How to Calm Your Pet During a Storm

How to Calm Your Pet During a Storm

Hiding under the bed…shaking uncontrollably…pacing, panting, trembling …when your fur baby is frantic during a thunderstorm, it can be stressful for the both of you….

What makes your pet extra anxious during a storm and how can you help them cope? Let’s find out.

What makes my pet anxious?

Our pets’ hearing is far more sensitive than ours. That means our fur babies can hear a storm coming long before we do, and when it arrives, thunder is much louder to them than it is to us. When they hear loud noises, they react as if there is danger. When unsure of the location of the noise, a pet’s natural instinct is to seek a safe place.

Loud noises aren’t the only scary thing about storms. Storms can produce static electricity, which can run through a pet’s fur, creating uncomfortable feelings and even painful shocks if they come in contact with metal.

Some breeds are more likely to have storm anxiety. These include dog breeds like Australian Shepherds with double coats, and cats with long fur. In addition, dogs and cats who are naturally fearful, have separation anxiety, or hesitation around people are also more likely to be anxious about storms.


What are the signs of anxiety?

Pets show anxiety in many ways. Here are just a few of the signs you may notice:

    • Drooling, panting, trembling, and ears back
    • Hiding or trying to fit into tight spaces
    • Moving close to a favorite person
    • Whining, barking, pacing
    • Scratching and acting out destructively


How can I help my pet?

Don’t worry, there are ways that you can calm your anxious pet the next time the thunder booms. Try to intervene early before the storm is in full swing. Reassure your fur baby in a low calm voice. High-pitched voices can cause our fur babies to panic. Plan to stay home with him or her, or ask someone else to do so. (An anxious pet left alone can cause some damage.)

Here’s what else you can do.


1. Set up a calming environment.
Pets sometimes seek shelter under your bed or in a closet. They feel safer in an enclosed space.

    • Pay attention to where your dog or cat likes to go during a thunderstorm, and start with that space to set up a calming environment.
    • If your dog is crate trained, you can set up its crate in the most soundproof room of the home.
    • Try an interior room without windows so that your pet won’t see the flashes of lightning.
    • Many pets stay away from carpets and fabric, due to the effect of static. Consider a space such as a bathroom. Your pet may even prefer to sleep in the tub.
    • Leave the light and tv on so that the flashes of lightning and cracks of thunder are less noticeable. Close the blinds and drapes.


2. Distract and/or desensitize your pet.
If your pet isn’t too frantic, you may be able to distract him or her. Try any of the strategies below, and keep in mind that in between storms, you can work to desensitize pets to help them manage their future stress.

    • Choose interactive toys. Play a game of indoor fetch or tug-of-war.
    • Consider a high-value chew or a treat. Just make sure you’re not treating your pet every time he or she seems fearful or you are rewarding this behavior.
    • Licking is a way for dogs and cats to calm themselves. Try giving your fur baby a licking pad with their favorite wet food or soft treat.
    • Try giving your pet a calming massage.
    • Desensitize your dog for future storms. Play a thunderstorm soundtrack on a low volume while giving your pet high-value treats and positive interactions. Over several weeks, gradually increase the volume. This can help lessen or even eliminate thunderstorm anxiety.


3. Try natural therapies.
There are several natural ways that you can help reduce the stress of a thunderstorm for your pet.

    • If your pet’s anxiety is tied to static electricity in his or her fur, try a dryer sheet. Rub the sheet gently along your pet’s fur to cut down on the static. Choose an unscented brand, and do not let your fur baby chew or play with it.
    • Try a thunder jacket. This type of pet clothing holds your pet snugly and helps them feel safe and secure. You can make your own with a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Put it over your dog’s head with the front/pattern across his/her back. Put the dog’s front legs through the armholes. Tie up any looseness toward the dog’s rump.
    • Set up a white noise sound machine or play calming music.
    • Add a soothing scent, such as a few drops of lavender oil on a cotton ball. Or try a dog or cat pheromone spray or collar that can help them to relax.


4. If all else fails, try prescription therapy.
In some cases, medication is needed to help keep your fur baby calm. You can try calming treats available at your local pet store or talk to your vet about whether your dog or cat is a candidate for an anxiety prescription.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

The Dangers of Ice Melt to Pets

The Dangers of Ice Melt to Pets

For many of us, winter weather means it’s time to put down that layer of salt. After all, you don’t want to hurt yourself or be liable if anyone slips on your sidewalk!

Ironically, in your effort to keep everyone safe, you might be endangering the very ones you want to protect. That’s because ice melt is dangerous for pets. And it’s not just the ice melt on your property. Ice melt that is universally used on roadways and walking paths is usually not pet-friendly and can cause serious harm and even death.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your pets safe this snowy season.


Know the chemicals.

Ice melt is made up of chemicals like sodium chloride (the same as table salt) and calcium salts (calcium carbonate, calcium magnesium acetate, and calcium chloride). Sometimes it also contains potassium chloride, magnesium chloride and/or urea (carbonyl diamide). These chemicals lower the freezing point for water, causing the ice to melt and turn to slush. In addition to having an effect on ice, they also cause damage to concrete, cement, soil, and water, as well as plants and animals.

That’s where your pet comes in. It may be tempting for your dog or cat to sniff around at ice melt because of its salty taste. Or they may walk on it and get it on their paws, and then lick it off. But even table salt is dangerous for them in large quantities.

If ingested, ice melt can cause anything from mild indigestion to severe vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, and even death. Just 4 g/kg of sodium chloride can be deadly, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. According to Pet MD, ethylene glycol-based ice melts contain the same active ingredient as antifreeze. They are deadly if ingested. Calcium chloride also can cause mouth ulcerations and irritation.  So, what do you need to look out for in your pet? An abnormally high body temperature, a racing heart, and rapid breathing are all signs of elevated blood sodium levels. Keep reading for more signs and symptoms.

Ice melt is also a skin irritant. It can cause irritation, dryness, and even burns on your fur babies’ paws or between their pads. If they scratch or rub their face, the ice melt can get in their eyes. If a small piece of salt makes its way in between your pet’s pads, it can be highly uncomfortable and have a chance of being swallowed.

If you’re thinking you can just check the package and make sure these ingredients are not listed, think again. Unfortunately, not all ice melt packages provide a full list of ingredients.



Are there any ice melts that are safe for pets?

You can buy ice melts that are labeled ‘safe for pets’, but even these are not completely safe, according to the Pet Poison Helpline. They are simply safer options. If ingested, they can still cause gastric distress. Also, while safe for dogs, ice melt with propylene glycol can be damaging to cats’ red blood cells, according to PetMD.

Products safe for pets usually are urea-based. They are some of the safest options for dogs and cats, but if you have goats or cows, beware. Urea can cause ammonia toxicosis in animals that have that type of digestive tract.


How to Prevent Exposure

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keeping your pet away from dangerous ice melts is your first defense.

    • Avoid areas that are slushy or where it looks like ice melt has been applied.
    • Don’t let pets sniff or eat road salt, ice melt, etc.
    • Don’t let pets run and play in an area that looks like it has been treated with ice melt.
    • Wipe your pet’s paws with a damp cloth to remove any ice melt as soon as you come in from outside. This way, your fur baby won’t accidentally ingest it when licking his/her paws.
    • Store the ice melt package far out of reach of curious pets.
    • If you want to protect your fur baby’s paws, consider paw wax or doggie booties.
    • Instead of ice melt, try products intended to provide traction, such as sand, gravel, kitty litter, and wood ash.



Watch for these signs and symptoms.

Keep a close eye on your fur baby, If you notice him/her walking gingerly or licking his/her paws, there could be a problem. Also, look for these signs of possible exposure to ice melt:

    • Skin irritation/burns
    • Mouth ulcers
    • Increased urination
    • Excessive drooling
    • Nausea/gastrointestinal upset/vomiting
    • Body and muscle weakness
    • Seizures

Call your veterinarian right away if you believe your pet has ingested ice melt and is exhibiting symptoms. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also is available 24/7 to answer your questions. A consultation fee may apply.

Pet health insurance can help cover the costs if anything should happen to your fur baby. Make sure you are fully covered in event of an emergency.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


Dogs and Carpets 101

Dogs and Carpets 101

You came home to a rug that’s been chewed to shreds and a mess on the carpet—again. Now your house is smelling (and looking) a bit like a kennel… You love your dog, so you’re thinking it may be time to scrap the carpet altogether.  

But think twice before you make any rash decisions. Carpets have so many advantages for your home! They muffle noise. Dogs won’t slip and slide on them like they can on hard surfaces. You also don’t have to worry about their claws scratching your hardwood floor. Plus, carpets are a soft place for your feet and for their paws. 

The good news is that dogs and carpets can actually coexist nicely. Here’s what you need to know.


Choose the right carpet. 

Not all carpets are the same when it comes to protecting against pet stains and messes. Look for carpets made of nylon, wool, or a material known as olefin. The most popular option, nylon is durable and easy to clean. It also has built-in stain resistance. Wool, the more expensive option, has some natural stain resistance but cannot be treated with a stain-resistant coating. Olefin was originally used in outdoor carpets but has been engineered to have more of the feel of wool. It’s made from plastic fibers, is easy to clean, and repels moisture. 


Take care of new messes right away.

Cleaning up after your pet is part of being a responsible pet owner. The best way to keep your carpet from staining is to address your pet’s accidents right away. If you use a store-bought cleaner, choose one with a neutral pH to help remove the acidity of your pet’s urine. You can also make your own cleaning solution from vinegar, baking soda, and water. Here are two natural methods for cleaning up pet urine on carpet. 

Method #1

    • Place a thick layer of paper towels over the wet spot. 
    • Cover the towels with layers of newspaper. 
    • Stand on the newspaper for a few minutes for it to absorb the urine.  
    • Remove the paper and paper towels and dispose of them.
    • Rinse the area with cool water. 
    • Blot up the water with towels. If you have a wet vac, you can use that instead.
    • Once most of the liquid is blotted, spread baking soda over it. Use ¼ cup or less. (Note that large amounts of baking soda are toxic to dogs so keep your fur baby away.)
    • Let the mixture sit overnight and then vacuum the spot thoroughly the next morning. The area should feel clean to the touch. 


Method #2

    • In a clear spray bottle, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it up.
    • Spray the mixture on the stain. 
    • Let it sit for a few minutes and then blot it with a towel until clean.

You can use these methods for other pet messes such as vomit or poop. Remove the vomit or feces before treating the carpet, being careful not to embed it in the carpet fibers. Act quickly; the acid in vomit can quickly discolor your carpet.


Take care of old stains, too.

Old urine stains can cause a lingering odor in your home. You can take care of these stains in several ways. One way is to use an enzymatic cleanser that breaks down the stain at the molecular level. You can find these cleansers at pet stores. Another way is to rinse the area thoroughly with water, then use a wet-dry vacuum to clean it up. Importantly, do not use a steam cleaner. The heat can set the odor and stain permanently. 

Not sure where the stains are? A blacklight can help you find them. The wavelengths of blacklight cause the proteins in urine to glow.


Add a carpet runner to high-traffic areas.

Consider a carpet runner or area rug over your wall-to-wall carpeting for an extra barrier. Place it in high-traffic areas or where your dog commonly goes. Carpet runners and area rugs may be picked up and cleaned, and more easily replaced, if needed.


Clean their paws and clean your carpet.

There’s a lot of preventive care that you can take to keep your carpets clean. Start by wiping and drying your dog’s paws when your fur baby comes in from outside—especially on rainy, snowy, or muddy days. Then, take care of your carpet by vacuuming regularly and shampooing your carpet every 12 months to remove dirt, grime, and allergens. You can schedule a professional carpet cleaning or do it yourself.


Train your pet.

When you adopted your pet, you made the commitment to stick with them through the good and the bad. Oftentimes bad behavior like going to the bathroom on the carpet can be un-trained. You can do this by kennel training when you are gone or using a reward method when they go outside. If you need help, talk to your pet’s veterinarian for ways you can teach your pet to unlearn these behaviors or find a local trainer! You may think you are doing them a favor by not disciplining them when they make a mess or start chewing on furniture, but really you are getting in the way of the great pet they have the potential of becoming- by not letting them learn that these behaviors are ‘bad’.   

Keep in mind the age of your pet plays a factor. A puppy or an older dog may need extra attention and may have more accidents than a dog in its prime. 

Does homeowner’s insurance cover damage from your pets?

Unfortunately, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance both do not cover the damage your pet does to your carpet—or to any of your personal property. Take note that even your carpet warranty probably does not cover pet damage. If your pet, however, gets loose and damages property at your neighbor’s, the liability coverage in your homeowner’s policy may kick in and cover some of the costs. 


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Easy Pet Treat Recipes

Easy Pet Treat Recipes

We love to treat our pets! Whether it’s a taste of chicken or a hearty scoop of peanut butter, special treats show them how much we care. Plus, we don’t have to be experts in the kitchen for our pets to think we are the world’s best chefs. 

There are so many benefits to creating our own homemade treats for our pets. We know the ingredients. There are no chemicals or preservatives. We can adjust the portion size. And we can have peace of mind, knowing that it’s a healthy treat that also is entirely safe for our fur (and fur-less) babies. As a bonus, these treats make great gifts and could become a new holiday tradition.

It doesn’t have to be time-consuming to make homemade pet treats. We’ve put together a collection of some easy and quick recipes for dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and reptiles. Each recipe is linked for your convenience. Enjoy!



Pumpkin Carrot Bites

(10-minute prep, 30-35-minute bake time)

With fall flavors like pumpkin and carrots, this tasty treat is perfect for the holiday season. You can put them out for your dog as your family enjoys the human variety of treats. It’s quickly prepared but you can reduce your prep time even more by buying pre-shredded carrots.

Salmon and Sweet Potato Brownies

(20-minute prep, 70-minute bake – plus an additional hour to bake the sweet potato initially)

This treat combines canned salmon with a baked sweet potato for a soft-baked treat. While it’s more time-consuming than other recipes due to bake times, it’s easy to prepare and the results are worth it.

Diabetic Dog Treats

(5-minute prep, 15-minute bake time)

Your dog doesn’t have to be diabetic to enjoy this treat, which features a reduced amount of sugar. This recipe uses beef liver as its base, but you can substitute baby food (in a meat flavor). Scroll through the comments at the recipe link and you will see ideas for other adjustments. 

Gluten-Free Vegan Biscuits 

(10-minute prep, 30-minute bake time)

Make these treats with just 3 ingredients: oat or rice flour, peanut butter, and bananas. These biscuits are a great grain-free option and may be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure that the peanut butter you choose does not contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs. 



Salmon Cat Treats

(10-minute prep, 20-minute bake time)

With just 3 ingredients, it couldn’t get easier to make this fishy treat. You could substitute tuna for canned salmon to change it up. Use a tiny fish cookie cutter to make these into ones that look just like the popular human goldfish snack.

Cheesy Cat Treats

(10-minute prep, 25-minute bake time)

Packed with dairy and protein, these cheesy crackers feature cheddar, parmesan, and plain yogurt. For a festive spin on this treat, use a cat-inspired cookie cutter.

Tuna Puffs

(15-minute prep, 15-minute bake time)

These fun treats use only a few ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: canned tuna, flour, and egg. The recipe specifies the size and width so that the dough puffs up nicely in the oven.

Treats for Cats with Sensitive Stomachs

(10-minute prep, 60-minute bake time)

This tasty treat uses just three ingredients: rice flour, pureed turkey, and pureed peas. Substitute organic baby food for the turkey meat; it works just as well and may be easier than doing your own pureeing. The recipe also has ideas for changing it up—with different proteins and vegetables.



Bird Seed Cookies 

(5-minute prep, 15-minute bake time)

Combine almonds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, and flour with some olive oil and an egg, and shape into cookies. Then bake. The beauty of this recipe is its flexibility. Make it as directed or switch out ingredients based on your bird’s preferences. 

Birdie Sorbet

(5-minute prep, then freeze)

Birds love fruit and this treat can feature their favorites: blueberries, raspberries, bananas, mango, and more. Simply puree, add water, and freeze in ice cube trays. Mix in seeds, dried fruit, or try a version with squash or snap peas.

Sweet Potato Bird Balls

(20-minute prep, 5 to 10-minute cook plus an additional 15 minutes)

This no-bake recipe features fresh fruits and vegetables that are nutritious along with cereal that provides a nice crunch. The recipe makes a lot, but they store well in the freezer.



Banana Biscuits

(10-minute prep, 20-minute bake time plus 30 minutes)

This oatmeal, banana, and carrot treat includes rabbit dry food hidden in the biscuit. That makes it not only delicious but nutritious. Make sure you have plastic wrap or a silicone mat to roll out the dough. Flour is not safe for rabbits so you can’t use that to keep the dough from sticking.

Pumpkin Treats

(10-minute prep, 15-minute bake time)

With pumpkin, apples, and oats, this is the perfect fall recipe. If you don’t want to buy dried apples, you can make your own. Just slice an apple into thin pieces and bake in a 200-degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour or an hour and a half.

Frozen Bunny Treats

(15-minute prep, then freeze)

This no-bake recipe combines banana, apple, and peanut butter into a delicious ball with an almond on top. Keep them in the freezer and pull them out whenever you want to give your bunny a special treat.



Pumpkin Pie

(10-minute prep and serve)

This reptile version of the classic Thanksgiving dessert features nutritious pellets as its base. Add to it some pureed pumpkin or butternut squash, garnish with cranberries and you’ve got a holiday favorite.

Stuffed Sweet Potato

(20-minute prep and serve; additional time to bake the sweet potato if not already cooked)

If you’re making sweet potatoes for your holiday meal, put aside a baked one for your favorite reptile. Chop up the fruit and veggies, add some pellets, and voila, you have a colorful meal that is Instagram-worthy!

Gecko Smoothie

(10-minute prep and serve)

Blend up your pet’s favorite seasonal fruit with a can of peaches and plain yogurt, and you have a wonderful treat. You can even add dusted bugs or nutritional supplements. Best of all, you can store leftovers in an ice cube tray in your freezer.

There are a lot of great recipes out there for pets. If we missed one of your favorites, please share it in the comments!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

9 Famous Pets You NEED to Check Out!

9 Famous Pets You NEED to Check Out!

April 11th is National Pet Day!

Is there a better way to celebrate than snuggling your own pet and scrolling through some cute videos and photos together? No, we didn’t think so. That’s why we are sharing a list of our favorite famous pets on the internet for your viewing pleasure.

These pets CATapulted into fame online and we (and millions of others) are soaking up every minute of it. Here are our 9 favorite four-legged internet stars you need to check out.



1. Jiffpom – A Pomeranian melting hearts all over the world. 




2. Nala – With those blue eyes, how could this cat not be destined for stardom?  




3. Mr. Pokee – For all of us who have forgotten how ridiculously cute hedgehogs are. 




4. Esther the Wonder Pig – Her name says it all, really…  




5. Juniper & Friends – Adventures of a fox and her friends (fellow rescued exotics). 




6. Loki – A wolfdog and silly adventurer.




7. Maru – The feline famous for fitting himself into any – ANY – sized/shaped box or container. Guinness record holder for most YouTube video views of an individual animal. 




8. Doug the Pug – Self-proclaimed “King of Pop Culture.”




9. Whiskey and Lulu – Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mini horse and mini donkey were central in his coronavirus PSA at the start of the pandemic. While they may not have their own account you can find them on Arnold’s Instagram here.


Happy viewing and happy National Pet Day!


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

Flea & Tick Prevention – Your Pets, Home, & Yard

Flea & Tick Prevention – Your Pets, Home, & Yard

The new blooms and foliage that herald the beginning of spring also bring one of its worst offenders: fleas and ticks. A headache for pet owners every year, keeping these pests in check requires a three-pronged approach focusing on your pet(s), your house, and the natural space around your home. Use the strategies below to prevent misery for your pets and an infestation inside your home.


flea prevention


Protect Your Pets

Protecting your pet takes a little research, communication with your vet, and a disciplined care and grooming routine.

    • Talk to your vet and go with the flea and tick control product they think is best for your pet. There are lots of options, including topical treatments, pills, shampoos, and collars. If you live someplace with lots of sunny and/or humid days, also ask about sun + bug repellant products.
    • For dog or cat? Double-check with your vet – or if buying off the shelf, read the label – to make sure the product is meant for the pet you’re buying it for. Some products are made only for canines or felines and others can be used on either (but require different dosages).
    • Do a daily flea/tick check, especially during the height of the season or if your pet’s been in or around grasses, shrubs, and bushes.
    • Groom them regularly and use a flea comb. Check for flea feces and dried blood, which tells you there’s a problem.
    • If you have more than one dog, treat them all at the same time so they’re on the same schedule – and your life’s made a little easier!



flea prevention


Protect Your Home

To avoid the nightmare scenario of flea shampooing your carpets or fumigating your home, prevent the bugs from getting comfy in your house (or getting in in the first place).

    • Regularly wash all animal beds and soft toys on hot water and heat dry.
    • Vacuum at least weekly to get rid of or prevent eggs, larvae, and adults. Be sure to hit sofas and carpets as well as crevices at the walls and baseboards. If you’re seeing an uptick (pun intended!) in pest sightings, vacuum daily instead of weekly – then empty the vacuum outside.
    • Keep pets indoors more often, especially when ticks and fleas are really bad. Going in and out multiple times a day increases the chances they’ll bring bugs home. Walking on a leash and away from grasses is fine to get them exercise without exposing them too much.
    • Trim trees and high shrubs that might provide a pathway for rodents and other critters to crawl into your attic. Wherever there are critters, there are fleas and ticks. Spring trimming keeps this to a minimum.
    • Seal off any openings to the garage, basement, attic, sheds, or under decks where pests might nest and attract bugs.


flea prevention

Protect Your Yard

A few smart actions in your front and back yards can significantly limit the bugs that get on your pets or make it into your home.

    • Keep your lawn mowed and grass/weeds as short as possible.
    • Rake up and compost leaves near your home so as to reduce leaf litter that bugs breed in. If you have acreage, try to leave the litter beyond a safe perimeter so that migrating or local birds have access to food (i.e. – the bugs that make home in the leaf litter).
    • Maintain a perimeter of gravel or woodchips 3 feet from the house.
    • Stack firewood in a dry area so that rodents – and hitchhiking fleas and ticks – are kept in check.
    • Remove any old furniture, debris, or other trash that provides nesting spots for bugs.
    • Try tick control tubes. These hold permethrin-treated cotton, and the idea is that mice steal the cotton to make nests – which then kill the fleas.
    • Consider a spray as last resort for your yard. However, do your research as many sprays will kill pollinators and all add chemicals to your yard. Go for something natural if possible and use it in conjunction with prevention measures.


The three-pronged approach above should keep your pets pest-free and your home healthy and safe. A little extra attention to prevention measures goes a long way toward a relaxing, beautiful springtime.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


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