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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why It's Important to Buy Local


Buying patterns have definitely changed over the years - fueled by the Internet, Social Media, Amazon, eBay and the impact of electronic devices.  People find this approach often more convenient then shopping at Malls or in their local town centers.  Often price is a driving factor - thinking that saving money short term is a great benefit (and often it is). But what are the long term effects?

Build CommunityFirst, I have to say that I also have purchased items on line - things I can't find locally and Meds for the dog.  But I do try to buy everything else from local shops in my town - especially the small/independently owned ones - previously known as Mom and Pop stores (I call mine a Mom and Pups store)! 

Independent stores, like Cause to Paws, help give your community its distinct personality. Money spent at your local stores provides 3X the return then money spent at chains  and buying on line provides no return to the community. For example, I pay local business taxes - things that help the town maintain services. We host Yappy Hour's monthly - a place where neighbors can gather with their pets - a meet and greet - adding to the distinct nature of the town. Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses. I belong to the Coolidge Corner Merchants Association.  The CCMA is dedicated to promoting the vibrancy and unique  flavor of our community.

Local ownership of business means residents with roots in the community, like myself, are involved in key development decisions that shape our lives and local environment. Continue to buy on line and small shops like mine will disappear.

 A new phenomenon over the last couple of years, known as SHOWCASING is becoming more prevalent. Stores have become the place where people come to check out goods , even try on product, and then go on line to buy - because they think they can save money. Sometimes this may be the case - but how do you expect a Brick and Mortar to compete with an online store that doesn't have to pay rent, taxes, salaries, .......  You used that store to your benefit without providing any compensation to the store for the "services" they provided.  Soon the store will be gone and you won't be able to use that "service" again.  It's happens here at Cause to Paws - and what bothers me the most is that people are "proud" doing it and even tell me that is what they are doing. Maybe it's my age, but I find this amazing. Plus - most people don't even realize how this sounds or what the ultimate impact will be.

Well that's my rant for the day - thank you for allowing me to vent.  Not sure how to stem this tide.  At Cause to Paws we pride ourselves in our customer service, finding unique items when we can that you can't find online(getting harder to do), special orders, allowing people to pay later, acting as a resource for dog walkers, dog sitters an groomers. We are in our 10th year and sorry to say it might be our last - but times they are a changing - my point - Just think about what you are doing the next time you need to shop for something.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Family Portraits - Have FUN

Dogs are often considered "children" in fur coats and have become an integral part of most families.

  Why not include them in your family cards that are sent out during the Holidays (called Howlidays at Cause to Paws!)

We buy new outfits for pictures, often Holiday Sweaters or New Dresses, so we can put our best foot forward to those we may not see to often, if ever, except through pictures a few times a year. Got a new dog - why not put them in a new sweater to show them off, too.  You may think this is frivolous, but really, they are functional, too. Keeps them warm - but also can keep them clean - and admit it - they do look adorable in them.


You might even consider some head wear as well.
Many times people do goofy things in their pictures - I know I have - so let it go and go for it - Reindeer antlers, elf hats, Santa hats - definitely not FUNctional but definitely FUN.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog
Halloween is just around the corner. It is the second biggest holiday in the US next to Christmas. It is a fun time for all ages - and for PETs.

At Cause to Paws we are having our 10th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pawty on Sunday, Oct 26th from 4-6 PM.

Every year it seems to get bigger and bigger - more pets, more people and more fun. If you haven't joined us before you should really try and make it this year. We have prizes in various categories - Best Homemade Costume, , Group/Duo, Overall Favorite and Best Performance or Trick. We have treats for you (Cupcakes from Party Favors) - and the pets - including my (in)famous carrot and peanut butter Pupcakes.  This year I think I will bake it into a cake  There is Dunking for Discounts and Bobbing for Hot Dogs - or the other way around - seems to change every year. We use Rubber Duckies or Apples for the Discount Bobbing

We plan to have a ball this Howl-O-Ween - However there are a few things to keep in mind  - to make sure you keep you and your pets safe during Halloween.
Here are some tips I have gathered from a variety of others
thanks to RC Pets & the ASPCA:
  • Chocolate in all forms can be toxic to dogs and cats Keep candies and chocolate out of reach from your pet. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause problems. If you do suspect your pet has ingested something toxic, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
  • Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, but they can produce stomach upset in pets who nibble on them
  • Pet costumes should not impede their movement, breathing, nor hearing and pets must be supervised to ensure that no part of the costume is accidental ingested.  For pets who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume may cause undue stress - just because you think it's cute it might not work for your dog. Use your best judgment.
  • When greeting trick-or-treaters at the door, take extra care that your pet doesn't dart outside.
  •  All but the most social dogs and cats should be kept in a separate room away from the front door during peak trick-or-treating hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.
  • If going trick-or-treating, make sure your pet is fitted properly for a collar and is leashed.  Always make sure your dog or cat has proper identification
  • Don't forget to clip on a Safety Light (we have these in the store) and/or pair your pet with a High Visibility Vest for added safety

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

This info is thanks to Lorna at Happy Tails , part of a company  called Dog for Dog that  produces Grooming products .

How Often Should You Wash Your Dog?

Most advice you find on the internet recommends washing your dog just several times per year!
Times have changed! Today, dogs enjoy shampoos and conditioners that are on par with the best human shampoos- that don’t have harsh chemicals and that don’t strip the hair of all of its oils.
The arguments against washing your dog too often are generally about stripping the coat of natural oils. The more often you wash something, the more often the sebum (oil) is going to be removed. Think about your own hair. If you don’t wash it, what happens? It gets oily. Is the oil good for your hair? Probably, but we wash our hair everyday anyway so that it’s clean!
There are several factors you should consider when deciding how often to wash your dog which include:
1. Does your dog live indoors or outdoors, and does your dog sleep in your bed?
If your dog lives in your house with you and more importantly, if he/she sleeps in your bed, then you are probably going to wash your dog regularly–depending on the breed anywhere from once a week to once a month. I know this is radical thinking, but, if your dog sits on your sofa, you probably don’t want him dragging in dirt, poop, insects and other grime onto your sofa. So, the trade off is that your dog’s coat ~might ~ be marginally drier but you will have a fresh smelling dog that you can cuddle without the fear that gross stuff is getting into the sheets.
2. Breed of Dog
Harsh-textured coats repel dirt pretty well so they don’t get as dirty as a soft-coated dog.  Breeds with harsh-textured coats include Shelties, Collies and labs and they can be bathed once a month. Dogs without undercoats like Maltese, Yorkies, Afghans and Shitzus should be bathed once a week. If you’re not sure, remember, a clean dog is a happy dog!
3. Is anyone in your household allergic to dogs?
If so, you SHOULD groom & bathe them as often as possible. According to the American Lung Association, doing so will help remove the dander that accumulates on a pet’s fur.
4. What activities does your dog partake in?
Do you take your dog to the dog park? Does you dog play in the sand or dirt? Does your dog roll in the grass or go swimming or hiking? What about sniffing butts, eating poop or drooling?
Well, if you have a normal dog, she probably partakes in several of the above activities– all of which warrant regular bathing. Again, you have to think of the trade off. Your dog’s coat may be marginally drier HOWEVER, he will be cleaner, smell better, and most important you will be more likely to give a clean dog lots of love.
5. Does your dog suffer from itchy skin?
Unlike humans who absorb most environmental allergens through their noses and mouths, dogs tend to absorb allergens through the skin. Weekly bathing can prevent itchiness,washing allergens away before they get a chance to penetrate the skin.
In conclusion — the answer for MOST dogs is to wash them every couple of weeks depending on the above circumstances.
But remember, use a gentle pet shampoo and conditioner and do not use your own shampoo

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Catnip - The Herb for Cats (and Dogs?)

Catnip is an herb that most Cats love -- it's a member of the mint family of plants. Spearmint and oregano are related to Catnip and has the same type of intense aroma and strong flavor. Whenever a cat smells or tastes catnip, special receptors in their nose and mouth receive stimulating signals and can energize even the most inactive kitty. This is one of the reasons vets often recommend catnip for over weight cats - it can get them up and MOVING!

Catnip has a natural chemical compound called nepetalactone. Basically cats sniff, rub against, and even eat catnip to immerse themselves in the scent. Think aromatherapy - the effect of catnip can bring about any of several responses in a cat: wiggling and wriggling, head nodding, rolling, licking, body rubbing, and happy frolicking. The reaction can last up to 20 minutes with about an hour delay before there is another response. The stimulating effect can be very healthful, especially in sedentary or overweight cats.

Kittens do not show sensitivity to catnip until they are about 12 weeks old. Their olfactory receptors need to develop first before they can produce the classic kitty reaction to catnip. But due to genetics, some cats lack the special receptors necessary to experience the effects of catnip, so don’t be surprised if you have a cat that has no reaction – 20-30% of cats fall into this category. The sensitivity to catnip is inherited; if a kitten has only one parent who is effected by catnip, then that kitten has a one-in-two chance of growing up to enjoy catnip.

www.causetopaws.comCertified Organic Catnip is harmless to cats but they can become "immune" to its effects with extended exposure. If your cat suddenly seems unaffected by catnip, try putting away all items containing catnip for a week or two.  Then bring them back out and your cat should be able to enjoy them again.

At Cause to Paws we carry a variety of catnip toys as well as loose catnip.

What about the Dog?

The herb is less widely used for dogs because it is often ineffective, and people are afraid of potential side effects. The effects of catnip on dogs are generally fairly mild and certainly not as dramatic as with cats, but the herb can be beneficial for the dog's digestion, mental health (has a calming effect) and minor wounds, as an antiseptic treatment.

And oh by the way - Humans can make a tea out of catnip which helps with digestion, too,

Tips and Tricks:

If you buy the catnip in a plastic bag be sure to put them into a sealed container. Store the container in a cool dark place to maintain the potency of the catnip.

You can put loose catnip into a sock or stocking and give it to your catch to play with.  Many cat toys have pockets where you can add new catnip as the potency of the existing catnip diminishes. You can also store small cat toys in the container with catnip so that the toy gets “infused” with the catnip essence/oils.

You can put loose catnip in to a cardboard box and let your cat roll around and play in it.  In this way it keeps the catnip contained and a little less messy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears - Not the Easiest Thing to do, but may be Necessary

Is your dog scratching his ears a lot? Shaking their head? Do the ears smell funny? Are they red and inflamed? These are all indications of an existing ear infection or other ear problem and may require a vet visit.

Ear infections are probably the number one reason dog owners go to the vet. Thorough and regular ear cleaning and maintenance can help your dog avoid ear problems and infections. And therefore save a trip to the vet. Many dogs do not like to have their ears touched so it often is not the easiest thing to accomplish.
Pictures of dog ear infections : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOLRr-bTumM
Handling Your Dog's Ears

From the time the dog is a puppy you should practice handling your dog's ears- gently. Be sure to give lots of treats while you massage initially the outside then the inside of the ear. Do this as often as possible so eventually your dog will accept other kinds of ear manipulation.

Dogs have different Ears

Dogs with heavy, floppy ear, like Cocker Spaniels and Basset Hounds, generally need to have their ears cleaned more frequently than dogs with standup versions which  allow for better air circulation. Dogs that have a lot of hair in the inside of their ears may also require additional including the plucking of hair.

Cleaning Your Dog's Ears

Frequent ear cleanings (weekly) will keep the ears free of wax and debris, and will also allow you to understand what your dog's ears look like when they are healthy. This enables you to more easily recognize any abnormalities in the ear should they arise.

To clean your dog's ears well, you will need an appropriate ear cleaner, a number of cotton balls, and maybe even someone to help- they can feed the dog treats and keep them calm. Using an appropriate ear cleaner, you can release wax and debris from the canal and help dry the ear.

Some dogs have a lot of hair on the inside of the ear. This hair can serve as a reservoir for dirt, debris, and accumulations of earwax. Plucking the hairs takes a bit of skill and can cause discomfort when done incorrectly, so is best left to professionals who have experience on plucking ear hair in dogs. There are special ear powders made for dogs which are helpful in gripping the hair. . Maybe ask your vet or groomer to show you how it is done. Remember the treats, always a good way to make it a positive experience for the pet.

Once the ears are free of hair, it is time to begin cleaning. Wash your hands well before and after ear cleaning, and have your supplies ready. Squirt a small amount of ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Do not force the nozzle of the bottle into the ear canal as you can cause significant damage this way - only the tip of the bottle should be inserted into the canal. Once you have the solution in the ear, massage the base of the ear to encourage distribution throughout the canal. Be prepared for your dog to shake his head after you apply the solution. You should be able to hear a "smacking sound." By massaging, you are helping the cleanser to fill the ridges in the canal and loosen ear debris.Take a cotton ball and rub the inside of the ear to remove any discharge or any accumulated wax. You may use a Q-tip to get in the crevices at the base of the ear, but just like for humans, do not insert the Q-tip into the ear canal itself. When the base of the ear is clean, you may use soaked cotton balls or a soaked wet cloth to clean the ear flap out toward the tip.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Adopt a Pet and Live Longer!

Adopt a Pet 
Be Happy, Live Longer!

It's Been Awhile
Spring is almost here and I am invigorated so I think it is about time I started writing again!

Often during the Spring people think about getting a dog.  It is easier to deal with training (and walking) when you can go outside for longer periods of time. Well if you are thinking about getting a dog - why not adopt!  You can get puppies or dogs of all ages - some even already trained.  You might even want to consider getting a senior dog - they need homes too - to live out their golden years in a loving home.  Dogs are in Shelters for many reasons - and not necessarily for bad reasons.  Often a loss of owner, loss of a home, strays, rescued from hoarders, puppy millls...........  Dogs with behavioral issues are not offered for adoption until the situation is resolved. Often they go through a Foster Care program and are tested to make sure they are ready for adoption. If you ask the right questions you will get all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family.

Adopt a Pet 
Be Happy, Live Longer!

Do you know that 94 percent  of pet owners say that their pet makes them smile more that once a day.  I know Kanji makes me smile EVERY Day, ALL Day.  Caring for a pet can make you a happier and healthier person - and this is especially true for older adults. According to the ARL, studies have found that pet owners over the age of 65 (not quite me yet but soon) make 30 percent fewer visits to their doctors then those without pets.  From personal experience I know that pets ease loneliness, reduce stress, promote social interactions (check out our YAPPY HOURS and you will see Social Interactions at work!), encourage an active lifestyle  (definitely gets you out of the house) and provide you with unconditional love.

Getting a pet and especially adopting one can help you live longer - so why  not give it a try - and save another life while you are at it. Make your life more purposeful, too.  Medical studies have shown that pet ownership appears to reduce the risk of heart disease. Pets can add structure and purpose to your life - and they respond by showing their appreciation with an abundance of affection - this is especially true with adopted/rescue dogs/cat once they have their new FOREVER HOME.

Of course you need to find a pet that best meets your needs - Check out the various Shelters, Rescue organizations and online services.  Do your homework and you will be well rewarded in more ways then you could have ever imagined.

LINKS - just too name a few
Animal Rescue League of Boston
MSPCA - Angell Memorial
Sterling Animal Shelter
Shultz's Guest House
Northeast Animal Shelter