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Paws Blog

8 Great Gifts for Wine and Dog Lovers

Sit, Stay, Drink Cocktail Napkins for Dog Lovers and Other Entertaining Ideas

Pair dog lovers and wine lovers together and you come up with some wonderfully unique gifts!

For those who love wine and dogs, or simply entertaining with a cheerful twist, you don't want to miss these 8 canine-vino finds...

#1. Dog and Drink Napkins: "Sit, Stay, Drink" ($4.95) - Don't Hudson and Fitz look right at home with the napkins and wine?

                    Dogs and Wine Cocktail Napkins

You Are Not Drinking Alone When the Dog is Home Signs | Dog Lover

 Water Dog Wine Glasses | Stemless Wine Dog Glasses  Sit, Stay Drink Dog Corkscrews | Dog Lover Gifts

#2. Dog and Wine Sign: "You're not Really Drinking Alone When the Dog is Home"  ($12.95)

#3. Stemless Dog Wine Glasses: Swimming Dog Stemless Wine Glasses ($16.95)

#4. Wine Dog Corkscrew Opener: "Sit, Stay, Drink" Stainless Corkscrew ($9.50)

Drink Wine and Pet My Dog Signs | Dog Lover

Wine Bottle Dog Toys | Squeaky Dog Toys    Wineing Dog Coasters | Wine Dog Coasters

#5. Dog Lover/Wine Lover Sign: "I just want to Drink Wine and Pet my Dog" ($16.50)

#6. Wine Bottle Dog Toy: Kennel Relaxin' Squeaky Dog Toys ($12)      

#7. Dogs Wineing Drink Coasters: Set of 4 Dogs Drinking Wine Coasters; Many breeds from which to select! ($36.50)

Wine More Bark Less Cocktail Napkins | Dog Party Napkins

Wine Stalker Napkins | Wine and Cat Gifts

# 8. Wine Dog Cocktail Napkins: "Wine More, Bark Less" Dog Cocktail Napkins ($4.95 )

We had to throw in a 9th favorite for the feline-vino lovers....

#9*. Wine Cat Cocktail Napkins: "Wine Stalker" Cat Napkins ($4.95)

There you have it. Great gifts for those dog lovers on your list who also like to sip a glass of wine from time to time. If you're planning gatherings during the holidays we've found the napkins add a fun conversation element to parties. Don't forget our dog boutique always offers complimentary gift wrapping all the time. 

Wishing you a cheerful day today and during the holiday season! 

12 Favorite Holiday Dog Collars As Unique as Your Dog!

The season to spruce up your dog's neck attire is coming! Are you in search for the perfect Christmas collar that suits your best friend? You're looking for something that matches their personality with a little bit of your style, right? Our dog boutique searches high and low to find unique holiday collars made in USA for the dapper to the whimsical. Take a look at twelve of our favorite collars and you'll likely find a holiday dog collar that's perfect for your constant companion. Better yet, all these dog collars are under $25!


Houndstooth Red Flower Holiday Dog Collars

Houndstooth Dapper Dog Bow-tie Collars

Winter Snowmen Dog Collars Made in USA

Black and White Houndstooth Red Flower Dog Collars add an elegant pop of color to any girl.

Black and White Houndstooth Bow-Tie Dog Collars for stylish party attire or any day.

Frosty the Snowman Dog Collars for those that love the snow and winter season.


Red Plaid Christmas Flower Dog Collars

Boats and Buoys Holiday Dog Collars

Red Plaid Christmas Dog Bow-tie Collars

Red Plaid Flower Christmas Dog Collars made in USA feature a detachable flower.

Cool bobbing boats with trees and buoys make the perfect nautical holiday dog collars!

Dapper Red Plaid Bow-tie Dog Collars will add a festive spirit to any little pup or big dog out there.


Candy Cane Bone Dog Collars | Cute Christmas Dog Collars

Gingerbread Dog Collars Made in USA | Big Dog Christmas Collars

 Festive Holiday Dot Dog Collars

Candy Cane Bone Dog Collars made in USA to look great on 2 pound dogs to 120 pound dogs!

Gingerbread Dog Collars aren't too bright or too dull, they are just right and fit even the big dogs.

Whimsical and fun our Green Dot Dog Holiday Collars add a splash of color and can style through March.


Naughty or Nice Dog Collars | Fun Christmas Dog Collars

Sparkly Red Ornament Dog Collars

Green Bow-tie Dog Collars Made in USA

Nice-Naughty Dog Collars have your dog's behavior covered for the year. Let's start fresh with a new year!

Bone Ornaments Sparkle on these Red Holiday Dog Collars. Just enough bling to stand out in the pack.

Green Gingham Bow-tie Collars are nice for the holiday season or anytime! Bow-tie detaches if desired.

So there you have it. Cute holiday dog collars for the twelve days of Christmas and more! All of these unique holiday dog collars are made in USA and nicely priced. Every day of the season you'll enjoy seeing your best friend wearing a special collar selected just for them. May your holidays be happy and allow you time to make your best furry friend's days bright. Happy memories are the best gift.


Your Search for Maryland Dog Flag Items is Over!

While I may be bias, the Maryland flag is the most colorful and hip state flag out there. On top of that, the state capital of Annapolis is one of the most dog-friendly towns you'll find in the country. So of course our dog boutique offers the best selection of Maryland dog flag items.  

Here are our Top 9 Canine Maryland Flag items... 

Maryland Dog Flag with Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Maryland Flag - Did you know the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is Maryland state dog? This beautiful retriever was designated as the state's dog in 1964.

Maryland Flag Dog Collars, Annapolis Maryland

Maryland Flag Dog Collars - Made in USA Dog Collars

Did you know the year was 1880 when the Maryland State Flag was first flown in Baltimore at a parade marking the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Baltimore? The flag was officially adopted as the State Flag in 1904.

Maryland Flag Leashes

Maryland Flag Dog Leashes to Enjoy Dog-friendly Annapolis

Maryland Dog Flag with Yellow Lab

Maryland Dog Flags featuring a Yellow Lab - Designed by an Annapolis artist!

These dog garden flags always look so happy and colorful in our flower pots in front of our pet boutique.

Maryland Dog Flag, Black Lab

Maryland Dog Flags featuring Black Lab - Share your Love of Dogs and Pride of State

Maryland Paws Print Silver Charms

Maryland Paw Print Charm - Handmade Locally by Tracy Menz Designs with fine recycled silver.

Maryland Dog Flag Magnet | Maryland Dog Flag Decal

Maryland Flag Dog Decals and Magnets - Personalize your car, binder, laptop, refrigerator, file cabinet...

Maryland Flag Crab Collars in Annapolis

Maryland Flag Crab Unique Dog CollarsDid you know the Maryland Blue Crab was designated the official State Crustacean in 1989? Just a little taste of Maryland history.

Maryland Flag Crab Dog Leashes

Maryland Crab Flag Dog Leashes - Coordinate with your Maryland Flag Collar or Crab Collar

Whether you live/lived in Maryland or simply love the groovy flag design, share your love of the Chesapeake region and canine companions with one of these unique items. They make great gifts too.

Tips for Taking Good Pet Photos

You may not admit it, but if you're like me the majority of the photos on your phone are of your best friends 

with fur. My Jack Russells and brave cat make me smile, so I'm always trying to capture a happy moment with them. I find that my images don't always reflect the moment, so I thought we'd touch base with Lori of Red Leash Pet Photography for some photo tips! Here's what we found out...

Q. Today cell phones are always handy to catch a quick moment you want to remember. Are there tips Ben, the mascot of Paws pet boutique, photographed by Red Leashyou could share on taking photos with cell phones and are there any apps you like to use?

A. Mobile phones today have amazing cameras and what is great is that the camera is always with you. However, these cameras still have limitations. For example, they are not very good at capturing fast moving subjects. Your best photos will be portraits where your pet is still. I recommend you fill the entire frame with your pet. Once you have the photo composed, tap the screen on your pet’s face and the camera will automatically focus and choose proper exposure. Try to photograph your pet in enough light so that you do not have to use your flash, since the flash will cause the dreaded glowing eye.

Some of my favorite apps for mobile photo processing are Snapseed, Camera+ and VSCO Cam. These apps give you the creative control to adjust exposure and colors, as well as fine-tune the details. Don’t forget to post your photos to Instagram and Facebook! And most importantly, make sure you have your photos backed up somewhere.

Q. Knowing pets can be difficult to photograph, what are some tricks you find work well to catch their attention?

A. I love photos where pets are looking right at my camera. Their eyes are so expressive and it truly is a window into their soul. But getting them to look directly into the camera is easier said than done. I find that interesting noises give me the most natural looks. Use squeaky toys (I have a bunch from Paws!) or just make a whining noise. Try not to call their name as that often makes them come to you. Sometimes I use treats, but that can produce what I like to call “treat face”, where the dog looks less relaxed. And remember, pets will bore quickly with noises so make sure you are quick with taking your photo or have a lot of different sounding noise makers on hand.

Q. When you are photographing a subject matter do you always center it in the frame or do you suggest other framing options?

A. Certain images have more visual appeal than others. This is no coincidence. Often, images that draw us in are the ones that use diagonal leading lines to draw our eye into the frame or by keeping to the “rule of thirds”. For the “rule of thirds” imagine a grid on top of your image. Try and put the important elements along one of the grid lines, or at the intersection of two lines.

Additionally, a simple change in perspective can greatly impact the emotion of an image. Shooting from a pet’s perspective makes the photo more intimate. Kneel down or even lay on the ground with your pet. 


Thanks to Lori for these great photo taking tips! We enjoy posting images of our Paws pet boutique guests to our FacebookInstagram and Pinterest pages, so we'll put these suggestions to good use. If you have a good pet photo check out the PawsLiving Photo Share with Paws pet boutique too. Your photo may end up featured on www.pawspetboutique.com.

Bottomline though, there is nothing like having professional photos taken of your best friend. If you're like me, you'll be grateful to have a special image to cherish for your lifetime. The photo above was taken of Paws pet boutique's mascot Ben by Lori. For more information on photos by Red Leash Pet Photography based in Annapolis, Maryland, visit their website at www.redleash.com.

Thank you Lori for taking the time to share your photography insights. Happy snapping!

How to Prepare to Keep You and Your Pets Safe in a Disaster

Make a Plan for You and Your Pets!This year marks the 10-year Anniversary of the Katrina hurricane. As we re-visit this disaster it starts you thinking what should one do to prepare for an unforeseen emergency? We reached out to David Mandell, the Deputy Director for the City of Annapolis in the Office of Emergency Management to provide some insights on pet preparedness in an emergency situation.

1. What are some emergency circumstances for which people should create a plan for themselves as well as their pet(s)?

The public should create emergency and disaster plans for their families and their pets to include everything they need to shelter-in-place or evacuate for up to a week. These circumstances can be brought about due to severe weather, power outages, civil unrest, pandemic outbreak, and acts of terrorism. In the City of Annapolis, emergency plans are most likely to be activated as a result of severe weather that causes flooding, wind and water damage, and access issues due to debris or snow and ice. Events such as Hurricane Katrina (2005) proved that emergency and disaster planning and preparedness for humans and animals need to be carefully considered. It was estimated that 1,800 people died and millions were displaced during Katrina. Thousands of animals were also abandoned, stranded or died due to the storm and aftermath. No one should lose their lives or their pets due to a lack of readiness when there are plenty of resources to support and assist families before, during, and after a disaster.

2. Are there basic items a person should have in their home to make them better prepared to handle an emergency with their companion animal?

It is essential to include your pets as part of a comprehensive family emergency plan. Companion animals are defined as dogs, cats, birds and pocket pets such as guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice and ferrets, as well as service animals. People should first make sure they are prepared themselves, in order to be able to provide for their pets during an emergency or disaster. Individuals should plan for up to a week's worth of provisions and supplies. It should include food that can be stored and eaten without a power source, extra water for drinking and basic utilities, all necessary medications filled and accessible, blankets and warm clothes for cold weather/fans and water for hot weather, flashlights/lanterns and extra batteries, and a back-up generator if applicable.

Pet preparedness for an emergency or disaster contains similar concerns for basic necessities. Pet owners should keep an extra store of food, water and all necessary medications for their pets for up to a week. Provide a clean, warm, dry and secure area for pets to sleep and rest. Also, provide an area where animals can use the bathroom either inside or out, that will not compromise hygiene or allow external contaminants to enter the home, if public health concerns are present.

Pet owners should also prepare a waterproof documentation folder that is easily obtainable for families and their pets in the event of an emergency or disaster. This folder should include identification and ownership documents, medical records or pertinent medical information, legal directives, and other important documents for both the pet and pet owner.

Get Prepared, Get the App!

3. Are there resources people should be aware of to assist them with their companion animals in an emergency situation?

Absolutely! The City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management provides resources and support for people and pets in emergency and disaster situations. The public should download the free Annapolis emergency management mobile app, "Prepare Me Annapolis." The app is available from Apple and Google Play. It provides emergency notifications, and also includes access to useful everyday resources such as traffic cameras and school closings. Also, individuals should visit www.annapolis.gov and register for CodeRED, the community notification system that sends phone calls, e-mails, or text messages in the event of emergency situations. The Annapolis Office of Emergency Management also provides a non-emergency Annapolis Call Center number that is only activated in the event of City wide emergencies or events that disrupt normal City business.

The City’s local Companion Animal Shelter is Annapolis High School; which is designated for both people and pets. Additional area resources include your local SPCA, and Annapolis Call Center (when activated). Contact information for a few of these resources are listed below.

City of Annapolis Office of Emergency Management

199 Taylor Avenue

Annapolis, MD 21401

(410) 216-9167

Call Center (410) 260-2211 (when activated)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnapolisOEM

Twitter: @AnnapolisOEM

Companion Animal Shelter- Annapolis High School

2700 Riva Road

Annapolis, MD 21401

SPCA of Anne Arundel County

1815 Bay Ridge Avenue

Annapolis, MD 21401

(410) 268-4388


Thank you David for sharing these important tips and resources! If you don't live in Annapolis, Maryland, please reach out in your area to find similar resources to help you prepare. Otherwise www.ready.gov is a good place to start. Nobody wants an emergency situation to happen in their world, but everyone should be prepared!

Preventing Fleas and Ticks on Pets

When the weather turns nice everyone wants to get out and enjoy it including your family pets. Preventing Fleas and Ticks on Pets

More and more it seems we hear about the high numbers of pests that can take all the fun out of being outside if the right preparations are not taken. To learn more about fleas and ticks and how they can impact your pets we spoke with Dr. Marianne (Bailey) Holbein, the owner and veterinarian at Queenstown Veterinary Hospital in Queenstown Maryland. Let's find out what we can do so we all can enjoy time with our pets outside.

1. Why is it important to keep ticks and fleas off companion animals?

This is so important for 2 major reasons. First, fleas and ticks carry diseases that can make our pets very sick or kill them. Anemia, Lyme disease, kidney failure, skin infection, and intestinal parasite infections are just a few illnesses caused by pests! Secondly, if your pets have fleas or ticks, they can bring them into the house and you can be exposed to them as well. Preventing flea and tick infections is always easier and less expensive than treating them after there is a problem.

2. What do you recommend doing if you find a flea or a tick on your pet?

If you find a flea or tick, remove it immediately. Use a pair of tweezers to secure the head of a tick and remove it. If you have any trouble removing it, call your veterinarian. Removing Fleas and Ticks from PetsAfter you have checked your pet over, you want to evaluate your prevention plan. Are you using a monthly flea and tick preventative? Are you applying it correctly? When used properly, these products are extremely effective at preventing infections. If you have any questions about bites from a flea or tick, call your veterinarian to have them examine your pet. Some flea infections can cause secondary skin infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.

3. Are there symptoms my pet will exhibit if they have been impacted by a flea or tick?

Pets with fleas will often bite or scratch. In dogs we normally see this in the "pants" area which is around the tail, the hind legs and the lower back of the pet. Cats will often times have small crusts or scabs around the flank or the face and neck area. If you use a fine tooth comb in the fur, you will black specks that look like pepper in the fur. This is actually dried blood from the tick bite. Pets with a flea allergy will be very itchy and uncomfortable while some might not be as severely bothered. Dogs with ticks may not show any signs initially. It can take 24-48 hours after attachment for ticks to transmit a disease to dogs and they might not test positive for tick-borne disease for 4-6 weeks. The most common signs of tick bites in dogs are raised, red areas that are not itchy. These can take a few weeks to go down. Dogs with tick borne illnesses will typically seem lethargic, may be sore or limping and may have changes in appetite. You may never know your dog was bitten by a tick before it shows signs of illness. Cats rarely develop or show signs of tick-borne disease but we still recommend monthly prevention.

4. If my pet test’s positive for Lyme, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Ehrlichiosis is there Preventing Fleas and Ticks on Dogs and Catsanything that can be done to treat and remove the disease? Will they be able to live a normal life?

A positive test result could mean exposure to a tick carrying a disease or may indicate a true infection, depending on the type of test that has been run. Many of our yearly screening tests are not sensitive enough distinguish between the two. If your pet tests positive, your veterinarian will start them on an appropriate antibiotic and run any additional tests needed. Lyme Disease can cause kidney failure in the retriever breeds so blood work and an urinalysis would be recommended. Depending on what signs your pets are showing, different medications will be started.

5. Are there any natural preventive measures I can take to protect my pet?

There are a lot of natural remedies and herbal supplements that are recommended on pet blogs online but there are none that have studies I have seen to support them. Something natural you can do is to keep your environment pest flea! Eliminate puddles or areas of standing water, keep the grass cut short and dead wood/ stick piles cleaned up. These are often areas where you will find a high number of ticks. Even furniture that is never used or at the wood line can be an area where ticks may breed and be found in high numbers.

6. As a Vet, what do you recommend for keeping these bugs away from dogs and cats?

There are many products available for you to use including Frontline Plus, Advantix and Nexgard. These products have been tested for safety and will be the best products to use on a monthly basis. Your veterinarian should be able to offer a topical product to prevent against fleas and ticks or my favorite which is a new chewable flea and tick product called Nexgard. Another safe and effective option is the Seresto collar but remember to mark your calendar when it needs to be replaced! Also, make sure every pet in the home is on the preventative. It is important to check your pets for ticks after going on walks and hikes and keep your yard maintained. High grasses and areas with dead treats or sticks piled up can be perfect spots for ticks to breed. 

Thanks to Dr. Holbein for sharing her insights and knowledge on pets and pests! 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!

10 Things You Might Not Know about Paws pet boutique

#1. Back in 1999 Paws pet boutique started in an Annapolis, Maryland location that is now Capistrano Barbershop!

#2. A Jack Russell named Jonah and cat adopted from a Detroit shelter named B.J. were the inspiration to start the business and celebrate life with dogs and cats.

#3. Paws owners actively participated in establishing the first dog park in Anne Arundel County. 

Ben loves life in Annapolis with PawsPetBoutique.com

It opened in 2001 at Quiet Waters Park and continues to serve the dog community today. 

#4. Ben, the current mascot of Paws pet boutique, was rescued from a hoarder by Animal Legal Defense Fund. He is now about 12 years old and likes to preside over animal fundraisers put together by the boutique.

#5. In addition to renting boats for dog cruises and creating dog-friendly happy hours to benefit animal charities, Paws pet boutique had the pleasure of working with Dick Smothers of the Smothers Brothers to raffle off one of his unique bikes to benefit ALDF.

#6. Most items offered at Paws pet boutique are made in USA

#7. Much time goes into hand-selecting the items for dogs, cats and people that are offered by Paws pet boutique. Items that appeal to everyday enjoyment are selected for their uniqueness, fair pricing and of course quality. The goal is to enjoy the simple life and make a tail wag every day. #paws365

#8. The folks at Paw pet boutique are big fans of pro golfer Billy Hurley. While he did graduate from the Annapolis Naval Academy, his lovely wife Heather at one point was also a member of our Paws team. Go Billy!

#9. Whether you are in Maryland or California you can enjoy shopping the boutique! In addition to the storefront on State Circle in Annapolis, www.pawspetboutique.com offers supplies and gifts for you and your best friends. If you are local you can shop the web store and select "Pick Up at Store" if you don't want your order shipped or shipping is free for orders over $100.

#10. If you are member of Paws VIP Program you receive a $5 coupon for every $100 spent. It's free to join and applies to sales in the brick-and-mortar store and on the website. 

Enjoy your animal companions every day and make some tails wag in life!

The Art of the Collar - A Collar for Every Season and Feeling

Unique Dog Collars

OK, we will begin with an admission. We are a bit obsessed with dog and cat collars. That being said, don't you really enjoy seeing your best friend in stylish neck attire? It's a simple thing that makes a statement and shares personality. Dogs and cats seem to know they are looking good! Yes, we are obsessed with unique collars.

While collars must be functional to hold ID tags and easily attach to a leash securely, there are plenty of designs to consider. To ensure you are not at a loss of collar choices, we have pulled some favorite designs to share with you. 


Patriotic Dog Collars at Paws Pet Boutique

Patriotic collars for dogs and cats can be worn Patriotic Cat Collars at Paws Pet Boutiqueto celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day or any day to feel that spirit. 

Share your gratitude for our independence and country by adding a splash of red, white and blue. The U.S. flag collars are always a good all-American classic and look great on any dog.


Summer dog collars reflect a season of color and love for longer days...and more time for dog walks! Why not celebrate that state-of-mind, relax a little more, seize the good moments and follow your dogs lead? Your dog will look great wearing a collar that shares the philosophy.


If you hear the sea calling and like the feel of your toes in the sand, your dog should be wearing a seahorse dog collar, shell collar, starfish collar or even a coral or crab collar. In our opinion even if its snowing outside you need a beach dog collar to let your mind wander to coastal living! 


Dogs and boats together can equal happiness. In fact the Annapolis musicians Them Eastport Oyster Boys proclaim

Beach Dog Collars at PawsPetBoutique.com

Nautical Dog Collars at Paws pet boutique

Good Dog Baseball Hats at Paws pet boutique

that all one needs is "a good dog, a good boat and good hat..." in their light-hearted song. Even if you don't boat, you have to admit nautical dog collars are a sharp option for any good dog. 

Annapolis, the sailing capital of the world, is also the home of Paws pet boutique. If you are looking for anchor collars, nautical flag collars, sailboat collars, or even buoy collars you'll find it here. Otherwise enjoy shopping a fabulous collection of unique dog collars to fit just about any size dog from tiny toy dogs that weigh 2 lbs to big dogs tipping the scale at 200 lbs. 

Add some color to your day and find a collar that suits your best friend for the season and feeling. It's the little things in life. Enjoy it.

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!

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