13 Spook-Free Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids & Pets Safe this Halloween

Halloween is full of tricks, treats, ghoulish games, frightening frocks, cute costumes, glowing Jack O’ Lanterns, pumpkin packed parties, and of course spookiness! Unfortunately, all of the frightening fun has dangers lurking behind them. Whether you are a parent of two-legged loved ones or four-legged furry loved ones, it is critical to be aware of the true spookiness that is hiding behind all the ghostly fun. So I called upon two experts that have simple tips for a safe, scare-free Halloween to keep your children and pets safe.

First up are the experts in keeping your little pumpkins safe. They may have “boo” in their name, but there is nothing scary about Boo Boo Busters. As a leading professional childproofing service they know a thing or two about keeping your kids safe. Following, are Halloween safety tips for your pets from Dr. Anthony George, doctor of veterinary medicine and certified veterinary acupuncturist. He has been taking care of all kinds of pets for over 20 years and his tips are sure to keep you furry friends from howling at the moon.

Kid Halloween Safety Tips

1) Choking Hazards

As a good rule of thumb, a choking hazard could be considered as anything that can pass through a cardboard toilet paper roll holder unobstructed. So, taking that into consideration, look closely at all the items that you are putting out to display. From bats and ghosts to pumpkins you roast. Hazards lurk everywhere!

2) Flashlights

Child safe flashlights should have a child safe battery door on them that is secured by a screw to prevent removal of the battery, thus preventing a choking hazard. Use flashlights or electric candles to light up your pumpkin too, flames and kids don’t mix.

3) Halloween Lights

Look for Halloween light strings that have tamper resistant bulbs that can’t be removed easily and remember cords pose a strangulation hazard. All cords should be kept short and tight. Consider taking the excess that you might leave hanging and bind it up with a zip tie.

4) Pumpkin Carving

Remember to only use child safe cutting tools while carving pumpkins, even as an adult. Kids learn by watching you, so if you use real knives you must know that they will want to do the same. As soon as you turn around to grab something you forgot… little hands wander.

5) Costumes

As a kid it’s mandatory to dress up. Our job is to make sure dress up is safe. Costumes should never obstruct movement, never cause visual impairment and never pose a trip hazard. Stick to material that is form fitting. If it’s loose, baggy or long it could create a trip hazard. Avoid masks that can impair vision. Face painting is the safest mask.

6) Glow at Night

Make sure your child’s costume is visible or is is equipped with something that makes them visible. Glow sticks are great and kids love them, but remember, never hang anything around their little necks unless you are using a child safe breakaway lanyard. A couple glow sticks secured to shoes can be seen from a long way away. Flashlights are a good addition as well.

7) Halloween Treats

Remember to make sure you go through and check all the candy that you are keeping. The candy should be in name brand with sealed packages. For candy bars, be sure you cut them into small pieces that are easy to chew. This also helps to ensure it hasn’t been tampered with. Unfortunately, ghouls are sometimes disguised as regular people.

Pet Halloween Safety Tips

1) Pet Costumes

Yes, your pet looks absolutely adorable in that costume! Keep in mind, your fuzzy family member might not be as thrilled with the outfit. Feel free to get that amazing photo, but respect the fact that your pet may want to get out of those duds as soon as possible. Make sure the outfit is comfortable, and pay special attention to straps that may impinge upon the neck and areas where the extremities meet the body. Never leave a pet unaccompanied in a costume to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions!”

2) NO chocolate

Most people know chocolate is toxic to their pets. Chocolate contains methyl xanthine, which can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from stomach upset to tremors, hyperthermia and seizures. At high doses, chocolate can lead to collapse and even death. Generally speaking, the darker and more concentrated the chocolate, the more dangerous it can be. There are helpful charts available (for instance, petMD.com) that can tell you what doses are dangerous for your pooch. If in doubt, always best to contact your veterinarian to see if treatment is indicated.

3) Sugar Free Danger

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found commonly in sugar-free gum as well as other products, can be extremely toxic to dogs. When ingested, it can cause a significant release of insulin, which can lead to extremely low blood sugars. At high doses, it can also lead to liver failure. If your pup has ingested this substance, always best to contact your veterinarian as your pet may likely need treatment and supportive care.

4) Healthy Treat Dangers

If you’re offering healthy alternatives this Halloween, keep in mind that grapes and raisins can be extremely toxic to dogs. Some pets are more sensitive than others. In some animals, the toxin can lead to stomach upset initially, followed by kidney failure within 24 hours. It is always prudent to contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested these substances.

5) Burning Jack O’ Lanterns

Flames and Fur don’t mix. Just as you do for kids safety, consider replacing that Jack-O-Lantern candle with a flickering LED light.

6) Trick-or-Treating

During trick-or-treating it is best to keep your pet inside, safe from all of the scary costumes, noises and lights that might frighten your pooch or feline. You might even want to consider locking your sweet little pal in a room so they don’t get spooked and run out the door when your trick or treaters arrive.

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

Image via http://unityanimalhospital.com

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10 Things You Need To Know Before Moving With Pets

By Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

Moving? Let’s be honest, moving is stressful. But, imagine if you can’t read, understand all of the chatter around you and all you see is the chaos of boxes, your home in an upheaval and stressed out humans everywhere. Sounds even more stressful, right? That’s why it is vital to look after your furry friends during the moving process.

Moving doesn’t have to be a dog-gone cat-astrophy. The good news is that with a paw-ful of wise tips you can ease their trauma. Here are ten tricks that have been approved by Dr. Sara Sheltren, veterinarian at the East Padden Animal Hospital, in Vancouver, Washington to keep Fluffy and Fido cared for during the moving process:

  1. Before Moving Day: Become familiar with pet rules and regulations. Landlords and homeowners’ associations may have specific pet rules. Become familiar with your new area’s leash laws, pet ordinances and/or pet licensing requirements. Your pet may need additional vaccinations, medications or certain certificates depending on where you are moving. A call to the local animal control facility should answer your questions.
  2. Talk To Your Current Vet:Your veterinarian is a great resource. If you have an animal that dislikes traveling, your vet can suggest behavior modification techniques or medication that can make traveling less stressful for your pet. When talking to your vet, also discuss getting Fluffy or Fido micro-chipped. Dr. Sara Sheltren, a veterinarian at the East Padden Animal Hospital says getting pets’ identification microchips can be a vital step in reuniting pets with their owners.
  3. Find A New Vet: Find a new vet in your new area before moving day. Your current vet may be able to make recommendations for colleagues he or she knows in your new area. When finding a new vet, it is recommended to set up an appointment as soon as you move in order to get established. It always important to make sure you are comfortable with their practice before they are needed in an emergency.
  4. Get Medical Records: Before you leave your old home, make sure you get a copy of all of your pet’s medical records to give to your new vet and be sure to find the closest emergency animal hospital and keep that phone number handy.
  5. Update Your Address: Don’t forget to have new identification tags with your new address and phone number made for your pet’s collar, and if your pet has an identification microchip, remember to update your contact information in the database. Dr. Sheltren also recommends carrying a picture of your pet with you in case they get lost.
  6. Keep Things Normal:Instead of pulling an all-nighter to pack, try to pack over a long period of time so that your pet thinks everything is normal. This will keep their stress level down. If you are moving with cats, it can help to bring out their carriers out a few a weeks before the move. Put their favorite treats and toys inside their carriers so they can get used to it before the big moving day. Don’t pack the food away! Keep your pet’s food, water, bowls, medication and any other important supplies (like that favorite squeaky toy) off the moving truck and with you.
  7. Moving Day: During the actual moving day, where boxes and furniture are being moved, pets should be removed. Find a friend who wouldn’t mind pet sitting or find a place away from all the noise of moving such as a doggy day care or cat care center. If you can visit them during a spare moment, it can help reassure the pets that nothing is going on.Keeping pets locked away in a room during moving day can make them anxious from all the noise and new people that might be in your home. If you must keep them locked away, find a quiet room, water bowl and put a HUGE sign on the door.
  8. Travel with Your Pet:Unless your move is long distance or international, your pet will likely be traveling by car with you nearby. By driving them yourself you can care for them and give them a sense of familiarity as they move. To prepare your pet for this trip, drive for short distances with your pet to prepare them before the final move. Also, remember to plan ahead for any special carriers your pets may need for transportation. There are even special seat belts for large dogs.
  9. Air Travel: If you are moving your pet by air or internationally, check all rules and regulations far ahead of the day you plan to leave and remember to keep your pet’s special documentation at hand.
  10. After Moving Day: Don’t let pets roam around the neighborhood until they are acclimated. Take them out on a leash to explore their new territory and show them how to get home. If you let them out in a new place right away, they might get lost or run away due to stress. Make sure your pet’s new identification tags are secured to their collar.

Now snuggle up with your furry friend and enjoy the new home!

 

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services. www.northstarmoving.com

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DIY: Installing a Pet Door

If you have a pet, you probably know the little story called “In. Out. Repeat.” Want to stop playing doorman for your dog or cat? Maybe it’s time to consider installing a pet door in your home. Here are a few things to think about before taking on this pet project.

Start outside
Before you start doing any research on pet doors, you’ll first need to address what your pet will do with his new-found freedom. Does your dog or cat have a tendency to run away? Do you live on a busy street? Will your neighbors mind if your pet is outside unattended? Keep all of these things in mind before installing a free pass to the outdoors. Whether you opt for a physical fence or an invisible one, a barrier will give you piece of mind that your furry friend won’t get lost or hurt.

Choose the Right Door
Now that we know your pet will be safe once he gets outside, let’s discuss what kind of pet door is right for you. Just as there are many things to consider when choosing a front door for your home, there are plenty of elements to consider when selecting a pet door. A pet door can be installed in the wall, storm/screen door, garage door or sliding glass door. Cost of installation and complexity of the project varies with each, with storm door installation being the most cost-effective.

You’ll need to take your pet’s measurements before making your door selection. Consider that your pet will duck his head when entering and exiting, so you’ll want to find a door that is slightly taller than your pet’s shoulder height and at least two inches wider than his body. Creating a mock door out of cardboard is an easy way to test your measurements.

Ready to install? Hire a professional, or follow this step-by-step guide from Lowe’s.

Consider Resale
Most “tips for resale” lists recommend removing anything that says “a pet has lived here,” but according to the Humane Society, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet in 2012. Needless to say, there is a large population out there that may appreciate the upgrade. That said, if you don’t want to commit to a permanent pet door, consider opting to install the pet door in your storm door or screen door, so it can easily be removed or replaced should you no longer need it.

For me, home isn’t home without a furry friend. It appears many agree, just check out some of these other pet-centric home upgrades.

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10 Cats Who Totally Rule Their Home

Cats are notorious for their sneaky but funny antics. In the war against doors, drawers, windows and more, it is clear they can’t be stopped. Here is a collection of cats that are totally dominating their homes.

“Oh that’s cute a baby gate. Hold on let me just hop over this.”

“I put the cat in cat burglar”

“Is there where my human hides my treats?”

“Actually I would prefer to be an indoor cat”

“Nice try but I guess you didn’t know I have the power to make my bones disappear”

“Well what did you expect with all those treats you have been feeding me?”

“Nothing like a good midnight snack. Whatcha got in there?

“I may seem lazy but I am actually a genius”

“Proof that Cats rule and Dogs Drool”

The post 10 Cats Who Totally Rule Their Home appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

10 Cats Who Totally Rule Their Home

Cats are notorious for their sneaky but funny antics. In the war against doors, drawers, windows and more, it is clear they can’t be stopped. Here is a collection of cats that are totally dominating their homes.

“Pfft you thought this simple drawer could stop me?”

“Oh that’s cute a baby gate. Hold on let me just hop over this.”

“I put the cat in cat burglar”

“Is there where my human hides my treats?”

“Actually I would prefer to be an indoor cat”

“Nice try but I guess you didn’t know I have the power to make my bones disappear”

“Well what did you expect with all those treats you have been feeding me?”

“Nothing like a good midnight snack. Whatcha got in there?

“I may seem lazy but I am actually a genius”

“Proof that Cats rule and Dogs Drool”

The post 10 Cats Who Totally Rule Their Home appeared first on Coldwell Banker Blue Matter.

Win $25,000 in the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube Contest

What’s more entertaining than seeing kids and pets on video? America’s Funniest Videos has made a living off of it. Now what’s better than winning $25,000? Not much. So why not combine these two great things into one amazing contest? Well that’s exactly what we’ve done with the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube contest.

From August 22, 2013 through September 22, 2013 you can submit a video to the Coldwell Banker YouTube channel (http://youtube.com/coldwellbanker). What we’re looking for is a tour of your home from the perspective of a child or pet or having them share what makes your house so special that it can be called home. Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes in length.

lifecameraaction Win $25,000 in the Coldwell Banker Life, Camera, Action YouTube Contest

When you submit a video you’ll then be able to vote for your video once a day, every day for the length of the contest. Share the videos with friends, relatives, and complete strangers to get as many votes as you can. On September 22nd when submissions close, the 10 videos with the most votes will be made finalists and have their videos reviewed by a panel of judges to determine who will be the $25,000 grand prize winner!

So dust off that camera or flip that smartphone on to video mode. Grab your kids, your dog, your fish or your ferret and start making a video. Who knows? It might just be worth $25,000.

For full contest details and to submit a video, go to youtube.com/coldwellbanker.

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How to Keep Pets Cool and Safe at Home in the Summer

Can you imagine sitting in your house wearing a fur coat on a 90 degree day? Sounds horrible right?

As the temperatures rise it is important to keep your pet(s) comfortable and healthy. The summer sun can cause pets to become overheated, dehydrated and if left outside, sunburned.

Here are a few tips for protecting your pet from the summer heat.

Give Them A Summer Haircut

Pets that have thick, long fur should be trimmed (not shaved) during warmer months. If your pet is anything like mine, then sunbathing is a favorite afternoon past time. Unfortunately this could lead to heat stroke if they aren’t properly groomed, reports Yahoo.

Keep Them Inside

You may think  you are doing them a favor by leaving them outside to catch the summer breeze but this could be a fatal mistake. According to Petfinder, even in the shade, a pet exposed to extreme heat and humidity is at risk for heatstroke. In addition to heatstroke, animals with shorter hair are also at risk for sunburn when left out in the sun. If you are outside in the sun with your pet, consider buying them Pet Suncreen.

Provide Plenty of Water

Water is likely to vaporize on extra hot days so providing one bowl may not be sufficient. Consider adding additional bowls in cooler spots of the house to ensure your pet stays hydrated. You may also want to add ice cubes to the water before you leave for work to keep the temperature of the water down.

Keep it Cool

Leaving the air conditioning on is the best way to keep your home cool while you are away. I know…some may be thinking no way, my electric bill will be through the roof! Unless you can leave your pet in a cool/shady place for the entire day, you should consider leaving the air conditioner on at a reasonable temperature. If this just isn’t a feasible option, you can help reduce the temperature in the house by keeping the curtains and window shades closed. Another option is leaving a fan on that they can lay near.

Plan for Power Outages
If you leave your dog home alone with the air conditioning on (and all the windows closed) while you’re at work all day, and you live in an area where brownouts or rolling blackouts occur during peak times of power usage, make sure a neighbor who will be at home has your house key, suggests Today. That way your neighbor can check on your dog and open all the windows if the power goes out.

Supervise Swim Time

I don’t know of many cats who enjoy swimming in the pool but I do know of plenty of dogs. If you have a pool in  your yard and a pooch who likes to take an occasional dip, ensure that swim time is always supervised. Be sure to teach your dog how to exit the pool safely or an unsupervised dip could end in tragedy.

By taking these preventive steps both you and your pet can enjoy a safe and fun summer together.

Image via PetMD

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

Here at Coldwell Banker, we know that pets are an integral part of what makes a house a home. I’m betting there’s at least one dog lover, cat person or owner of a hamster hotel on your holiday list this year so here are a few home gift ideas for the Animal Lover.

The Dog Throw Pillow

 dog pillow Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

Go ahead. Try and resist those puppy dog eyes. This pillow has everything you love about your dog just without the excess fur and bad breath. Available at PlowHearth.com for $29.95.

A Horse Lamp

  Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

I know i’ve often said to myself, “You know what this room needs? A horse lamp.” And now you can get one for someone you truly love because it’s going to cost you about $8,000. Available from TheFancy.com.

Lobster Bowl

  Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

This bowl looks like it will crawl right off your table but we’re pretty sure it won’t….mostly sure it won’t. A great conversation piece while also requiring the host to serve lobster. Available from SF Foster for a mere $4,500.

Hanging Fish Pod

hanging fish pod thumb 300x250 343 Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

Why shouldn’t a pet be part of a home’s decor? Way better than an ordinary plastic bowl, let the Animal Lover show off their favorite fishy friend with this hanging fish pod. Seen on Uncrate.com for $30.

Luxury Pet Bed

 luxury pet bed Holiday Home Gift Guide: The Animal Lover

Instead of having a pet on the master bed, why not let them lounge on their own sleep number bed? Why stop there? Let’s get them a headboard, some end tables and make their sleeping arrangements worthy of a Ritz Carlton. You can get one for $1,575 on Etsy.

Here’s to Pets

Meet Thor and Jager

“Here’s to pets…and all the things that make a house a home.”

Meet our big Blue Weimaraner, Thor (Nordic God of Thunder, his name when adopted),  and our Shorthaired Pointer pup, Jager (“hunter” in German).   They are two in a long line of dogs in my life since I was two years old, and they are an integral part of the value of our home for my wife and me.

Pets, whether they’re dogs, cats, or other, are special to so many of us and we couldn’t imagine a life without them.   Their unconditional affection, eternal forgiveness (at least with dogs… I’m not so convinced about cats…sorry cat owners, but I’ve been there, too), and ability to make the day’s stress  melt away with the wag of their tails renders them incredible companions and quasi therapists.

Now there are plenty of renters out there today with pets, but based on a recent experience I can once again confirm that pets and homeownership go together best.   When moving from Florida to New Jersey 18 months ago, we originally intended to build, so we purchased a home site and went looking for a house to lease during construction.   In search after search, whether online or in print, we were all too often faced with disappointing restrictions on pets.  Periodically we’d find a landlord who would allow a “small” dog with a larger deposit down, but small doesn’t apply when you have two dogs with a combined weight just shy of 200 pounds.

Although we finally found a house to rent, I believe Thor and Jager knew something wasn’t right.  This was temporary.  This wasn’t home.   We’re all creatures of routine, and relish our independence and privacy.   We all prefer to set down roots and bask in the familiar.

And we could learn a thing or two from our pets.   You see, over these last few years, they didn’t become obsessed with the latest newspaper articles on prices or ponder daily fluctuations in household equity.   They were just concerned about whether dinner would be on time and which one of them would get the prime sleeping spot in front of a sun drenched window.   A long-term perspective will eventually show they were the wiser.

Ultimately, we decided not to build, but instead purchased a charming older home on several acres where Thor and Jager can while away the hours scouting for anything furry that moves.   And at the end of the day, they can curl up in front of the fireplace with the assurance of knowing they are finally home again.  So can their dad…..

Take a look at the Coldwell Banker TV spot titled “Pets.”

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