(Family Features) More than 23 million American households added a four-legged family member over the last three years, according to data from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Through these trying times, pets have been a key source of comfort and joy – even improving pet parents’ overall wellbeing.
It’s no wonder that – according to Mars Petcare’s “Pets for Better Wellbeing” report – more than one-third of non-pet owners are considering adopting a pet in the next 3-5 years, and 61% of them said they’ll turn to shelters or rescues. It’s a major decision for families, but also for pets, as there are still hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs waiting in shelters to find their forever homes.
To learn more about the positive impact of pet ownership, and to find out how you can support animal shelters and pets in your community, visit BetterCitiesforPets.com/2022Report . If you’re still deciding whether to add a four-legged family member, consider these four benefits:
Improve Your Wellbeing
Few things compare to the joy of coming home to a loyal companion. Whether it’s a dog greeting you at the door or a cat purring contently in your lap, your pet is there to offer unconditional love. In fact, the survey revealed 92% of pet owners feel their relationship with their pets have improved both their mental and physical wellbeing over the last three years.
Serve as Your Social Sidekick
More pet owners are including their pets in their everyday routines, whether at work or during their leisure time. In fact, 85% of pet owners working from home all or part of the time said it’s important to spend at least part of their workday at home with their pets. People are also looking to hit the road with their pets by their side as 52% said they’re likely to bring their pets while traveling.
Provide Companionship for the Whole Family
A dog is more than just “man’s best friend.” The research indicated more than 9 in 10 pet owners agree their pets complete their families or households and they are a key part of how the family spends quality time together. When it comes to children, adults said they feel pets make a positive impact by providing companionship (75%) and teaching children about responsibility (69%).
Support Your Local Shelter
If you’re ready to add a pet to your family, consider adopting from a local shelter. Eighty-four percent of pet parents who adopted from shelters felt a boost in mental wellbeing from doing so. Adding a pet to your home can also support shelters in your community that are struggling to care for all the cats and dogs in need of forever homes.
(Family Features) The holiday season presents opportunities for celebrating with loved ones, and for many families, that includes their dogs and cats. However, holiday foods and decorations can pose health risks for pets and the hustle and bustle may be overwhelming.
To help keep your pet safe amid the jolly chaos, consider these potential hazards from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations across North America that cared for more than 4.5 million pets last year.
Decorations are part of almost every holiday celebration but making some pet-proofed choices can make your home safe for four-legged guests as well. If you put up a tree (live or artificial), ensure it’s set up securely and use shatter-proof ornaments, ideally hung above tail height and out of paws’ reach. If you have kittens less than 1 year old in your home, they sometimes like to climb up the tree trunk to the top, so extra care may be needed. Hang smaller ornaments toward the top of the tree to reduce potential choking hazards and avoid salt dough ornaments, which may look like a snack to pets but can cause electrolyte problems, and tinsel as it can become lodged in a pet’s gut and cause issues.
Additionally, consider battery-operated candles instead of real ones, which can be easily knocked over by curious pets and burn them or lead to more serious fire risks. Dangling cords from seasonal decor can also appeal to pets, and if chewed while plugged in could result in electrical shock or burn to the tongue, so secure them out of sight and unplug when not in use.
With the holidays comes a delicious variety of baked goods, chocolate confections and other rich foods. However, some of those seasonal goodies can present problems for pets. For example, chocolate and cocoa contain theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that’s highly toxic to both dogs and cats. Ingestion in small amounts can cause vomiting and diarrhea, but large amounts can cause seizures and heart arrhythmias.
Other traditional holiday mainstays such as fruitcakes, breads and cookies that contain grapes, raisins or currants can cause kidney failure in dogs. Sugarless gums and candies may contain xylitol, a natural sweetener, which can cause serious conditions like dangerously low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs. Leftover fatty meat scraps can produce severe inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), leading to abdominal pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhea.
Although live trees are non-toxic, their needles do not digest well, and their water may contain bacteria, mold or fertilizer that should not be ingested. Additionally, poinsettias, which often have a bad reputation among pet owners, can cause upset stomachs if the leaves are ingested though it’s typically milder than the symptoms associated with holly, mistletoe and amaryllis. Daffodils, lilies and narcissi are also toxic to pets.
An increase in visitors, ringing of the doorbell and extra excitement of the holiday season can be stressful for pets. Try to keep your four-legged friend’s feeding and exercise schedule as regular as possible, and make time for additional stress-relieving playtime and snuggles. To help avoid overstimulation, it may be best to keep your pets in their own crates or a quiet room with food, water and comfortable bedding while you have company. If you need additional assistance, consult with your veterinarian.
Holiday travel with your four-legged family members requires some extra packing and precautions. If traveling by car, make sure your pet is safely restrained using a secure harness or carrier and placed away from any airbags. Make sure pets are microchipped and their registration is up to date in case you become separated. Never leave pets alone in a vehicle or transport them in the bed of a truck. Also be sure you have updated health certificates from your veterinarian, if required by any states you will visit or pass through, and pack copies of medical records, first aid supplies, food and medications, leashes, collars and favorite toys.
(Family Features) The holiday season means fun and festivities for all, but getting wrapped up in all the excitement and celebrations can lead to forgetting about safety and precautions, especially for pets.
Consider these seven tips to help you spot potential hazards around the holidays and keep your pets healthy and happy.
Food for Thought: Sweet treats and savory bites are treasured holiday pastimes for humans, but that can also mean things like chocolates, nuts and animal bones should be supervised carefully so your pets don’t ingest something toxic or harmful. Other human foods to put on the do-not-share list include garlic, onions and grapes. It’s also wise to keep your trash in a tightly sealed container or hidden somewhere your pet can’t access.
Keep Calm and Carry On: The holiday season brings people together for milestones and celebrations, but all the hoopla can be stressful for pets. From the loud music and new visitors to kids running around or fireworks going off, some pets can become overwhelmed. To help keep your pets comfortable and calm, try turning on a TV or some soothing music in a quiet room away from the noises or let them curl up on their favorite bed with a toy or treat to distract them. You can also try introducing a calming supplement like Zesty Paws Calming Bites for Dogs that may help with normal stress, nervousness and hyperactivity during stressful situations.
Watch Out for Tree Trimmings and Poisonous Plants: While poinsettias and festive fir trees are holiday classics, they can also be extremely hazardous to pets. It’s important to be careful about what you’re bringing inside your home. Many holiday plants like holly, lilies, amaryllis and even pine needles from trees can be toxic if ingested. If ingestion does occur, contact a pet poison hotline or your veterinarian. If it’s after hours or in the event of an emergency, find your nearest 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic.
Watch the Weather: Changing temperatures and harsh conditions can wreak havoc on human skin, so it’s no surprise it can also affect pets’ skin and coats. You can try reducing their bathing frequency, keeping up with brushings and providing extra hydration to keep them feeling their best. Another way to keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy is to add supplements that contain essential fatty acids. A fish oil, like Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, provides omega-3s for dogs to help nourish their skin and coats.
Stick to a Routine: Pets thrive on routines for feeding, potty breaks and exercise, so be conscious of how your holiday plans may shake things up. Try to stick to your regular schedule as closely as possible or consider asking a friend or relative to help if you’ll be away during regular feeding or outdoor break times.
Spend Some Quality Time: In addition to providing companionship and love, spending time with pets can also reduce stress, anxiety and depression; ease loneliness; and encourage exercise and playfulness. Even though you may be traveling or partying with friends, be sure to spend some quality time with your fur babies this holiday season, too.
Give Them Gifts: Humans aren’t the only ones who love to get gifts. Few things beat the look on dog’s faces when you pull out a new toy or treat for them to enjoy. Whether it’s a new leash, ball or cozy bed, be sure you have a little something to give your furry family members this holiday season as well.
For more information and ways to keep your pets happy and healthy, visit ZestyPaws.com.
(Family Features) Halloween isn’t just for humans; four-legged friends have plenty of opportunity to get in on the fun, too. However, it’s important to take some pet precautions that allow the whole family to enjoy the holiday safely, as the costumes and excitement can be overwhelming and some of the candy is even dangerous.
As you’re filling the candy buckets and assembling the perfect costumes, be sure to heed these tips from the experts at PetSmart for a Halloween filled with pet-friendly fun:
Out and about
Make sure pets have proper identification by microchipping and registering your pet’s microchip, and keeping identification and registration tags on their collars. This is especially important around Halloween, when open doors offer more opportunity for escape.
If your pet will be joining the family while trick-or-treating, be sure they are visible to motorists by using a reflective collar, harness or leash.
Just like with children, there are safety issues to consider when costuming your pets. Not all dogs like wearing clothes and some may become stressed or agitated while wearing a costume or sweater. However, many dogs just need a little coaxing and positive reinforcement.
* Start with a simple accessory, like a bandana, working your way up to a costume.
* Make sure costumes include eye and ear holes, and if they don’t, consider removing whole portions of the costume to ensure your pet’s ability to see, hear and breathe. Make sure there isn’t anything that could be a tripping hazard. Also, be sure to check the costume for little parts within biting or chewing distance.
* Dogs can overheat easily, so ensure your dog’s clothing is not too bulky or heavy if the weather is warm.
* In the end, the top priority should be your pet’s comfort level.
Hazardous food and decorations
“It’s fun to include our pets in our celebrations, but it’s also important to be aware of the dangers associated with Halloween to ensure their safety,” said Jennifer Freeman, DVM, PetSmart’s resident veterinarian and pet care expert. “Keep chocolate and candy out of paws’ reach. Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in candy, gum, mints and baked goods, is toxic to pets and can cause liver damage.”
Keep the Halloween fun going by establishing some rules for your family and any guests joining the festivities:
* Xylitol can be extremely dangerous to pets, even in small amounts. Just 1/8 teaspoon can cause dangerously low blood sugar in dogs and 1/2 teaspoon can cause liver damage. If xylitol is consumed by your pet, take him or her to a veterinarian immediately.
* Natural stimulants in chocolate can cause a range of symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and abnormal heart rhythm.
* Raisins may cause a toxic reaction in dogs from vomiting to kidney failure.
* Cellophane, plastic and paper from candy wrappers and lollipop sticks can cause gastrointestinal upset.
* As an alternative to sharing dangerous snacks, stock up on some seasonal dog-friendly treats and set out a pet-specific bowl.
Seasonal decorations can also pose a threat:
* Fall decorations like jack-o’-lanterns can cause gastrointestinal upset.
* Glow sticks can cause irritation, agitation and vomiting.
* Hot wax and flames from candles can potentially burn your pet’s nose, tongue or tail.
Don’t forget the fun
Despite some concerns, Halloween can still provide fun moments for your pet:
* Take your dog along for trick-or-treating.
* Allow your four-legged friend to greet trick-or-treaters at the door.
* Encourage friends to dress up their pets and join the festivities.
Find more tips and tricks for keeping your pets safe this Halloween at PetSmart.com.
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(Family Features) Costumes and candy make Halloween a highly anticipated event for children and adults alike, but the holiday can be particularly spooky for pets. Some of the same things that bring humans joy on All Hallows Eve can lead to poisoning, stress or anxiety, which may cause four-legged family members to run away or react aggressively.
To help ensure Halloween is fun for every member of the family, take note of these safety tips
from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations across North America that cared for more than 4.5 million pets last year. Talk to your veterinarian if you need assistance dealing with pet anxiety.
Create a safe space for your pet at home. If your neighborhood is particularly busy on Halloween and the sidewalks are overflowing with exuberant trick-or-treaters, it may be best to leave your pet at home. Pets can be thrown off by extra people on the street or at the door in frightening costumes, which could lead to uncommon reactions such as growling or biting if they feel threatened. Even if your pets are mellow and enjoy greeting guests, consider keeping them inside as you sit by yourself near the door or outside to greet trick-or-treaters as they knock or ring the doorbell. Otherwise, consider keeping your pet in a room away from the frenzy with a TV, radio or white noise machine to dull the sounds.
Be cautious when taking your pet trick-or-treating. If you do decide to venture out with your pet, make sure he or she is always close to you on a secure leash (avoid retractable leashes). Observe your surroundings and assess people – especially friendly, excited children – approaching you and your pet, because physical contact from strangers in costumes may instigate a fearful or aggressive reaction.
Consider skipping the costume. It’s best not to dress up your pets for Halloween, but if you choose to, it’s important for pets to wear safe, comfortable costumes. They should be loose enough to provide freedom of movement but not loose enough to be a tripping hazard. On the other hand, costumes that are too tight can restrict breathing and make movement difficult. Make sure your pet’s costume does not interfere with vision or hearing. Also beware of small parts, like buttons or loose strings, that could be chewed off and swallowed.
Keep treats away from pets. Resist the temptation to share Halloween candy with your pet. In fact, keep all candy safely out of reach. Chocolate, candy or gum artificially sweetened with xylitol can be dangerous for dogs. Plus, cellophane or foil wrappers can cause problems if swallowed. Even natural treats like caramel apples should be off limits as eating items not normally on the menu can cause upset stomachs, GI blockages or pancreatitis.
Decorate with safety in mind. Festive decorations help set the mood, but they can also create health risks for your pet. While non-toxic, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds can upset stomachs, especially when consumed in large quantities. Lit candles in Jack-O-Lanterns may pose fire hazards if toppled by a curious four-legged friend. Decorative lights can brighten your porch but should be kept out of your pet’s reach as nibbling on electrical cords can cause electrocution.
To learn more, visit vcahospitals.com, where you can search for additional tips to make Halloween safe and fun for your furry friends.
Comments Off on Managing Your Pet’s Weight: 3 tips to keep dogs and cats healthy
(Family Features) Much like humans, dogs and cats can struggle with aging- and weight-related health issues. In fact, 3 out of 5 cats and dogs are overweight or obese, according to Packaged Facts’ U.S. Pet Market Outlook.
Pet obesity can lead to several health issues and problems, including diabetes, cancer and osteoarthritis, according to research published in “Veterinary Medicine.” While leading a sedentary lifestyle and overfeeding are common factors that can lead to pets becoming overweight or obese, these simple tips from the pet food experts at Go! Solutions can help you manage your dog’s or cat’s weight to ensure he or she lives a happy and healthy life.
Exercise and Play Regularly Just as important as your pet’s diet is ensuring he or she is active. For dogs, regular walks and hikes are a simple way to provide mental stimulation, improve muscle tone, increase metabolism and help reduce boredom while also getting necessary exercise. For high-energy dogs who need more stimulation, games like fetch, hide-and-seek and tug can help them burn off extra energy and tire more quickly on days when you don’t have time to spend hours outside with them. For cats, consider scratching posts, flirt poles, obstacle courses, setting platforms at multiple levels and simple toys like balls and fake mice to keep them active and engaged. Some cats can even be leash trained to go for walks.
Address Dietary Needs
Diet is a major factor in weight management for dogs and cats. The ideal diet for your pet provides the right balance of macro- and micronutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals as well as the proper portion size to help prevent obesity. Formulated by Petcurean’s expert nutrition team, Go! Solutions Weight Management + Joint Care Grain-Free Chicken recipe provides complete and balanced nutrition featuring premium quality, functional ingredients with zero by-product meals and artificial preservatives. To support a healthy weight and mobile joints in adult and senior dogs and cats, the formula includes L-carnitine to help burn fat into energy and fiber-rich psyllium husk to help keep pets feeling full. Glucosamine and chondroitin in the recipe for dogs and chondroitin from chicken cartilage in the recipe for cats helps support healthy joints and good mobility.
Keep Treats in Check
An important part of weight loss and management is limiting the additional calories you’re providing your pet outside of his or her normal day-to-day diet. A little extra can go a long way, so keep packaged treats to a minimum and be mindful of things like slipping your pet table scraps or letting him or her lick out the almost-empty peanut butter jar. Keeping those additional calories in check can help keep your pet’s diet – and overall health – on the right track.
Find more ideas for providing your dog or cat complete and balanced nutrition at go-solutions.com.
Comments Off on 3 Ways to Include Your Pup in Game Day
(Family Features) Game days are all about bonding with friends over football and food, alongside your furry best friend. Pet parents aren’t the only ones excited for game days. Dogs can get in on the action, too.
Bringing pups into the game day experience can foster more joy of togetherness for pets and pet parents alike – whether that’s a game of catch in the yard, piling up side-by-side on the couch to root for your team or snacking on your favorite football foods while your pup enjoys his or her own special dog-friendly game day meal.
This football season, CESAR® Canine Cuisine invites you to celebrate every touchdown with your top dog, from your living room to your kitchen and backyard, using these tips.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Tail-Wagging Team Spirit
On game day, you wear your favorite team’s colors. As loyal fans root on their teams, let your dog show his or her squad spirit, too. Bring out your team pride with matching jerseys or bandanas, or a special football-themed toy for your pup to sport during the game.
Photo courtesy of Fadwa Ward of RP Studios
Practice Plays with Your Pup
Stay active during your at-home watch party by running around with your pup during commercial breaks or at halftime. Play fetch in the yard, calling out plays like a quarterback, and have your top furry wide receiver catch his or her favorite toy for the touchdown. A break for fresh air can help keep your dog entertained and make sure he or she can get energy out throughout the game.
The game day spread is not complete until your dog has something to dine on, too. To help pet parents and their dogs enjoy the most delicious part of game day together, CESAR Canine Cuisine created a “Match Up” Menu of dog-friendly “recipes,” inspired by fan-favorite foods, using its wide range of bold flavors in a variety of textures. Visit CESAR.com for the full menu, which features the first-of-its-kind CESAR 7-Layer and more unique wet and dry dog food combos for your pup to enjoy while you watch your favorite team play together.*
*From the CESAR brand: This is our fun way to get our furry friends involved in game day. The CESAR® brand believes the best life is shared between pets and their pet parents, but we don’t recommend sharing human food with pets. While we’re excited to share these pup-friendly game day recipes with our furry fans, we remind all pet owners to follow appropriate feeding guidelines. Please be conscious of serving sizes on the packaging when making the CESAR 7-Layer or “Match Up” recipes. Do not over feed your dog and consult with your veterinary provider to discuss your pet’s dietary needs.
Comments Off on 8 Tips for a Pet-Friendly Workplace
(Family Features) From wagging tails popping into virtual work calls to cuddle breaks between tasks, many pet parents have gotten used to the joys of working at home with their furry best friends.
As businesses welcome employees back to their offices, the demand for pets and their pet parents to be together at work grows. In fact, according to a survey from the CESAR® brand, pet parents believe dogs at work can boost happiness (58%) and relieve anxiety or stress (57%). Additionally, more than half of dog owners feel bringing their dogs to work would encourage them to take breaks (55%) and foster more social interaction in the workplace (52%).
To help make this togetherness a reality, CESAR Canine Cuisine introduced its CESAR® HIRE MY DOG™ program to inspire pet parents to advocate for pet-friendly workplaces. Leveraging the expertise of Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program and its PETS WORK AT WORK™ toolkit, the program provides pet parents and employers with resources to guide offices in going pet-friendly.
The brand also partnered with organizational duo Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin of The Home Edit – and their pups Indie, Emmett and Mabel – to share tips to organize pet-friendly workplaces in functional and stylized ways.
Consider these tips to help make your workplace pet-friendly, and find more information at CESARHireMyDog.com.
Photo courtesy of Hall + Merrick Photographers
To ensure pet parents can comfortably and responsibly enjoy time with their dogs at the office, leash hooks should be added to desks and collaborative spaces where pets might visit. This allows pet parents to work handsfree while knowing their furry companions are safe by their sides. Offices should also consider a color-coded leash system where green leashes, for example, can indicate dogs are friendly and ready to play while yellow leashes can mean dogs are shy and their pet parent should be consulted before approaching.
Photo courtesy of John Shearer
Shearer and Teplin recommend organizing single-serve meals for office dogs by flavor and color in clear bins so pet parents can easily grab what they need. For dry dog food and treats, clear containers can make it easy to spot when supply is running low.
Photo courtesy of John Shearer
Shearer and Teplin suggest designating a dog zone in a common area for toys, potty supplies, brushes and more. Store each category of items in baskets with labels so employees can clearly find what they are looking for.
Photo courtesy of John Shearer
Keep offices with pups neat and tidy by keeping a cleanup caddy under the sink with items such as carpet cleaners, disinfecting sprays and paper towels to quickly clean up any messes. Just make sure cleaning supplies are not accessible to pets.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Christopher Photo
Station water bowls by desks, in conference rooms and anywhere pups might visit to help make sure they stay hydrated.
Photos courtesy of Adobe Stock
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock
Give four-legged friends a comfortable place to rest, have a quick treat or play with their toys by having dog beds wherever pet parents are working. Having a spot to call their own can help dogs relax and adapt to the office environment.
Photo courtesy of Daniel Christopher Photo
Durable Furniture and Floors
Durable fabrics and floor types allow for easy-to-clean spaces in case of accidents. Pet parents can worry less about potential messes, knowing surfaces can be wiped clean and sanitized.
Photo courtesy of Hall + Merrick Photographers
Have designated outdoor space for office pets to do their “business.” To ensure quick cleanup and help keep the area tidy for others, include waste stations with plastic bags. The outdoor space can also be a place for dogs to make friends and give pet parents a break to socialize with colleagues.
Comments Off on 6 Tips for Pet Parents to Be Environmentally Friendly
(Family Features) For many people, “going green” means walking rather than driving, ditching single-use plastics and conserving energy. To go above and beyond, pet parents can follow additional measures that aid the planet while also supporting their furry friends.
Consider these eco-friendly ideas from Freshpet’s Nature’s Fresh line to support your pets and those in your community while also being environmentally friendly.
An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to visit dog parks and other pet-friendly locations within walking distance rather than driving. It’s a perfect opportunity to explore new hiking or walking trails, contribute to pet-friendly establishments and get a little exercise for both you and your furry friend.
Opt for Eco-Friendly Foods
There are planet-friendly food choices available for pets, like Freshpet’s Nature’s Fresh, which sustainably sources ingredients with regenerative farming methods and offers certified humanely raised proteins. All of the recipes are produced with the planet in mind as waste is reused, recycled or transformed into energy. The kitchens in which the food is made and the refrigerators where customers find it use electricity generated by renewable wind or solar energy.
Swap Out Single-Use Products
When you’re out for a walk with your pet, bring Earth-friendly products like a reusable water bottle rather than a single-use plastic bottle that may one day become a pollutant in waterways or food sources. For your furry friend, a water bowl that collapses completely makes the item easy to store when not in use while also minimizing waste.
Support Local Shelters
If you’re not yet a pet parent but would like to become one, consider turning to local shelters. Adopting versus buying helps control overpopulation and its environmental impact. Another way you can contribute to local shelters is donating gently used blankets, towels, water dishes, leashes, collars, grooming tools and beds. This gives items a second life and helps reduce landfill waste.
Use Compostable Pet Waste Bags
Picking up after your pet doesn’t have to create additional waste. Use compostable bags to avoid adding single-use baggies to landfills. Made from natural plant starch without toxic materials, compostable bags are an eco-friendly option for disposing pet waste. If you have a compost pile used for plants you don’t plan on eating, simply toss the bag in that pile. Alternately, if your compost pile is used for fruits and veggies in a garden, be sure to bury the waste bags elsewhere – pet excrement can contain pathogens that are harmful to humans.
Go Digital with Pet Health Records
Many veterinarians still utilize paper records, but these records are easily lost and can be harmful to the environment. Consider creating a digital record of all your pet’s health documents via the cloud so you and your family can access it anywhere. Pet parents can be sure the documents are always on-hand if they have their smartphones and can recycle the paper documents once they’ve been saved digitally or re-use the documents as scratch paper.
Comments Off on 5 Ways to Support Cats in Your Community
(Family Features) From social media to video games, cats rule the internet. They’re a constant source of joy and entertainment, and a beloved part of more than 45 million American homes, according to the American Pet Products Association. There are also millions of free-roaming and homeless cats across the country, however.
To help cats in homes and communities enjoy great lives, Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program is working to create more pet-friendly communities. Consider these five ways you can help and learn more at BetterCitiesforPets.com.
1. Provide a forever home. Many shelters are facing increased intake as pet parents feel forced to give up their pets due to hardship. In fact, Shelter Animals Count revealed cat intakes in June were double that of January. Check with your local shelter to learn about adoption options and resources to help. Your community might offer sponsored programs to help local cats get adopted.
2. Make sure your cat has kitty ID. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, microchipped cats are more than 20 times more likely to be returned to their owners than those without chips. One of the first things a shelter or veterinarian will do with a found cat is scan for a microchip, so it’s an easy way to ID your cat if lost and help him or her get home. Also make sure your contact information associated with the microchip is up to date.
3. Share the love. If you’re a cat parent, you know the importance of healthy nutrition, routine vet visits and active play to exercise your cat’s mind and body. You can also help homeless cats enjoy these necessities by supporting your local shelter or rescue. Donate food or funds for medical care, volunteer to help socialize cats or become an ambassador for adoption by sharing social posts about cats looking for homes.
4. Learn about community cats. If your city has a lot of free-roaming cats, you might be surprised to learn they’re probably being cared for on a regular basis through a community cat program aimed at helping humanely reduce overpopulation and nuisance behaviors. In these programs, shelters, volunteers and cities work together to feed, spay or neuter, vaccinate and care for outdoor cats. Learn more with the Community Cat Toolkit from the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ Program to see how you may be able to help.
5. Become a community cat advocate. There are various ways to support community cat programs, including getting involved as a feeder, donating food or supplies, or helping with trap-neuter-return events. You can also write letters to your city government to explain the benefits of community cat care and pet-friendly policies. Your voice matters and cats can benefit from your support.
Comments Off on Vet-Approved Tips to Help Keep Pets Safe this Summer
(Family Features) Extreme temperatures and booming sounds can have big impacts on pets.
With record-breaking heat across much of the nation, the experts at Freshpet are helping pet parents with these tips to help keep their pets healthy and safe this summer.
Heat stroke can occur quickly in dogs. Without the ability to sweat the same way humans do, it’s important for pet parents to understand ways to cool their pets down when temperatures rise and how to avoid common mistakes to keep their pets safe.
“Just because we can manage the heat and humidity, doesn’t mean our pets can,” said Dr. Aziza Glass, Freshpet’s expert veterinarian. “Our pets are vulnerable to temperatures over 80 F. However, there are things we can do to keep our pets safe and protected from heat-related injuries and some may come as a surprise.”
Limit time outdoors: While outdoor activities are typically recommended for pets, their inability to sweat the same way humans do can cause them to heat up quickly. Limit walks to early morning or after the sun sets and stay indoors as much as possible the rest of the day.
Fill their water bowls: Just like humans, clean water is essential for helping pets manage the heat. Cool water can help cool down your pet’s body temperature. Moisture-rich fresh food like options from Freshpet – made with 100% farm-raised chicken, beef or fish and all-natural fruits and veggies – can also help with hydration.
Avoid shaving your pet: While summer cuts for long-haired dogs are OK, shaving your pet can expose his or her skin to harmful sun damage and cause overheating more quickly.
Glass recommends pet parents educate themselves on how to recognize heat stroke. Heavy panting, drooling, high body temperature, increased heart rate and fatigue are some signs of heat stroke in dogs.
“If you believe your dog is having a heat stroke, bring him or her indoors immediately to help cool down,” she said. “A common mistake is putting the pet in a cold ice bath. That can actually shock the system and cause quick changes in blood pressure. Instead, soak a towel in room temperature water and wipe your dog down to start the cooling process. Afterwards, proceed immediately to your primary care veterinarian or closest emergency center.”
Booming sounds and crackling fireworks can send some pets into sensory overdrive. According to Glass, with an elevated ability to interpret sound frequencies audibly and physically, dogs’ sensitivities to loud noises means some celebrations can make for particularly anxious events. While some dogs hide under beds or jump fences to flee the sounds, there are ways to help make fireworks less stressful for canine companions.
Create a calm environment: Be aware if you or your neighbors plan to launch fireworks. If so, create a space to help your dog deal with the noise. A sound machine, lavender oil on his or her collar and blankets can help.
Remain indoors: Avoid taking your dog outside if you’re planning to view fireworks or set off your own. A dog’s first reaction may be to flee from the noise and search for a safe spot, placing him or her in more danger.
Stay close: Pets feel less anxious when they feel safe. Make sure you or someone they feel safe with is by their side until the fireworks are over, offering comfort, treats and affection throughout the event.
(Family Features) Summer means extra time outdoors. Sunny months provide a perfect opportunity for bonding with pets, but higher temperatures, seasonal plants and pests and additional travel can pose higher risks for complications.
To help keep dogs, cats and other pets safe during summer adventures, consider these tips from the experts at VCA Animal Hospitals, which has more than 1,000 locations across North America that cared for more than 4.5 million pets last year.
Beat the Heat Dogs and cats cannot control their body temperature by sweating as humans do. They have a small number of sweat glands located in their footpads and primarily regulate their temperature by panting. Vigorous exercise, leaving a pet in a vehicle with poor ventilation – even if the windows are down – or being left outside without shade and water on hot days can lead to heatstroke, or hyperthermia.
Increased humidity combined with warmer temperatures intensifies the risk of heat stroke, especially during the first few warm days as pets transition to outdoor activity. If your pet exhibits any symptoms of heatstroke – elevated breathing rates, dry or sticky gums, lethargy, disorientation, abnormal gum color, bruised gums or seizures – pour cool water over your pet’s head, stomach and feet or apply cool, wet cloths, ensure continuous airflow and see a veterinarian immediately.
Keep Ticks at Bay
As pets spend more time outdoors in the summer, they’re often exposed to pests like ticks. Ticks can transmit serious diseases to both dogs and cats. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, as many as 1 in 20 dogs tested positive for tick-borne diseases in 2021. Ticks climb onto pets from blades of grass or fall from overhanging trees and foliage. If a tick finds its way onto your pet, use tweezers or disposable gloves to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible then pull straight out with steady, even pressure until the tick releases.
If you find a tick, carefully inspect all areas of skin, including behind the ears and between the toes, for additional ticks. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area with soap and water and wash your hands. Save the tick in a resealable plastic bag to show your veterinarian and take note of the time and place the bite occurred and any other details that may aid your veterinarian should an illness occur. Follow your veterinarian’s advice about tick preventative measures, and make sure the product is safe to be used for your pet’s size. Never use dog flea and tick products on cats.
If you plan to travel with your pet, pack the necessities for your animal. Your pet’s luggage should include food, water bowls, treats, a leash and collar, toys, medications and printed copies of medical records, including vaccination history. Check with your veterinarian to determine if a health certificate is needed for travel. Also ensure your pet is comfortable with his or her crate or carrier before flying or embarking on a long road trip.
Knowing where to take your pet in case of an emergency while away from home is also essential. Look up emergency veterinary clinics near your destination before departing or ask if your vet offers virtual care options. For example, through the myVCA app, you can access 24/7 live chat with licensed veterinary professionals.
Many of the same allergens that affect humans impact pets. Atopy, also known as inhalant allergy, is a common cause of skin problems in dogs and cats. Affected animals often have a history of chronic or recurrent itching and tend to have a history of repeated skin or ear infections. Itchy pets tend to scratch themselves, lick their feet and rub on furniture or carpet. Atopy can also cause cats to groom excessively and develop bald or crusty spots on their skin.
Some allergies may also affect the respiratory or digestive systems or the eyes. If your pet is displaying signs of allergies, your veterinarian can recommend appropriate testing and treatment to reduce symptoms.
Visit vcahospitals.com to find more ways to keep pets safe throughout the summer and book an appointment.
(Family Features) If you have pets that enjoy spending time outdoors, it’s important to make sure your yard is a safe place for them to be.
Consider these hazards that can negatively impact the well-being of your furry friends.
Poisonous Plants – Some common plants can be dangerous for animals, causing anything from mild oral irritations and upset stomachs to cardiovascular damage and even death. For example, these are some of the toxic plants the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has identified as harmful for either cats or dogs:
Aloe – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, anorexia and depression
Azalea – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hypersalivation, weakness, coma, cardiovascular collapse and death
Burning bush – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and weakness, as well as heart rhythm abnormalities with large doses
Caladium – can cause burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing
Daylilies – can cause kidney failure in cats
Hibiscus – can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and anorexia
Mulch and Compost – The decomposing elements that make compost good can be bad for pets, according to the National Garden Society. Keep compost in a secure container or fenced off area so pets can’t get to it. Cocoa mulch can be a particular problem for dogs. A byproduct of chocolate production, cocoa mulch can cause digestive problems and even seizures in dogs. Shredded pine or cedar mulch is a safer choice.
Fertilizer and Insecticides – The chemicals used to get rid of pests or make your lawn lush can be toxic to pets. Some of the most dangerous pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with disyston or disulfoton, mole or gopher bait with zinc phosphide and most forms of rat poison, according to the ASPCA. Follow all instructions carefully, and store pesticides and fertilizers in a secure area out of the reach of animals.
Fleas and Ticks – In addition to using appropriate flea and tick prevention methods such as collars and sprays, make sure your yard isn’t a welcoming environment for these pests. Keep the lawn trimmed and remove brush and detritus, where fleas and ticks often lurk. Fleas can cause hair loss, scabs, excessive scratching, tapeworms and anemia. Ticks can do all of that, plus bring you and your family in contact with diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.
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