6 Steps You Should Take to Cat-Proof Your Home

SUPER SUNRISE KEMPIn a recent article we wrote (which you can read here), I mentioned, “Cats are born with the natural instinct to run around, jump, hide, and hunt.” Of course, when you take an animal into a confined space, like a house, accidents are bound to happen. Luckily, there are preventative measures you can take that will ultimately save you time, money, and stress. These are our suggestions:

Stow Away Your Valuables

We understand that it can be hard to stow away all of your valuables – like vases, glass objects, etc. They can add flavor to your home. But the truth is – only leave them out if you want them broken. A cat won’t necessarily break something just to do it – it can often happen by accident. Regardless, putting the valuable stuff away is important.

Protect Your Counter Tops and Furniture

Cats are scratching machines, and we know you don’t want to sit on a couch that has holes in it, or use a counter top that looks worn beyond belief. One of the first things you should do is purchase a scratching post for your cat. Rub some catnip on it, and introduce it to your cat. Also, don’t forget to trim your cat’s claws.

Remove Poison

While many people think “Poison? Not much to worry about in my house!” – think again. PLENTY of plants are toxic to cats – including the American Holly, Azaela, Lily, Tulip, and more (for an extensive list, please see here http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/cats-plant-list). Replace those plants with ones that aren’t toxic.

Remember, cats LOVE plants. So this is very important. Also, don’t forget about other forms of poison – like roach traps, ant traps, etc. And on a similar note, human medicine can be very dangerous to cats (and animals in general.)

Get Used to Checking Uncommon Areas

Cats are sneaky, and they can hop into places you’ve never had to double check before. Check dresser drawers and the dryer, freezer, fridge, etc. before closing the doors. Also, keep your toilet lid down. If a cat hops in without you around, it could not make it out.

Change Cords

Cats love cords of all kinds. If there’s a cord to your blinds, it’s a danger. Either tuck the cord away, or change your window-shading solution. The same goes for other loose, hanging cords around the house. Corded phones, although not widely used now, used to be a big target. Cords of all kinds can be a thread because cats can get their body stuck in them – like being choked, for instance.

Watch out for General Hazards

You’ll obviously want to make sure general hazards are taken care of or cleaned up, like sharp objects in your home, food that can easily be choked on, rubber bands, etc. But other things to be aware of are yarn, strings, tinsel, and anything similar. Similar to phone cords and cords on blinds, your cat can get tangled or strangled. They can also swallow yarn, strings, tinsel, etc.

If your cat eats something it shouldn’t, you should get your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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5 Summer Activities You Can Do With Your Dog In Upstate NY

dog-lakeLive in Upstate NY? Looking for something fun to do for the day or the weekend? Here are 5 activities you can do with your dog!



Movie Nights in Colonie, NY

Check out movies about pets, with your pets! It’s only $5.00. The following movies will be playing at All Dawgs Training Services in Colonie, NY:
“Marley & Me” – Friday, July 25th @ 7PM
“Because of Winn Dixie” – Friday, August 22nd @ 7PM
“Best in Show” – Friday, August 8th @ 6:30PM

Dog Hikes

There are so many unbelievable hikes in the Adirondacks that are easy enough for dogs. Try Buck Mountain, a 6.6 mile hike that overlooks Lake George at the summit, for example. If hiking a mountain isn’t your thing, try the Albany Pine Bush Reserve. Dogs are allowed to walk alongside of you on a leash, and you’ll still get trails – complete with pines, butterflies, and more.

Camping Trips

There are plenty of pet friendly campgrounds in Upstate, NY. It all depends on where you’d like to visit. Hearthstone Point, in Lake George NY, is a popular campground with access to the water. You can also try other popular ones, like Nicks Lake Campground in Old Forge, or Rogers Rock Campground in Hague.

Weekend Getaways

Not into camping? Not a problem. There are plenty of pet friendly hotels in Lake Placid, Schroon Lake, Lake George, and more. Note: they will often have various rules (such as extra fees, number of pets allowed, months where pets are not allowed, etc.) In Lake Placid, try the Lake Placid Lodge – one of the most scenic resorts in the Adirondacks. In Lake George, try the Green Haven Resort – a small, nestled resort with a pool, hot tub, and rooms with a cabin feel.


I know of two of these places that allow dogs – at least last time I checked. The best part – they’re extremely close to each other! Standing Stone Vineyards and Two Goats Brewing Company in the Finger Lakes region. What could be better than a relaxing day at Seneca Lake?

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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Think You Want a Guard Dog?


“I think I need a guard dog” is a phrase we’ve heard people say time and time again. The reason for such a phrase is usually legitimate. People want a dog that will protect them or their family in case of, say, a burglary.

We’ll admit that getting a guard dog is not that hard. You can get one quick and easily. But there’s usually a lot more to think about.

Guard Dogs vs. Watch Dogs

First, it’s important to understand the difference between a guard dog and a watchdog.  A watchdog’s job is exactly like it sounds – to watch an area, and make an alert if need be. A guard dog is usually larger, and its job is to protect. Guard dogs will bite and attack a potential intruder.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

What Breeds Make Good Guard Dogs?

Most dogs have a natural instinct to protect.  However, there are some breeds that are a much better fit for the job than others.  Common guard dog breeds include Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Bullmastiff, Boxer.  For families, calmer breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog or Newfoundland can work because of their sheer size.

Do You Really Need a Guard Dog?

Now that you know a little bit about guard dogs and the most well-known breeds, it’s time for the big question:

“Do you really need a guard dog?”

I’d be inclined to say most people do not.  Reason number one is that training is intensive and usually dangerous.  You need to remember that you’re training a dog to attack.  Most people get the idea that their guard dog will automatically “know an intruder” and be fine around everyone else.  This is not the case.  You know the old scenario where the dog attacks the mailman?  It’s realistic.  You really don’t want a dog that’s extremely aggressive to strangers. That’s just waiting for something bad to happen.

Reason number two is that a guard dog can only do so much.  Most criminals flee a scene because a dog barks – not because they’re scared of the dog.  And if a criminal does end up in a scuffle with a guard dog, there’s a chance they can find a way around the problem.  Also remember that a dog is, well, only a dog.  It isn’t the police.

So, You Must Get One?

Fair enough. After doing a lot of consideration on the subject, you may still be inclined to get a guard dog. Use this article from WikiHow as an introductory guide to training a guard dog.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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5 Facts About American Farms (And Why You Should Start Farming)


Even though we live in an era where young people are flocking to cities and the latest technology rules the world, farming is still extremely important in America. After all, this is where most of the food you eat originates.

Did You Know?

1) According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, less than 1% of the population claims farming as an occupation. There are about 2.2 million farms. These farms are of all different shapes and sizes. Some are large family farms, some are nonfamily farms, some are limited resources farms. While it is often assumed that many farms in the U.S. are corporately controlled, 97% of U.S. farms are family owned and operated.

2) The U.S. is home to over 40 different types of sheep – 47 to be exact.
Breeds include: Suffolk, Dorper, Hampshire, and more. Sheep can be classified in a few different ways. You can classify them by what they’re used for (such as milk or wool), or their type of fibers, their face color, etc.

3) Although farming is often thought to destroy forests some farmers will plant new trees on portions of their farmland because of the positive roles trees play in the environment. Trees can lead to an increased number of habitats for wildlife.

4) Farming is an escape from computers, the Internet, and most technology, right? Incorrect. Computers are used on about 83% of American farms.

5) Cows are capable of producing 7 gallons of milk per day. 7 gallons! That’s about 2,555 gallons per year. Dairy farms pump out 23 billion gallons of milk per year. I guess this is an appropriate time for this saying…”Got milk?”

Why You Should Start Farming

You Own the Produce
The type of food a farm produces will always vary. But just think about this for a second…what if you could go to the store and buy everything your family needs for less than 50 bucks? If your farm produces dairy products, vegetables, grains, etc., you don’t need to worry about buying it! Save that money!

You’re Interacting with Animals
Did you know chickens eat grass like humans eat spaghetti? Or that cows are social animals who have 360-degree vision? Or what about how sheep don’t like walking through water? These are the types of things you’ll find out with farming experience! Human to animal interaction is a fascinating thing!

You’re Helping the World
If you ever read a news article that’s talking about a farm, you’ll almost always find that it mentions the shortage of farmers in the U.S. It may seem like there are farmers everywhere, but there’s always a need for more. If you decide to take up farming, you’re helping your local community greatly, and on a bigger scale, the world. In turn, you’re improving the economy. Over 22 million people in the U.S. are employed on a farm, and over $100 billion in agriculture related business is circulated throughout the U.S. yearly. Farming is a big deal!

You’re Active in the Community
Everything your farm is producing has to go somewhere, doesn’t it? Local farmer’s markets are always increasing in number. When you farm, you’ll become very familiar with the people involved in your local food scene! And farmer’s markets are trendy!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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5 Financial Savings Tips for Fido


Buying a dog is really, really simple. Perhaps you’re moving into a new place by yourself, and you want a new dog to keep you company. Maybe you already have a pet, and you want it to have a friend. Whatever the case, it’s important that you don’t be short sighted. A pet isn’t a huge expense right off the bat, but when you add additional costs, it is. Today, I’ll share some tips for cutting those costs. Here are five ways you can cut the costs of owning a pet:


If you’re serious about keeping costs down, adopting a pet is your best option. I’ll use dogs as an example. It’s very common for people to research dogs online and find the perfect one. And the thought of that perfect dog can be hard to let go. But here’s the truth — if your dog comes from a shelter, it won’t be any less lovable. This article from American Humane describes buying vs. adopting perfectly; you’re giving a dog a second chance at finding a home.


Some dog owners will recommend spending more on the better food. It’ll save you money in the long run since your dog will be healthier.

I disagree. I won’t say your dog should only eat the cheapest food around; it’s important for dogs to eat a balanced diet. However, most exquisite dog food is unnecessary, and almost exactly the same as the cheaper stuff. Most of that flashy packaging is just a marketing tactic. Another tip: buy in bulk. It can save you almost twice as much as buying small packages.

You can cut down on treats specifically made for dogs as well as well, since most dogs will be perfectly happy with something healthier. Read more here.


Grooming your dog is essential and obviously needs to be done fairly often. However, purchasing grooming tools and learning to do it yourself will save you a lot of money. Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction.


Pets and healthcare in the same sentence = tricky subject. Initially, pet insurance might seem like a great idea. However, the more prone your dog is to health risks, the more insurance will probably cost. Be sure to mull over all the questions before purchasing insurance. For instance — is the peace of mind worth the extra money? Can you save enough and pay medical bills without insurance?

Always remember to stay up to date with check ups, meds, and vaccines to ensure your pet is as healthy as possible. It’ll save you money in the long run.


I’m assuming there’s at least one time a year that you like to get away and vacation. Leaving a dog at a boarding center is expensive! And even if you leave a dog with a friend, pay is usually involved.

Instead, consider taking your dog to a pet-friendly vacation area. There’s a good chance it won’t even cost more!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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Why Your Cat Should Wear a Tag & Collar


According to catcaresociety.org, “most pet owners do not provide their cats with collars and identification tags or microchips.” Many cat owners have this idea that their cat will only stay indoors. And if it should slip out of the house, it’ll easily find its way back home.

If only that was the case. Cats are born with the natural instinct to run around, jump, hide, and hunt. And although your cat may love you, there’s no saying it will ever really come back if it leaves the house unattended.

Using Cat Tags and Collars

One of the most common problems with putting a tag and collar on a cat is that they reject it. That’s why it’s important to ease your cat into the process. Put the collar on and take it off a couple times throughout the day. Once they’re used to the collar, start applying the tags in the same fashion.

Once you have your cat tagged, it opens up the world to their identity. Lets be real – if your cat gets lost in the neighborhood, only few will know who it belongs to. With identification, there’s a much greater chance of your cat being returned home.

So What Should be on the Tag?

While it’s tempting to cram as much information as you can on a tag, it’s truly not necessary. The cat’s name and owner’s phone number is really all you need. A second phone number may be a good idea.

What About Microchips?

A microchip is placed in your pet’s neck to identify it. It’s not a hard thing to implement, and the use of them is quickly becoming a standard routine. But according to the Humane Society, “microchips are not foolproof, and you shouldn’t rely on them exclusively to protect your pet.” It’s always wise to keep a tag and collar on your cat.

Tag Maintenance

Once you buy tags and collars, you can use them forever, right?

Not quite. Pets lose and gain weight fairly easily, so the fit of their collar will need to be changed. Also keep in mind that tags can wear, fade, get scratched, etc. Your phone number or home address could change as well! And if the information on the tags is no longer readable, or incorrect, what’s the point of even having the tags?

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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5 Tips for Preparing Your Pets for Summer


The northeast battled an endless & difficult winter this year.  And then spring came along… kind of.  It was a short season.  And lacking that nice weather, to say the least.

Let’s hope for a nicer summer, shall we? It’s time to head outside with the pets.  Go on a quest.  Head out for a hike.  Go for a swim.  Take a long run.  But before you do any of that, make sure your pets are prepared.

Take It Easy To Start

You know how you walk out of your house on a hot summer day and it feels like you got hit with heat?  Your pet feels the same way.  Don’t rush into an all-out exercise immediately.  Go out for a few minutes one day, a few more the next day, and start exercising after a few days.

On a similar note, having air conditioning in your house is a good idea.  You might be fine with a few fans in the spots you hang out most, but your pet probably isn’t.

Watch for Sunburns

Did you know that pets should have sunblock too? Yes – there is such a thing as pet-safe sunblock! About.com has a great article about pet-sunburn-prevention.  And just like for humans, being out in the sun for too long isn’t always the greatest idea.  Shade is good!

Note: Shaving most of your pet’s hair isn’t always the best idea.  It makes your pet more prone to sunburns.

Get Your Pet the Rabies Shot!

Rabies tags are what we’re most known for, so trust us on this one.  Summer is the time you really want to keep rabies prevention on your mind.  Wildlife that test positive for rabies are out and about, and you certainly want your pet protected.  Once your pet has the rabies shot, they will be given a rabies tag by your vet.

Prevent Fleas & Ticks

Mosquitoes.  Fleas.  Ticks.  They’re buzzing around everywhere all summer.  And you don’t want your pet to be infested.  Make sure your pet is bathed regularly.  Make sure the inside and outside of your house is kept clean.  And discuss flea/tick collars with your veterinarian.

Keep Water Stocked

H20 is your best friend in the summer.  It’s your pets too.  Make sure your pet is properly hydrated and has enough water at all times.

Follow these tips and you should be good to go!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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Sheep Identification: The Basics

China leads the world in number of sheep – claiming 15.9% of the world’s population. Australia and New Zealand have the most power in the world markets for wool and lamb. Iran has over 48 million sheep.

The U.S. is not a world leader when it comes to sheep and numbers, but sheep production is still an important business for many Americans. And as with all other livestock, proper identification very important. Let’s learn a little more.

Why Identify Sheep?

Sheep are multi-purpose animals. In other words, farmers raise them for various reasons. Although it pains most animal lovers to hear, most U.S. lambs are used for butchering. Meat production and dairying is a large industry in the U.S.

Sheep can also used be used for vegetation control, wool production, and even in lamb marketing.

As you could probably guess, it’s important to keep sheep in order for the right tasks. Keeping proper identification is important to know the sheep’s birth year, breed type, owner, sex, etc.

Here at Ketchum, our two most popular solutions for sheep identification are ear tags and tattoos.

Sheep Ear Tags

Farmers most commonly use sheep ear tags. Ketchum offers both brass and plastic ear tag options for permanent solutions. Both kinds of sheep tags have their advantages. Brass tags are light and they keep a low profile, but they’re not easy to read from afar. Plastic tags come in neon colors and are easy to read, but they’re more prone to fading.


Tattoos are an excellent way to identify sheep in the event a tag gets lost. Redundancy can save you from a major headache. Ketchum offers tattoo ink in various colors, as well as the equipment needed to get the job done. Tattooing the sheep absolutely will not hurt it.

There are other ways to identify sheep, such as paint identification, neck straps, and more. These forms of identification are meant for more temporary purposes.

Have questions about sheep identification? Call Ketchum Mfg. at 1-800-222-0460.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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5 Tips for Keeping Your Cat Happy Indoors

Do cats truly enjoy the outdoors? It’s a debatable topic. On one hand, the outdoors are a completely free place to roam around. On the other hand, there are an endless number of dangers; cars, fights for territory, and diseases are just a few. Despite the life of the average outdoor cat being only 2-3 years, the outdoors are what cats are built for. It’s part of their natural instinct to survive outside. But the truth of the matter is that cats are safer and better off inside. They’ll mostly likely live 5 – 10x as long. Here are some tips on how to make an outdoor cat a happy indoor cat:


Most of the time, cats won’t readily exercise when you want them to. But cats need exercise just like most other animals. You don’t need to attach a leash and walk them down the street…you can try a variety of simple exercises, like waving a laser pointer around, tossing some ping pong balls, or giving catnip incentives once in awhile. Or better yet, a cat treadmill!

Getting your cat to exercise is essentially you spending time/playing with your cat, which is very important in itself.

Screened-In Porches:

A screened-in porch is one of the best investments a cat owner can make. Why? It pleases the owner too. Nothing beats relaxing in a screened-in porch during the spring and summer. And cats love them because they enjoy the fresh air and looking out at nature. Just make sure the screens are fully secured so the cat won’t jump out, or be tempted to jolt at wildlife prey.

Quality Cat Food

An outdoor cat is used to eating any junk that will allow them to survive. And if you can feed them better, healthier food, they’ll be happier. A pretty simple concept right? This slideshow from PetMD will help you decide what the best food to feed your cat is.

Allow Climbing

Cats love climbing. It allows them to get a good look at everything. But how do you allow a cat to climb in the house? A cat tower or a cat tree. You can find these at pet stores for under $100, although for nicer ones you can end up spending upwards of $500.

Adding Another Cat

Wait…what? Cats actually like other cats? Most of the time, yes. It might take a little while for the cats to adjust to each other, but if done properly, you can give your cat a friend. A cat of the opposite sex may be the best bet.

And in the chance that your cat does escape its way back to an outdoor lifestyle, a cat tag is always a good idea.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Although you may not realize it, studies show that around half of American dogs are overweight. It’s actually quite easy to see why — pets want love, and we want to show it to them. That love often comes in the form of dog treats and hearty meals. And if that’s not enough to make a dog overweight, there’s always the fact that most dogs aren’t walked enough.

As humans, it’s very easy to look past the problem of pet obesity. You may think your dog looks cute with a little extra weight. You may think they’re just big boned. Or you may not even realize the extra weight is there! However, obese dogs are prone to suffer many of the same problems as obese humans. Canine diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and other issues can all be the result of an overweight dog. As a dog owner, it’s your job to prevent those issues to the best of your ability. How can you help your dog lose weight?

Recognize Your Dog Is Obese

Before you can start correcting the problem, you need to acknowledge there really is a problem. You need to know your dog’s current weight in comparison to what it should be. While going to a veterinarian is usually the best answer, you can get a good idea at home. So how does one go about weighing a fidgety dog? Step on the scale while holding your dog, then subtract your weight when done. Your dog’s weight should match up with this chart.

Change The Eating Routine

Changing your dog’s eating routine involves 2 steps – portion control and the removal of treats. Your dog shouldn’t have a bowl of food left out for them during the day. Instead, follow the daily calorie intake depending on the dog you own. Make sure you’re serving healthy foods.

Also note that treats shouldn’t really be a part of your dog’s diet. Like anything in life, a couple treats once in awhile are alright — but don’t go overboard. Remember, treats are calories too. Try replacing treats with healthier foods in small portions.

Exercise Regularly

Just like human weight loss — most is based on what you eat; the rest is based on how much you exercise. The same goes for dogs. Make sure your dog exercises daily – a walk is the best, a good round of fetch is second best. Try not to do too much at once. Your dog could get tired easily, which will cause stress.

So there you have it – helping your dog lose weight is not an incredibly hard task. Dogs eat when they’re fed and exercise when they’re told. In many cases, it’s actually easier for a dog to lose weight than a human. Monitor your dog’s weight weekly to keep their weight at a healthy level!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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