Blog Archives

For many dogs, swimming comes naturally which may be why we refer to one of the most basic swimming techniques as the ‘dogie paddle’. Still it is important to keep your eyes on your dog while in the water since as with humans, even the strongest most confident swimmer can get into trouble. To keep your pet safe follow these steps to prevent, be prepared and stay aware at all times.

PREVENT

The first step of water safety is prevention. Do not allow your dog unsupervised access to any water sources. This may include pools, ponds, and even creeks. If you own a swimming pool, make sure that it is fenced off or has a protective cover so that pets and children can not fall in.

The next best thing to avoiding the water is teaching your dog what to do if he ever does have an encounter. Some dogs may instinctively know what to do while others may not have a clue. This includes certain breeds such as bulldogs and most puppies since their bodies are not proportioned to make them as agile in the water as other dogs such as labs. Also, familiarize your dog with the water sources near your home and the way out of pools and ponds etc since they may not know on their own which side of the pool has the stairs.

Obedience training can save your pet’s life. When your dog knows to obey the word “No,” “Stay,” or “Come” you can stop them from running into a busy street, eating a poisonous substance, and even keep them from drowning by turning them around before heading into deep waters. Some dogs’ with a strong prey drive may be determined to retrieve a ball or stick in deep waters even after you have tried to call them back. In this type of scenario it is wise to have an extra toy on hand that can be used to lured them back.

Be PREPARED

When it is time to let your dogie take a dip do a quick skim of your surroundings and inside the water.  Rivers and oceans can change frequently, and certain areas of water can become treacherous because of currents, tides, and underwater hazards. In the late summer, algae scum on the top of standing water can be toxic, producing substances that can kill a pet who swallows the water. When in doubt, treat it like you would a child: better safe than sorry.

Knowing CPR is a priceless skill when in an emergency situation. While waiting for help to arrive, you may be able to administer the necessary techniques that can mean the difference between life and death.

Keep in mind that puppies, elderly, and debilitated dogs may be safest out of the water all together or on a flotation device under close supervision.

BE AWARE

Keep your dog well hydrated. He may be in water but remember water attracts the sun and he can still become dehydrated and get heat exhaustion. Bring water and offer it to him regularly as well as having snacks or a meal ready for him after swimming. Know when to call it a day. It is good to let our dogs tire themselves out but not to the point of exhaustion which can put them at risk of drowning.

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Are you afraid to invite friends over because of your dog’s aggressive behavior? The key is socialization not isolation. But where do you begin?

Projecting fearful or submissive energy is one reason why dogs become aggressive. Your dog interprets this as a need for him to take charge and keep you safe. Lack of balance between affection and discipline may be another cause for your dog thinking that he is in control causing him to guard his possessions from others.

Aggression that is not dealt with will get more severe as time goes on, causing your dog to become a threat you those around him, even you.

A common thought is to isolate a dog that is a threat to those around him. This only sends the message deeper into your pet’s brain that other people and pets are the treat and must be warded off. So, if socialization is the answer, how can it be done with out ending in catastrophe?  The key is starting your dog out in a controlled environment.

Model the Attitude You Want to See

If you are feeling anxious, nervous or afraid, your dog feels it too. He will sense that something is wrong and your fear of him acting out in aggression can be the very thing that sets him off. Part of the reason your dog acts out when you’re with him may be because your energy is telling him to do so. As the pack leader, work on bringing yourself into a calm state first, and your pet will follow your example.

Choose Friends Wisely

The saying is timeless but worth repeating, “You become the company you keep.” In the same way that your dog reacts to the energy you emulate, he will also feed off of the energy of others around him. To help him be successful in learning good social skills, choose friends who are good leaders with dogs who are calm and obedient for your pet’s play dates. 

Choose Constructive Activities

Adults go out for coffee, kids play at the park, and dogs go for walks. Its their most natural form of bonding and socializing. When done right, it is an outlet for excess energy and creating a calm mood in your pet. Have your strong pack leader friend and his calm obedient dog accompany you and your pooch on a walk to help set the pace. In order to help your pet succeed, maintain strong leadership by having your dog on a short leash and not allowing him to walk ahead of you. If he tries give him a correction before moving on. Also be sure that you are in front of him when entering and exiting doorways. If he is too anxious, have him sit or lay until he calms down before proceeding. 

When in Doubt Seek Professional Help

While the steps to socializing your dog seem simple, the execution of them may not be. If you need a little help or if you are in fear of your or other’s safety it is best to get a professional dog trainer involved. Unfrotunately, in cases of aggression, dogs have been known to bite, even their own handlers. That does not mean that there is no hope, enlisting the help of a professional trainer can help your dog make the change from “Cujo” to “Lassie.” 

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If you are concerned about using safe alternatives to chemical based products for your pet, here are a few alternate means of combating fleas and ticks. You can feel confident that your pets will remain bug-free throughout the year — especially in the summertime, when there are plenty of nasty critters around.

Many pet owners are seeking alternatives to chemical based flea and tick treatments because of the possibility of a toxic reaction to the skin as well as not wanting to expose themselves or their children. Thankfully, there are many natural remedies to repel ticks and fleas that are of no threat to your pet, and you may have some on hand right in your home.

Take a Dip

If you notice fleas on your pet, a swift bath will help to get rid of them and prevent an outbreak. The water itself is able to wash away most and possibly all of the fleas since they are unable to hang on to the hair shaft under the pressure of the water. Use a gentle non toxic shampoo or Dawn dish soap (preferable citrus scented). A vinegar rinse will help rinse away those straggling fleas that otherwise may hide. Give him a good brushing afterward checking for remaining fleas. Regular brushing will allow you to keep an eye out for fleas in the future. The scent of vinegar may even help repel ticks but it may repel family members too with its strong scent.

Clean House

Keep your home cleaned and vacuumed as well as disinfected to help repel and kill any fleas that may enter into the home, while remembering to use natural based products to keep toxins to a minimum.Borax (not boric acid) is a safe substance to sprinkle around the home over floors and couches, then sweep or vacuum away, allowing it to settle into cracks and crevices where fleas may dwell. Nematodes are a natural predator of fleas. These small worms feed off of flea larva. They can be added to your yard and are easy to find at garden stores or pet shops. Ask for “beneficial” nematodes.

Lovely Lemons

Citrus is a natural flea repellent.Simply squeeze an orange or lemon and rub onto your pet’s fur before he heads out the door to do his business in the morning. Rest easy knowing that there is no harm to your pet if he licks at it, and enjoy his new fresh lemony scent.

 Essential Oils

Rose geranium oil is an effective repellent against fleas and peppermint for ticks. They can be added to a spray bottle of water which can be sprayed over your dog’s fur or applied straight to your dog’s collar. Do NOT use these on your cat, however, as they can have a bad reaction to essential oils. When in an area of tall grass or known to have ticks, such as a forest preserve or even your own yard, be sure to check your pet a few times a day and remove them promptly.

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“Scaredy…Dog?”  It is not a title any pooch would be proud of. If you or someone you know has a pet struggling with storm phobia read on. Trying some of these techniques may bring improvement and give your dog a title he can live with like….”Thor, Dog of Thunder!”

Does your dog pace, pant, and follow you around the home when a storm is approaching? Even before owners are aware of an oncoming storm, many dogs are aware and some dreading its arrival. Some dogs are known to seek a hiding spot behind the toilet or in a closet, others become destructive to their surroundings in a state of panic.

If this describes your pup then he is suffering from storm phobia. The wind, thunder, and lightening that accompany the storm can trigger his fears. With his heightened senses, your dog can sense changes in barometric pressure, static electricity, and even low-frequency rumbles of the storm while it is yet undetectable to humans’ natural senses. One theory suggests that dogs experience painful shocks from static buildup before the storm.

Dogs with storm phobia don’t usually get better on their own but can get worse as the storm season continues. They also can seemingly develop the phobia out of nowhere with no signs during the previous years.

While there are no easy answers to fixing your dog’s phobia, there are some ways to help sooth his anxieties.

1. REWARD CALM BEHAVIOR

It is tempting to coddle your panicky pooch but handing out affection when your pet is in this state actually sends them the message that you are approving of their behavior. Scolding is not the answer either. The key is to have a command that helps your dog to settle down not only during a panic attack but whenever it may be necessary. One idea is to have an indoor leash to put on your pet and give him the down command. Once your pet is lying down calmly give praise for his behavior. This way you are giving your dog a routine and reinforcing that you are in control which is essential to any dog’s security. You can also try distracting your dog by offering his favorite toy, playing fetch, petting him, and feeding treats as long as he remains in a calm state. This can help replace the fears with something he enjoys and create a positive association.

2. GIVE YOUR DOG A SAFE PLACE

Does your dog have a favored place where he seeks refuge during a storm? If that place is safe then allow him to have access to it. Otherwise you may use an open crate, a basement where the dog can’t hear or see what’s happening, a room with music playing, or a bathroom to give him a sense of security. Do not lock him in however which can cause more anxiety not to mention dogs who are confined in a state of panic can chew and claw causing a lot of damage to your home. Allow him the ability to come in out as he pleases.

3. TRY A PRESSURE GARMENT

A snug-fitting pressure garment, such as the Thundershirt, can provide a calming effect similar to swaddling a baby. Also the Storm Defender, a metal fabric-lined cape, claims to protect dogs from static shocks. So far, the benefits of such garments is not proven but many pet owners are giving them a try.

4. DESENSITIZE YOUR DOG TO THE SOUNDS OF A STORM

Playing a CD of thunder recordings at a level that won’t frighten your dog, while giving him treats or playing a game, can help desensitize him to the sounds of a storm. Over the course of several months, gradually increase the volume, while checking for signs of anxiety. The goal is to get your dog used to the sound of thunder, and create a positive association between the storm and things your pet enjoys. This technique may have limited success in an actual storm since you can only recreate the noise, and not the other factors that may be bothering the dog, such as the static electricity or changes in barometric pressure.

5. ASK YOUR VET FOR ADVICE

Your vet can assess whether medication may be needed or if other behavioral modifications can be used. Not every dog will need medication but those that do will still benefit from many of the behavior modifications and desensitization techniques as well. At the University of Georgia, a 2003 study by veterinarians found that 30 out of 32 dogs with storm phobia showed significant signs of improvement when medication was combined with behavior modification as well as desensitization.

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As summer approaches here in the mid west, you are not the only one seeking relief. Your pet may be giving you some cues that he needs to cool off as well and panting is a sure sign. But have you ever wondered how this built in cooling system works? Keep reading to find out as well as discover some tips for helping your pet cool off.

Dogs can pant when they are tired and need to catch their breath the same way humans do. They can also pant when they are hot because that is how their bodies cool off whereas humans sweat to cool off.

Have you ever wondered how it all works and why our bodies have such dramatically different ways of arriving at the same outcome?  Well, as humans, we sweat because water locks in heat to carry it away from our bodies. Since there are pores all over our bodies it is an effective means of releasing the excess heat efficiently. By comparison, dogs can seem to be at a disadvantage since their bodies are covered in fur with no pores. The only place where a dog can sweat is on the pads of his feet.

Hence the panting is a dog’s way of releasing the heat through his mouth in order to regulate his body temperature. When a dog opens his mouth and pants, he’s using moisture to release the excess heat as humans do. When he opens his mouth his tongue expands to help push out the hot, moist air.

While panting is a natural and important mechanism of your dog’s body, be aware that certain medical conditions can cause your dog to pant due to being out of breath. This includes heart failure, injuries and respiratory disorders like pneumonia. If your dog is panting more than usual and it is not due to exercise or heat then you may want to get him checked out at the vet to be sure all is well.

An overheated dog is going to pant relentlessly in an attempt to cool down.  While he is doing all he can with his seemingly limited technique, there are some ways you can help. A first step is to bring him into a cooler environment. If outside take him into the shade or indoors, preferably air conditioned. Put your dog directly in front of the air conditioner or a fan if no air conditioning is available. Another option is to give him a cool bath not cold since the dramatic shift in temperature can cause him to go in to shock. Provide cold water for your dog and even some ice cubes which he will enjoy licking and chomping. If you suspect overheating or heatstroke, take him to a vet as soon as possible.

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With the excitement of spring, what could be wrong with jumping in the car and heading down to your local dog park where you can throw the Frisbee for Fido and watch him play with his canine companions? The problem is, many expert trainers advise against taking your dog to the dog park being that it is an unnatural experience that can disrupt the orderly pack structure that dogs naturally adhere to. Many trips to the park result in frustration over your or other dogs disobedience, unwanted aggression, and even vicious fights. Never the less, some people look forward to these parks as one of the very few places their dogs can roam free and may have not yet had one of these horrific experiences. Here is some expert advice on making your trip to the park a good experience for you and your dog if you insist on attending.

 

To avoid confrontations, injuries, and even lawsuits, take note of the following rules to ensure your dog park experience is a good one for you and your dog as well as others enjoying the park.

Dog Park Rules

1. Keep watch over your dog at ALL times.

2. Make sure your dogs vaccines are all up to date before attending.

3. Its your duty to clean up your dog’s duty so bring some disposable bags.

4. Your dog should know basic commands such as sit, stay, no, and come before entering park.

5. Do not bring your dog to the park if he does not socialize well with other dogs. He will not learn suddenly at the park.

6. Scope out the dog park crowd upon arriving to see if you and your dog will be comfortable with joining in.

7. Keep your dog on his leash until you are safely in the park.

8. Be aware of the parks own rules and follow them.

Things to watch for:

In an instant a pleasant day at the park can turn bad. Look for these signs to anticipate and negate a crisis.

1. If a female dog seems to be in heat other dogs can become aggressive and try to mate. While a female in heat should never be brought to the park, if you spot one it may be best to leave.

2. If your pup is sensitive to the changes in weather or afraid of thunder and lightning, do not remain  at the park at these times.

4. Be aware of when it’s time to call it a day. If your pup is pooped or becoming anxious, aggressive, or showing any unusual behavior it is time to head home.

Dog Bite Dangers:

1. If a bite occurs involving your dog, stay calm while you work through it, dog’s can sense body language and you can help diffuse a situation or make it worse.

2. Separate the dogs immediately to stop any further injury.

3. Check for wounds on both dogs. If their is a puncture wound the dog will need to be taken to the vet immediately for treatment since they are easily infected.

4. Exchange contact information with the other dog’s owner.

5. See if their are any witnesses who can write down what happened and take down their contact info for reference.

6. Know the laws regarding dog bites in your state.

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Do you come home to find Fido has made a new mess for you to clean up? This may be due to separation anxiety. When our pets act out it is a sign of inner turmoil. The key to overcoming is to find out the root cause.

What owner doesn’t enjoy an over emphasized welcome from his best friend ready to jump and lick with tail flailing all around in delight when he walks in the door after a long hard day? As joyous as it is, it is only feeding the anxiety of your pet. Dogs are social animals with very keen insight into the feelings of those around them. All the hype can leave your pet experiencing a low once you leave causing a form of depression and separation anxiety can occur.

Separation anxiety may be recognized in your pet once you begin your leaving ritual. They may hear the sound of the keys clang as you pick them up or notice you putting on your shoes and coat, as dogs are very smart, they can anticipate what actions come next. They may yelp, whine, or shake when you begin to leave the house. Not only is separation anxiety present when you are leaving but an over excited welcome at your return or constantly following you around the house when you are home are also signs that your pet is struggling. The infamous scenario of returning home to find that your dog has done his duty in the house or destroyed other items is a tell tail sign that your dog has a separation disorder. Other destructive behaviors like chewing, digging, howling, fence jumping, and scratching at doors and windows often occur. A pet may even lick his paws until a raw “hot spot” forms in order to gain attention. A common misunderstanding is to think that these behaviors are done out of vengeance but in reality your pal is panic-stricken.What can you do?

While their are many different reasons why dogs experience separation anxiety such as a change in routine, loss of a companion, or a change in environment, the good news is that the behavior can be changed. It does require a commitment on behalf of the owner, but if done with consistency, it will yield relieving results for both you and your pet.

Toning down the entrance when you arrive home is the first place to start. Avoid loud noises when entering and wait to acknowledge your dog until he is in a calm, submissive state.

Next, be sure that your dog knows some basic commands like sit and stay so that you can help him to exercise some self control. Start by having your dog stay in a separate room from you where he can still see you, then gradually move further away until you are out of his sight. Take note of your dogs response. Does he whimper or move closer? Reward him with a treat for good behavior but don’t expect him to overcome his issues in one day, be patient.

Third, get your dog accustomed to your exit regime. Get your keys, put your coat on and sit down. Do this until the dog is comfortable with your actions. When he seems to handle this well enough, take it a step further to opening the door and then sitting back down.The goal is to progress to the point where it doesn’t even phase your furry friend. It is important to ignore your dog during this exercise since frustration and even affection will exasperate his response.

Lastly you are ready to take your dog to the final stage of training and reward him for his efforts and calm behavior while you are away. Use dog toys stuffed with treats such as a Kong with peanut butter inside. Place the treat filled toy near the door and make sure your dog is aware of its presence. Now leave the house for a few minutes observing your dogs demeanor as you return. If he is engulfed in the goodies that you left for him then he is ready to be left for longer periods. However, if your dog is stressed and oblivious to the treats then you should reduce the amount of time away and continue practicing the previous steps. Eventually he will learn that the treats are on focused on the treats, you know you can increase the minutes you are gone. Always remove the treat once you return home and eventually your dog will learn that the treats are only available when you are away and associate your leaving with a positive experience.

Your consistency with these steps is imperative to your dog’s success. If however you have done it all to a T and your dog is not responding, then your dog may have a more serious case of anxiety and it is time to seek help from your vet or a professional dog trainer. If your dog is crate trained then locking him in the crate when you are away can provide a place of comfort and refuge for him. Do not leave a dog in a crate if it seems to exasperate his anxieties or he tries to escape which can result in hurting himself.

Last but certainly not least, a good long walk can do wonders in helping to release energy and bring your dog into a calm, obedient state. When possible plan his walks before you will be leaving the house while still using the treat leaving method to help him divert his energy off of you leaving. As the saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog.”

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Is your cat bored? How can you tell? Well, your cat may not lie around and sigh, meowing longingly but excessive sleeping may be a clue. Also, behavioral issues are a big red flashing sign. A cat with natural high energy, with few outlets for expressing it, will demonstrate that bad attention is better than none at all. They can’t help playing with whatever appears to promise some excitement, even things they know they shouldn’t, if they are left too much to their own devices.

If you come home to find chaos when your young cat is left alone in the house all day then he is probably begging for a playmate and companion. Opposite of popular belief, getting a second cat does not mean there will be twice as much mayhem. Having two cats, and things for them to play with, will result in less destruction. As the result of having another living creature to be the object of his playful ambitions will often cause the frantic cat to be able to calm down and relax after exhorting energy. Also the restless cat can find peace in the presence of a constant companion.

Additionally, older, less energetic cats will express boredom in less dramatic, but no less worrisome, ways. They can start scratching where they shouldn’t, knock over things they’ve always left alone, or pace and wail, especially at bedtime, when the prospect of a long, lonely night is looming.

Whatever the damage you may find, you are responsible for helping your cat to have a healthy outlet in life. Here are some exciting ways to spice things up for your feline friend and hopefully help you each obtain peace. 

New treats

Speaking of spice, try some new cat treats to regain your cats attention on items that will really get your cat moving, like a stringed feather on a pole that your cat will never get tired of swatting at.

Laser pointer

A laser pointer is a great device to use with your cat. The bouncing light will get even the most felines to paw at it for as long as you are willing to shine the light. 

Vertical space

Make sure there are safe vertical spaces in your home for your cat to jump up onto. This could be a window sill, set of empty shelves or a cat tree. This way, even when you’re not home to play with your kitty, he still has an opportunity to burn some energy by jumping.

Water and food work-out

If you’ve got a super lazy cat that does nothing but eat, make that work for you. Separate his water and food so that simply moving from one to another burns some calories and keeps kitty engaged. Keeping the food and water bowls on different floors would be ideal.

Homemade toys

Keep a look out for non-toys that your pet loves and using those to get his attention. Cats like to play with paper, boxes and bags. Leave these items around the house in high places where your cat can safely jump to amp up the play time.

Get a Scratching Post

Cats will use a cat scratching post for many reasons. One is to help shed the outer layers of their nails. Another is to mark territory-not only visually, but through tiny scent glands at the bottoms of their paws. Even a declawed cat will use a cat scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose and enjoy. Make sure the scratching post is tall enough that he or she can really stretch when used. 

Create a Cat Refuge

Cats like places where they feel safe. We call this a “cat refuge”. This is often in a high location – such as on top of a dresser or table where a cat can evaluate the environment for “dangers”, just as they would in nature and be relatively hidden from view. The location of a refuge can be anywhere – low or high and the substrate can be as simple as a paper bag or cardboard box. 

Find the Cat Right Toys

 Not every cat likes the same toys. Make sure you know what your cat likes. If you are not sure what toys will entice your cat – get one of each and do a test. Once you know what toys your cats like – make sure you have plenty of them. It is common for them to get “misplaced” (you usually move the sofa and find a dozen). Cats become bored with the same toys after a while. A great tip is to hide it for a while and reintroduce. Keep a supply that you rotate. 

Get Some Catnip 

For cats sensitive to catnip – offer some catnip periodically for your cat to enjoy. Also – marinating toys in catnip is a great way to encourage your cat to enjoy them even more when you reintroduce them. 

Schedule Playtime

Schedule time twice a day to play with your cat. Allow him or her to chase the ball, laser pointer or feathery flyer. Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat. You can even do this while you are watching T.V. in the evening. Get out the laser pointer, feather flyer or just toss a ball across the floor to simulate your cat. 

Plenty of TLC

Some cats just really want some of your time and attention. Encourage your cats to curl up with you when you are resting. 

go Grow Some Cat Grass

Some cats love the ability to chew on a little cat grass – just like they would if they were outdoors. 

catch some rays

Cats love the sun. Look around your home and see what window allows the sun to shine in and consider placing a cat bed in that location. If you have the blinds or curtains closed – consider opening them to allow your cat the ability to bask for a while in the sun. 

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Deciding to spay or neuter your pet is one of the most important decisions you will make on behalf of your pet. Some of the benefits of this procedure include reducing unruly behavior, improving pet’s health, as well as reducing the number of homeless pets in the community.

Unfortunately, there are homeless animals within every community of every state in the United States with an estimated 6-8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year. Less than half of these animals are adopted leaving the rest to be euthanized. One may think that these homeless animals are simply the offspring of other homeless “street” animals, but in reality, many of these are the puppies and kittens of family pets and even purebreds.

Tragically, more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually. Spaying and neutering is the only effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.

According to a USA Today (May 7, 2013) article, pets who live in states with the highest rates of spaying and neutering also live the longest. They report that neutered male dogs live 18% longer than un-neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than un-spayed female dogs.

One reason for their longer life span is the avoidance of dangers that pets in heat encounter. Pets in heat have an increased urge to roam, exposing them to fights with other animals, getting hit by cars, and other mishaps.

A second contributor to the increased longevity of altered pets is the reduced risk of cancers such as pyrometra (a fatal uterine infection), uterine cancer, and other cancers of the reproductive system. Females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier while males can eliminate their chances of getting testicular cancer and have lowered rates of prostate cancer, as well.

One hesitation that pet owners have is the fear that getting their pets spayed/neutered will change their fundamental personality, like their protective instinct, but professionals say that’s not likely. On the contrary, spaying/neutering your pet may reduce unwanted behaviors while preserving the personality traits of your pet.

Unneutered dogs are much more prone to urine-marking than neutered dogs among both males and females. In males cats, it is best to neuter by 5 months of age, before marking becomes a problem, as ridding your home of the smell is painstakingly difficult. It can also minimize the urge to roam, howling, barking, mounting, and fighting with other males.

There are many low cost spay/neuter clinics which help to cut costs in the long run as you avoid many of the potential health risks of not “fixing” your pet as medical treatments could be in the thousands.

While we can not possibly find a home for each of the millions of pets that are homeless and euthanized each year, we can greatly reduce the amount of homeless pets in our communities by spaying and neutering. Let your friends and family members know how spaying/neutering can save them money as well as save lives and contact your vet today.

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We never really get over the loss of our best friends but there comes a time for some when we are ready to love again. Our pets are our companions, they hold a piece of our hearts in their paws. This is why the decision to get a new pet should come after you have properly grieved your pet who has passed and after assessing what you and your family are looking for in a pet at your current season of life.

There is no set period of  time when it is right to bring home a new pet. It will be a unique decision that each family makes. Some people wait for days to weeks, while others hold out for months to years. Some people may even decide they no longer wish to have a dog or a cat and are looking for a different kind of pet to fit their situation. While it is a very personal choice, these general guidelines can help anyone as they ponder the decision.

  • The first thing to consider is that the grieving process is a natural and normal part of life that is essential in order to move on after loss. Sadness and even anger are a natural response and even feelings of relief are appropriate when your pet has suffered a long term illness. It is important to allow time for the various stages and emotions of grief to take place and waiting until you feel a sense of peace before welcoming a new pet into the home. Otherwise, you may find yourself projecting negative emotions onto the new pet as well as having unrealistic expectations of them.

 

  • Take into account the other people in your household including spouses, children, roommates and so on. Consider where they are in the grieving process and ask for their input before making a decision. Since the new member of the family will have an impact upon all of them, be sure to discuss what kind of pet will suit you all best and where to get the new pet, etc.

 

  • Consider any other pets you have in the household as well before you add another pet to your home. Remember, dogs, cats, and other pets grieve too when they have lost their beloved family member. Your pet may feel sad and lonely,  have a loss of appetite and even fall ill. Keep a close eye on your pet’s progress and make sure that they are back to selves again before welcoming a new pet into your home.

 

  • Take a moment to look at what season of life you find yourself in or that you may be entering into soon. Are you planning any travel or time consuming activities to your schedule, such as going back to school or having a new baby? The addition of a new pet to your life will most likely require more time and energy from the family, especially if the pet needs potty training. Consider when you and your family will be able to devote the necessary time to raising a new pet and try to plan accordingly.

 

  • Depending on the type of pet you choose, there will be varying levels of involvement and responsibility. New puppies and kittens will need potty training and may not do well alone for long periods of time. Your pet will need time to adjust to your routines. Dogs will need regular walks outdoors. Depending on the breed of dog, some may need more exercise than you are used to, especially if your previous dog was a senior. You will enjoy your pet much more when it is able to receive the proper care that it needs.

 

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