Pet Safety during the Holidays…Part 1

~~The holidays are an exciting time of year full of get togethers, gifts and delicious food. While we’re focused on a season full of parties and fun times, a pet might think differently. Extra noise and visitors can leave pets feeling stressed. As we keep holiday and winter tips in mind for people, there are holiday and winter tips for our furry friends, too.

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


We all know there’s an overabundance of food during the holidays. From sweet treats, to delicious meals, it’s easy to give in to the begging eyes of a four-legged companion. However, it’s important to note that just because food and drinks are people-friendly; it’s not the same for pets. Here’s a list of what foods to avoid giving your pet.

Say no to sweets. We’ve all heard that dark chocolate is dangerous for dogs, however, bread dough and cookie batter are just as dangerous. Dough can actually rise in your pet’s stomach, causing bloating and severe pain. Plus, just like their owners, pets can get salmonella poisoning from raw eggs in cookie batter.

Bones and beyond.  It’s tempting to offer your dog a special holiday “bone” right from the turkey your family just enjoyed. However, bones can get stuck in their intestines if they are brittle. On that note, make sure you dispose of bones carefully, just in case a sensitive nose goes sniffing where it shouldn’t.

Skin from a turkey is also a no-no. The skin is full of fatty juices and butter, and can be difficult for your pet to digest. High-fat foods can also lead to pancreatitis.

H2O only. While we know pets shouldn’t consume anything other than water, you may find your pet taking a sip or two from an unattended glass, filled with an adult beverage. While dogs love the smell of beer, the hops in beer are toxic to a dog’s system.

Spice is not so nice. On your pet’s digestive system that is. Sage is a popular seasoning used at Thanksgiving, and while it’s delicious for pet owners, it can cause pets to have upset stomachs or even more serious digestive trouble.

Nutmeg is another culprit that can wreak havoc on your pet. The popular spice used in pumpkin pie can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your pet digests it. Pumpkin on its own is a safe treat for pets. Just avoid anything that is seasoned with nutmeg.

The best bet is to maintain your pet's usual meal time routine. Being stressed with the additional activity may decrease their appetites, but giving different treats and foods will likely make them feel worse.

Regular or Premium? Which fuel should you use?

Most people are clear on which type of gas their car needs. But not as many are clear on the differences between regular and premium gas.

What is the difference?

One obvious difference is the price—premium fuel typically costs about 20 cents more per gallon than regular gas. Premium fuel also comes with a higher octane level—92 or 93 compared to 87 for regular gas. (You may also see a midgrade gas with an octane of 89, which is less commonly used than 87 and 93.)

Octane is how much compression a fuel can withstand before igniting. A higher octane gas won’t pre-ignite or explode as quickly, which explains why high-performance cars with higher compression engines often require higher octane gas. Engines that take higher octane fuel tend to work more efficiently and emit less emissions and exhaust.

Why the right fuel matters

Cars are designed to run best with a specific type of fuel, and your owner’s manual will let you know what that is.

Still, you may be tempted to fill your car up with a different type of fuel. This is often the case when you have to fill up with more expensive 93 octane gas.

If you use a lower than recommended level, the gas may combust too fast for your engine. That can cause the engine to make a knocking noise. In addition to this unwanted noise, a lower than recommended gas can also reduce your car’s power and fuel economy and cause engine damage.

When it comes to the opposite—using a higher octane fuel than recommended—the risk of danger is lower. The general consensus is that using premium gas when your car can run on regular gas doesn’t deliver any extra benefits when it comes to engine life, fuel economy or reduced emissions. So save your money and fill up with regular gas.

Snow, snow go away…. or, advise on dealing with it when it comes

~~In addition to staying off the roads when snow is falling, residents should take the following actions:

• Keep devices charged so you will have a way follow weather forecasts and local emergency information.
• Be cautious shoveling snow to avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks and keep hydrated.
• If you must travel, make sure to have a car chargers, kitty litter or sand for traction, and extra drinks and snacks in case you get stuck in traffic.
• Let friends or family know of your travel route and expected arrival times.
• Make sure pets are not kept outside without shelter in cold and snowy weather and be aware that salt and other ice melting materials may hurt animal’s paws.
• Dress in layers, taking care to keep your hands covered.
• Know who to contact in the case of a power outage.

For more information about winter weather preparedness, please visit the following websites:

 FEMA: and click on the Winter Storms link
 American Red Cross: and click on Winter Storm.

Oh, that groundhog…..

Yes, he saw his shadow, and six more weeks of winter are coming our way.  We knew that, though, just a peek at the calendar tells us. However, the days are getting a bit longer each day with a few minutes of sunshine after work. Driving home in the dark after work is nearly over, for some of us anyway.  Still waking up in the dark, but it won't be long and we'll see a difference there, too.  Now, if the thermometer would just start creeping upwards!

Recovering from Winter…. Here are some helpful tips for your car and your home.

Hopefully, winter is behind us, and will soon be just a memory, but it has taken a toll on us, and our belongings… here are some tips to get ready for life without snow and ice!

Exchange your snow tires for all-season tires or make sure you rotate your tires if they are all-season tires.  The harsh winter and cold temperatures put a lot of wear-and-tear on them and make sure the correct tire pressure is in all the tires.

Inspect your windshield wiper blades and replace them if they are worn down and don’t remove water from your windshield.

After going to a high-pressure carwash that under-sprays the bottom of your car too, check the body of your car for bubbling or the start of rust spots.  If you see rust spots make an appointment at your car shop so it doesn’t escalate into more rust spots.

Brakes are very important and they work twice as hard during the winter so have your brake pads and drums checked and if you hear strange noises take it to a repair shop immediately.

An alignment may be needed if your car does not maintain a straight path; it may veer to the left or to the right. Potholes could be the culprit for an alignment issue.  Make an appointment at your car shop to check the alignment and try to avoid potholes.

Top off all your fluids; brake, oil, windshield, coolant, battery and transmission and don’t forget to get your battery’s charge tested.

Replace your engine air filter about every 15,000 miles.  A clean air filter increases your fuel economy as the engine doesn’t have to work as hard.


After winter you want to do an inspection or walk around your house to see if anything is out or the ordinary.  Freezing and thawing can cause havoc on multiple items on or around your house.

Inspect your roof to make sure there aren’t any leaks or loose shingles.  If you find any signs of a leaking celling, like yellow or brown stains, fix the leak with primer then apply a few coats of paint.

Cleaning out your gutters and downspouts after a harsh winter will make quite the difference when spring showers begin.  You can have them professionally done or do it yourself, but you must clear the leaves and debris out of them to prevent further issues or damages.

Make sure your storm doors and screens hinges, frames and edges are not bent or broken and check for any holes in your screens that may need repaired or replaced. Seal up any leak-prone areas with exterior caulk especially around windows or when siding walls are joined together.

Examine your driveway and if you notice a lot of cracks since last spring you may want to have your driveway resealed to prevent more cracks from appearing.

Pressure wash and reseal your deck every couple of years to prevent rotting and wear-n-tear.  If you have a fence now would be a good time to replace or repair the worn out wood with epoxy.

Turn on exterior faucets and hoses, if the flow of the water is running slow, it could be a sign of low water pressure usually caused by a pipe that may need to be fixed inside your home.

Final Pandora Winner!!

Congratulations to Samantha Cunningham for being our final winner and posting on our Livengood, DeVore & Company Facebook page during the Pandora radio ad promotion. Thanks to all of our participates and keep an eye on our website, and our Facebook page for more updates and future giveaways.



2nd Pandora Winner!

Congratulations to our second Pandora Winner, Eliot Fielding of Fielding Construction!! We are drawing one more winner next week, so keep listening and posting on our Livengood, DeVore & Company Facebook page every time you see or hear our ad for on Pandora Radio! Thanks for participating!

1st Pandora Winner

Congratulations to our 1st Pandora Winner, Danielle K. Howell!!! To everyone in the Allegany County and surrounding areas keep listening and posting on our Livengood, DeVore & Company Facebook page every time you see or hear our ad for on Pandora Radio and you can still be entered to win a year's subscription to Pandora Radio.

Pandora Subscription Give-Away

It's the end of February already, where has this month gone?  A few more weeks till the first day of spring, March 20, 2014.  Speaking of March; Beginning Monday Februray 24th through the end of March Livengood in LaVale has teamed up with Pandora Internet Radio to get the word out about our agency.  The name Pandora means "all gifted" in Greek and in celebration of spring we're going to give the gift of a year's subscription to some lucky Pandora users.  Hers's how to win:

Whenever you hear an ad for Livengood, Devore & Company Insurance or Livengood in LaVale on Pandora go to our Facebook page and post the name and artis of the song immediately following the ad.  We'll be watching our timeline and selecting several winners over the next few weeks so make sure you keep posting each time you see or hear our ad for a greater chance to win! – at Livengood, DeVore & Company Insurance.  Winners will be announced on our Facebook and web page at

Happy Listening and Good Luck!

Happy Halloween!!

A bit of history….

All Hallow's Eve, or as we more commonly call it, Halloween, dates back over 2000 years. The ancient Celtic calendar began November 1 and it was believed that as the old year faded and the new year began the separation between the living and the dead was fragile.  On the night of October 31, it was believed that the spirits of the dead roamed the earth and caused harm to people, animals and crops.  To ward off the spirits and ghosts, bonfires were built, bowls of candy and treats left out to appease them, and costumes worn to disguise identities, and thereby avoid retribution.

Although there may still be ghosts and spirits, Halloween has thankfully evolved and is a bit less frightening, for most of us anyway.