It’s the start of a new year, and it brings so much promise. If you adopted a new pet or received one as a gift, do you know what to do or what to expect? How should you prepare your home and your family?
According to the article, “Bringing Your New Dog Home,” from The Humane Society of the United States, “The key to helping your new dog make a successful adjustment to your home is being prepared and being patient.” The article offers some tips:
• Prepare the home to include supplies, from a collar, ID tags and leash, to food, water bowls and toys.
• Decide who will feed the pet, walk the dog or clean the litter box, and decide where the pet will sleep.
• Ensure housetraining is consistent.
• Schedule a veterinarian appointment.
In the article, “What You Need to Know Before Bringing Home a New Pet,” at HealthyPets, Dr. Karen Becker discusses how to successfully add a new pet to your home:
• Before bringing home a pet, ensure there are no dangers and move “cords out of reach, and plants if your new addition is a kitty,” Becker wrote.
• If you have other pets, seek advice on introducing your new addition.
• For new cats, “regardless of whether there are other pets or children in the family, I recommend you separate the new addition in a little bed-and-breakfast setup of her own for at least a week,” Becker wrote. “This will help her get acclimated on her own terms, which is the way cats prefer things.”
Bringing home a new pet is exciting. There is so much to look forward to and lots of love to go around. Make sure you have all the information you need to ensure the transition goes smoothly for everyone, including your new pet.
Arthritis hurts the joints in both humans and animals. Similar to humans, pets with arthritis feel more pain during the colder months.
The reason for increased arthritic pain in humans during colder months is not actually known by doctors but the assumption is that it is partly caused by “the drop in air pressure, which can allow the tissues to swell, or the effect that cold has on the muscles; a stiffening that can be uncomfortable even for those who do not suffer from joint issues,” according to the article, “How to Alleviate Arthritic Pain During the Winter,” at PetMD.com. The same holds true for pets with arthritis.
There are things you can do to help alleviate some of the pain:
• Ensure your dog is not overweight, “since extra weight places a lot of extra pressure on the already stressed joints,” the article said.
• Speak with your veterinarian about medications and supplements.
• Alternatives such as massage, acupuncture and even physical therapy can help.
• Keep your dog as warm as possible.
• Pet ramps can help your pet with stairs.
According to the article, “Arthritis and Cold Weather: Treating Degenerative Joint Disease in Winter” at Pet Health Network, for dogs with degenerative joint disease, or DJD, the cold can be brutal. Movement is key as “activity helps the joints combat stiffness—which in turn reduces pain,” Dr. Jeff Werber, DVM, wrote.
Getting up and getting out with your dog for a walk is key. “The movement will help your dog maintain good muscle tone, and muscle tone is crucial to combatting arthritis,” Werber wrote.
If there is ice on the ground, try booties or pad protectors for your dog’s paw pads. There are numerous things you can do while working together with your dog to help him combat arthritis, especially in the cold.
Obesity is a concern for humans and pets, and the situation seems to be getting worse. Pets who are obese are at risk for a variety of medical conditions that can be extremely dangerous to their health. What are the signs? What can you do?
In the article, “The 5 Biggest Questions You Must Ask About Pet Obesity: How to Check, What to Feed, and How to Exercise,” Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT, and founder of The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), said some weight-related disorders for obese pets include diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease and more.
Dr. Ward suggests that pet owners ask their veterinarians five important questions:
1. Ask if your pet is overweight and get an assessment.
2. Ask the amount of calories you should feed your pet every day and “Feed that amount,” Dr. Ward wrote.
3. Ask how much weight your pet should lose in a month’s time. “A weight loss plan’s performance is critical to track and monitoring monthly trends is an accurate indicator of success or stagnation,” according to Ward.
4. Ask about exercise for your pet and the type of activities “based on your pet’s species, breed, age, gender, and current physical abilities,” Ward said.
5. Ask if your pet is at risk of a medical problem because he is overweight.
“I often emphasize that food does not equal love,” wrote Dr. Patti Iampietro, Best Friends veterinarian in the article, “Obese Dogs and Cats: Why Pet Obesity Is a Health Concern.” She added, “Walks, play time, petting and quiet time alone with your pet all say ‘I love you’ just as effectively as giving treats.”
Work alongside your pet and help him lose weight safely in order to bring him to a healthy weight… and a healthier life.