Archive for the ‘Pet Care’ Category

Big Heart Pet Brands Offers Big Fall Fun for Pets This Holiday Season

Posted on November 14th, 2014

DIY Pet Projects, Seasonal, Creative Dog Craft Ideas & Videos Help Your Dog Give Thanks

#TreatThePups

∗Disclosure∗: Post sponsored by lunchbox™, but all opinions herein are those of the Author and Administrator of this blog, JL Smith. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes dishonest, distorted or distended reviews, nor does it perpetuate the circulation of misinformation.

I don’t know abou#TreatThePups Dog Treat Gift Ideast you all, but in our fur-baby-run-household, Frankie Fancy-Face is getting on board for his second Thanksgiving (he was only 3 months old his first). And thanks to the kind folks at Walmart, who provide us dog devotees with safe and reliable pet products from Big Heart Pet Brands for #TreatThePups like Milk-Bone™ and more in their stores as well as online, this holiday season will be super furry and fun!

How so?

And what is #TreatThePups?

Dog Treat Gift Ideas

First things first. The first answer will have pet- and craft-lovers everywhere rejoicing – I have some seriously exciting dog craft ideas for Fido, thanks to Big Heart Pet Brands (which, BTW, entirely includes Milk-Bone™, Pup-Peroni® and Milo’s Kitchen®). This tempting and tantalizing trio of treats is ideal for any gifting you might be thinking of doing around this time period of first snows, giving thanks, and enjoying turkey-time and togetherness. BOL! A perfect dog treat basket may be the “Cornucopia of Treats” or the “Thanksgiving Treat Jar” as seen on the Walmart #TreatThePups webpage, or it could include what Frankie and I put together in his basket for Taco, his teeny-tiny doggie best friend who lives across the street. (Sometimes they stare out the windows through the blinds at each other longingly – it’s quite comical!) The homemade dog gift included Frankie’s faves…

Homemade Dog Treat gift

Tie a ribbon around a mason jar of treats with some other special enhancements! Voila!

Taco weighs about 8 pounds soaking wet so we got him itty-bitty things where we could, including the mouth-watering Milk-Bone Mini’s Flavor Snacks®. We also threw in some other must-haves: Milk-Bone Brushing Chews® Daily Dental Treats (these things are imperative for clean canine chompers), Original Beef Flavor Pup-Peroni® ($.50 an ounce = AWESOME!) and finally some Milo’s Kitchen® Chicken Grillers Dog Treats (yummo says Husky boss Frankie Four Paws…). We then took a few of each out of the box and put them into separate jars, then tied different color fall ribbons around the different jars of treats. Now Taco has four treat jars! (Okay, he got two and we gave two to other friends!)

Anyhow, with the amazing and mouth-watering variety of affordable treats available from Big Heart Pet Brands, you can make any dog’s day more worthwhile this Thanksgiving (he may need motivation from all the nap-inducing tryptophan in the turkey, BOL!). Plus, all the pet gift items are quite affordable! So who knows? Crafting tasty treats for special furry friends could turn into a new Thanksgiving/fall holiday tradition for you and your dog! Kinda like making Christmas cookies!

What’s the Deal with #TreatThePups?

Frankie Four-Paws, aka Frankie Fancy-Face or Fancy-Face Frank gives four-paws up to Big Heart Pet Brands and Mishka's video!

Frankie Four-Paws, aka Frankie Fancy-Face or Fancy-Face Frank gives four-paws up to Big Heart Pet Brands and Mishka’s video!

#TreatThePups is like the newest pet related hash tag that you need to pay attention to!  Created to nurture the bond between pets and people, the #TreatThePups page on Walmart offers so much for pets and their peeps. You can find the coolest crafts and all kinds of other ideas and fun content to help you include your pet in festivities this fall. Check it out for seasonal, DIY pet project ideas that are and totally reasonable in both effort and expense. (And, of course, rewarding in love and QT.)

On the #TreatThePups page, you can also watch funny videos (I mean, the Husky, c’mon… how cute can you be?) and read about tips and tricks for pet safety around the totally turkey-mongering holiday coming up (aka Thanksgiving). Personally, I found two articles to be helpful: one on pet manners when company is over and one about why dogs and decorations don’t mix.

P.S. for the hoomans, and a secret pee-mail to our canine companions: Frankie Fancy-Face advises that you absolutely watch the funny Husky video on the #TreatThePups page; it’s super cute and will give you a good chuckle. It’s called “Mishka’s Thanksgiving Day.” And he’s not biased. At all…

Pup Protector LED Dog Collar Guards Pooches Against Hazards of the Dark

Posted on November 10th, 2014
Blue Pup Protector LED Dog Collar

Blue Pup Protector LED Dog Collar

So I have never seen anything like this in my life. But I’m stoked that I found it. The Pup Protector LED Dog Collar is hands-down the safest means I’ve seen yet of making your dog visible at night and keeping him safe (short of scooping him up and carrying him but what’s the fun of a walkie if you’re being carried?).

Pup Protector LED Dog Collars are seemingly fancy-pants light-up dog collars that are surprisingly affordable, durable and functional. We tried two of them after Pup Protector sent us samples in the mail. Ramsey “Boom-Boom” Smith and Franklin Lamar Smith, the famous Smith Bassets, were the test subjects and boy did they have fun. And boy were they popular. And boy did they make a statement. EVERYWHERE we went. We have taken to calling them our “disco dogs” when they collars are on because the boys get all feisty and silly because they know they are emitting light rays, lol.

In all seriousness though, this is probably one of the best ideas to ever hit the pet industry. I mean, not only does this collar, which has three or four speeds for the lights, protect your dog on walks in the dark, but it also lets people know he’s there at the dog park, in the car, sitting on the leash outside at night, etc.  For example, we keep Frank and Boom-Booms leashes outside with a stake in the yard but they can wander into the driveway if they want. One night I pulled up and thankfully my sister had Frank’s Pup Protector on because I saw him from down the street and otherwise would not have seen him AT ALL.

Franklin Lamar Smith Sports His Fancy Red Pup Protector

Franklin Lamar Smith Sports His Fancy Red Pup Protector

Some fun yet crucial things to know about Pup Protector collars:

  1. These awesome dog collars display crisp pearl LEDs on tremendously durable materials.
  2. There’s reflective stitching around the edges, which adds a chic and refined look – plus more safety if you ask me.
  3. Pup Protector’s custom collars and leashes emit the brightest light while adding the perfect amount of style.
  4. Superior strength reflective stitching also greatly enhances visibility when directly exposed to light.
  5. The company has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you don’t like the Pup Protector, you can get your money back!

The Pup Protector LED Dog Collar has such additional features as:

  • Static and Flash Modes
  • Available in 4 Colors
  • Optimal D-Ring Placement
  • Reflective Stitching
  • Pearl LED Technology

Pup Protector LED light collars and leashes have been tested to ensure the highest quality and durability standards. For more information, check out Pup Protector on Facebook, Twitter and on their website!

*ThoughtsFurPaws.com was compensated with product for this review. However, all opinions herein are those of the Author and Administrator of ThoughtsFurPaws.com, JL Smith. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never posts distorted, dishonest or distended reviews and/or misinformation. All opinions are of the author.

Enter 1800PetMeds Animal Shelter & Rescue Contest for Animal Shelter Appreciation Week

Posted on November 5th, 2014

Shelter Appreciation Week Question 1800PetMedsThe nationally-renowned pet medicine and supply company, 1-800-Pet-Meds, is having a contest for animal shelters and rescues that goes through this Sunday, November 9, 2014**. According to their Facebook announcement (Search “PetMeds Cares” in the Facebook search bar), the company is honoring and thanking those hard-working animal shelters and rescues across the nation this special week by showing their appreciation for all the pavement-pounding, per se, and other adoption/rescue work they do. It IS National Animal Shelter & Rescue Appreciation Week, after all!

If you are part of an animal rescue group or shelter anywhere in the US, no matter your size or status, you should totally go ahead and enter… Simply submit a photo with a description of what makes your shelter unique, or a photo “capturing something unique about your group” here at this Facebook page. It must be a shelter/rescue representative who officially enters your group, BTW*. The submission period runs through Sunday, November 9 at 11:59 pm, EST.

The contest is open to voting starting on November 10; participants can vote once a day. Voting will close on Sunday, November 16, 2014 at 11:59 pm. There are three awesome prizes: first place gets a reward of $1,000 in PetMeds Bucks! WHOA! That’s a LOT of awesome pet supplies, toys and treats! MOL/BOL! Second and third place get $500 and $250 worth of flea prevention medicine, respectively.

Some of the photos submitted may even be featured on the PetMeds Cares social media sites/blog. If your group is featured, 1-800-Pet-Meds will send your organization a small product donation!

*Please refrain from entering unless you are a shelter or rescue! Thank you! :0)

**Author was compensated with product for this post. All opinions herein are of the author and Administrator of this blog, JL Smith. ThoughtsFurPaws.com never publishes distorted, distended or dishonest product reviews or misinformation. ThoughtsFurPaws.com and JL Smith are responsible for this content.

The Best Pet Snakes for Kids and Beginners

Posted on June 14th, 2014

Okay so we’re going to try taking a new route today – a fun one, an interesting one, a reptilian one. I realize my blog is mostly about dogs, cats, animal welfare and all that four-legged jazz, but I thought you all might want to take a walk on the wild side with me and learn something new from “Jim the Reptile Guy.” Jim has raised snakes for practically his whole life and is also a great writer. He’s very passionate about all kinds of snakes, not just his own, as well as geckos, lizards, turtles, and other reptiles.

So we all know that there are tons of guys and gals and kids just like Jim all over the world. I mean, there are literally hundreds of thousands of young boys out there begging Mom for a snake or lizard right this very minute, right? So Jim has kindly put together a very detailed and informative article on the best snakes for beginners and kids. You’ll hear from Jim the Reptile Guy again in a about a month!

Who knows, maybe BlogPaws Nashville will see an appearance of a snake… or gecko…? (After all, we did have a Capybara this year!) (+ I would have to borrow one, lol!)

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Are you a budding reptile enthusiast or a parent to one? Do things with scales and shells appeal to you more than those with fur or feathers? Perhaps you’re a lover of all animals and are simply looking to add a cold-blooded critter to your family? No matter the reason, the rhyme, or the season, anyone interested in learning more about reptiles is welcome company in my book.

Today I’m going to be sharing some basic information on my favorite member of the reptile family – the snake. More specifically, I’m going to be talking about which snakes make the best pets, especially for your little people (children.)

I’m an animal enthusiast, but there’s just something about snakes that I’ve always loved. While many in our culture see them as the villains of the animal kingdom (thanks a lot, Bible), or the stuff of nightmares, there’s no denying that snakes are one of the most unique animals on the planet. They can perfectly adapt to a variety of environments and, while not all snakes would be happy living with humans, there are a handful that, when cared for properly, do make wonderful pets.

First things first, though. Before we talk about which snakes may be a good fit for your home, there are some things you’ll need to understand:

– Snakes are NOT domesticated like dogs and cats. While most snakes in the pet trade have been born into captivity, that doesn’t mean they’re domesticated. They’ve evolved over thousands of years to eat, breed, and survive. It’s our job as their caregivers to understand this first and foremost. If you start treating a snake like a cat or dog, letting them roam free, bringing them out for every guest to greet, and not considering their needs first, accidents can and will happen.

– Snakes are reptiles, and reptiles are cold-blooded animals. Snakes use thermoregulation to manage body temperature, thus, you’ll need a hot side and a cool side for your tank or terrarium.

– Snakes and reptiles kept as pets will likely require veterinary care at some point in their lives. Before you add a reptile to your family, please be sure to have access to a veterinarian who specializes in reptiles.

– A snake is a long-term commitment – many live 20 years or longer.

– Snakes eat rodents. While frozen/thawed rodents are best, some snakes (like Ball Pythons,) can be finicky eaters and may eat only live rodents. Make sure you have access to these should the need arise.

– Snakes are known in the reptile community as master escape artists, so be sure to have an escape-proof tank.

– When considering a snake as a pet for your child, consider the size and temperament of the snake and always supervise children when handling. I’d recommend six as the minimum age at which you’d acquire a snake as a pet for a child.

Now that we have the prerequisites out of the way, let’s look at some great options for you or your child’s first pet snake! I’m going to list the top five breeds I’d recommend for a novice snake owner, five being the one I’d recommend least and one being the best.

5. Boa Constrictor

Boas make the list at number 5 because they’re commonly found in pet stores and are a favorite in the pet trade. I do NOT, however, recommend a Boa for a first snake, especially

Boa Constrictor

Adult Boa Constrictor

for a child. I own a Boa. I’ve owned many Boas and love them. They are absolutely my favorite snake, but I’m an experienced guy who’s been keeping snakes for years (I’ve even bred them). So why don’t I recommend them for a beginner or a child? Because Boas get BIG!

Big snakes need big enclosures. Big snakes also need bigger food. Lastly, bigger snakes are harder to handle. They are heavy and while most experts will tell you that any snake over nine feet will require at least two adults present when handling, I say seven feet. A female Boa can easily reach the 8-13 foot range while males will usually reach between 6-8 feet. Your child may be very happy with a baby or juvenile Boa, but once that cute little baby reaches adulthood, your eight or nine-year-old won’t even be able to handle it. The snake will simply be too big, and at that size, could overpower a child.

A Boa is a terrific intermediate snake for those who’ve gained the experience and have the desire to add a larger snake to their home. Captive Boas come in a wide variety of beautiful color patterns. They are often a favorite among teenage boys.

Appearance: “The coloring of boa constrictors can vary greatly depending on the locality. However, they are generally a brown, grey or cream base color, patterned with brown or reddish brown “saddles” that become more pronounced towards the tail. It is this coloring that gives Boa constrictor constrictor the common name of “red-tailed boa” (per Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boa_constrictor)

Size: Typically, they range in length from 20 inches as neonates to 13 feet as adults.

Life span: Captive life expectancy is 20 to 30 years.

Food: Baby Boas will eat pinky rats and mice. Juvenile boas will eat small rats and graduate up to medium, large, XL, and big adults can eat Guinea pigs and rabbits.

Jim's Daughter with Bianca, his Boa.

Jim’s Daughter with Bianca, his Boa.

Here’s a picture of my six-year-old daughter, Mena, with our Sharp Sunglow female Boa, Bianca. Bianca is a little over one-year-old in this picture and is still growing like a weed. Bianca has been handled regularly since she was a baby and Mena has also been well versed (by me) as to the proper

Jim's Daughter with His Boa, Bianca.

Jim’s Daughter with His Boa, Bianca.

handling and care of our pet. Because of my love for the snake, Mena has been raised not to fear them. She simply sees a beautiful animal that she loves. Over time, though, Bianca will get much bigger (see the adult female pictured above.)

 

4. Milk Snakes

Milk Snakes are generally very docile, hardy and are good snakes for beginners and children. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is black/red/yellow.

Size: Hatchling milk snakes range in size from 12-15 inches in length. Adult milk snakes reach anywhere from 3 to 5 feet depending on the locality from which they originated.

Life span: Usually 12 – 15 years, though they can live as long as 20 years.

Milk Snake

Milk Snake

Food: Baby milk snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.

Fun Fact: The common milk snake is often confused with the deadly coral snake because of the similar colors and pattern. A milk snake has yellow bands with black bordered on either side. A coral snake has black bands bordered by yellow bands on either side. Here’s a handy rhyme I learned as a boy that will help you differentiate between the two:

“Yellow then black, venom they lack. Black then yellow will kill a fellow.”

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

Milk Snakes are a good beginner snake for kids because they’re easily handled, and are pretty active in their cages. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be paramount. Also, because of their colors, kids really seem to like them. Please note, however, that baby snakes (no matter the breed) can be a little nippier. They are tiny and vulnerable, so until they get bigger and are used to being handled, they may bite if they feel threatened. No worries, though, the bites are painless.

 

3. King Snakes

King Snakes, like Milk Snakes, are generally very docile, hardy and good snakes for beginners. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is the California King Snake which is black/white.

Size: Hatchling King Snakes range in size from 12-15 inches in length; adult King Snakes reach anywhere from 3 to 6 feet.

Life span: Usually 12 – 15 years, though they can live 20 years or longer.

King Snake

King Snake

Food: Baby king snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.

King Snakes are a good beginner snake for kids because they are easily handled, and are pretty active in their cages just like Milk Snakes. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be paramount. While their colors aren’t as varied as Milk Snakes, they’re still quite beautiful. As with Milk Snakes, baby King Snakes may be a little nippier at times.

Fun Fact:

King snakes will eat other snakes as well as lizards, fish, and rodents. Because of their willingness to eat other snakes, they should always be kept alone. King snakes are also immune to the venom of rattle snakes and will eat them in the wild!

A beautiful subspecies of King Snake is the Grey Banded King Snake.

Grey Banded King Snake

Grey Banded King Snake

 

2. Ball Python

The Ball Python is my personal favorite as far as a beginner snake. They grow to a maximum size of only 3-5 feet. They’re also docile and easy to handle. Their name comes from the fact that, when threatened, they roll themselves into a ball, using their big bodies to protect their small heads. Were it not for the fact that they can sometimes be very finicky eaters, they would have been #1 on my list.

Size: Hatchling Ball Pythons range in size from 12-15 inches in length. Adult Ball Pythons reach anywhere from 3 to 5 feet. Females grow larger than males.

Life span: 20 years or longer.

Food: Baby Ball Pythons will eat mice and weanling rats. Adults will typically eat small rats.

Ball Pythons are a great beginner snake for kids because they are so docile and so easy to handle. They aren’t active until nighttime, though, so if your child is looking for a snake that will be active during the day, a Milk, King, or Corn Snake would be a better choice. As with Milk Snakes and King Snakes, baby Ball Pythons may be a little nippier at times, especially near feeding time. On the opposite end of the scale, they may be so shy that they don’t eat at all. While docile and lovely, Ball Pythons require a lot of patience. Making them feel comfortable means maybe not picking them up for a week or more. Excited kids wanting to interact with their pet may find this a difficult task.

Fun Fact:

Because of their popularity in the pet trade, Ball Python breeders have selectively bred animals over the last 20 years or so for a wide variety of color and pattern mutations. We refer to them as “morphs,” as they are genetic mutations. Here are a few examples:

Normal Ball Python as they’d be found in the wild (and in most pet stores)

Normal Ball Python as they’d be found in the wild (and in most pet stores)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a dominant mutation known as a Pinstripe:

Pinstripe Ball Python Picture 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a co-dominant mutation called a Pastel:

Pastel Ball Python Picture 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a recessive mutation called an Albino

Here’s a recessive mutation called an Albino

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Corn Snakes

Normal Corn Snake

Normal Corn Snake

Corn Snakes are #1 on most “best pet snakes” lists and they clinched the #1 spot on my Best Snakes for Children/Beginners list as well. They are very docile, hardy and great snakes for beginners. They come in a wide variety of color combinations, but the most common is red/orange.

As a pre-teen, I owned several corn (and rat) snakes. They are easily kept, handled, fed, and they seem to have a very outgoing personality. Yes, snakes have personalities. I’ve met Corn Snakes who were jerks and ones that seemed sweeter than many dogs I’d known.

Size: Hatchling Corn Snakes range from 12-15 inches in length. Adult corn snakes will reach anywhere from 4 to 6 feet.

Life span: 15-20 years or longer.

Abbott Oakeetee Corn Snake

Abbott Oakeetee Corn Snake

Food: Baby Corn Snakes will eat pinky mice and graduate up to hopper mice. Adults will typically eat a large mouse or weanling rat.

Corn Snakes are the best beginner snake for kids because they are easily handled, reluctant to bite, active, colorful, and big enough to be cool but not so big that you’d worry about your child handling his or her pet. Ensuring you have an escape-proof enclosure will be key as Corn Snakes are pretty active. They come in a variety of colors and there are now even scaleless Corn Snakes! As with Milk Snakes, baby Corn Snakes may be a little nippier, especially near feeding time, but with regular handling and a full belly, this will quickly fade.

Albino Corn Snake

Albino Corn Snake

Fun Fact:

Like Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes are extremely popular as pets. Also just like Ball Pythons, Corn Snakes are available in a wide variety of color and pattern mutations. Here are a few examples:

Snow Corn Snake

Snow Corn Snake

 

 

 

 

Scaleless Corn Snake

Scaleless Corn Snake

 

So there you have it, my top five. Now you’re probably wondering where to potentially acquire one of these awesome critters. Well, believe it or not, all of the varieties I’ve talked about can probably be found in a local pet store, especially one that specializes in reptiles, but they won’t have all the color and pattern mutations. If you’re interested in acquiring a morph, my two favorite sites are http://www.kingsnake.com and http://www.faunaclassifieds.com. The former has a classifieds section and the breeder should be able to ship your new pet priority overnight right to your door.

*Habitat setup is the most important thing you can do as the owner of a new pet snake, but we’ll talk about that in another article!

Jim Moorman is an author, father, and reptile-lover; you can learn more about him on his websiteJim has been keeping reptiles for over 20 years and has learned through hands-on experience, through research, and from being an active part of the reptile community how to best care for and keep many types of reptiles as pets.

1-800-Pet-Meds Thermo Kitty Mat™ is Purrrr-fect for Tired Little Tiger-Kitties

Posted on January 4th, 2014

It’s a heated cat bed – yes, a heated cat bed. And your cats will love, love, love it! The Thermo Kitty Mat™, which we received as a donation from the wonderful folks at 1-800-Pet-Meds, has gone over with flying colors in the Smith house.

In fact, the 12.5” x 25” heated cat bed is so popular, I often find Sasha and Tater waiting in line (as much as cats can wait in line) to lay on it, which is on my bed.

We also have, as many of you know, what we call our garage kitty, Maxwell. Max was abandoned in a parking garage in downtown Cleveland in the middle of winter and had humble beginnings there (he used to jump into the cabs of semi-trucks and cuddle in to get warm until they were done dropping off their loads!).

Old habits are hard to break I guess, right? Even for our four-leggers. Max love, love, loves to spend time in the garage still. (Of course it’s warmer in ours than it was downtown in the open air). So we put the 1-800-Pet-Meds heated cat bed out on his little counter in the garage. I plugged the bed in and the very first time he went out there, instead of snooping around and sniffing the cars and playing hide-and-seek behind the wheels with me, he went right to the bed. So cute.Maxxy Heating Blanket

This heated cat mat is so safe and effective that I bought one for my aunt and uncle. They have a senior female cat, Camille, who they used to use a regular heating pad for. Now they use the Thermo Kitty Mat™ heated cat bed under a blanket for her. It’s her favorite spot in the whole house!

This awesome heated cat bed is safe and energy-efficient (it uses less energy than a night light). It also has a removable cover for washing and is thermostatically controlled to warm directly under your pet. Pretty cool, huh?!  The Heated Cat Pad is designed to remain 12 to 15 degrees above ambient air temperature and warms to your cat’s normal body temperature when in use. It is ideal during the winter for senior and arthritic cats because the warm surface helps to relax muscles and reduce joint inflammation and stiffness. *Please note: the heated cat pad does not get hot.

Maxwell, Sasha, Tater Tot and I all give this heated cat mat an enthusiastic four-paws up (well, I give it two-thumbs-up since I don’t have paws)!