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Be a Part of the Homeless Pet Clubs of America!
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We want children to learn to be kind to living things; be kind to animals and be kind to each other.” -Dr. Michael Good.

Through animal interaction, young children are able to develop a sense of empathy and care for the people around them, such as classmates, siblings, teachers, and relatives. A great way to get them started is to create a Homeless Pet Club on your school’s campus. The Homeless Pets Foundation was founded by a Georgia veterinarian, Dr. Michael Good in hopes to have students participate in engaging activities to help save the lives of abandoned animals.

Homeless Pet Clubs are currently expanding throughout the country with 103 partnered shelters and 719 pet clubs. Together, they have helped over 1,500 animals find their forever homes. Teachers reported that they have seen an increase in involvement and enthusiasm in school, improvement in social skills, and a decrease in absence.

Students can spread the word through social media campaigns, word-of-mouth, and displaying posters and flyers throughout their school. This is a great way for them to use teamwork by brainstorming ideas to help these animals find homes. The more exposure we get on the animals and rescue groups, the higher the chance that the animals get adopted out.

Creating this pet club on your school campus is completely free. Click here to register. If there are no participating shelters or rescues near your school’s location, Dr. Good will set your school up with animals through the Homeless Pet Club Foundation. Any animal that is set up with a new family will be transported over through the Underhound Railway for free, and he will meet with the new family in person.

The Homeless Pet Clubs are not only limited to schools, but can also be set up with businesses, military and community groups, and boy/ girl scouts as well. Visit their site for more information on how to start a club in your area.

If you are involved with a rescue group, click here to register. Partnering with the Homeless Pet Club Foundation is completely free, and Dr. Good will personally meet with your organization to see if your group meets the standards of becoming a potential partner group.

Join the movement and be the voice for homeless pets!
 For more information, visit http://homelesspetclubs.org/index.cfm.

Winnie Goh
Dog Bite Prevention
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You’re on your way to the coffee shop and you see a dog tied to a pole without an owner in sight. He’s a big fluffy dog with an innocent face. You reach out to pet him, and he snarls at you and flashes his bare white canines. You realize that he wasn’t so friendly after all.

Always be aware when reaching out to pet a dog no matter what size, breed, or age of the dog. All dogs are susceptible to biting, even the nicest, friendliest dog on the street is able to charge at another when they are feeling anxious, unsafe, or threatened. In circumstances where a dog has nowhere to hide and needs to protect himself, he will charge, lunge or attack.

In stressful situations where there are unfamiliar people, loud noises, or large crowds, a terrified dog will be very protective of himself. If you know your dog is uncomfortable in these environments, it is best to leave your dog at home. To get your dog more comfortable in these social settings, bring your dog in areas with less people and noise first, such as a park or a friend’s house. It will take several trips before your dog adjusts to new surroundings.

Understand a dog’s body language.
An anxious or scared dog will show fear by lowering his head, having a curled tail between the legs, pulling back his ears, and crouching down. If you see any of these signs, do not try to pet the dog. There is a high chance that he will attack once he feels that he is in danger.

An aggressive dog will have his tail straight up, fur on his back standing, and ears perked up. He may snap, show his teeth, or bark aggressively. If he is in a lunging position and ready to charge, avoid eye contact, turn away and cross your arms.

Ask first!
Always ask the owner to pet the dog, because the owner will know their dog best. If the dog is friendly, and has his tail wagging, the right way to pet a dog is to allow him to smell your hand before petting.

Warn others, especially young children.
If you are an aggressive dog owner, please warn them when they reach to pet your dog for safety reasons and be sure your dog has received all his vaccinations before taking him out to public areas.

 

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Shedding Season is Here!
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Spring season is here, which means certain breeds are in the process of shedding off their winter coat. Some dogs will shed more during spring, while there are dogs who shed all year round. Poodles, Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, and Schnauzers shed the least amount of fur. Because dogs will naturally shed their coats over time, there is no way to prevent shedding completely. However, depending on what breed and the health status of the dog, some dogs will shed more than others.

No matter what season it is, we’ve gathered some ways to help control and minimize the amount of fur in your home:

  1. Bathe your pet regularly. Having a clean coat is the way to go! This is a great way to remove all the excessive fur off and help detangle matted fur. However, bathing your dog too often can cause dry, sensitive skin.
  2. Choose the right shampoo. When giving your dog a bath, it is recommended to use a shed control specific shampoo. Most shed control shampoos contain oatmeal, which is used to retain the moisture on your dog’s skin. The drier your dog’s skin is, the more likely your dog will shed.
  3. Brush your pet regularly. This is one of the most effective ways to remove most of the loose fur on your dog’s coat. To prevent fur from getting around the house, the best way is to remove the source. The Furminator is a gentle tool used for deshedding your dog’s coat and does a fantastic job of removing excess fur. Depending on what kind of fur your dog has, find the most suitable tool to use for the best results.
  4. Choose the right diet. If your dog’s coat is looking brittle and dull, switch up their diet. What they eat can be a cause of an unhealthy coat if it does not contain the right nutrients your dog needs. Consider switching to a premium brand with high contents of essential fatty acids, such as Omega 3s and 6s. Talk to your veterinarian for a better understanding of which pet food brand would be best for your dog.
  5. Vacuum and sweep the floor regularly. To prevent fur from accumulating in your house, be proactive about cleaning your home. This is especially important if your dog sheds excessively. You don’t want the fur to pile up!
  6. Use couch covers or car covers. One way to keep your furniture clean is to put couch covers on. This can help prevent fur to get caught on to your couch, especially if it is inevitable to keep your furniture fur free. The covers can be easily machine-washed.
  7. Use a lint roller. If you can’t resist playing with your pup before work, use a lint roller to collect and remove the loose fur and lint on your clothes. This is a handy tool to keep your clothes clean after spending time with a dog who sheds. Great for guests as well!
  8. Purchase a Shed Defender®. Through this on a dog, and it’ll help contain the fur around the house especially if you want to keep a big dog indoors. A Shed Defender® can also help reduce anxiety and be used for medical purposes when worn.

The status of your dog’s health can also be a factor on why your dog is shedding. If your dog is noticeably shedding more than usual, contact your veterinarian for a check up. An infection or disease can be a cause of unusual shedding, and your vet will be able to tell you the underlying issue.

Winnie GohComment
Got Dog Allergies?
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Your daughter absolutely loves dogs and can’t help but to receive all the hugs and kisses from any dog she comes across, but every time she decides to pet one her eyes immediately begin to water, she sneezes, and her nose starts to run. Unfortunately, it sounds like she is allergic to dogs. 

Dog allergy symptoms include having red, itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, and constant sneezing or coughing. Others may have skin reactions that can cause itchy skin after physical contact with the dog. In severe conditions, one can develop hives in areas where they have been licked or touched. Depending on the sensitivity and severity of one’s dog allergies, symptoms can differ from person to person. 

The best way to determine whether or not you have a dog allergy is to visit your doctor. They may require you to take a skin-prick or blood test. Once the test is taken, your doctor can tell you what might have caused your body to react in a certain way. Dog allergies can also be treated with over the counter medication such as Benadryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. Nasal sprays are also common to reduce inflammation.

The best way to prevent dog allergies (unfortunately) is to stay away from dogs as much as possible. Even if the dog is not present, someone who is allergic to dogs may react to allergies due to the dander, fur, saliva, urine and dead skin if present in the room. Pet dander can be found anywhere in your home, even if you cannot detect it yourself. If you have a dog at home and are allergic, there are several ways to reduce allergic reactions

• Avoid contact with the dog. Do not pet or hug the dog and avoid allowing the dog to lick your face. If you make any physical contact, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water.
• To keep allergen levels low, clean and vacuum the house regularly. This can remove and help reduce any existing fur and dander. 
• Keep the dogs away from certain areas, especially your bedroom. If weather persists, keep your dog outdoors during the day. 
• Groom and bathe your dog regularly to reduce dander and loose fur. This will not remove all dander but can reduce the number of airborne allergens that your dog can bring into your home. 
• Do laundry regularly and keep your clean clothes out of reach from the pets.

If these techniques are still giving you uncontrollable allergic reactions and prevents you from giving the attention your dog may need, you might want to consider giving your dog away or putting him or her up for adoption. This may not be the most desired option, but it may be the best decision for you and your family. 

If you or a family member loves dogs and cannot resist having one at home, another option is to adopt a hypoallergenic dog. Hypoallergenic dogs do not guarantee that you will be allergy-free, but it can reduce your symptoms and the allergens in your home. Hypoallergenic breeds that you might consider adopting are Bichon Frises, Shih Tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Schnauzers, Malteses and Poodles. Be sure to do your research before bringing the new dog home. 

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Hot Spots on Dogs
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You notice your pet is scratching, biting and licking a specific spot on their fur. You take a closer look and you notice the pink-red, inflamed area is oozing around the fur and is hot when it is touched. Chances are, your dog has developed a hot spot.  

A hot spot on dogs is a type of canine acute moist dermatitis that is commonly seen as a red, oozing, moist patch surrounded by matted fur. It is initially caused by irritation of the skin, followed by a bacterial infection caused by staphylococcus intermedius. Common areas of hot spots include the head, neck, hips and chest. If not treated in a timely matter, the patch can quickly increase in size and be extremely irritating to the infected dog.

Common causes of hot spots include:

  1. Chewing or licking - Excessive licking and biting can be caused by stress and boredom. Be sure to keep a stress-free environment for your pets and provide interactive toys to direct their focus elsewhere. This behavior can cause lesions on their coat, and the open wounds are susceptible to bacterial infections which can lead to hot spots. 
  2. Diet - What kind of dog food are you feeding your pets? Having corn, wheat, and soy can be a probable cause for them to have skin allergies. Consider a grain-free diet when choosing what to feed your pet.
  3. Fleas - Depending on how sensitive the dog is to flea allergies, one or two bites can cause them to have mild to severe hot spots. The bites will cause the dog to scratch and bite, which can lead to open lesions. The best way to prevent fleas from infecting your dog is using flea and tick treatment regularly.
  4. Is your pet regularly groomed? - Consistent bathing and grooming keeps their coat clean and free of allergens and dander. You can never go wrong with a clean coat. This is also a great way to keep you pet free of fleas!
  5. Open bites or cuts – Any type of open wound can lead to bacteria growth. The best way to prevent hot spots from developing is to clean the area and treat it with over the counter medication.

Please consult your local veterinarian if your dog shows any symptoms of hot spots. The veterinarian can help you detect the underlying problem of the hot spots to help treat the problem and prevent future skin infections. They will clean the lesion, shave off the fur surrounding the area, and provide you with the next steps for recovery.

In the meantime, be sure to keep your dog from scratching or licking the hot spot. Consider using an e-collar to keep them from irritating the infected area until they have recovered.

Winnie GohComment
Lily Poisoning in Cats: How bad can it be?
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With spring just around the corner, lilies are blooming and cats are prancing through the gardens. One of the most toxic lilies to cats are the Easter lilies, but how could such a beautiful, delicate flower be so poisonous to our feline friends? Lilies are nephrotoxins, and every part of lilies are poisonous to cats, including the petals, leaves, stem, stamen, roots and pollen. The water in a vase full of lilies is toxic to cats as well! When the lilies are ingested by cats, it can cause severe conditions that can be potentially life threatening depending on how much was ingested and how soon it is treated.

Symptoms
Some symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, dehydration, and drooling. The cat will begin to drink lots of water, but will have difficulty urinating. The kidneys will begin to fail once the lilies are ingested. Typically, it would take 24 to 72 hours for acute kidney failure to develop after ingestion. It would be best to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible to prevent the issue from getting worse. If cats are left untreated within 3-7 days, there is a high chance for death. The more that was ingested, the more dangerous it can be for the cat. If you sense any of these symptoms, contact your family veterinarian immediately.

Treatment
The veterinarian will most likely try to get the cat to vomit and then examine the cat’s kidney to see its condition. The veterinarian will check for affected kidneys through blood or urine tests to determine how severe the toxicity is. Depending on the case, the veterinarian will proceed with further treatment. The cat may be hospitalized with intravenous fluids for several days until he or she recovers.

Prevention
These flowers are highly toxic to felines and the best prevention is to not have them around both indoors and outdoors. Even if the cat runs through a lily plants, they are certainly at risk. If you receive lilies as a gift, be sure they are out of your cat’s reach.

Please keep your cats safe this spring season and spread the word to other cat owners about lily toxicity.

 

Winnie GohComment
Neighborhood Cat Care for the Winter​​​​​​​
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When the temperatures drop below freezing or it’s snowing outside, our neighborhood cats get cold outside too! Cats have thick fur coats to keep them warm, but it may not be enough to keep them warm during freezing temperatures. Whether they are community cats, feral cats, or strays, let’s help them survive the winter months with these simple tasks:

First, be on the lookout.
Locate the areas where they spend most of their time. These common areas are where you would want to provide food, water, and shelter. You never know where the outdoor cats may be, or how many of them there are. During the winter, some cats like to hide under cars for warmth. These places can be potentially dangerous to the cats and cause injury. Be sure to always check beneath your car and near the tires before starting your engine.

Provide shelter.
If you want to provide shelter for the outdoor cats, a smaller compact space can help trap in heat as compared to a larger shelter. A simple plastic storage bin would do just fine in keeping the cat warm and safe. Placing straw either inside the shelter or underneath can help keep the area insulated. Avoid placing the shelter directly onto the cold ground by keeping it lifted off the floor in case it rains.

Fresh food and water.
Cats are going to need a lot of food during the winter to keep them warm. Since wet food can freeze in cold temperatures, dry food is preferred if given outdoors. If you are feeding the cats immediately, wet food can be provided. Water in deeper dishes can delay the freezing time. Be sure to check up on the food and water bowls daily. Refill with clean, fresh water when possible.

If the shelter is large enough, place the bowl of food and water inside. If it is too small, placing the water right outside the shelter will do. This way, the cats do not have to travel far to get access to food. To keep the food and water warm, position the bowl to where you know will get the most sunlight. Darker colored bowls will absorb more heat from the sun than lighter colored bowls.

If you notice that a cat might be suffering with frostbite or hypothermia, please bring the cat to safety and contact your local veterinarian. The vet can determine how severe the issue is and provide you with the next steps to recovery.

 

Winnie GohComment
Leash Training
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You take your dog out for a walk for the first time, and you find that he or she either tugs too hard or sits there on the grass, refusing to move. Remember, your dog is as confused as you are. Many new pet parents are often mistaken in thinking that dogs naturally know how to walk on a leash. Surprisingly enough, they’re going to need some training before roaming the streets!

Taking your puppy out for a walk is going to be very exciting for them, with so many new scents, sounds, and new places to explore. For your dog’s own safety, be sure to keep their collars on during their walks. If your dog is ever on the loose, people can identify who the owner is by reading the identification tag, and contact you if your dog is found.

You’re going to need a harness and a leash. A harness is recommended to prevent injuries when walking your dog. Just attaching the leash to the collar can cause your dog to choke or injure their necks when they tug. Additionally, harnesses allow you to have more control over your dog. With various styles of harnesses and sizes, make a trip to the pet store to find the perfect fit for your dog.

Every dog will be trained differently according to the situation. Some dogs will learn quicker than others, but just be patient!

Dog afraid of the outdoors?
To some dogs, the outdoors can seem like a frightening place. If you have a dog who is fearful of noisy environments, start off in quiet environments to expose them to other people, cars and pets. Use vocal cues to reassure them that they are safe. When they become more relaxed and comfortable with being outside, you can start leash training them.

Is your dog tugging too hard?
Large, muscular dogs will be more difficult to control compared to small or medium sized dogs. When your dog tugs, stand still and wait for them to realize that you are no longer walking. Once they calm down and stop moving, you may proceed. Repeat this until the behavior stops. Refrain from yanking the leash when they tug to prevent injuries. Your dog might become frustrated, but have patience, that means they are learning.

Does your dog refuse to walk?
If your dog refuses to move on the walk, try using treats to lure them. With a leash in hand, walk a few feet in front of them and tell them to come. When they walk towards you, give them the treat and praise them. Keep repeating this until they understand how to walk on the leash. Never forcefully drag them if they are not budging. Remember to always use positive reinforcement when training your dog.

Nosy dog?
If you have a dog who likes to take a whiff every 5 steps, you’re going to have to teach it how to not get distracted so easily on a walk. Start by walking at a quick pace. This way, your dog will have to keep up with you and not be distracted by his or her surroundings.

Once your dog has been adjusted to walking on a leash, you’re able to take on other challenges such as hiking or going to the dog park! Adding a simple walk to your daily routine can enhance both your pet’s life and your own.

 

Winnie GohComment
Happy Paw-lentine's! Keep Chocolate Away from Pets.
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Chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a common gift to receive from your loved ones. However, chocolate contains a toxic component called theobromine that is poisonous to dogs! Theobromine contains methylxanthines, which is a substance that is found in cocoa seeds that is also used to make coffee. Chocolate ingestion is one of the main reasons why dogs end up at the vet during the month of February, so let’s try to keep our dogs’ noses out of our sweets this Valentine’s Day!

Depending on the type of chocolate, different types contain different amounts of theobromine. White chocolate has significantly less theobromine than dark chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate is, the more poisonous it can be to your dog. Additionally, smaller dogs have a lower tolerance level than larger dogs.

The consumption of chocolate can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, extreme thirst, racing heart rate, agitation, high blood pressure, and tremors. Theobromine is poisonous to a dog’s heart and central nervous system, which causes the body to react towards it. An excessive amount consumed can also lead to death.

If you noticed that your dog ingested chocolate, please consult your veterinarian for the next steps to recovery. Your vet will determine how poisonous the chocolate was by asking how much was ingested and how much your dog weighs. It’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible to resolve this issue, before it worsens.  

The best way to treat this is to induce vomiting, depending on when the chocolate was consumed. Hopefully, your dog will vomit on its own. Activated charcoal is another way to treat the poisoning. This is given orally, and used to prevent the absorption of the theobromine from the stomach and intestine. This should be given right after the chocolate has been consumed.

Any candy, chocolate, baked goods, or any form of sweets can be potentially dangerous for dogs. The more that is consumed, the more severe the poisoning can be. Please keep your pets in mind and keep sweets out of reach from your pets this Valentine’s Day!

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Ear Infections in Dogs
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You notice that your dog is constantly shaking or tilting his head and using his hind leg to scratch his ear. You open the flap of his ear and you notice a reddish-brown discharge coming out of the ear. Not to mention, you smell a strong, unpleasant odor exuding from the ear.

With the symptoms above, your dog most likely has an ear infection. These infections can be caused by many reasons such as allergens, bacteria, foreign bodies, rupture in the eardrum, overgrowth of yeast or ear mites. This condition is easy to treat, but should be treated immediately when you notice signs of the infection. If it becomes more severe, it can cause serious pain or deafness.

Make a trip to the vet
Please consult your veterinarian if you notice symptoms of an ear infection. Your veterinarian will tell you the underlying cause by identifying what microorganisms are present in the ear by collecting a sample. Depending on the severity of the infection, your veterinarian will recommend the next steps to solving this issue. If it is a minor infection, this can be treated at home with a topical antifungal ointment and/ or a cleaning solution for ears.

If your veterinarian prescribes ear medication for your dog, be sure to continuously apply the medication until the it has completely healed. This process may take time for your dog to adjust to the application.

Cleaning
When using the ear cleaning solution, use cotton pads and clean the surface of your dog’s ear. Squirt the drops inside the ear, then close the flap of the ear down and massage gently so the solution can be evenly distributed. Please refrain from using q-tips; this can damage the eardrum and push any excess dirt or wax down the ear.

Prevention
The best way to prevent ear infections is to regularly clean and flush out any debris or wax build up in the ear. Dogs with floppy, long ears will have a higher chance of having an ear infection than those of shorter ears. When moisture is built up in the ear, it is more susceptible for yeast to develop inside the eardrum which can result in an infection. If your dog frequently goes swimming or is bathed often, be sure to dry out the ears after each session.

 

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Why You Should Crate Train Your Dog
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In the wild, dogs naturally need dens as a go-to for comfort or for when they are feeling scared. Having a crate at home is the perfect place for your dog to find comfort and safety. Just like us, we have our bedrooms to spend our time in when we don’t like to be bothered, as for dogs, their crates can be considered their own ‘den’. It may be harder to crate train older dogs because they are not familiar with being enclosed in a crate. As for younger dogs and puppies, adjusting to the crate may be easier.

With so many reasons why crate training would be great in the household, here are a few:

  • Security - If you know you are going be out for the day and don’t want to come home to a mess, you can easily keep your dog in the crate for a couple hours to keep them from making trouble.
  • Easy travel - Bringing your dog somewhere? The crate is a convenient way to take your pet around while knowing they are in a safe place.
  • Natural disaster strikes - To ensure the safety of your pets, the crate would be the best to easily locate them if a natural disaster were to occur.
  • Visitors - If you have visitors over who are allergic or afraid of dogs, the crate would be great place for them to avoid having contact with them.

Choosing a Crate
When choosing the crate, be sure it is large enough for the dog. Refer to this sizing chart for assistance. If you have a puppy, remember they are still growing and can possibly double their size! Understand that puppies can outgrow their crates, so be sure to have an idea of how big they can grow up to before committing to a size.

Introducing the Crate
Keep in mind that introducing the crate in a positive way is a very important process of training. Crates should not be seen as a punishment, but rather a place where they can go to for safety. One general rule of thumb is to never force your dog to enter the crate. Always allow time for your dog to enter the crate by themselves during training. Once they do, reward them with a treat and praise them. Positive reinforcement is always the way to go! Another way to crate train your dog is to associate food with it. For meals, place their bowl in the crate and allow them to finish their food before letting them back out.


If you are planning to leave your dog in the crate for a longer period of time, please remember to include a fresh bowl of water in the crate and a soft towel for bedding. Also include a toy such as a stuffed KONG to keep them entertained throughout the day. This can help them cope with separation anxiety and boredom.

Winnie GohComment
Hairball Prevention & Remedies
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You hear your cat making unpleasant noises trying to regurgitate. Seconds later, you realize that they vomited up a clumped ball of mucus and fur. Not to mention, this isn’t the first time something like this happened. How can you help?

Cats spend a majority of their time during the day grooming themselves. They naturally keep themselves clean, which is why you don’t have to bathe them as often as you would for dogs. Their tongues have backwards facing barbs that catch loose fur and dirt that lie on the surface of their coat. Typically, their hairs will make their way through the digestive tract and exit out to their feces. However, when the hairs get stuck in the stomach, they can form into hairballs that can cause intestinal blockages in your cat. Some symptoms of hairballs include gagging, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, and diarrhea.

Here are 5 ways to treat hairballs in cats:

  1. Brush regularly. - One way to reduce shedding is to brush their coats daily! Brushing can remove all the lose fur and prevent them from swallowing the hairs when they groom themselves. This also allows natural oils to be evenly distributed throughout the coat to help maintain a healthy, shiny coat. Cats with longer coats tend to have a higher chance of developing hairballs than short coated cats. Consider using Furminator’s Long Hair Cat deShedding Tool. Once they are adjusted to daily brushing, they’ll learn to love it!
  2. Spend quality time with your cat. - One cause of excessive licking and grooming is separation anxiety or purely out of boredom. The more time you spend with your cat, the less time they will focus on licking themselves. Distract them from grooming by keeping them entertained with new toys or simply giving them attention. Try to discourage them from grooming or licking when you see the recurring activity. Excessive grooming can also be a sign of other issues such as skin irritation, fleas, stress, or anxiety.
  3. Switching diets. - Another way to treat this issue is to change your pet’s diet to a formula with high dietary fiber and prebiotics. These formulas are specifically designed to help regulate their digestive system and stimulate their intestinal transit, which helps reduce the chances of hair from accumulating in the stomach. Several pet food brands have both dry and wet canned food available for hairball control.
  4. Mild laxatives - This helps the fur that enters the stomach pass through their intestines more easily and prevent hairballs from developing. Laxatives not only can help with hair balls, but they can also treat constipation, loss of appetite, lethargy and weight loss.
  5. Hairball aids with natural oils. - Both omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are great supplements used to promote healthier skin and coats. These remedies can be used in pill or gel form made with fish oils and vitamins. This can reduce shedding and minimize lose fur.

If you follow these steps for treatment and your cat continues to have hairballs, please consult your veterinarian for a check up.

Winnie GohComment
New Year's Resolutions of 2018: Pet Edition!
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Happy 2018! With the New Year kicking in, now is the perfect time to start fresh and make changes to your daily routines, such as exercising more and eating healthier. Setting New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for us, but our pets as well! If you want to achieve a better lifestyle for you and your pet, take these resolutions into consideration.  

  1. More exercise and play time. A great way to bond with your pet is taking them out for a walk, playing fetch, or fair game of tug-o-war. Keep your cat engaged with a laser toy or feather teaser. Create a daily exercise routine for the both of you to spend time together, and stay in shape throughout the year! Don’t forget to set some time aside to spend with your pet.
  2. Schedule an appointment to the vet! Regular vet visits are important to your pet’s overall health. The vet can detect any signs of illness, infections, or allergies before the problem gets worse. Don’t wait until your pet is feeling sick to take them to the vet! Trips to the clinic is also a great reminder to be up-to-date with all vaccinations.
  3. Try something new. Have you gone hiking or backpacking with your pet? There are numerous outdoor places to explore with your pet such as the mountains, beaches, or hiking trails. Look up local pet-friendly spots around your neighborhood and make a trip to the outdoors. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try going on a road trip or take your dog camping in the wilderness. Check that off your bucket list this year!
  4. Learn new tricks. It might be time to brush up on their obedience skills! Whether it’s learning simple commands or agility training, it’s never too late to teach your dog new tricks no matter how old they are. This can help drive mental stimulation and challenge their brains, just don’t forget to reward them with tasty treats!
  5. Find the right diet. If your pet has digestion issues, sensitive skin, or is a senior cat or dog, you might want to consider switching to a formula that best matches your pet’s needs. Be sure to feed the right amount of food depending on your pet’s weight. A good way to keep track of how much they are eating is by measuring out the right amount of food they need a day. This can help manage their weight and keep them in shape.
  6. Keep them well groomed. Let’s keep our pets looking fresh throughout the year! Be sure their nails are trimmed, coats are maintained, and ears are cleaned. If your dog has a longer coat, take them to the groomers for a fresh new do. Keeping them cleaned can optimize your pet’s overall health and happiness. If you are a cat owner, read our blog post on cat coat care.
  7. Brush your pet’s teeth regularly. One of the most overlooked pet health issue is oral hygiene. Try to get in the habit of brushing your pet’s teeth to remove any plaque build-up up that can cause dental disease. This can help prevent periodontal disease, gingivitis and fight bad breath. Dental procedures and teeth cleaning can be very costly, so practicing preventative care can save you a lot of money. Read more on our blog post on how to keep those canines clean. Remember, February is Dental Health Month, and many veterinarians run teeth cleaning specials.
  8. Make new furry friends throughout the year. A great way to bond with other dogs and pet owners is attending dog meet ups! Socializing your dog can prevent territorial and aggressive behaviors from developing as they mature. The dog park is a great start for the year!

 

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Pet Safety for Snow Weather
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Brrrr, it’s cold out! As much as we want to bring our dogs out during winter months, there are several precautions of which we want you to be aware of, particularly as weather reports a “bomb cyclone” coming to much of the United States.

Slightly warmer than humans, a dog’s body temperature ranges from 99.5 - 102.5°, and anything below can lead to hypothermia. Depending on the severity, low body temperatures can affect their cardiovascular and respiratory systems which lead to shivering, difficulty breathing, loss of body heat, and weakness.

Here are some ways you can prepare your dog for the snow or cold:

  1. It’s sweater weather! Small dogs with short coats are more sensitive to cold weather. Layer them up with a sweater or rain coat to keep them warm outdoors. Be sure it fits comfortably on them - not too small or large.
  2. Booties. Not only do booties keep their paws warm, they also add extra protection underneath and prevents them from stepping on any sharp objects. It may take a while for your dog to adjust to, but allow them to practice walking in them before stepping outside. It might look uncomfortable at first, so don’t forget to reward them with treats after putting them on.
  3. Exercise beforehand. Before heading on it the cold, get their blood circulating by playing a game of catch or fetch. This is a great way to keep their blood flow running and preparing their bodies for colder temperatures.  
  4. Snow should not be eaten! Some dogs are very curious and love chewing on anything they can find. You never know what toxic chemicals are hidden beneath the snow. Rock salt is a common antifreeze during the winter months, so if you find your dogs eating snow, stop them.
  5. Limit the time outdoors. As temperatures decrease, taking our dogs out for long walks don’t seem to be ideal during the winter months. Some dogs can withstand cold weather better than others depending on size and breed. If they are wrapped in layers and still shivering, your best bet is to bring them indoors away from the cold.
  6. Wipe their paws. Before coming back inside, be sure to use a clean towel to wipe off their feet. If the fur under their feet is still wet, it can keep them cold.
  7. Balms. To prevent their paws from cracking or being irritated from extreme temperatures, moisturize their paws with a balm or petroleum jelly after walks. This prevents damage to their paws if they accidentally walk over salt or harsh chemicals from the snow. This can help aid infections and prevent dry, cracked paws.  
  8. Keep them dry. After a nice day of playing outdoors, bring them indoors to get their body temperatures back to normal. Turn on the heater to keep the your home warm. If your dogs get too wet from the snow, use a blow dryer at a low temperature setting to warm them up. Do not use the blow dryer too close to their coat because it can overheat or burn them.

If your dog shows any signs of hypothermia, be sure to use a rectal thermometer to check their temperature. If the temperature is below 99.5°F, take your dog to your local pet hospital for veterinary care.

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Why You Should Adopt a Chihuahua
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Although the smallest breeds of dogs take up the least amount of room, chihuahuas are one of the top breeds that end up at the shelter. Did you know that they are often euthanized if they don’t find a home? Here’s why adopting chihuahua might be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make:

  1. Small size - This is an obvious one, but people love Chihuahuas for their size. They typically weigh about 3-6 pounds and can almost fit in your pocket. Whether you’re grabbing lunch for the kids, going last minute gift shopping or visiting a friend, little dogs are very easy to travel with. You can even put them in your purse!
  2. Take up less room - Living in a two-bedroom apartment or studio? Chihuahuas are tiny furry creatures that fit well in a small home. All they would need is a place to sleep, food, water, and a place to go potty.
  3. Easy to find - Since Chihuahuas are one of the most popular breeds that end up at a shelter, you can find one (or a mixed breed) at almost any shelter. They come in different colored coats and can have either long or short hair.
  4. Live long lives - Chihuahuas can live up to 16 years or more! They are one of the longest living breeds. As long as they have maintained a healthy lifestyle, they can live really long lives.
  5. Least expensive - Having a smaller dog means you’re going to be spending less on their necessities such as food and treats. If you’re on a budget and looking for a companion, chihuahuas would be your best bet.
  6. Perfect lap dog - Their tiny bodies make the perfect fit for your lap. If you’re thinking of having a lazy Sunday, they’ll keep you company while you binge watch Netflix. They make the best cuddle buddies as well.
  7. Lots of energy - If you’re looking for a new friend at home to go to the park with or take on walks, a little dog full of energy will would be the perfect buddy! No doubt that they will keep your family entertained.
  8. Easy to train - Don’t underestimate their abilities just because they weigh under 10 pounds, they are very intelligent! As long as you have patience and treats, Chihuahuas are quick to learn new tricks. Smaller dogs are easier to house train as well.
  9. Have personality - These little love bugs have sassy personalities with big hearts! They may have some attitude, but that’s what makes them so lovable. Just like any other dog, they can be socialized and trained to get along with kids and other dogs.
  10. That’s one less Chihuahua in the shelter - One of the most rewarding feelings is knowing you saved a life. Adopting a dog will save overpopulation in shelters and make room for more homeless dogs in need.
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Keep Your Pets Safe this Holiday Season!
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Christmas is just around the corner and we have several safety tips on how to celebrate the holidays with your pets.

  1. Choosing a Christmas tree - Consider choosing an artificial tree over a real tree this Christmas to prevent cats from using it as a scratching post. Real trees can be potentially harmful for your indoor cat. Be sure the tree is stable, just in case your kitty decides to climb it.
  2. Holiday decor - You know your pet the best, use your judgement on choosing holiday decor. If you have mischievous pets who love to destroy nice things, avoid placing them where they reach them. Some cats are attracted to dangling shiny objects, so if the ornaments are on the lower end of the tree, your cats can possibly play with them. Glass ornaments are fragile, so try to keep those out of their reach!
  3. Keep them warm! - Our pets get cold too. Dress them up with sweaters, hoodies or raincoats. Be sure they are wearing the proper size that fits comfortably on them. Larger dogs can resist the cold better than smaller dogs can. Try to keep them indoors if possible.
  4. Candles - With colder temperatures, candles can really set the mood at this time of year! However, they can be hazardous if your pets can get to them, so please light them in places you know your pets can’t get to.
  5. Fireplaces - Fireplaces are a great source of warmth in the house too, but for your pet’s safety please provide a cover or screen to shield your pets from the fire. Keep a distance between them, you don’t want to set their tails on fire!
  6. Lights - While we want to decorate our homes with dazzling lights all around, they can be potentially hazardous if pets can get to them. To prevent them from biting the wires and getting electrocuted, do not leave the wires in places where they can reach. Tape the lights in high places, such as along the wall.
  7. Watch what they’re eating! - If you’re thinking of throwing a Christmas party or gathering at your home this year, consider your pets’ safety as well. Keep dishes out of their reach, you don’t want Max to ruin Christmas dinner! Remember to clean up after yourselves and keep their noses out of the trash.
  8. Leaving for vacation? – Take your dog to the boarding kennel or hire a pet sitter while you are away. Never leave them attended for long periods of time.

We hope that everyone has a safe and fun holiday season this year! Remember to always keep your pets in mind.

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Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pets this Year!
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How to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pet

Our pets are a part of the family too! With the holidays just around the corner, we want you to keep your pets in mind. We have some fun-filled ideas on how to celebrate the holidays with your pets this year!

  1. Bake holiday treats - Don’t forget about baking goods for your pets too! Here’s some ideas on dog-friendly treats to make this holiday season. Your pets are going to love them!
  2. Take them to the snow! - This can be a fun activity to bond with your pet. Be sure to keep their paws protected from the snow by having them wear booties. Throw on a sweater or towel if they get too cold, and try to keep them busy and running around to maintain their body temperatures.
  3. Bring them to a dog event - Celebrate the holidays with other pups at local dog events or meet ups. This will be a great way for them to socialize with other dogs.
  4. Take holiday photos! - They want to be a part of the Christmas photos as well. Your pets will complete the family portraits! Dress them up in their ugly sweaters or reindeer coats. Check your local PetSmart or PetCo for holiday events to take photos with Santa Paws! Once you have the pictures ready, you can mail them to loved ones to spread some holiday cheer.
  5. Stuff their stockings - You can’t forget about Rocky’s stocking! Hang it up on the fireplace and stuff it with new toys, treats, catnip or bones.
  6. Adopt a new friend. - There’s no better gift than bringing home a newly adopted cat or dog for your kids this Christmas. Swing by your local animal shelter or humane society, who knows who you will fall in love with! If you can’t decide, read our blog posts on why cats make the perfect companions and reasons why you should adopt.
  7. Bring them with you on vacation - Pets are such great additions to road trips and family vacations. Don’t forget to search for pet-friendly restaurants and hotels before arriving to your destination.
  8. Don’t leave them behind. - If you can’t bring them on vacation with you, be sure to find a pet sitter who you trust while you are away. Never leave your pets at home unattended for a long period of time.

Happy Howl-idays! We hope that everyone enjoys their holiday season this year.

 

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Weight Management for Dogs
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Are you noticing that your dog is a little more plump than usual?

If your dog is above the average weight for their breed, you might want to consider helping them cut some weight for a happier, healthier life. We’ve gathered some tips on how to keep your overweight dog in shape.

  1. Measure out their meals. This is a good way to keep track of their food intake. If they are being free fed, it’s harder to see how much they have been eating per meal. Measure out how much they should be eating per meal and feed appropriately depending on size and breed. You can watch how much they’re eating by doing so.
  2. Consider low-calorie snacks. If you need treats for training, consider using smaller pieces and lower calorie snacks such as Charlee Bear Dog Treats. Certain fruits and vegetables would be another option such as carrots, apples, and blueberries. Be careful of what you feed them! Read our blog post on which foods you should avoid feeding your dog.
  3. Avoid feeding table scraps. It’s so easy to get carried away when feeding your dog table scraps during dinner; they always want more! We know it’s hard to resist those puppy eyes but this is a great way to cut out those unnecessary calories. These foods probably aren’t the safest for dogs to eat anyway.
  4. Keep your food and their treats away from their reach. How many times have you came back to your dinner only to realize that it’s all gone and eaten up by your dog? Your dogs might be smart enough to get to them without you even knowing. Remember to keep them out of reach!
  5. Go on a weight management diet. Several brands have specific formulas that are low in fat and high in fiber to help them maintain a healthy weight. As long as you follow the instructions on how much they should be getting fed, this is a great way to watch their diet.
  6. Exercise. This might be an obvious one, but a walk a day can really help keep them in shape! Dogs typically need about 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day. Read our blog on the benefits of walking your dog. Not only does taking a walk help your dog, it can give you some fresh air and relieve some stress for you as well!
  7. Consult your veterinarian. If you have any questions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for your pet, your vet will have the answer! Each dog has different needs and your vet can provide more information and tips on how to keep your pet healthy.

 

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Introducing Your New Cat
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You just adopted you a new kitty and it’ll take a while for your cat to adjust to its new home. You want them to feel comfortable, but this will not happen overnight. With unfamiliar surroundings, your cat may be frightened by sudden movements or people. It is very important to have patience with this process of building relationships with other cats, dogs and people. However, depending on cat breed, age, and history, each cat can react differently in new situations.

If you’ve never had a cat before, it might be difficult for you to really read their body language or vocalizations. Read our blog post on how to understand the feline language to better recognize what they’re trying to tell you.

If you already have a cat at home,
TIP: It is best to choose a cat that has a similar personality as the cat that you have now. A young kitten would probably not go best with an older cat with a more sedentary lifestyle. However, two playful cats might be a better match.

  • Cats can sometimes be territorial depending on their personality, so your cat at home right now might not be too happy with the sudden changes. Start by creating a new space with bed, toys, bowls, litter box, and scratching post for your new family member. Be sure they each have their own separated areas. You don’t want to make your current cat unhappy!

  • Cats have a strong olfactory system that allows them to recognize each other through pheromones. Whenever a cat rubs its cheeks on a table or wall, they release a scent that can provide information to another cat. Before introducing one another, exchange their bedding or blankets to familiarize them to each other’s scent.

  • The next step is for them to meet through a gate or opening where they can see each other. If no aggressive behaviors arise, allow them to meet.

  • If there are signs of stress or aggression, separate them and try again more slowly. It’ll take several days or weeks for bonds to form, so keep an eye on their interactions until you fully trust their relationship.

If you already have a dog at home,
TIP: If you have an aggressive dog who has a history of chasing cats, a new cat might not be the best choice for your household. A dog with a calm temperament who does not chase will be a better match for a new cat.

  • Some shelters will allow you to bring your current dog to their facility for a meet and greet. This will give you a better idea of whether or not your new cat and dog will get along.

  • On their first interaction, your dog should be put on a leash for any sudden attacks in a confined spacious area. If your curious dog approaches the cat too aggressively, it can cause the cat to run off and hide. Remember, not all dogs and cats will get along, depending on breed, personality, and temperament.

  • After a couple interactions, observe how they are and if they get along. Always keep an eye out for them until you know they are good terms.

If you notice any signs of distress or anxiety, loss of appetite, or aggressive behavior that persists for several days, please consult your local veterinarian. You want your cat to feel comfortable and happy in their new home. Remember, this process will take a lot of time and patience. Never force any relationships, they should happen naturally!

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Why Senior Dogs Make the Best Companions
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Senior dogs, typically above 7 years old, are one of the most overlooked pets in shelters. However, don’t let their age fool you, older dogs have so much to offer!

  1. Calmer personalities - Unlike 8 week old puppies, older dogs are a lot calmer.  Senior dogs are much more mellow and go well with people with a more sedentary lifestyle. If you want more of a relaxed dog who you want to sit on the couch with on a lazy Sunday, a senior dog might be best for you!
  2. Less of a mess - Finding a chewed up shoe or torn up couch would not be a surprise with puppies. Puppies tend to be more destructive due to teething behaviors. However, senior dogs are way past their teething stage of life and chances of finding your damaged household items will be less likely.
  3. Less attention - Puppies need lots of training, maintenance, and attention. They will need constant monitoring as they grow up. Senior dogs will still need attention, but significantly less.
  4. Build a close bond with them - Senior dogs still have so much love to give. It doesn’t matter where they came from or who abandoned them, they’ll love you regardless!
  5. Previously trained - Chances are, senior dogs have not been living out on the streets. Many of these senior dogs have once been with previous owners, so they are most likely already trained. Whether their owners have moved out of state, can’t take care of them anymore, or a natural disaster occurred, most of the time these dogs used to have a family and home.
  6. They’re already grown - What you see at the shelter, is what you’ll be taking home and living with. There’s no surprise with them. They have already grown into their personalities and probably will not change. With puppies, you won’t know what kind of dog they will grow up to and their personalities are always unexpected. You’ll learn how they interact and socialize with other dogs and people when you meet them. Shelters can sometime provide you with more detailed information on what their like.
  7. Still trainable - Just because they’re an old dog, doesn’t mean they can’t be trained! Sure, they might be a little slower at catching on, or they aren’t as attentive as puppies are, but they sure can do a couple of tricks to please you!
  8. You’re giving them a second chance! No matter what kind of history they have, they ended up at the shelter for a reason. Normally, senior dogs are overlooked as people are more inclined to adopt puppies. Adopting an older dog is such a rewarding feeling!
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