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Paws Blog

An American Pet Boutique Who Had a Dream

Paws Pet Boutique in Annapolis, MD

As Memorial Day fast approaches and people are thinking forward to their summer plans, I find it's a good time to sit back and reflect on my country and my opportunities.

Back in 1999 I had a dream to start a small business that would offer my community a place to come together and celebrate relationships with our companion animals. My goal was to offer unique items for dogs, cats and people, while actively giving back to the community and animal charities. This 15+ year journey introduced me to so many amazing people, animals and organizations that are truly making a difference in this world for animals. I sit here grounded with gratitude for this opportunity, which brings me back to my country, the United States of America. 

Dog Mugs and Entertaining Animal Goods

Fortunately I grew up in an environment that allowed me the freedom to make my own choices and work hard for the things in which I believe. This freedom has shaped the decisions we make as a business. Much time and thought goes into selecting our products. You may have noticed that Paws pet boutique has a shopping category designated for U.S. Made Goods on our website. Perhaps you have visited our Annapolis shop and spotted the 'Made in America' stickers identifying many of our products. Yes, we make a concerted effort to offer U.S. made products from small businesses because many of these small businesses started with a dream just like mine. So when you buy one of our cat or dog coffee mugs, you are supporting an artist and her associates who create these whimsical pottery pieces. Or when you pick up a hemp mouse catnip toy and hemp-lined dog collar, you are supporting small businesses that are passionate about the environment and have chosen to offer eco-conscious products that use hemp fabric and organic catnip to reduce the use of pesticides. 

Unique Collars Made in USA

Our American made collar selection is extensive and we are proud to know we are supporting small businesses who work hard to beautifully sew our unique dog collars and leashes. Our paw jewelry is made locally as well as our dog cakes and hand-painted holiday balls. I could go on and on.

So as I reflect on where I've been and where I am with my small business, I know for sure we would not be here if it wasn't for our loyal customers and hard-working Paws team. I also know that supporting small businesses allows us to offer unique products and keep the dreams alive for many others. There is a reason so much time and thought goes into selecting the goods we offer at Paws pet boutique.

We will continue to work hard to listen to our customers and community and search out unique items for you to enjoy - all while supporting as many small, U.S. business as possible.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and every day we are given. Thank you for your support!

Identifying and Solving Pet Allergies

Seeing things growing and turning green is always refreshing until you realize it's also spring allergy season for many. We touched base with Dr. Marianne (Bailey) Holbein, the owner and veterinarian at Queenstown Veterinary Hospital in Queenstown Maryland, to learn more about pet allergies. If you are wondering "Why is my dog licking their paws or my cat licking their belly?", read on! Below you'll learn how to identify allergy symptoms in pets and how to make them more comfortable.

Q. Allergies seem to flare up for people in the spring. Is this a season pets also experience allergy issues?

Yes! Pets can suffer from seasonal allergies like we do. Dogs, cats and even horses with allergies to grasses and pollens may be especially uncomfortable this time of the year. Usually early spring is when the allergy season is the worst and it may continue until early to mid summer. Another term that veterinarians use for seasonal allergies in pets is atopy.

Q. What are some of the symptoms to watch for that would indicate my pet has allergies?

Unlike us, pets normally do not suffer with red, itchy eyes and sneezing but may show more signs of skin problems or digestive issues. Dogs will typically lick their paws excessively, scratch their sides or develop ear infections. Cats may rub their face or pull hair off of their belly. The inflammation of the skin can lead to excessive licking or chewing and a secondary skin infection. Some cats and dogs may also develop diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss as a result of the allergy. If you are noticing any of these changes, it is important to call your veterinarian immediately.

Q. What is the difference between seasonal and food allergies? Are the symptoms different?

The differences are the type of allergic response in the pet and the frequency that they affect the pet. With seasonal allergies, pets have a reaction to a pollen or other allergen that stimulates a histamine reaction. Histamine causes the skin to become inflamed and itchy. Food allergies are caused when the body reacts to a protein or other molecule in the food as it is digested. It can cause the same inflammatory reaction in the skin but can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and blood protein and electrolyte abnormalities.

Seasonal allergies may come and go throughout the year or have a cyclic pattern but food allergies are year round. Pets may develop either type of allergy at any age but most are over 1 year. Some pets may have seasonal allergies in the spring to grasses and pollens and then in the winter to molds which can be confusing because it seems like a year round infection. They are even finding that cats and dogs can be allergic to each other!

Some cats and dogs can have a terrible flea allergy. When they are bitten by a flea, the skin may experience an intense inflammatory reaction causing them to become very itchy and uncomfortable. Most cats and dogs will start biting and pulling the hair off the back legs and rear end. Secondary skin infections are very common with flea allergy dermatitis as well. Because of how similar these allergies may seem, a detailed history will be very important for your veterinarian to make the correct diagnosis.

Q. What are some things I can do to address my dog’s allergy issues?

The most important thing is to work with your veterinarian to determine if your pet has a food allergy, seasonal allergy or flea allergy. Once this is determined you can discuss treatment options. It is important that every cat and dog should be on monthly flea prevention.

Antihistamines can be given for seasonal allergies to decrease inflammation in the skin, resulting in less itching, scratching and licking. For pets with food allergies, your veterinarian can help recommend a diet that will eliminate possible allergens. Chicken and beef are the most common causes of food allergies but we are seeing cases where grains and corn cause a pet's skin to become inflamed. Your pet's treats should also be compliant with the diet. Sweet potato treats and peanut butter treats are normally good options for dogs.

Q. At what point do you advise seeking veterinarian assistance to address a pet’s allergy symptoms?

I usually ask you to rank your pet's skin problem on a scale of 1-10 in terms of "itchiness". Anytime you are getting close to or over a 5 it is time to discuss this with your veterinarian. You want to help your pet be as comfortable as possible and catch the problem before skin infections occur. Since some food allergies can also result in diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and blood protein and electrolyte abnormalities, it is important that we don't wait too long. During the annual vaccine appointment is a great time to discuss this with your veterinarian! 

Thanks to Dr. Holbein for this important information on cat and dog allergies! For more information, or to contact her, visit www.QueenstownVet.com or call 410-827-6776. Watch our Paws Blog for more helpful pet tips coming soon!

Pets and Plants Don't Always Mix

Plants are beautiful, but they don't always interact positively with our furry companions. We reached out to Dr. Marianne (Bailey) Holbein, the owner and veterinarian at Queenstown Veterinary Hospital in Queenstown Maryland, to learn more. Below you'll find which plants are toxic to dogs and what symptoms to watch for if your best friend decides to get too friendly with flowers.

Josh digging the earth by Black Eyed Susan flowers.

Q. What type of plants should we make sure our dogs steer clear of when we are enjoying time outside?

A. Spring is finally here and you and your dogs have more opportunities to be outside enjoying the weather! If you have a curious dog that likes to dig, make sure they don't dig up the bulbs to your plants. Most bulbs, including those for tulips and hyacinths, can cause irritation to the mouth, esophagus and stomach. If your dog eats these you may notice drooling, vomiting and diarrhea to weakness, in-coordination and seizures. Flower bulbs can be very toxic to dogs!

Ingestion of daffodils may cause similar signs but the flowers of these plants are much more toxic than others. The following plants may also cause oral irritation and similar symptoms: day lily, Easter cactus/lily/orchid, azalea, crocus, rhododendron and morning glory. Additionally, oak trees are common and produce acorns that can be extremely harmful. Acorn ingestion has been linked to acute kidney failure and possible death in dogs. 

Lastly, as you're working in your yard, be mindful of which fertilizers you are using. Ingestion of most fertilizers may cause mild oral irritation and vomiting but those containing disulfoton can be fatal. 

Q. What should you do if your dog ingests any of the bulbs, plants and acorns you mentioned?

A. If you suspect your pet has ingested any of these plants, try to identify the plant and call your veterinarian immediately. Since most of the plants cause gastrointestinal irritation, they will likely advise you to give hydrogen peroxide to cause vomiting and then recommend further supportive care possibly including fluid therapy, anti-nausea medications, bland diet, etc. If your veterinarian is unavailable, call the ASPCA Poison Hotline (888) 426-4435 or Pet Poison Hotline at 855-764-7661. You should not wait until your pet is showing signs of toxicity to make a phone call. 

Q. While we know we should avoid poison ivy, does it have a negative effect on dogs? Also, if my dog comes in contact with poison ivy can I realize symptoms if I pet him/her?

A. Exposure to poison ivy can result in a very itchy, inflamed dermatitis in people due to the uroshiol oils that are released by the plant. Most people will have an allergic reaction to these oils causing a rash of varying severity. Our pets however are immune to the oils and so if they come in contact with the plants, they do not have the same reaction. Their coats also provide an extra barrier to protect their skin but this barrier can be a vector to carry the oils. The uroshiol oil can travel on their fur and may subsequently expose you to poison ivy. If you think your pet has been in contact with poison ivy plants, make sure to give them a bath as soon as possible

Q. It’s always nice to bring cut flowers into a home. Are there certain flowers that can be harmful to cats or dogs if they eat or touch them?

Most flowers will cause irritation to the mouth, esophagus and stomach if ingested but flowering plants are very rarely lethal. So you should feel comfortable bringing in cut flowers into your house!

Our thanks go to Dr. Marianne Holbein for taking the time to share this valuable information to keep our pets safe. Now you can enjoy time with our pets outside and keep an eye out for those plants that are not so friendly to pets. For more information, or to contact her, visit www.QueenstownVet.com or call 410-827-6776. Watch our Paws Blog for more helpful pet tips coming soon!

$5 Coupons Thank Paws pet boutique Clients

$5 Coupons for PawsPetBoutique.comWe love dogs, cats and even their people! Over the last 15 or so years we've met so many amazing individuals and animals that have helped Paws stay on the map. Paws pet boutique's VIP Rewards Program is one small way of saying "Thank you". We are grateful.

In addition to giving back to animal charities, it only makes sense to give back to loyal clients. Paws Rewards Program is free to join and hassle free. Simply said, for every dollar you spend you receive a Paws point. Points are never reset to zero and when you reach 100 points you receive a $5 'thank you' coupon to use on your next purchase. 

Crab Dog Collars and Crab Cat Toys

It doesn't matter if you shop online or in the Annapolis storefront, the points accumulate under your name. So if you are looking for say crab dog collars or other unique dog collars, each time you buy a dog collar you also receive Paws points. It's like getting 5% back over time. Not to worry if you lose your coupon. Simply ask us to look it up for you and we are happy to apply your credit. Plus, if you receive Paws coupons in-store and want to use them for online shopping just let us know. We'll gladly create a coupon code for your next purchase on Paws website. Easy!

When we pack and ship your online orders we always include a note with the number of Paws points you have or the coupon code to use for your $5 coupon. If your order online is over $100, not only will you receive a $5 coupon but we'll ship it to you for free. If you are local to Annapolis, you can shop www.pawspetboutique.com and select pick-up at the store at no extra charge. We'll let you know when your order is ready for pick-up and run it out curb-side so you don't even have to park! 

Shop Unique Dog and Cat Supplies at PawsPetBoutique.com

We want our customers' experiences to be memorable and splendidly positive. If you have a suggestion on how to improve our service or have products you recommend, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Call us at 410-263-8683 or email us at earsup@pawspetboutique.com,

Thanks to all our clients who have helped make this small business dream possible for the last 16 years!

Celebrating Maryland Day

Maryland Flag Dog Magnets at PawsPetBoutique.com

Many love to celebrate Maryland pride, but do you know why and when Maryland Day began? 

The holiday marks the anniversary of when the first European settlers arrived in Maryland. The date was March 25,1634 when two ships, The Ark and The Dove, landed in what is now St. Mary's county. While the date began to be formally observed in 1903 to celebrate Maryland's history, it wasn't until 1916 when the State legislature authorized March 25 as "Maryland Day", a legal holiday. The Day continues to be a commemoration of the state's history and heritage.

While events to celebrate this history can be found across the state on and around Maryland Day, residents enjoy

Maryland Flag Leashes and Collars

celebrating their Maryland pride with spirit year round. The colorful and vibrant Maryland flag is artistically captured in prints, souvenirs and just about any type of apparel. The celebration 

http://www.pawspetboutique.com/light-blue-maryland-flag-crab-dog-leashes/

doesn't fall short when it comes to man's best friend. Historic Annapolis, Maryland's state capital, is always recognized as one of the most dog-friendly towns to live and visit. Dogs sport Maryland Flag collars and leashesChesapeake crab dog collars decorated with the Maryland flag and even nautical dog collars with boats sailing Maryland flag sails! When you can easily spot cars with dog-shaped Maryland flag magnets and stickers on their bumpers, it is fair to say the Marylanders' love of state...and dogs...runs deep.

So next time you see a Maryland flag or hear about the state's official holiday you'll have a taste of how it all started and know that appreciation continues to this day!

Benefits and Importance of Pet ID Tags

Stainless Steel Pet ID Tags with Removable Pet Tag Holder Help to Keep Your Pet Safe

We often hear "My cat is an 'inside cat' and my dog only goes out in our yard so they don't need ID tags". When fewer than 2% of lost cats and only 15-20% of lost dogs are ever returned to their guardians according to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, we beg to disagree.

When your dog or cat is wearing a permanent and visible form of ID it is their fastest ticket home. As we all know, our best friends cannot talk so this is their easiest form of communication if they are found away from home. Obviously multiple forms of ID increase the chances for reunion with your companion. If a pet loses his or her collar a pet microchip offers a backup communication lifeline. It's quick and easy to have done at your vet.

Have your heard these reasons/excuses as to why dogs and cats don't need pet IDs?

Neoprene Cat Collars are Lightweight and Hold Stainless Steel Pet ID Tags

My dog/cat doesn't like wearing a collar.

They lost their tags and I never replaced them.

I don't like the noise pet tags make and they wake me/my baby.

We live in the country and my dog has the run of the land.

We have answers!  Consider USA made hemp dog collars for a soft and natural option if you dog tends to find wearing a collar itchy. Stretchy neoprene cat collars are soft and super lightweight so your feline may not even notice they are wearing a collar! If you don't like the tag jingle noise, simply add a neoprene pet tag silencer pouch

If you change your companion's collar often, add a removable ID tag holder to your pet's identification tags. It will allow you to easily move ID tags from one collar to the another. If you need to replace your pet's tags, check out the stainless steel tags that don't rust or corrode at www.pawspetboutique.com. Shipping is free and they arrive engraved with your contact details within a week or so. It's simple to order!

Adding "please close the gate" signs or "please don't let the cat out" and "please don't let the dog out" signs to gates or doors are also helpful ways to inform visitors that your dogs and cats are not allowed out without supervision.

When it comes to your faithful companion, don't let these misconceptions or excuses stand in the way of giving your best friend the greatest chance possible in finding their way back to you. Acts of nature happen and pets simply do lose their way so please help to improve the statistics of dogs and cats being reunited with their families.

We hope your companion never finds themselves lost, but if they do you will be grateful to know you made that simple effort to insure they are wearing an up-to-date pet id tag. Make a tail wag and enjoy time with your best friend today.

Hats off to Animal Advocates Who Change the Numbers

As the numbers change with the start of a new year we can be filled with gratitude and hope. 

It's a perfect time to reflect on the past year with gratitude for what has happened and look forward with optimism for what can happen. For many of us it's a time to be thankful for all the work that has been done on behalf of animals. There are so many selfless 'every day' heroes who work as tremendous advocates for voiceless animals. People who pull animals from high-kill shelters, who foster companion animals lovingly in their homes, who work/volunteer at rescues and who adopt a rescued best friend are all making a difference. Additionally there are passionate individuals standing up for the voiceless through petitions, legislation and the legal system to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals now and in the future. Not to mention all the people who support the causes with donations so action can happen. It's a movement we support. 

Saving One Dog SignOne of our favorite signs we offer shares "Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever." We want to take a moment to thank all those who are involved in doing just that...whether it is a dog, cat, horse or orca. You are making a difference. 

Paws pet boutique makes it a priority to be involved with raising funds and awareness for the many wonderful groups who speak and act on behalf of the animals. We encourage everyone to be play a role in making a difference in an area that is important to them. Working toward making this world a brighter and better place will decrease the numbers of those in need. Those are numbers we like!

Be kind. Be real. Be good to animals.

Keep up with Paws pet boutique dog-friendly events and efforts that support animal advocacy in Annapolis and across the country on www.pawspetboutique.com. Now let's make some tails wag in this world! Thanks for all you do.

Halloween Safety Tips for Best Friends with Paws

Ben of PawsPetBoutique.com as a Lion

Throughout the year there are many holidays to enjoy and Halloween is no exception. While pets can join in the fun, keep in mind there are some simple things you can do to keep your best friends safe, sound and happy. 

COSTUMES and PETS

Never leave your companion animals alone when they are wearing a costume. Chewing or ingesting the costume can cause extreme health risks. Additionally they can become tangled or restricted in the costume, which can lead to anxiety, choking and other dangerous situations.

TOXIC TREATS

Remember that while we all love chocolate, this is extremely toxic to animals. Keep chocolate, raisins, grapes, gum and candy containing xylitol (a sweetener) away from your pets as they can be very damaging to your pet's health. Lollipops with sticks and candy wrappers can also be a hazard to your pet if ingested. The best thing to do is to keep all your candy in an area where your pet is unable to reach it, preferably locked. Be mindful as to what you put in your home trash can, as someone might find the contents simply irresistible for all the wrong reasons.

NOISE and STRANGERS

Halloween encourages multiple visitors to your home and often adds more noise to your neighborhood as everyone is out to celebrate. Monitor your pet as many will find this environment to be stressful. To reduce your pet's fear or anxiety in this situation consider putting them in a back room with relaxing music playing and their bed, toys or other comfort items with them. Fill a durable toy with a treat that will keep their attention on something more positive. Alternatively you can set up a baby gate or such to restrict their access to the door. If a second person is in the home, it would be helpful for them to engage your pet in playful interaction to distract their attention to something more positive.

Please make sure your cats are indoors in advance of nightfall. Lastly, many of our customers find a Thundershirt helps to calm your pet in anxious situations. (Yes, we do have them at Paws pet boutique.)

IDENTIFICATIONHaley a PawsPetBoutique.com Guest

If your pet is spooked and makes a run for it, please make sure their identification is intact and up to date. Check that your pet's microchip information is accurate and their ID tags are securely fastened to their collar. It's always good practice to have a photo easily available of your pet if you need to make flyers or submit to your local shelter if they are lost.

POISON CONTROL

Often times help is needed after hours. If you have a 24-hour emergency Vet in your area, make sure you know where they are located and their phone number. Additionally the Pet Poison Helpline is available 24/7. 

Pets give us so much, so please keep your loved ones safe. They need your help and guidance to enjoy the holidays!

Now go make some tails wag and enjoy some treats without tricks!

10 Unique Dog Gifts under $25 Just in Time for the Holidays!

While quite a variety of gifts for dogs and cats are offered through Paws pet boutique, we are always seeking unique gifts for people who love their companion animals too. Here are more than a few of our favorite dog-related things to pick up for someone special...although that may be you!

1. 'Tails Up!' Leash Hooks - colorful and made of cast iron; only $6.75 each

2. 'Sleeps with Dogs' Pillows - the perfect size and color to add comfort anywhere; $16.95 each

3. 'Life is Better with Dogs' Signs - say it all and are easy to hang or stand on a shelf or table; $12.95 each

4. Handmade Paw Print Heart Charms - made from recycled fine silver and a lot of love by Tracy Menz; $22.95 each

5. 'To the World You are One Person, but to Your Dog You are the World" Coasters - share the bond (other coaster sayings also available); $10.75 for a set of 4

6. Stemless Wine Dog Glasses - feature a swimming dog and are also perfect for beer and juice; $16.95 each

7. Stainless Steel Compass Dog ID Tags - ship for free and give you peace of mind; $15 each

8. 'Life if Better when I'm with my Dog' block Signs - make a statement; $8.50

9. 'Welcome Diversity' oval Dog Magnets - UV coated and feature all shapes and sizes of canines; $4.95

10. Nautical Flag Dog Collars - actually for your best friend, but you see them everyday to enjoy; $19.95 each


New goods are arriving daily as the holiday season approaches, but these goods certainly have shared some smiles among our guests and stand out in our boutique. They all make unique inexpensive gifts for dogs and/or their people! Don't forget that gift wrapping is always free at Paws pet boutique whether you shop with us in Annapolis, Maryland or on our website wherever you live!

- Make a tail wag, Michelle

Behind the Scenes at Paws pet boutique in Annapolis

Recently Paws pet boutique celebrated 15 years in business, and yes we served free dog cake that day of course! 

Ben celebrates 15th Anniversary of Paws pet boutique

As you can imagine, there have been many behind-the-scenes moments. Much time and consideration is applied to searching for and selecting unique dog collarscat toyspet-lover gifts and much more. We thought it would be fun to walk you through how an item lands on the shelves at our pet boutique.

We admit it. We live, breathe and celebrate companion animals in everything we do. So snapping photos of our dogs sitting and enjoying treats at their "grand-mom's" home is the norm for us. We find inspiration often in the simplest of moments...just like companion animals. A few dog photos inspired a new product for us!

Sprocket Inspires Make a Tail Wag Dog Shirts at PawsPetBoutique.comMake a Tail Wag Shirts at PawsPetBoutique.com was inspired by a photo we took of our dog Sprocket.

We'll start by sharing our boutique's motto is "make a tail wag". When a dog wags his or her tail with happiness it's the equivalent of a human sharing a smile. Don't you think watching dogs wag their tails also encourages people smiles too? Based on this positive philosophy and Sprocket's happy tail photo, artwork was drawn and a product was born. 

At Paws pet boutique we like to work with and support small businesses, so we located a super nice woman nearby who was ready to help us. With her assistance we selected shirts, determined quantities and had them printed with our 'happy tail' art. Once finished, shirts were tagged, added to our inventory, folded and displayed for our customers to view and hopefully buy! Photos were taken and both our charcoal 'make a tail wag' shirts and navy 'happy tail' shirts were added to our website for all to see and shop. 

Make a Tail Wag Shirts at PawsPetBoutique.com

Happy Tail Wag Navy Dog Shirts at PawsPetBoutique.com

We love to share unique pet goods - especially ones that are made in USA. Each of our pet products is hand-selected for their uniqueness, good quality and fair pricing. Hope you enjoyed an inside peek at how things roll behind the scenes at Paws pet boutique. 

 Enjoy shopping and make a tail wag! You are sure to smile too.

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