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Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
How to Care for Your Senior Pet

Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
There are very important reasons to spay or neuter your pets. It’s also important to understand the meaning of the terms.

When you have your pet spayed (females) or neutered (males) at the veterinarian’s office or a clinic, you not only help to prevent unwanted and unnecessary litters, your pet will also be healthier and happier.

It’s also important because spay/neuter helps saves lives. “That’s because your choice to spay or neuter reduces the number of accidental litters being born,” according to the article, “Understanding Spay and Neuter” at Best Friends Animal Society. “And that means fewer pets entering shelters, where they might be at risk of being killed.”

According to the article, the benefits of spaying female pets include;

• No risk of uterine infections, ovarian or uterine cancer
• Reduced risk of breast cancer
• No risk of pregnancy

For males, benefits include:

• Less risk of testicular cancer
• Less likely to spray or mark with urine
• Less likely to show aggression

There are myths around spay/neuter. One is to allow a female to have a litter before spaying. “In fact, spaying female dogs and cats before their first heat cycle eliminates their risk of ovarian or uterine cancer, and it also greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer,” the Best Friends article said.

Many people are unaware that “more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually,” according to the article, “Why you should spay/neuter your pet” at The Humane Society of the United States. “Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.”

Additionally, when you spay/neuter you avoid many potential health issues that can have exorbitant costs.

For people looking for low-cost spay/neuter, check locally for clinics in your area.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
If you’re one of those people who cannot bear to be away from their pet, even on vacation, then it’s time to talk about keeping your pets safe and comfortable when they travel with you.

Ensure your pet has a microchip with the proper identification, and wears his collar with appropriate tags and information. According to the article, “Travel Safety Tips” at the ASPCA.org, “It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.”

The article said if you must travel by plane with a big dog:

• Book a direct flight.
• See your veterinarian for a checkup before leaving.
• Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate and ensure it has proper ID.
• Tell all airline employees that you have a pet in cargo.

For road trips, the article suggests:

• Take your pet on short rides beforehand.
• Keep your pet safe in a well-ventilated crate or carrier.
• Take a pet travel kit including food, bowl, leash, water, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid supplies, and travel documents.
• Do not leave your pet alone in the vehicle.

Before heading out on any trip, your pet should be up to date on vaccines “and depending on where you’re headed and whether your pet will be in contact with other animals, your veterinarian might recommend additional vaccinations,” according to the article, “8 Tips for Safe Travel With Your Pet” at Vetstreet.com.

Discuss with your vet about preventatives for fleas, ticks and other parasites, the article said. Also keep your pets away from plants as some may be toxic.

Keep your pet’s medical information at hand. And try to look up the nearest emergency vet clinic closest to your destination in case you need one.

How to Care for Your Senior Pet
Pets live longer now due to improved veterinary care and better care in general, but senior pets need some extra attention.

According to the article, “Senior Pets,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA.org), “Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.”

Larger breed dogs usually live shorter lives, and are considered senior at 5 or 6 years old. Small dogs and cats are typically deemed senior at 7.

Just as in humans, “age is not a disease,” the article said. People often develop certain health issues with age, and so do senior pets. With good care, your senior pet can live a healthy and happy active life.

According to the AVMA article, senior pets likely will slow down, get a gray coat, and their organ systems will change. Senior pets are susceptible to heart, kidney and liver disease, cancer and arthritis. “Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age,” the article said. “Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats have a somewhat lower rate.”

You can get a better handle on your senior pet’s life stage with a veterinary exam, according to the article, “How to Help Your Dog or Cat Age Gracefully,” at Vetstreet.com. Follow up with your vet if you notice any of the following:

• Weight changes
• Decreased or no appetite
• Drinking more water
• Added lumps or bumps
• Seizures
• Disorientation

Ensure your senior pet is safe in your home. Carpet can prevent your pet from slipping, while a ramp or step stool can help him up onto the bed with ease.

Extra love and attention can help your senior pet enjoy his golden years.

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