Animal adoptions are the responsible way of bringing a pet into your life. By choosing to adopt an animal, you are actively contributing to society. There is also a strong correlation between adoptions and improved animal welfare, especially during the summer. If you are looking to own a pet, adoptions are the way to go.

Adopting animals from a shelter is admirable. You are essentially giving an animal a new life. However, there are many things to consider before adopting. Considerations include your current lifestyle, your living environment, and your ideal companion. Providing a healthy living environment for your new pet is important. It is also important to understand the benefits of adopting. These benefits include animals that have been health-checked and, commonly, house-trained. You are also not contributing to the unfortunate over-population of domestic animals. While animal adoption may seem complicated, it is not. Through adoption, improved animal welfare is almost always guaranteed.

Purchasing an animal through a breeder or pet store may be tempting at first, but there are no certainties about the welfare of these animals. Through adoption agencies, animal welfare is a top priority. Generally speaking, adopted animals have higher animal welfare standards. The main animal welfare issues to consider include behavior, house-training and general health. Adoption agencies are often guided by veterinarians, to ensure each animal is adequately cared for. Although a majority of animal welfare issues are taken care of by adoption agencies, those who adopt animals also play an important role, especially during the summer.

Throughout the year, there may be times when the environment is dangerous for animals.  This includes during summer, when heat temperatures increase and parasites are more prevalent. Unfortunately, animals are very vulnerable during these periods.  Some of the most common vulnerabilities include:

  • Temperature – Heat from the Sun can cause dehydration and other issues
  • Parasites – Fleas and ticks are more active during warmer weather, causing irritation and potential infections
  • Other wildlife – Birds, reptiles and other mammals may attack, causing injuries
  • Thunderstorms – Loud storms often frighten animals, potentially leading to injuries
  • Dangerous plants – Venomous plants may come into contact with animals, making them very sick

Through animal adoptions, you can help protect animals against many of these threats. Needless to say, animal adoptions are very beneficial. By utilizing adoption agencies, you are contributing to the overall welfare of animals, giving them a happier, healthier life.

Dogs are well capable of reading a humans face. Dogs have a higher body temperature (ranging between 101F and 103F). They are prone to cancer just as humans.

For that reason, it is crucial that you understand all that there is to know about their bodies. Feeding the dog plenty of chocolate could expose it to toxic substances (such as theobromine) that could be fatal, especially if the canine eats between 100mg and 150mg of the substance.

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms have the capacity of causing damages to the dog’s ears. During thunderstorms, you will notice the dog showing plenty of fear. The fear and apprehension that the dog shows could be indicative of the incredible amounts of pain it feels.

Sweaty Paws

If you want to check if the dog has a very high body temperature, one of the ways of doing this would be through its paws. When the dog experiences high body temperatures, it will sweat a lot through its paws, unlike humans who do this via the skin.

Bad Breath

A dog with bad breath is probably carrying a periodontal disease. Therefore, learn to smell the dog’s breath, as a way of checking whether it is sick.

Other Signs

Other signs that you should always check for on the dog’s body to determine whether it is sick and in need of medical attention include the following:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Brownish discharge from the ears
  • Lumps
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Shaking of the head
  • Inflamed ears
  • Irritated skin
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Pale gums and tongue
  • Stiff movement
  • Smelly ears
  • Dramatic Weight loss
  • Watery eyes
  • Scratching
  • Potbelly

The good news is that you can take proactive measures to ensure the dog receives proper medical attention if he/she develops any of the aforementioned signs.

There is much that goes into looking after your pet. While some may feel they are doing the best to give their dog a good feeding. Animal care experts feel differently. Most dog owners rely heavily on commercially produced foods. Most of these, even though certified sometimes may not contain all the necessary nutrients, while some may contain potentially dangerous additives.

Some of these include:

  • Ethoxyquin.
  • Phospheric Acid
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
  • BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)

BHT and BHA have been linked directly to kidney damage. Propylene glycol inhibits growth of good bacteria in a dog’s system; this could result in intestinal blockage. Foods containing colors and dyes are also to be avoided. Research indicates damage to liver and cancer types. Low qualities that contain little or no nutritional value have been attributed to diabetes, arthritis and obesity in dogs. By products, not animal flesh is used. Think tumors and skin which really don’t help in building up your animal.

Still, there exists just as much good food that can provide your pet with the major diet requirements, that is:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats
  • Fiber and
  • Vitamins.

If you are involved in animal care, it is crucial to be alert to these facets when picking out food. Animal food labels don’t read the same way as human food labels. Animal food needs to be free from toxic preservatives. Look for food preserved with Vitamins, either C or E. A healthy dog food mix will also be:

  • High in protein- That means meat, to help build muscle
  • High in moisture as dog bodies are of high water percentage
  • A good mix of berries and vegetables is crucial for a good diet.

The market has good food, and with the right knowledge and advice from your vet, you will be able to give your dog the right feed according to his nutritional needs. Remember, as much as you love your furry friend; avoid table human treats like chocolate and cake treats as they contain artificial sweeteners bad for the dog’s system.

Part of proper dog grooming is keeping their nails clipped.  This tends to be one of the most challenging tasks for dog owners, but it doesn’t have to be.  Think of clipping your dog’s nails as a part of the training process.

Getting started:

  • Touch and pet your dogs feet and toes often.  Rub their tummy, scratch their neck and work your way down to their feet, gently massaging and separating their toes.  Keep repeating if your dog is not comfortable with touching their feet.
  • Keep the hair trimmed around your dog’s toes, so when you start the nail grooming, you can see the nail clearly and what you’re clipping.
  • Use nail clippers that you’re most comfortable with;
    • scissor type – snips the tip of the nail
    • guillotine type clipper – has a hole to insert the dog’s nail to snip off
    • grinder type – instead of snipping the tip, the nail is filed down using an electric or battery operated hand held grinder
  • Practice the clipping “process” with your dog.  Put your dog up on a counter or table where you’ll be doing the real trimming later.  Hold your dog’s toes and nails, gently moving them around and giving your dog a small treat every few minutes.  The point is to get your dog “more” focused on the coming treat than what you’re doing to their toes.  This is a good time to introduce the clippers, letting them sniff and check them out. Turn a grinder on and off, so the dog is used to the sound.  Repeat the process every day for a while.
  • Have a styptic or clotting powder before you start the real clipping session.  Always snip small sections of the dogs nail tip until you establish where the quick is within the nail.  Cutting the nail too short will cause bleeding and discomfort to your dog.
  • Stay clam and talk softly to your dog the entire clipping session.  If you’re calm, your dog is more likely to stay clam.

Additional information:

Know where your dog’s dewclaws are located.  Some dogs have dangling dewclaws that are difficult to trim, these may best be left to your vet. Dogs with aggressive behavior or high anxiety, may need to have their nails trimmed at your vet. Grooming your dog’s nails is important in keeping your dog healthy.  Trimming keeps the nails from breaking or cracking, which would cause your dog pain.

Grooming your dog’s nails is important in keeping your dog healthy.  Trimming keeps the nails from breaking or cracking, which would cause your dog pain.

After hurricane Katrina, a group of congressmen in a bi-partisan initiative pushed through the PETS Act. Under the PETS Act, state and local governments seeking aide from FEMA are charged with planning for the evacuation of animals in response to disasters. State Animal Response Teams (SARTS) formed to coordinate public and private agencies in creating plans for the safe and rapid evacuation of pets and service animals. Members consist of emergency management personnel, veterinary organizations, animal shelter administrators, state government officials, kennel clubs and concerned citizens. The object is to gather groups of volunteers trained at the local level to respond to disasters; FEMA  offers free online training and certification.

During mock evacuations, it was found certain practices are effective in the handling and tracking of animals in shelters, and they could be held as a standard. Simple steps such as paper identification collars, slip leashes for dogs and carriers for cats expedited and enhanced management of transporting and temporarily sheltering animals. Medications should travel with each animal and if possible their own water bowl. Participating animal shelters noted problems from cage doors being left open to moving two animals through narrow halls at the same time can be eliminated with proper training of volunteers in the care and handling of sheltered animals, and experts suggest that only authorized trained personnel take part in evacuations. Other best practices are authorized volunteers wearing easy to identify articles of clothing, and a speaker designated to report to the media and public.

Nine county animal shelters in Virginia received a $500,00 grant from Homeland Security through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The grant allowed the counties to each purchase a trailer with supplies in a coordinated effort to facilitate the care and transportation of animals in an emergency situation. Their volunteer response teams participate in training and drills across county limits, and if one shelter is in a state of emergency, other trained county responders will step in and lend a hand. At one school, plastic was laid on the floors; crates and registration tables were set up and each animal and its crate received an identification card.

There are model solutions available, and grants and other funding methods are forthcoming. Animal shelters should have its plan for disaster ready by training volunteers and following proven steps. With proper planning, animal shelters can be emptied in under two hours.

We all need to get away sometimes.  Seeing new things and experiencing great new adventures can renew the spirit and give you a refreshed outlook on life.  When you are traveling with animals, however, road trips and flights can be stressful, particularly when they are not planned properly.

Before you head out for your next expedition, keep these animal activities and comforts in mind if you are taking your four-legged friend with you:

  • Snuggly Soft.  Your pet can easily feel anxious when they are outside of their normal comfort zone.  The same sights and sounds that you find exhilarating can create the ultimate stress for your furry family members.  Pack your pet’s bed, or, at a minimum, his favorite blanket. The familiar feel and smell will help ease discomfort that can happen in otherwise unfamiliar environments.
  • Tasty Treats.  You may use treats to reward good behavior or simply show your appreciation for your pet when you are at home, but these tasty treats can go a long way when you are in strange new places.  Pack enough of your pet’s favorite treats to last the duration of the trip.  Introducing unfamiliar foods can actually upset their stomach, leading to even more unwanted ramifications than a little homesickness.
  • Soul Food.  Speaking of avoiding belly issues, treats are not the only things your furry friend will be ingesting.  While you will want to make sure you have favorite treats on hand to let them know what a good animal they are, they will also need a substantial diet of normal food.  Be sure to pack enough of their normal food so you do not experience stomach upsets along the way.  If your pet is on a special diet, map out potential places to refill their food, should you run out unexpectedly.
  • Trick or Treat.  Plenty of pet toys these days are made to occupy the animals’ minds.  To prevent boredom, which can lead to disruptive behavior, pack a few toys in your suitcase that are created to entertain them, too.  Animal activities that incorporate treats and puzzles can be the perfect way to eliminate unwanted behaviors that can easily escalate when your pet is feeling restless.

While it is common knowledge that you need to exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, most people overlook the fact that their pets need to stay fit as well. Pets that don’t get enough exercise can become obese and become susceptible to serious health conditions such as, cancer and diabetes. For this reason, it is important to make physical fitness a part of your pet’s everyday routine. Here is a list of health benefits that prove exercise helps your animals:

  • By engaging your pets in physical activity, their overall health will improve. It will reduce their chances of developing diseases and help them to live a longer, healthier life.
  • Hyperactive cats and dogs can benefit from exercise because it will alleviate extra energy and restlessness.
  • Regular physical activity is very helpful when it comes to improving your pet’s digestive health. A simple walk has proven to be extremely beneficial in relieving constipation in animals.
  • If your pet excessively chews, digs, or scratches, exercise can help reduce or eliminate this destructive behavior.
  • Your dog or cat will develop stronger muscles and increased flexibility. Their improved strength and nimbleness can reduce their risk  of being injured.
  • It is a no brainer that spending time with your pet is extremely important. Playing sports and games with your pet not only strengthen their body but your bond as well.

Forming a good animal connection is essential for health and happiness for both the animal owner and the animal.  So how do you do that?

The easiest way is to think about the way people connect with their babies and even with other people.

Bonding with an animal is natural for any animal lover.  Most people love cats or dogs or both.  Some ideas to help the animal connection develop deeper and faster are:

1 – Spend time.   There is no substitute for time in a relationship.  This goes for people but also for animals.  Animals are often nervous at first but over time, they warm up and bond with their new owner.  Dogs and cats tend to “grow” on people over time.

2 – Play with them.  Both people and animals love to play.  Play is enjoyment.  For a cat, chasing a laser pointer or a ball of yarn works great.  For dogs, nothing beats a good game of fetch.  For most people, one of the reasons they get the pet is for play.  Animals are cute when they play or as some people (who like puns) say “they are more fetching”.  Animals appreciate and bond to the person who they see as their play/fun mate.

3 – Groom them.  People bond with animals if they groom them.  This can be simple petting through to brushing them.  And who does not want a better groomed pet.  Animals and people both respond to touch.

4 – Walk them.  This mostly applies to dogs.  Dogs love to go for walks and hikes.  And it is healthy for them and their owners.  Pet owners live longer according to Dr. Oz.  Pet owners have less stress, lower cholesterol, and higher immunity.  Likely a good part of this is the added exercise pet owners get.

Animal connection is natural.  Follow your instincts and you will bond easily. After all, dogs and cats are people too.  OK – so they are not really but they will seem like it after there is a good bond formed.

Tick Prevention

June 10, 2015

After the long and harsh winter that hit many parts of the country last year, it’s highly likely your dogs are already feeling bored are restless. Playing outdoors under the spring sun is a good way for them to release some pent-up energy.

But before you let your dogs out the door, you need to protect them from tick infestation with these practical animal health tips:

  • Check your dogs for ticks whenever they come in from the outside. It takes hard work, but it’s worth the effort because it means preventing a tick infection before it even starts.
  • Remove all ticks you find. Ticks multiply fast, so the sooner you get rid of them, the lower the chances of an infection from happening. Use tweezers with a fine end for easy captures.
  • Bring your dogs to the vet for a regular checkup. The trained eye of a professional may be able to catch ticks that you didn’t know were lurking there.
  • Chat with your vet about the dangers of ticks and the preventive measures you can take. These doctors are experts in their field, so it’s best to listen when they’ve got something to say about your dogs.
  • Ask specifically about Lyme vaccine and whether or not your dogs need it. If Lyme disease is prevalent in your area, your dogs may be at a higher risk of contracting it if they’re not adequately protected.
  • Use anti-tick products like sprays and other forms of repellants when your dogs are scheduled to go outside. These products add a layer of protection against ticks.
  • Wash your dogs with tick shampoo. A thorough bath gets rid of whatever ticks that are still hanging in there after manual inspections.
  • Put a tick collar around your dogs’ necks. These accessories are both fashionable and functional; they come in many colors and designs, and they can also protect animals from ticks for weeks or months.
  • Improve tick-prone areas in your home. Ticks flourish in moist and dark areas, so if you have such spaces in your home, make them as tick-unfrlendly as you can.

No one else suffers as much as your dogs when they get tick infection, so in the case of animal health, the old adage still rings true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

As the hot sunny days of summer approach, it’s inevitable that we spend more time outdoors – pets included. Summer activities are a great source of enjoyment and exercise, but it’s important to ensure your animals stay cool in the heat of the summer. Here are a five tips from experts to keep your pets cool and happy. Animal Care Tip 1: Stay in the shade Have you ever noticed your dog or cat lying on a cool surface? They’re trying to cool themselves down. When you’re playing outside and your dog finds a shady spot, let him. Animals naturally gravitate to the shade when they’re hot. And remember, they don’t wear shoes – so imagine how hot the concrete or asphalt is when it’s been baking in the sun all afternoon. A walk in a shaded forest is a much better choice than a walk through the city. Animal Care Tip 2: Play outside at the right time Try to avoid taking your pets outdoors during the hottest time of day. The scorching mid afternoon sun can cause health issues very quickly. Try to plan your outdoor activities in the early morning or in the evening once the sun has gone down. Animal Care Tip 3: Hydrate frequently Pets can dehydrate quickly – especially on a hot day.

  • Make sure they have plenty of fresh water available. If you’re thirsty on a hot day, chances are your pets are too.
  • Ice cubes or frozen broth make a great hydrating treat for dogs.

Animal Care Tip 4: Visit the groomer You wouldn’t go outside on a summer day wearing your winter parka! Imagine how your dog feels. Depending on the breed, some dogs benefit from a summer haircut. Even frequent brushing can help eliminate loose fur and prevent your pet from overheating. Animal Care Tip 5: Be mindful of your pet’s health Animal health experts encourage all pet owners to be mindful of their pet’s health, especially in the summer. Some breeds with flat-shaped faces like pugs, bulldogs, and terriers can’t pant as well as other breeds. These dogs should be expect inside on extremely hot days. Pets that are overweight, elderly, or have other medical conditions should also be kept indoors.