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Breed Discrimination and What It Means for Dogs and Owners
The Benefits of Fostering a Pet
How TNR Helps the Feral Cats in Neighborhoods

Breed Discrimination and What It Means for Dogs and Owners
Dog lovers should be aware of the acronym BSL, or breed-specific legislation. It is specific to certain types of dogs, discriminating based on appearance and a perception of being dangerous.

According to the article, “Ending dog breed discrimination against pit bull terriers and other dogs,” at, BSL is not a correct term in that the “laws target dogs not because they are a specific breed, but because someone thinks they may look like a certain breed. And even if dogs may look alike, it doesn’t mean they will behave the same way.”

It is assumed that certain breeds “are more prone to attacking and biting, though this is a misconception,” the article said. The most affected breed of BSL is the “pit bull” terrier. By spreading inaccuracies of a breed, fear is easily spread to the public. Hence, “BSL is often enacted to ease fears over public safety, but these laws are ineffective and very costly.”

Although pit bulls have been singled out, other affected breeds include American Bulldogs, Rottweilers, German shepherds, etc., including dogs resembling these breeds, according to the article, “Breed-Specific Legislation,” at the

“There is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals,” the ASPCA article said. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has opposed the legislation following an in-depth study of fatalities that resulted from dog bites.

There are numerous consequences of BSL, the ASPCA article said. Those who suffer include:

• Dogs whose owners may attempt to “hide” their dogs.
• Owners who may be unable to find housing.
• The public whereby the laws, “compromise rather than enhance public safety.”

Alternatives to BSL include enforcement of dog license laws, better availability of low-cost spay/neuter, and breed-neutral laws that focus on individual dogs and their guardians.

The Benefits of Fostering a Pet
Pet fostering is kind and selfless, but what exactly is it?

Fostering provides essential “temporary care to shelter animals who, for a variety of reasons, need to live in a home environment prior to adoption,” according to the article, “What is pet fostering?” at

Shelters and rescue organizations are often overcrowded and in need of temporary homes until permanent placement is found for animals who have been:

• Abandoned
• Lost
• Relinquished
• Abused

A temporary foster home “helps relieve overcrowding and reduces an animal’s stress by providing a temporary and supportive sanctuary while it awaits permanent adoption,” the article said.

Additionally, for people in emergency situations fostering provides a temporary place to house their pets. “And deploying military personnel may need temporary yet long-term pet care if they don’t have friends or family members who are able to make a commitment for the duration of their deployments,” the article said.

After you decide to foster, make sure to buy everything the pet will need, according to the article “So, You Want to Become a Pet Foster Parent?” at “In some cases this may be provided for you, but it’s always good to prepare yourself in case there are no materials or reimbursement included.”

Make inquiries with shelters to decide which organizations need fosters. If you already have pets, be sure to consider them as well. “Introducing a new animal or species can be confusing or spark a territory war between existing pets, so the shelter’s recommendation of keeping a separate area for your foster pet is an important one,” the Petful article said.

In the end, you will have helped an animal before she goes to a permanent home, or you may become one of many “foster failures” who end up adopting the pet yourself. Either way, it’s a win-win.

How TNR Helps the Feral Cats in Neighborhoods
You may have seen free-roaming cats in and around your neighborhood, and you are not alone. Sometimes, the cats you see have owners who allow them to roam, sometimes they are lost, and oftentimes they are feral or free-roaming cats living in communities.

In order to keep the free-roaming cat population down, there is TNR, or Trap-Neuter-Return.

TNR is humane, safe and effective. “TNR improves the lives of cats, addresses community concerns, reduces complaints about cats, and stops the breeding cycle,” according to the article, “Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) saves lives” at Alley Cat Allies. Across the country, many cities are implementing TNR, which enables humans and these outdoor cats to co-exist, the article said. The programs help to stabilize these cat populations.

According to the article, the TNR program is one where

• Community cats are trapped humanely using box traps.
• Cats are then brought to a veterinarian for spay/neuter.
• The cats are vaccinated and ear-tipped, which is “the universal sign that a community cat has been neutered and vaccinated.”
• Cats are then returned to the outdoor area where they live.

This management technique to help free-roaming homeless cats “is a humane, non-lethal alternative to the trap-and-kill method of controlling cat populations,” according to the article, “Frequently Asked Questions About TNR,” at

People throughout the country volunteer to provide food, shelter and water for these cats. Some kittens and friendlier cats are sometimes able to be taken from colonies, socialized and actually placed in homes. That coupled with the end of breeding is extremely effective.

“In the long term, TNR lowers the numbers of cats in the community more effectively than trap-and-kill,” according to Other benefits include the promotion of public health due to vaccinated cats, improving lives of the cats due to sterilization and reducing admission to shelters.

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Senior Pets and Health Issues and What You Can Do
How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Parasites
Do You Know Where Your Puppy Came From?

Senior Pets and Health Issues and What You Can Do
We love our senior pets. Whether you’ve had your pet his entire life or adopted him as an older pet, there’s nothing quite like a senior. As in humans, when pets age sometimes health issues follow.

Our pets age quicker than we do. Better care is available nowadays and “pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention,” according to the article, “Senior Pets” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (

As with humans, pets turn gray, move slower, lose some sight and hearing with age. You may notice that your pet avoids regular activity such as running, which could be due to arthritis, so keep your pet at a healthy weight and check with your vet.

The following are behavior changes your pet may experience due to cognitive dysfunction, according to the AVMA article:

• Disturbed easily by loud noises
• Unusual aggressiveness
• Increased meowing/barking
• Nervousness and anxiety
• Disoriented or confused
• Accidents in the home (i.e., urination)
• Grouchy, irritable
• No interest in playing

According to the article, “Senior Pets and Health Issues,” at, there are other common conditions as your pet ages.

“Kidney disease also commonly affects older pets, particularly cats,” the Best Friends article said. Check with your vet if your pet starts drinking more water, loses weight, becomes lethargic, vomits or gets mouth ulcers.

Cancer is not uncommon in older pets. Watch for lumps and bumps and “have them checked by your vet annually,” the Best Friends article said. “If your pet starts losing weight or has a marked lack of energy or appetite, cancer screening tests and an exam by your vet are recommended.”

Senior pets can live long and happy lives. Keep them healthy and make sure they see the vet for checkups.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe from Parasites
It’s not something most people want to think about let alone talk about when it comes to their cat or dog. However, the issue of parasites is important, especially when it comes to prevention and keeping your pet healthy and you, as well, as some can be transmitted to humans.

“It is fairly common for a dog or cat to become infected with an internal or external parasite at some point in its lifetime,” according to the article, “Pets, Parasites and People” at The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) website. If left untreated, symptoms can range from irritation to life-threatening conditions.

From vector-borne diseases, which are transmitted by fleas and ticks, to internal parasites such as worms, ensure that prevention is in place, according to the article.

Intestinal parasites typically refer to roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms, according to the article, “Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats” at Vets typically check stool samples to detect worms.

According to the petMD article, some symptoms of worms are:

• Diarrhea, possibly bloody
• Weight loss
• Vomiting, that may include worms

Early detection will enable your dog or cat to be dewormed immediately. Your vet “will have the best kinds of wormers available for the particular type of parasite your pet has.”

Heartworms are also very dangerous to dogs and cats and “can kill or seriously debilitate pets that are infected with them,” the CAPC article said. It can be detected by a blood test. “A year-round preventive program is most effective to keep pets free of heartworms.”

Prevention is critical. According to the CAPC article, “Responsible pet parasite control can reduce the risks associated with transmission of parasitic diseases from pets to people.” Good personal hygiene, year-round preventative treatments, and regular annual testing by your vet are a good start.

Do You Know Where Your Puppy Came From?
The week of May 7-12 is Puppy Mill Action Week and the perfect time to stand up for dogs.

What is a puppy mill?

“Many people don’t realize that when they buy a dog from a pet store or on the Internet, that dog most likely came from a puppy mill, a ‘factory farm’ for dogs,” according to the article, “Puppy Mills” at “In puppy mills, dogs live in small cages, often in the minimum legal size allowed (only six inches larger than the dog on all sides) and female dogs are bred as frequently as possible.”

The government standards that regulate breeders and these facilities (roughly 10,000 in the U.S.) are minimal and do not ensure the dogs’ health. “The standards set by the government aren’t meant to ensure that the dogs have the good lives they deserve; they only require the bare minimum of care,” the article said.

Breeding is purely for profit and dogs are kept in inhumane conditions. “These dogs don’t receive any affection, exercise or proper veterinary care,” according to the article, “Puppy Mills 101,” at the Dogs who cannot produce more litters are discarded, the article said.

Puppy mill dogs are sold at various places including pet stores and through the Internet, the article said.

According to, here are ways to help:

• Refrain from buying a puppy (or cat) from a pet store, the Internet or Craigslist.
• Teach others about puppy mills to spread the word.
• Adopt your next pet.

“About 1.5 million animals are killed in U.S. shelters annually, simply because they don’t have homes,” the article said. “When you adopt, you’re not only refusing to support puppy mills, you’re saving a life and giving an animal in need the second chance he or she deserves.”

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There’s a Reason Adoption is the Best Option When it Comes to Pets
How to Find the Right Trainer for You and Your Dog
Puzzles and Games Help Pets Break Free from Boredom or Anxiety

There’s a Reason Adoption is the Best Option When it Comes to Pets
You’re ready to get a new pet and bring him into your home. You can adopt a pet from a shelter or local animal rescue, or buy one from a store or breeder. So, what’s best?

There’s many reasons to adopt instead of buy. Here are some to make you think and help you make the right decision.

When you adopt a pet, you actually save a life, according to the article, “Top Reasons to Adopt a Pet” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) website. “Each year, 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized in the United States, simply because too many pets come into shelters and too few people consider adoption when looking for a pet,” the article said. Adoption helps reduce the number of those having to be euthanized.

According to the HSUS article, other reasons include:

• Numerous happy and healthy pets are waiting for a great home.
• Adoption costs typically include spay/neuter, vaccinations and sometimes a microchip.
• Many shelter pets come housetrained.
• You can “feel proud about helping an animal in need!” the HSUS article said.

The cost of buying a pet from a breeder or pet store can be pretty high, from “$500 to $1,000 or more,” according to the article, “Reasons to Adopt a Pet” at Other reasons include:

• Rescue groups often know some history of the pet, according to the Best Friends article, and can “help you through the familiarization period because they are invested in providing a good home for that animal.”
• Adoption means you’re saving an actual life.
• When you adopt, you can choose from puppies to seniors or kittens to older cats. There’s an adoptable pet for everyone.

You will get back tenfold when you adopt a rescue animal who will be forever grateful to you.

How to Find the Right Trainer for You and Your Dog
You have a new puppy who needs some training, or maybe your older dog needs some extra help. You need a professional dog trainer, but how do you find the right one?

According to the article, “8 Tips For Choosing A Good Dog Trainer” at, “dog training isn’t cheap and you don’t want to waste your money or your time.” The article offers the following tips:

• Check for a trainer’s certification. Although it’s not actually necessary, “it’s best to look for those that have taken the time and money to become a true professional through schooling and/or certification,” the article said.
• Ensure your chosen trainer is up on the latest techniques.
• Ask about methods used and make sure the trainer explains things clearly.
• Ensure that you feel comfortable with the methods.
• Do your own research about the latest in training techniques.
• Ask the trainer if you can watch a class to assess the work.
• You and your dog should be comfortable with the trainer.

Additionally, make sure the dogs in a training class are having fun, according to the article, “How to Find a Good Dog Trainer,” at A good training class will welcome family members to attend. Location is important as well. “Gates and doors should be latched and closed,” the article said. “The floors should be free of debris, and supplies should be provided for clean-up.”

Make sure the tools being used include head halters, toys, harnesses, and that the trainer uses lots of praising. “Tools you don’t want to see include electronic collars, prong collars, choke collars and flexi-leads,” the Petfinder article said. Also make sure there is no physical punishment whatsoever.

Remember that the right trainer will always make sure your pet is safe and that your pet’s health comes first.

Puzzles and Games Help Pets Break Free from Boredom or Anxiety
All dogs are not created equal. Just like people, each dog is different with a distinct personality. There also are pets who get bored easily while others suffer from separation anxiety. For these dogs you can help … with puzzles!

Some dogs who are bored “invent their own entertainment,” according to the article, “10 of the Best Interactive Puzzles and Games for Your Bored Dog” at This Dog’s Life. That can sometimes mean dogs chewing things, such as shoes or clothes or getting into the garbage.

Games and puzzles can help keep your dog out of the garbage and into something stimulating.

“Different personalities and breeds may dictate the most successful puzzle or game choice,” the article said. “While some of these are safe for home-alone activity, most toys require supervision while your dog is using them.” The following can help:

• Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball is durable but soft with no sharp openings. “Your dog rolls the ball around, and the treats fall out,” the article said. It’s great for “tough chewers” and is quiet.
• Trixie Activity Flip Board Interactive Dog Toy is two treats in one. It is a treat puzzle and real puzzle. “Your dog has to slide open compartments, flip levers, and lift out cones (they can’t be knocked over) to get at the treats,” the article said.

“The ubiquitous Classic Kong is a great beginner puzzle toy to ease your dog into using their problem-solving skills,” according to the article, “6 Best Puzzle Toys For Dogs: Keep Spot Engaged!” at K9 of Mine. Fill up the Kong with kibble or peanut butter, and be sure to watch over your dog as he plays and gets to the treat inside.

Remember, it’s always best to supervise your dog with puzzles that might pose a choking hazard.