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Do you know how to read your furry feline’s body behavior?
Ensure Your Pets’ Safety When Riding in the Car
Take Your Canine Out to the Dog Park and Put Safety First


How to Read Your Cat’s Body Behavior

Do you know how to read your furry feline’s body behavior? Although you don’t speak cat, there are tips to learn how to communicate better.

In “5 Keys to Decoding Your Cat’s Body Language,” an article at Vetstreet, “Because feline communication signals are easily misread — or missed altogether — cats are often incorrectly labeled as temperamental and moody.”

Learn to detect your cat’s behaviors by being in tune to various signals. The article talks about five ways to help you figure out what your cat is trying to say:

  • The tail is a good way to measure mood. A loose tail usually means content while a tail held high can mean happy. A tail that slightly moves, twitches or wags can be a sign of interest, and a fast-moving more forceful tail can mean agitation.
  • Forward ears and slightly to the side mean your cat is most likely relaxed. When they prick forward they are interested or excited. Nervous cats may have fast-twitching ears while a fearful cat may pin back her ears.
  • A content cat’s pupils will be of normal size. When at ease your cat “may make eye contact and will hold the gaze for a while,” the article said. When your cat is aroused, the pupils may change shape.
  • A relaxed cat’s “whiskers are set out from her face, where they are less noticeable,” the article said. The whiskers might move out and forward if the cat is interested.
  • Relaxed cats breathe slowly and claws are tucked away. When a cat becomes more agitated, her muscles are more tense. Cats who are scared may slow down and “drop low to the ground” but “may speed up … in an attempt to get away.”

Keep in tune and learn how to read your cat; the more you know the better your relationship.

Ensure Your Pets’ Safety When Riding in the Car 

When taking your pet along for a car ride, whether it’s a short trip to the vet or a longer road trip, safety must come first. There’s a number of things to keep in mind. You don’t just want to throw your pet in the back seat. Not to mention, not all animals like to travel, so sometimes it can be stressful for you and your pet.

Here are some tips as suggested from the ASPCA’s article “Travel Safety Tips:”

  • For long trips, get your pet adjusted by taking her on shorter rides before the big one, and increase the length each time. Be sure to take vaccination records if going across state lines.
  • Secure your pet’s safety in a carrier or crate with proper ventilation. Ensure the crate is large enough so your pet can “stand, sit, lie down and turn around in,” the article said. Also make sure the crate is secure so it cannot shift or slide. Never allow your pet to ride freely while sticking her head out the window. Research proper harnesses or restraints if forgoing a crate.
  • Bring your pet’s food, bowl, leash, plastic bags, medications and first aid kit. Take your pet’s toys, grooming supplies and lots of bottled water. Feed your pet about three to four hours before departure.
  • Never, ever leave your pet alone in the car. “On a hot day, even with the windows open, a parked automobile can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can develop,” the ASPCA article said. “In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death.”

In addition, find important information about pet seats and rule out the ones that do not work. Go to the Center for Pet Safety.


Take Your Canine Out to the Dog Park and Put Safety First

Dog parks can be all the rage for some dogs and pet parents, but they also can be a nightmare for others. While many dogs love to run around and play with other canines in a social setting, it’s just not for everyone.

In the WebMD article “Dog Park Safety: What to Know Before You Go,” Susan Nelson, DVM, clinical associate professor at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine, discusses how dog parks are great places for dogs to exercise and learn important social skills.

Before you let your dog off leash, ensure he will be safe by checking out the park first, the dogs and owners that attend and see if it seems comfortable. Nelson advises to check out fencing, making sure it’s sufficient and to look for anything at the park that can hurt your dog. In addition, Nelson suggests dog parks that have separate areas for small and large canines. Large dogs can easily hurt the smaller ones, and “may see small breeds as prey, not playmates,” the article said.

Nelson also said that is it very important that your dog is well-socialized and not fearful. A dog who is scared will not have fun and the situation could be scary. Also, never take a dog in heat to a dog park.

Other tips for the dog park include:

  • Pick up after your dog.
  • Bring fresh water.
  • Keep a watchful eye on your dog at all times and leave the park if you detect any sign of a problem with another dog.
  • Ensure your dog is up to date on vaccinations.
  • Consider flea and tick control as they can be prevalent at parks. Discuss this with your veterinarian.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and you and your dog can have a great park experience.

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Choose a Vet and Ensure Your Pet is Healthy for Life
Beat the Heat with Fun Indoor Activities for You and Your Dog
It’s Pool Time! Ensure Your Dog’s Safety in the Water

Choose a Vet and Ensure Your Pet is Healthy for Life

When you choose a family pet, there are many things to consider. What pet will fit best with your family’s lifestyle: a dog, a cat, a rabbit? Do your research and learn about the animal and what to expect.

A new pet brings happiness, but you must promise to be responsible and keep your pet safe throughout his or her life. According to “Responsible Pet Ownership,” an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) article, there are many things to consider, including:

  1. Commitment to care and provide for the pet, including exercise, food, water and shelter.
  2. Invest in your pet’s health.
  3. Obey the laws, clean up after your pet and provide licensing.
  4. Provide proper ID and microchip.
  5. Spay/neuter your pet.
  6. Prepare for emergencies.

As a pet owner you are the guardian of their well-being and good health. When investing in their health, be sure to choose a good veterinarian right away. Budget for preventive health care, which includes vaccinations, heartworm prevention and deworming. Additionally, ensure that you can care for your pet in times of illnesses or injuries, the article said, as well as “Budget for potential emergencies.”

Don’t skimp on your pet’s health by trying to save money, as it can cost you later. “Regardless of what you read, providing your pet with regular preventive care is the key to a healthy and long life for your pet,” according to AVMA’s article “Money Tips for Caring Pet Owners.”

According to AVMA’s “Importance of Wellness Exams,” wellness exams for your pets are done for the same reason humans go to doctors and dentists, “if you can detect a problem in its early stages, it’s more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense, less difficulty and better success.”

Beat the Heat with Fun Indoor Activities for You and Your Dog

The heat is on in Arizona and it’s going to get hotter very fast. That means it’s more dangerous for your dogs to engage in outdoor activities. Excessive heat can have adverse effects on your dog and sometimes be fatal. Since we have a long summer ahead of us, it’s important to get creative for fun indoor activities to keep you and your dog busy.

Your dog needs to have mental and physical stimulation, according to “Rain or Shine: 10 Ways to Engage your Dog Indoors,” at The article offers ideas to keep boredom away that can be done in your own home while keeping your dog happy. Here’s some ideas to try with your dog:

  1. Food dispensing toys. Choose from classic rubber Kongs you can stuff with treats to a variety of new products including durable puzzle toys by Nina Ottosson.
  2. Kibble hunt: According to the article, put your dog’s kibble to work “by making your dog hunt for it with his nose…hide small piles of food in the house then release him to ‘kibble hunt.’”
  3. Tug and fetch: These classic games are easily played anywhere at home.
  4. Doggie play date: Does your dog have a friend or playmate? Schedule a play date at your home but make sure to clear the area of breakable items.
  5. Socialization outing: If it’s too hot for a walk, take your dog for a nice ride in the air-conditioned car. Consider a visit to the vet “where he just goes to hang out and get some treats and scratches just for being a great dog,” the article said. “This will provide the added benefit of teaching him that vet visits can be a lot of fun!”

It’s Pool Time! Ensure Your Dog’s Safety in the Water

From the pool, to lakes and the beach, summer is a great time for swimming. Contrary to what some believe, not every dog can swim, nor does every dog love water. Here’s some great tips on swimming and keeping your dog safe in any body of water, according to “Dogs and Water Safety,” at WebMD. The article provides the following tips:


Teach your dog the basics by choosing a quiet, shallow spot, get in with him at the edge and keep him on a leash. Do not force your dog. “When your dog begins to paddle with his front legs, lift his hind legs to show him how to float,” the article said.

The Beach

Be careful of riptides and strong currents. Keep your dog from washed up fish and drinking ocean water as they both can cause sickness. 

The Pool

  • Keep your pool fenced.
  • Use a sturdy cover when the pool is not in use. “It should be made of a material that lets rainwater drain through,” the article said. “Dogs can drown in puddles on top of pool covers.”
  • Ensure your dog knows how to get in and out of the pool and provide steps or a ramp.
  • Make sure the water is not too cold.

River, lake or pond

  • Invest in a life jacket for you and your dog.
  • Stay away from blue-green algae as it can make your dog sick.
  • Check the current before swimming.
  • Avoid dangerous fishing gear.

General Safety Rules

Always rinse off your dog after swimming to prevent damage to skin and fur. Make sure to dry your dog’s ears well to avoid infection. Don’t leave your dog alone near the water, and learn canine CPR. “Mouth-to-nose resuscitation and chest compressions could save a dog’s life in an emergency,” the article said.

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Spring into Action if Your Pet Gets into Something Poisonous
Get Outside with Your Dog and Have Fun
Tips to Keep Children Safe around Your Pets

Spring into Action if Your Pet Gets into Something Poisonous

You suspect your pet has gotten into something poisonous. Depending on what your pet ingests, there can be minor side effects, but some can lead to death.

According to “Poisons (Swallowed)” at, watch for certain signs if you suspect poisoning. From general lethargy, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and nausea to more severe signs such as agitation, tremors, twitching and seizures, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 for help.

Remember that dogs are very curious and many will put anything in their mouths, so when poison is ingested, it’s most likely by accident. “Sometimes, owners may self-medicate their pet, only to find out days later, when their pet is symptomatic, that the medication is poisonous to pets due to their altered ability to metabolize certain drugs,” the article said.

If your pet gets into poison, the article recommends the following:

  • Remove the pet from poison source. Before handling, determine safety and if rubber gloves or mask are needed.
  • Identify poison and bring the contents and label to your vet.
  • If your pet vomits, bring a sample. Do not induce vomiting unless consulting your vet or Pet Poison Helpline.
  • Contact the Helpline on the way to your vet.

Some common poisonous household products to avoid include: drain cleaner, oven cleaner, toilet cleaner, kerosene, gasoline, paint thinner and chlorine bleach. If your pet is exposed to any of these products, remain calm and immediately get to the vet.

It is always best to practice prevention in your home and to “treat your dog as you would a young, inquisitive child,” the article said. Pet proof your home, keep chemicals stored away safely, store medication separately from your pet’s medications and administer correct drugs to your pet.

Remember, an ounce of prevention really helps when it comes to keeping pets safe.


Get Outside with Your Dog and Have Fun

Spring is a fabulous time of year to get outside with your dog. There are many things in the Valley to have fun, get exercise and explore the great outdoors. has great ideas from Dog’s Day Out in Phoenix, AZ, so take note:

  1. Arizona Biltmore Fashion Park. If you both love to shop, this is the place. “This outdoor mall is perfect for strolling along and window shopping with your pooch,” the article said. “Select stores even allow your well trained dog to accompany you.”
  2. Cosmo Dog Park. This off-leash dog park in Gilbert has lots to do, featuring four fun-filled fenced acres. There’s nighttime lighting, wash stations, and even a separate space for smaller dogs. “But the main attraction at Cosmo Dog Park is the man-made lake that is a favorite for water-loving breeds,” the article said.
  3. Music on Mill. Music lovers and their dogs can enjoy free music in Tempe’s Mill Avenue district from September through June on Thursday nights from 5 to 9 p.m.
  4. Cupcakes from Sprinkles. This place offers delicious delights for Valley residents, but did you know they have doggie cupcakes, too? Take a stroll on the Soleri Bridge in Scottsdale and exercise before you indulge. Then make sure you take a walk afterward to burn it off.

Surprise Stadium. For baseball loving dogs and peeps, try spring training. “At Surprise Stadium, owners can take in a ball game with their dogs in a specially-designated area,” the article said. It costs $11 for people and $5 for dogs who must be leashed at all times. “Walk-ins aren’t typically allowed during the Bring Your Dog to the Ball Park event, so be sure to register and buy your tickets in advance.”


Tips to Keep Children Safe around Your Pets

A pet can be one of the best things about childhood. With pets come responsibilities, so it is important to ensure children know the rules and that parents are always supervising.

According to the article “Teaching Children Pet Safety Rules,” from North Shore Animal League America, benefits of pets include “increases in self-esteem, nurturing skills, cooperation and, best of all, the creation of an unconditional, loving bond that brings immeasurable joy to your entire family.”

When bringing home a pet, everyone must follow simple rules to help “guard against injuries such as bites and scratches, which are often caused by children yanking an animal’s tail, chasing or cornering it or approaching it suddenly,” the article said.

Dogs are “pack animals” and live by a “social hierarchy,” as explained in the article by Kim Lasek, North Shore Animal League America’s head trainer. It is very important to “establish every person in the family as an authority figure or ‘pack leader’ to the dog by simple, everyday interactions.”

The article offers tips for a safe, happy relationship, including:

  • Accidents can happen, so never leave children and pets unsupervised.
  • Never approach animals while they are eating, sleeping, caring for their babies, in a crate or chewing on a toy.
  • Pet gently. Do not pull or tug or approach from behind.
  • Ask permission from an adult before approaching an unknown animal.
  • Refrain from making loud noises and sudden moves when approaching an animal.
  • Do not make contact with dog or cat waste.
  • Children should not touch or stand near dogs when they are excited, such as during meal time or when someone comes to the front door.

Ensure your children know that pets are living beings with feelings, the article said. They must be respected and cared for with lots of love.