or in your home without putting their safety or your valuables at risk, then consider buying a hidden fence system as a gift this season. As a pet containment system, it helps you to offer boundaries where they can roam freely without concern, while still leaving them out of harm’s way. Think about the peace of mind this will give you when you’re at work or if you want the family to enjoy the outdoors in summer and don’t want to use a leash in your own yard. The possibilities are endless.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas with professionals that have years of experience in installing, training and providing excellent customer service to pet owners. Get in touch today!

Happy Holidays!

Planning a Pet-Safe Thanksgiving Meal

We’re just 10 days away from Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season. If you’re hosting dinner for the family that day, it’s now crunch time. As you’re thinking about the dinner menu this year for loved ones to gather around the table to enjoy, you might also have your pet on that list. After all, they are our companions, friends, children and family members too.

If you’re planning on including your pet in this year’s Thanksgiving meal, be sure to not only cook their food separately with no sodium or spices but also become familiar with the list of foods that could be downright dangerous and toxic. While appetizing to us humans, there are foods that could actually cause our pups and kitties and become ill or worse.

Here’s a closer look at what to serve and not serve to this very special guest at Thanksgiving dinner.

Seasonings Can Wreak Havoc

While it’s true that our pets can eat certain foods served on this day – like turkey and even pumpkin or sweet potatoes, that doesn’t mean its okay for them to ingest it the way you have prepared it for the family. Spices, onions, and garlic can be very dangerous for pets. If your turkey has been smothered in butter, salt and flavorings, it is not okay for your dog or cat to consume.

Ham is Not Safe

In addition to turkey being a potential issue, ham is a definite no-no. The fatty, pork can quickly add up to extra calories your pet does not need and the bones can become splintered and cause harm to your pet’s stomach and digestive system.

Exercise Caution around Sweets

Chocolate is one of the most known foods that are dangerous to dogs. Keeping desserts off the floor, out of reach from pets and being vigilant to sweep the floor when guests leave is important. Other sweets can be deadly too. Grapes, artificial sweeteners like Xylitol – all known to be deadly. Be very careful with these items around your pets this holiday.

So What Can they Eat?

Fresh, wholesome natural foods cooked separately from your other meals can work well if incorporating your pet into Thanksgiving dinner is a must. Sweet potatoes, turkey and even pumpkin puree cooked simply in water with no additional spices or flavors will be tasty to your pets and a welcome treat. Remember to adjust their other feedings so you’re not overdoing it calories wise.

Have a terrific Turkey day!

Daylight Savings Tips for Pet Safety

This past weekend we turned back our clocks an hour for daylight savings. This was established as a way to make better use of daylight for farmers and those who relied on the daylight for their daily tasks. Whether you’re happy to add in an “extra” hour of sleep or are sad to see the darkness come more quickly a night, the truth is changing our clocks can take some getting used to for most.

Not just humans, but especially our four-legged friends can become confused when they suddenly realize dinner time is happening later and your return home from work looks much different out in the yard.

Here are tips to help keep your pet safe and healthy with daylight savings.

Adjust Slowly

Planning in advance for schedule and time changes makes sense. Animals are creatures of habit and if you’re suddenly planning on taking your daily walks earlier in the day before it gets dark, this could throw your pup off. Instead get them slowly accustomed to the changes by starting your walks earlier weeks before to give them time to get used to the new schedule. The same is true for feeding time. Both cats and dogs seem to know when it’s time to grub. If you miss the deadline you’re likely to hear the whines and purrs as they wait. If you’ll be feeding them later or earlier start doing that gradually as well.

Stay Safe on Evening Walks

If you plan to keep the same walking schedule in the late afternoon and will now be out in the darkness it’s important for your safety and the safety of your pet to ensure others on the road can see them. Use reflective gear like collars and harnesses to help them be seen and always bring a flashlight or other flashing device to ensure they and you can be seen.

Positive Reinforcement & Training are Key

As with any new changes and positive behaviors your pet is able to take on, it’s important to always give them praise and appreciation so they know they are right on track and doing good. It’s not only a great way to bond but it also increases the likelihood they’ll repeat the correct behaviors in the future.

Some training might be needed if your pup is still young and extra patience may be needed for older pets, but with the right attention and love, adjusting to less daylight can be a breeze for your family and pets.

Want to give your pet freedom and safety? Consider having a hidden fence installed. Offer them the ultimate freedom where they can roam around the house or the yard in the boundaries you set.

Get in touch today to learn more!

Including Pets in Disaster Planning

Natural disasters are important risks for families to consider regardless of where they live in the country. Everything from hurricanes to wildfires has potential to put you and your loved ones in harm’s way. Coming up with an emergency plan that your family understands and is confident in following should Mother Nature strike is a great tool for survival.

What we don’t always talk about, and that’s become an issue in many news reports following up on the aftermath of recent catastrophes is a plan for wildlife and pets who are also affected by these events.

As a responsible dog or cat owner and family with a four-legged friend, it makes sense that these members of our home are also included in the disaster planning phase. They should have the same accommodations and advance preparations made as other members to make it out safely should disaster make its way to your home.

Here are some tips for including pets in your emergency preparations.

Make Plans to Take Them

You should never leave your pet behind if you and your family are evacuating. They could be injured, lost or worse.  Even if you are unable to carry them along find a friend or a safe shelter for them to go to as the dangerous weather situation passes.

Microchip & Collars

In the event that your dog does take off because they are startled and is separated from you during evacuations, having their collar with emergency contact information and a microchip is a sure way to help you get reunited with them.

Make an Emergency & Pet First Aid Kit

Just as humans may run into danger during an emergency situation, pets too can become injured or need medical attention. With a first aid kit, you’ll have the all proper tools required to address their needs.

In addition to bandages, scissors, ointment and flea and tick spray, you should also have a few days worth of food in an airtight container and clean fresh water for your pet. To help reduce any stress from the change in the environment it’s also a good idea to pack some familiar toys to keep your pet occupied.

The last thing you want in these trying times is to be worried about any member of your family’s safety (your pets included). By making plans in advance that include them in the route to safety you’ll save yourself time and heartache.

Safety Tips for Home’s with Pets

Keeping our pets safe from harm is as important as protecting the rest of our family from injury. For most owners of furry friends, they have become an integral member of the family. Many sharing the bed, meal-time and TV watching with their loved ones. The one major difference with pets is that they need some extra care to pet-proof the home, especially if they are left home alone and do not use a crate.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you home is safe for your pet – even when you’re not there to watch their every move.

Same Rules Apply

Just as with young children, you’ll want to consider keeping things that can cause harm out of reach and enclosed in a safe place. That includes cleaning products, medicines, pesticides and other sharp, tiny or dangerous objects that can easily do harm if mishandled or ingested. Our pets may be able to listen to commands, but their curiosity can also get the best of them and lead them to get into things they shouldn’t so being extra vigilant about what is in their reach is key.

Food

Leaving food on a countertop, or worse, the stove, unattended, is a huge risk in homes with active and curious pets. Not only could they potentially reach up and turn burners on the stove, but there are many human foods that we consume that can be fatal for our four-legged friends. As a responsible pet owner, you’ll want to be sure you don’t have any low set candy dishes (sugar is a terrible thing for dogs to ingest) and keep your floor swept of dropped foods. In addition to watching where you place food, you’ll also have to keep an eye on what others who visit may feed to your pet not knowing about the risks of certain foods or giving them too many snacks which can cause your pet to become unnecessarily ill.

Pet Containment Systems

Many people have used baby gates in the past to keep smaller pets out of certain areas of their home. But let’s be real, what pet’s don’t climb and jump? And if you’re not there to monitor them, that leaves a lot of room for risk. Having to unhinge or step over these gates to move throughout your own home can also get irritating. Instead of a baby gate to block off a section of the house, consider an indoor dog containment system where your dog simply wears a collar and can be set within boundaries using wireless technology. A small transmitter placed in discreet areas send signals to keep pets from passing through the boundaries you have set.

DogWatch of Western Mass provides user friendly products for the safe containment of your dog or cat. We make it so that your pet can roam around freely while still keeping them safe from harm. Contact us today to learn more about hidden dog fencing products from DogWatch.

How to Keep Your Outside Cat in Your Backyard

A Siamese cat sitting on a table outdoors.

Anyone who has been lucky enough to care for an animal knows how special having a pet can be in life. But for cat owners, keeping these beloved animals close while outside of the home can be difficult.  Unlike a dog, that can be conditioned to stay close to his owner with voice commands or use a leash, cats have a more wild and free personality so taking them outdoors safely takes some getting used to.

Here are some tips for  keeping your outside cat in your own backyard. Continue reading “How to Keep Your Outside Cat in Your Backyard”