10 Best Books to Cope with the Loss of a Pet

Losing a pet is heartbreaking but comfort can be found between the pages of a book. Through glorious artwork and beautiful prose, the following 10 books can help people of all ages cope with the loss of a pet.

Animals on the Other Side by Silvia Browne & Chris Dufresne

Animals on the Other Side

Animals on the Other Side, written by Silvia Browne and Chris Dufresne, talks about the life of animals on the Other Side. The book is almost like two in one with the story of Browne’s beloved West Highland Terrier, Jolie, romping through the fields, along with a description of how all animals live on the Other Side. Learn how animals in spirit visit us after they have passed, how they spend their time on the Other Side and how they will be the first to greet us when our time comes to cross over. The soothing, soft pastel illustrations by Jo McElwee are a beautiful compliment to the story.

Book: The Rainbow Bridge, A Visit to Pet Paradise by Adrian Raeside

The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise

Written by Adrian Raeside, The Rainbow Bridge: A Visit to Pet Paradise is about a boy’s trip to the Rainbow Bridge to visit his dog. It’s a place where “you never run out of bones,” the catnip is plentiful, toys are everywhere, everyone is allowed on the couch and love is eternal. Knowing his old dog is safe and happy the boy is able to move forward and love another dog that really needs a home.

Book: The Rainbow Bridge by Steve Bodofsky

The Rainbow Bridge

With amazingly beautiful illustrations, The Rainbow Bridge by Steve Bodofsky takes the reader on journey into the afterlife of animals where there is no sadness or suffering. Animals have healthy bodies again and there are fields where they can run and play. Finally, they are reunited with their humans for all eternity.

Book: Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Cat Heaven

Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant has bold and colorful illustrations. It describes heaven as a place where angels love and care for the kitties. There are toys to play with and gardens to roam, and a big bed to nap in when playtime is done.

Book: Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

Dog Heaven

Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant is a place where dogs can run and run. When they’re tired from running, angels provide snacks and God makes soft cloud beds for them to nap. The illustrations are big and colorful and make readers feel good just looking at them.

Book: The Amazing Afterlife of Animals by Karen Anderson

The Amazing Afterlife of Animals

The Amazing Afterlife of Animals describes author Karen Anderson’s gift of communicating with animals. She offers an in-depth explanation of how this works and provides samples throughout the book of actual clients and and interactions with their animals. The book has won 16 national and international awards and is a number one best seller on Amazon.

Book: For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis

For Every Cat an Angel

For Every Cat an Angel is a sweet little book written and illustrated by Christine Davis. In it each kitty that is born is given a guardian angel, who cares for them while they grown and eventually helps them find their person and a forever home. The person and kitty have a lifetime of friendship. Even when the cat crosses over the angel helps him stay connected to his person until its time for the person to cross over as well.

Book: For Every Dog an Angel by Christine Davis

For Every Dog an Angel

For Every Dog an Angel by Christine Davis describes the unconditional love of each dog sent to earth. When they find their forever person it’s like magic. After a lifetime of experiences together the dog will move on to the other side but the bond with their person will never be broken. Beautiful illustrations carry the reader through this story.

Book: Pet Heaven by Pamela Wessinger

Pet Heaven

Pet Heaven by Pamela Wessinger has a simple story that imagines animals learning new tricks, playing video games and chasing kites. For me the feel good part of the book is the illustrations which are sweet and funny depictions of animals having a wonderful time doing various fantastical activities in heaven.

Book: The Invisible Leash by Patrice Karst

The Invisible Leash

The Invisible Leash by Patrice Karst is a precious story of a boy who loses his his dog, Jojo. He is hurting and angry but his friend, Emily, explains how an invisible leash will always connect his heart to Jojo. The book is sweet and touching and it provides a realistic view of how difficult it is to lose a beloved pet.

Choosing a Dog Shampoo

Choosing a good dog shampoo is an important part of the bathing process.
Choosing a good shampoo is an important part of bathing.

Choosing a shampoo for your dog can be an overwhelming task with the many options available; however, these tips will help you find the perfect shampoo for your pet.

You want your pet’s shampoo to clean and remove germs and parasites, and, possibly, to add moisture, vitamins and nutrients. For shampooing your pup’s head, only use a tear-free shampoo to protect their eyes from irritation. Never use a human shampoo for pets as it is much to harsh for animals. Before choosing a dog shampoo, consider the following:

Dry Skin/Coat

For dogs with dry skin and coat, you’ll want a moisturizing shampoo with ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and lanolin. You want to avoid shampoos with fragrance, which can irritate dry skin. Even if you pet has dry skin, it’s still important to bathe them as dirty coats and skin can make the problem worse. Using the proper shampoo will improve dry skin. I recommend Bio-Groom’s Protein Lanolin shampoo, which is tear- and sulfate-free. This coconut oil base shampoo is mild and safe for dogs and cats of all ages. The moisturizing shampoo doesn’t strip natural oils from the skin and coat.

Oily or Irritated Skin

After more than a dozen years as a groomer, my favorite shampoo for oily, irritated or itchy skin is Tar-ific, made by Professional Pet Products. I’ve seen this shampoo relieve odor, flaking, inflamed and sore skin. This shampoo is only for dogs, NOT cats. If this shampoo does not quickly offer relief to your dog, I would recommend a veterinarian consultation.

Fleas & Ticks

Flea and tick shampoos are temporary solutions for parasites. They should be used in combination with other long-term flea and tick treatments, such as Nexgard and Frontline. Bio-Groom Flea & Tick shampoo has a lovely citrus smell and is protein and lanolin enriched for healthy skin and coat.

After a wash with a good shampoo, dogs love getting warm and dry.
After a wash with a good shampoo, dogs love getting warm and dry.

Odor

There are deodorizing shampoos for especially dirty and smelly dogs. It’s important to remember that an odor not related to dirt could indicate a medical problem and your veterinarian should be consulted. Natural ingredients such as chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, aloe and tea tree oil help freshen skin and coats. My favorite shampoo for dogs with odor issues is AromaCare Cooling Herbal Mint shampoo by Professional Pet Products. It contains natural tea tree oil to cool and freshen skin, along with aloe and vitamins A & E to moisturize.

Color

There are shampoos that help enhance the color of your pet but you’ll want to avoid those with harsh chemicals such as bleach and peroxide, which can damage your pet’s skin and coat. I recommend Bio-Groom’s Ultra Black, Bronze Luster and Super White shampoos. They are coconut oil based, with added protein, a neutral pH and no bleach.

Allergies

If your dog suffers from allergies, you’ll want a very mild, unscented shampoo. I’ve found that Bio-Groom So Gentle shampoo is great for these dogs. This hypo-allergenic, tear-free shampoo contains no perfume or parabens (a preservative). It is safe for dogs and cats of all ages.

With a little effort you can find the perfect shampoo for your dog. Overall, I suggest keeping it simple by choosing shampoos with natural ingredients and few chemicals. By doing this you’ll have healthier, happier dogs.

10 Favorite Dog Products

This is a list of my 10 favorite dog products from toys to treats and harnesses to shampoos. You’ll find some great things for your furry friends here.

Babble Ball

The Babble Ball is one of my 10 favorite dog products.
Babble Balls are a favorite dog toy.

The Babble Ball by Pet Querks is one of my dog’s favorite toys. She loves when it talks to her and she spends hours chasing it around. It comes in three sizes for dogs and is available for cats as well. Click here for the cat version.

Greenies Pill Pockets

Greenies Pill Pockets are great treats for hiding medication.

Giving pets medications often times is a difficult task. Greenies Pill Pockets turn medication time into treat time. This soft treat molds easily around pills, hiding them in a yummy treat. They are available for cats as well. Click here for the cat version.

Cosequin Joint Health Supplement

Cosequin supplement supports joint health.

Cosequin Soft Chews are a tasty treat that helps dogs with arthritis and other joint issues. The supplement also has Omega-3 for healthy skin and coat.

Nudges Natural Dog Treats

Nudges treats are a favorite of my dogs.

Nudges Dog Treats are my dogs’ favorite treat. I love that the treats are soft and easy to chew as many of my dogs are elderly and/or special needs. The all natural treats are made in the USA and don’t contain corn, wheat, soy or artificial preservatives.

Nylabone Dog Chew

Dogs love these chew toys.

The Nylabone Dinosaur Chew was tested and approved by dozens of my day care dogs. They seem to love the shape and knobby texture of this toy. It’s a safe chew as well because dogs are not able to break chunks off this durable toy. It comes in two sizes for small and large dogs.

IRIS USA Food Storage Container

IRIS USA airtight food storage.

The IRIS USA 3-Piece Food Storage Container is great for keeping pet food fresh. The containers come in various colors and are BPA free, so your dog can enjoy crunchy, fresh, and healthy food. Get rid of the open bags and grab one of these containers.

Pet Safe Easy Walk Harness

Petsafe Easy-Walk Harness is a great option to prevent dogs from pulling while on leash.

The Petsafe Easy-Walk Harness prevents dogs from pulling while on leash. The trick is the leash hooks in front of the dog’s chest so if he pulls, his body starts to turn. Dog’s naturally want to move forward so pulling doesn’t get them what they want; therefore, the pulling stops.

EliteField 2-Door Soft Pet Playpen

The ElitField Playpen is a super convenient way to keep your pet safe and give them a comfy place to relax. The playpen folds flat and comes with a carrying case for easy transport. It also is very simple to clean.

Sporn No-Pull Dog Harness

The Sporn No-Pull Harness is a great option for dogs that escape from harnesses and collars.

The Sporn No-Pull Harness is a great option for dogs for several reasons. First, dogs that can normally pull out of harnesses and collars will find that they can’t with this harness. In addition, the harness doesn’t put any pressure around the sensitive necks of small dogs.

PPP Tar-ific Skin Relief Dog Shampoo

Tar-ific Shampoo by PPP is excellent for dogs with skin issues.

PPP Tar-ific Shampoo is the best shampoo I’ve found for dogs with skin issues. I’ve seen it work miracles on dogs that have scratched until they created sores on their skin. It provides immediate relief of itchy skin, and, when used regularly, will clear up many skin issues.

I hope your dogs find my 10 favorite dog products to be as useful and fun as I do.

Dog Nail Trimming, Foot Care

Nail trimming and general foot care are vital for healthy feet and happiness of your dog.

Nail trimming is important as untrimmed nails can break off, grow into the pads and cause foot deformities, all of which are very painful situations for your dog.

Nail trimming and foot care is an important part of caring for your dog.
Dogs love us unconditionally so we owe them the best possible care we can provide.

Many people are afraid to trim their pet’s nails, but you can do it! Usually people are concerned about cutting the quick, a blood vessel that runs through the center of the nail. However, by following some simple steps this can be avoided most of the time.

Supplies

To trim your dog’s nails, you’ll need a sharp dog nail trimmers and styptic powder. I prefer a scissor-style clippers like the Millers Forge Designer Series Nail Scissor. These are easy to use and stay sharp for a long time. The styptic powder that I prefer is one with a pain reliever in it like Kwik Stop, which has benzocaine in it.

Keep calm

Once you’ve gathered your supplies, you’ll want to approach your dog calmly. Animals can sense if you are nervous and will become anxious as well. Anxiety makes trimming nails very difficult. It often helps to have someone help you by holding and talking to your dog.

Next, with your dog standing, gently tip your dog’s foot back from the ankle so you are able to see the bottom of the foot and nails. Never force your dog’s foot or leg to bend in an unnatural way.

Time for trimming

Ultimately, the nails should be trimmed where they start to curve down toward the floor; however, this isn’t always possible if the nails haven’t been cut regularly. As nails grow the quick grows as well, so if nails have gotten longer than they should, the quick may have grown past the curve in the nail.

So, instead of cutting a large section of nail off, I recommend cutting small layers of the nail and watching for the quick to appear. It will look like a darker spot in the center of the nail. Once you see it, stop cutting. Cutting a little off the nails every 1 to 2 weeks will encourage the quick to pull back and you’ll eventually be able to get your dog’s nails to a proper length.

This is what can happen when nails are too long. They grown into the pad causing great pain for your dog.

If you happen to hit the quick and cause some bleeding, don’t panic. Take some styptic powder and put it on the end of the nail. Bleeding usually stops immediately but sometimes a second coating of the powder is needed.

Other foot care

Another important part of foot care is keeping the fur between the pads of the feet trimmed. If not maintained this hair can mat making walking very uncomfortable and irritating feet as well. It also will collect dirt and debris that may cause your pet stomach upset if they lick it. A clippers is the safest way to trim this hair. If you’re not comfortable trimming it yourself, your groomer will be happy to help.

Keeping the hair between the pads on a dog’s feet trimmed is an important
part of keeping your dog healthy. The hair can collect chemicals causing
irritation, and can mat causing discomfort when the dog walks.

It’s also important to watch the health of the pads on the feet. Pads are typically black or pale pink. If they appear red and/or inflamed, have your vet check them. Allergies and chemicals like fertilizer or ice melt can cause irritation. Keep your dog’s feet clean and use a product like Musher’s Secret to protect and heal pads.

Winter Dog Grooming Tips

Dogs with healthy skin and coats are most prepared for winter’s harsh temperatures. Mats, tangles and dirt can affect how warm your dog stays this season. This makes winter dog grooming exceptionally important.

Winter dog grooming is exceptionally important to help your pet manage snow and harsh temperatures.

A dog uses its fur like insulation, holding in warmth in the winter and cool in the summer. If that coat is matted, tangled or dirty, it can’t do its job. Basic maintenance is important all year round, including bath, brushing/combing, nail trimming, and keeping feet and face tidy.

Dry skin can become a problem for dogs in winter just as it is for humans but this doesn’t mean your dog shouldn’t get regular baths. Using a good, moisturizing shampoo for once-per-month baths can improve dry skin. In addition, regular brushing for both long- and short-haired breeds helps stimulate the natural oils in the skin.

Snow, ice and salt can get stuck to untrimmed dog feet.

Snow, ice and salt can get stuck under long nails and on untrimmed fur on a dog’s feet. The chemicals can cause stomach upset and skin irritation. In addition, nails tend to grow quicker in the winter because of less walking on the sidewalks that help grind down nails. Make sure the hair on your pups feet, especially between the pads is trimmed and tidy, and trim nails every four to six weeks.

If temperatures are low, it never hurts to put a jacket on your pup. However, don’t leave the jacket/sweater on all the time as the fur will mat from the constant rubbing of the cloth. In addition, don’t leave your dog outside for long in cold weather. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.

Remember winter dog grooming is an important part of caring for your dog. It helps them manage their temperature in winter’s harsh temperatures and helps them to stay healthy and happy.

10 Favorite Cat Products

This is a list of my 10 favorite cat products from toys to treats and litter to music. You’ll find some great things for your furry friends here.

Pet Tunes music for cats is one of my 10 favorite cat products.
  1. Pet Tunes by Pet Accoustics: This is a sturdy metal speaker with pre-loaded music specifically chosen to soothe and calm cats. The company also makes varieties for dogs, birds and horses.
  2. Petstages Purr Cuddle Pillow: This is a super soft toy that makes a purring noise when touched to comfort cats. It’s also a great toy for cats who love to hug and bunny-kick toys.
  3. Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Toy: My cats love, love, love this toy. When it arrives in the mail, my three kitties are on it and trying to rip open the package. The banana shape is perfect for them to hold. The catnip is organic and the fabric is a cotton twill that is colored with soy- and/or vegetable-based dyes that are natural and non-toxic. It is made in the USA.
  4. Petsafe Drinkwell 360 Stainless Steel Pet Fountain: Cats love running water, so fountains are great for encouraging them to drink more. Healthy drinking helps prevent urinary and kidney diseases. This fountain has a carbon filter that keeps water fresh. It’s easy to clean and the pump can be taken apart to ensure all parts stay sanitary. All parts except the pump and cord are dishwasher safe. Made in the USA.
  5. GoCat Da Bird Toy: This is my cats’ favorite toy. The wand toy has a feather attached with a swivel clip so it spins and sounds like a bird’s wings flapping. Made in the USA.
  6. Bergan Turbo Scratcher: Another popular toy with my cats is the Turbo Scratcher. This toy has a ball on a track for cats to chase and a scratcher in the center. Along with using it for playtime, my cats lay on it like a bed. Made in the USA.
  7. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Litter: This is an awesome litter for any cat having issues going potty in a litter box. Cat Attractr has herbs in it that cats love. We’ve tested this product in our cat boarding facility by putting it in one of six cat boxes. Every boarding cat used the one with the Cat Attract litter. It also helped my own cat after a urinary tract infection get back to using her box. Made in the USA.
  8. Purrfect Arch Self Grooming & Massaging Cat Toy: Made by Allstar Innovations, the Purrfect Arch gives cats a place to scratch and groom themselves. It helps with shedding and limits hairballs.
  9. Durascoop Jumbo Cat Litter Scoop: Cleaning a litter box is not the best part of having kitty family members; however, this scoop can make the process a lot easier. The metal scoop is strong and large, making the process quicker and cleaner. Unlike flimsy plastic scoops, this one will last a long time.
  10. Catit Cat Litter Pan with Rim: I’m not sure why, but this is the cat box that my cats prefer. When given a choice between this box and another, they always choose this one. It’s easy to scoop with is rounded bottom and the rim helps keep in the litter in the box.

I hope your cats find my 10 favorite cat products to be as useful and fun as my cats do.

What to expect from your groomer

Getting a great style is one thing to expect from your groomer.People take their dogs and cats to groomers not just to get that perfect style but, more importantly, for their health and wellness. Proper grooming is an essential process and choosing your groomer is not a task to take lightly. Here is what you should expect from your groomer.

When your pet arrives at the groomer, the first task is a really good bath. A professional shampoo is massaged into your pet’s fur, ensuring the coat is thoroughly scrubbed all the way to the skin over the entire dog. I like to use an all natural, tear-free, hypoallergenic shampoo. Rinsing is just as important as the washing to ensure all shampoo is removed.

There are a several options for drying, a forced-air hand dryer made for pets, a non-heated cage dryer or a heated cage dryer. I never use the heated cage dryers because there is a risk of over-heating a pet. The forced-air dryer is a hand-held, strong blower that, in addition to drying the pet, removes a great deal of undercoat and reduces the amount of shedding. Occasionally, we will get a pet that is anxious about the hand-held dryer, so the cage dryer is a better option for them. However, the cage dryer will take longer to dry a pet, so owners may have to allow a little more time for the grooming appointment.

Once the pet is dry, a good groomer will look them over, checking eyes, skin, nails, teeth, ears, nose, and pads on the feet to see if there are any issues that should be reported to the owner. Groomers often may be the first to notice a new lump or growth on an animal or some other health issue that should be seen by a vet. Any such changes on an animal should be reported to the pet’s owner.

Next is the nail trim. The ultimate length for a nail is to be trimmed right where it starts to curve down. However, nails that have gotten overly long have quicks that have lengthened as well. The quick is the blood vessel that runs through each nail. It is painful to cut the quick in the nail, just as it is if a human breaks their fingernail off really short. Groomers should work hard to not cut the quick. Instead, to get the nails shorter, owners may need to have their pet’s nails trimmed more often for awhile as this will help push the quick back in the nail. As a courtesy, groomers at my shop also file nails on dogs that don’t get overly anxious with the process. Filing smoothes the nails and make it less likely for owners to get scratched. To learn more about nail trimming read Dog Nail Trimming, Foot Care.

Ear plucking is necessary for dogs that have hair growing in the ear canals. This hair can block in wax and moisture, increasing the risk of ear infections. Dogs don’t have a lot of nerve endings in their ears, so if done gently, the process is not uncomfortable. An ear powder is used that absorbs moisture and makes the hair easier to pull out. Once done, the ears are cleaned with cotton balls or Q-tips and a pet ear cleaner. My favorite product for this is Burt’s Bees® Ear Cleaner for Dogs.

Double-coated breeds, those whose hair does not continuously grow, get a good brush out to remove all loose undercoat. This reduces the amount of shedding between grooming appointments. Breeds with deep wrinkles such as pugs, English bulldogs, sharpeis, etc., need those wrinkles gently cleaned and dried to prevent skin infections.

Ear cleaning is an important part of the grooming process and definitely what you should expect from your groomer.For breeds with continuously growing hair, the cut and style is next. Part of a groomer’s job is to interpret how an owner would like their pet trimmed and styled. Not all pet owners want the traditional breed trim for their pet. So pet owners should pick a groomer who listens to what they would like and asks questions to ensure they understand. It may take a couple of appointments to get the style just the way the owner wants but with good communication, owners can have the exact style they want.

A quality haircut will be smooth and even, not choppy. The sanitary areas generally are trimmed short to help pets stay clean when urinating or defecating. Hair on the pet’s lips should be trimmed so it does not go into the mouth. All fur around the pet’s eyes should be tidied so it doesn’t go into its eyes causing infections. The hair between the pads of the feet is trimmed so pets don’t slide on hard flooring.

These steps are the basics that every groomer should be providing.

Additional services may include specialty shampoos (i.e. medicated, flea/tick, etc.), massages, facials, painted nails, feather extensions, and hair color.

Knowing what to expect from your groomer will help you choose only the very best for your pets.