Yearly Archives: 2011

Holiday Travel Tips

Away We Go!!!! Pet travel

Pet travel tips for holidays

More and more people are traveling these days with pets along for the ride simply because the thought of not having their beloved companions with them during holiday festivities is unthinkable!

Knowing that many of our friends will be traveling this holiday season to visit family and friends we thought it might be handy to provide some information that will make your travels a lot easier on both mind and body.

Air Travel

Often times people have arrived at the airport to check in with Fido or fluffy in tow only to find that they are turned away because of the guidelines have not been met to the airlines satisfaction. So there you are stuck and unable to board with your pet and unable to see through your frustration to figure out what to do next. While unforeseen problems do happen, a proper way to ensure this nightmare before Christmas won’t be part of yours is to take a few moments at home and go online with a nice hot cup of cider. Go to the airline website and print out 2 copies of the Pet Travel Guidelines from the exact airline your traveling with. This is important because each carrier’s restrictions may vary. Stick one copy on your fridge for quick reference and handy checklist. The other copy should be filed with your itinerary, documentation and tickets that you will be carrying with you. This is an easy way to ensure you haven’t overlooked anything. As an extra precaution you can call the airline to make sure there haven’t been any unexpected changes due to security updates.

  1. Most airlines limit you to two (2) animals per flight per person. Each animal must be at least 8 weeks old and in good health. For cabin travel (which is highly recommended) keep in mind most airlines require the animal to be no heavier than 22 pounds,18 inches in or less in length and 11 inches maximum in height. Again check with your carrier for specific details and weights.
  2. A current valid overall Health Certificate issued by a licensed
    vet within 30 days of travel is required. (7 to 10 days of departure is
    suggested just to be safe) Include documentation of immunizations such as rabies If you’re leaving the country ask about any potential health risks your pet may be exposed to so you may get any additional vaccinations or parasite control.
  3. Proper transport carriers include sufficient room and ventilation.
    Make sure you check that your pet’s carrier meets the proper specifications. (Size, strength, safety etc.).
  4.  Proper Identification secured to your pet is such a small detail that can make the biggest difference. Make sure your pet tags are current with the correct information such as name address and phone. If you are spending the holiday at a friends or relatives home you may want to consider getting a temporary second tag with that local address and phone along with your cell phone number to ensure quick contact just in case the new surroundings get the best of your pet’s curiosity.
  5. Do a little checking on the area you will be staying. A local vet
    is always good to have handy for emergencies. A pet friendly hotel isn’t a bad idea to have on hand discreetly…just incase you end up sharing a room with Aunt Vera and her snoring is causing sleep deprivation! Ahh you gotta love your family!
  6.  Always take your canine pal out for some exercise and a bit of play before you leave for the airport as they will be confined for a period of time.


When traveling by car you obviously have a lot more control over the situation and this reason alone this method of transport recommended when possible. Keep in mind when packing the car for your road trip that you leave ample room for your pet to be comfortable. Bring along plenty of food, water and comfy bedding. If your pet is on any medications or supplements put them in a place that’s easy to get to.

  1. Don’t let your pet loose in the car during the drive. At least provide a crate or fit your dog with a harness that connects right into the seat belt system.
  2. For your pets own comfort you should plan ahead and purchase these things in advance so you can familiarize yourself and your pet with a sort of “trial run”. This is especially beneficial if your pet is not used to car travel or long trips.
  3. As we mentioned in a previous Blog,(minimizing holiday stress) staying at different locations, gatherings and holiday celebrations can be stressful on your pet. It’s a good idea to take along a favorite toy and familiar bedding to set up a peaceful area for them to retreat to and sleep.
  4. Stick to your normal routine as best you can. Keeping feeding times and outings the same will alleviate a lot of anxiety.
  5. Make sure your friends and family are expecting ALL of you. Don’t ever assume they know your bringing your pets. Also having a simple conversation to go over the “rules” of the house as well as any requests you may have in regards to your pal will eliminate any tensions before they begin.

Remember our pets are very intuitive and pick up on your vibes be it positive or negative so stay calm! If you let the chaos or Cousin Rita’s constant backhanded compliments get to you your pet will notice and it will affect them as well.

We want all your holidays’ events to be merry and as smooth as possible so in addition the site Pet is a fantastic resource that gives up to date info on airline policies, immigration rules and listings of pet friendly hotels. They also provide a toll free number you can add to your mobile for quick reference 877 241 0184.

Happy Travels Everyone! Say hi to Aunt Vera for us!

One added note for last minute shoppers! We are so pleased to announce that Beasty Feast is offering Zen Belly’s Holiday Gift at their Hudson Street location here in NYC. So if you’re in the area stop in and say hi!

It’s not too late to order online for our friends out of town so don’t worry you can
still get our confections in time for Christmas!

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December 2 has been declared National Mutt Day!

It was created in 2005 by animal welfare advocate, Colleen Paige.
This day is all about celebrating mixed breeds and raising awareness.

Studies have revealed the largest percentage of euthanized shelter
dogs is in fact medium to large sized mixed breeds. This unfortunate statistic
is a result of constant over breeding, public desire for pure bred and
“designer” dogs and the growing problem of puppy mills. Puppies sold
to pet stores are often supplied by these mills and many times produce sick,
mistreated and neglected animals. The goal of National Mutt Day is to save
10,000 mutts coast to coast

We strongly encourage anyone considering an addition to the family to stop by your local shelter. There are so many animals in need of a loving home. (If you have your heart set on a specific dog all hope is not lost!

Check around theres bound to be a rescue group that caters to that breed
and they are always looking for a good forever home.) Statistics have shown
mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier, live longer and are just as able to
perform the duties of many service animals. They are also known for having warm
easy going dispositions.

If adoption is not an option at this time for you there are other ways you can show your support. A donation to your local shelter is always needed and very much appreciated be it financial or supplies. Volunteering your time is just as valuable. Often times these shelters are short staffed as a result of a lack of funding. Tell someone about National Mutt Day and lets get the word out. The more people that know the greater the awareness and that’s the first step in making a difference!

Take some time to celebrate with your furry pals. We love our mutts!

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Minimizing Holiday Stress On Your Pets

Holidays are a joyous time for many, while for others chaotic and angst ridden. For our pets it’s no different! While we run around trying to find that perfect gift we can very easily get caught up in the madness and can be a little neglectful to our canine pals.

The unfamiliar noises, lights and rush of people coming and going can be very stressful for a pet so it’s important that we take the time to maintain the healthy balance they are used to year round. Nobody knows your dog better than you do so take notice of any signs that the seasons greetings are a bit too overwhelming….
~ Constant barking or howling
~ Chewing or scratching at doors or crates
~ Compulsive licking or biting
~ Excessive salivating
~ Tearing up furniture

An easy way to avoid this is to maintain a normal routine with your dog. Keep the feeding schedule and walking time as close to usual as possible. It’s understandable that with work and shopping you may have a few late nights. If your finding that it’s more than a few you may want to hire a dog walker or ask a neighbor to fill in. Keep in mind they enjoy spending time with you so give that face time! A little extra positive reinforcement with praise and treats goes a long way as well so don’t be stingy with the Zenbellys! After all it is the holiday season and a little indulgence never hurt anyone. Our dogs are a central part of our family and we just want to make the season as enjoyable for them as it is for us and we know you share our sentiments!

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Pets and Vets Picture

Pets and Vets

November 11th is a time to celebrate the men and women who have bravely put their lives on the line to defend our country. Sadly, for many members of our armed forces, coming home is the start of a whole new battle.

More and more organizations have stepped up to help these veterans on the road to recovery and meet the growing need for guide dogs and many other special need service animals.

Freedom Service Dogs, Pets for Vets and Pets 2 Vets are some of these wonderful organizations. What makes them so commendable aside from helping our service men and women they also provide a new start for many shelter animals that in many cases would otherwise be euthanized.

Studies have shown that companion animals make you happier and healthier. After just 30 minutes with a dog or cat owners feel less anxious and stressed. One of the many ways pets improve the lives of returning soldiers is by keeping them connected and involved in social settings. The ultimate goal of these programs is to provide a second chance for our veterans and a permanent loving home for our furry friends, giving them a second chance as well.

This is a worthy cause and one that deserves recognition!
You can find them at the following web sites
Freedom Service Dogs:
Pets For Vets:
Pets 2 Vets:

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Welcome to Zen Belly

Welcome to the new Zen Belly website. Zen Belly’s Cookies and Confections is a shop of homemade uniquely delicious natural, organic dog snacks.

Zen Belly was created out of our desire to give our dogs’ healthier snacks, In addition join us in our dedication to ending animal abuse.

With that in mind each ingredient in our recipes are thoughtfully chosen for their nutritional benefits. All of our formulas are free from meat by-products, animal fats, gluten, corn, soy and wheat as well as there are NO artificial dyes, NO artificial flavorings and NO artificial preservatives.

We created our web site, blog, and our featured Dictionary of Ingredients to provide you with information and tips about healthy living for your canine companions, as well, why Zen Belly ‘s Canine Cookies and Confections is a cut above the rest.

Our blog will feature valuable information and tips on dog health and nutrition topics on a regular basis and we welcome your questions.

Feel free to follow us via our web site, RSS feed, and Facebook. Please let us know what you think of the new site!

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Holiday Eating

If your pet is on a special diet or medication it is always a good idea to consult your vet for feeding guidelines.

A common question during the holiday season is whether or not it’s a good idea to feed your dog table scraps. A ham bone, fat trimmings or a heap of gravy may seem like a loving inclusion, and I doubt your dog will object. However, the brutal truth is it’s NOT in your dog’s best interest. Cooked bones are brittle and raw bones can contain harmful bacteria. There is also risk of splintering and or lodging. This can cause a whole host of problems besides the obvious choking. Abdominal and or rectal bleeding is also a very real concern. For pets that are not in the habit of getting table food, a sudden change in diet may cause vomiting, diarrhea or in more severe cases pancreatitis. I must confess in the past my blind love and ignorance has made me guilty of this very crime. But I have mended my ways! Not being satisfied with a simple no, as I rarely am, I was determined to find a way to include my “kids” in the holiday festivities.

Keeping in mind your pet’s NORMAL diet is ALWAYS best. Here are some ‘safer’ alternatives to the tempting fatty, high calorie foods:

  1. BROTHS ~ beef, turkey and chicken broths are a wonderful no fat flavor boost too add to your dog’s normal meal.
  2. COOKED VEGGIES ~ cooked carrots, potatoes and other vegetables are OK in small amounts.
    *** Corn is a common food allergen so if your pet has a sensitive stomach leave the corn for the humans.
  3. RAW carrots are great for your dog’s teeth, but it may not be a hit with all dogs.
  4. COTTAGE CHEESE ~ low fat cottage cheese, a spoonful or so, adds some safe excitement without the worry of upset tummies.
    *** Also remember onions can have harmful effects, so eliminate them altogether.

For more information on beneficial fruits and vegetables as well as bad and ugly toxic ingredients see our Dictionary of Ingredients.

Feel free to stop by as often as you like as a handy reference guide to a valuable resource. Designed with you in mind, our DOI provides direct access in plain language to make it easy to get the knowledge you seek.

It’s not unusual to find gifts designed for pets everywhere around the holidays. You’ve seen the red and green holiday shaped rawhides and other festive items. There is no benefit at all to these types of treats and they are almost always dyed. Half the time you can’t even pronounce the ingredients and there is nothing natural about them!

As a responsible guardian there’s no doubt that you want to improve and maintain a healthy physical condition for your canine companions. So where it would seem that a big hunk of fat would be rewarding, nutrients that support physical well-being are more likely found in whole foods such as cranberries, apples, squash, whole grains and many others.

Because we use fresh whole foods and organic ingredients in our cookies and confections, all of our cookies and confections are ALWAYS a safe and much appreciated alternative to the traditional table scraps as well.

Just don’t make the mistake of putting them out on a dish like I did. If your family is anything like mine they grab, eat and ask questions later. To this day nobody will admit to eating the “dog biscuits”!!

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