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Be Prepared When Bringing a New Pet into Your Home
Remedies to Help Your Older Pet’s Arthritis in the Colder Weather
Get Overweight Pets on Track to Help Them Live Longer and Healthier Lives

Be Prepared When Bringing a New Pet into Your Home

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.

Remedies to Help Your Older Pet’s Arthritis in the Colder Weather

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 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.

Get Overweight Pets on Track to Help Them Live Longer and Healthier Lives

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.

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Bring Home the Holiday Gifts Your Pets Will Love
What You Should Know if You’re Getting a New Puppy for the Holidays
Be the Best Pet Parent You Can Be: Tips to Help

Bring Home the Holiday Gifts Your Pets Will Love
Who doesn’t love buying the cutest cat toy or fashionable dog sweater? It elevates shopping to another level.

If you have dogs, you have a variety of great gifts from which to choose. The article, “Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Dogs,” at petMD, offers up some great ideas:

• Puzzle bowl. Mealtime can be fun for your dog and stimulating, too! Dog food is hidden in compartments and he has to figure out how to get the food.
• Reflective gear. Your dog probably won’t care, but you will because keeping him safe is a priority. Reflective gear is great for evening walks.
• Dog bed. Give the give of comfort with a new bed. “Sure most dogs can fall asleep anywhere, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a good bed,” the article said.
• Plush antlers. Your dog will likely hate you for them, but it’s good to be like Rudolph, even if just for a cute holiday photo

Be your cat’s favorite person when you load up on holiday gifts she will love. According to the article, “Top Ten Holiday Gifts for Cats,” at petMD, you have a lot of great choices:

• Scratching post. “Your cat gets a fun new toy, and you get to keep your furniture intact,” the article said.
• Mouse in the house. Toy mice are fun for cats. Fill them with catnip and your cat will love it even more.
• Litter box. According to the article, a new litter box is like “a renovated bathroom” for your cat.
• Roomba. Your cat will love it, and you’ll love your cat as he helps to clean your floor. It’s a win-win.

There’s so many great gifts for your pets. Your dog or cat will love them or put up with them while providing you with a great photo op.

What You Should Know if You’re Getting a New Puppy for the Holidays

Puppies are adorable, and many people want to bring one home for the holidays. However, there are many things to consider. Is the puppy a gift? Is the puppy for a young child? Who will care for and train the puppy?

According to the article, “Position Statement on Pets as Gifts,” at the, pets should be given as gifts, “only to people who have expressed a sustained interested in owning one, and the ability to care for it responsibly.” Additionally, the ASPCA recommends that animals are not obtained from unknown sources but instead from places such as shelters and rescue organizations.

In “Pets as Presents: A Good Idea?” at, the article refers to Stephen Zawistowski, senior vice president at the ASPCA, who says that pets can be a good idea as a family gift.

However, according to the article, it is important to consider the following:

• Age. “Different pets are appropriate for different ages,” the article said. A young child is not able to care for a kitten or puppy.
• Although your child may love dogs, she may not want one at home.
• Cost. Many people don’t realize the expense of having a family pet. After an initial adoption fee, there are vet bills and more.
• Commitment. When you bring home a puppy, it’s for life. “If your child is a teen, remember that the animal will be with you when your son or daughter heads off to college,” the article said.

When you do make the decision after thinking it through, going to a shelter is a great idea. “They’re in the business to help animals have good homes, not to make money,” Zawistowski said in the article. “You can turn this whole experience into an extraordinary experience for the kids.” The kids will have a forever friend.

Be the Best Pet Parent You Can Be: Tips to Help

The unconditional love your pet has for you is priceless. You love him back just the same. While you try to do right by your beloved furry family member, there’s never too much information to learn how to be the best pet parent you can be.

According to the article “How to Be the Best Pet Parent in Town,” in the Sept. 4, 2017 issue of People magazine, contributor Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian at Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., offers some important advice:

1. If you want to dine with your dog on a restaurant patio, ensure your dog is OK with the crowds.
2. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date and on schedule.
3. If your dog gets into marijuana and/or chocolate, Dr. Antin advises to get to your vet ASAP, according to the article.
4. According to the article, Dr. Antin said, “there are parasites and bacterial species that can live in stool,” putting people and pets in danger if they come in contact.

There are even more things you can do for your pet to make you “top dog” in his eyes. The article “10 Simple Things You Can Do to Be a Great Pet Parent,” at offers these important tips:

• Ensure your pets are comfortable in their home environment as they will spend most of their time there. Keep plenty of water available, access to potty areas, a fresh litter box and a warm bed.
• Safety first! Make sure there is nothing hazardous that your pet can get into, including household cleaners, chocolate, electrical wires and yarn.
• Your pet should wear ID tags and be microchipped.

It is not difficult to be a great parent, but there is always more you can do to be better.

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How to Be Thankful for Your Pet on Thanksgiving
Poisonous Plants and Pets: What Not to Grow in Your Garden
Remember Animals on Thanksgiving and Be Sure to Give Back

How to Be Thankful for Your Pet on Thanksgiving

Our pets bring us so much joy, love and laughs. When we come home from work they greet us with kisses and purrs. When we’re sad, they sit by our sides to comfort us. Sometimes we may take them for granted, but we should always remember to be thankful for them, especially in November.

According to “7 Reasons to Be Thankful for Dogs,” an article at, here are some reasons to be thankful:

1. They help you stay fit. Did someone say “walk?” Going for walks with your dog is not only good for the soul, “but studies have shown that walking a dog for just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk of heart disease, relieve stress and more,” the article said.
2. Cuddle up! Dogs love to snuggle and cuddle, showing you their love. There’s nothing more comfortable and warm on a chilly Thanksgiving night.
3. No judgment zone. Be thankful that your dog (or cat) isn’t judging you for your looks, your salary, or weight, your political affiliation or your profession. “Dogs accept you for who you are and aren’t going to try to change you or make fun of you or gossip about you — something that we could all be better about,” the article said.
4. Dogs just want to have fun. Grab a toy or ball and make time to play with your dog.

Pets also do a heart good, according to the article, “7 Reasons to be Thankful for Pets,” at Veterinary Pet Insurance. “According to a report of the American Heart Attack Survey, within a year of surviving a coronary event (heart attack, stroke, etc.), there was more of a chance for long-term survival in pet owners versus non-pet owners.”

Always remember to be thankful for everything pets bring to our lives.

Poisonous Plants and Pets: What Not to Grow in Your Garden

There’s nothing more beautiful than a garden in full bloom especially for those with a green thumb. There are pretty plants that may look innocent enough but can prove poisonous and dangerous to pets.

In the article, “10 Garden Plants That Are Toxic to Pets,” from the University of California, Davis, here are some plants to keep out of your garden:

1. Daffodil. The yellow flower contains lycorine, which can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heart rhythm abnormalities and respiratory depression.”
2. Lily. “Some lilies (Peace, Peruvian and Calla) contain oxalate crystals that cause minor signs of toxicity, and true lilies (Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies) can be fatal,” the article said. Cats are more sensitive to lily poisoning.
3. Cycad (such as Sago palm and cardboard palm). The Sago Palm is poisonous and very dangerous to pets. “The plants contain the chemical compounds cycasin and B-methylamino-l-alanine, which are toxic to the nervous system when ingested,” the article said. Some symptoms include vomiting, jaundice, increased thirst, liver failure and death. Even ingesting one to two seeds can cause death.

According to “Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets,” an article at Pet Poison Helpline, some of the other poisonous plants to avoid include Oleander, an outdoor shrub whose flowers and leaves “are extremely toxic if ingested.” Azaleas are also very dangerous. Ingesting only a few leaves can cause excessive drooling, diarrhea and vomiting. The article said that “without immediate veterinary attention, the pet could fall into a coma and possibly die.”

Pet Poison Helpline has a more complete list of plants to keep away from dogs and cats.

Make sure you contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline as soon as possible if you suspect your pet has ingested any of the poisonous plants.

Remember Animals on Thanksgiving and Be Sure to Give Back

Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with family and friends, feast on great food, gather to watch the game, get ready for holiday shopping, and be thankful for all you have, including the animals in your life.

It is also a time to remember the animals who don’t have homes. Throughout the year local animal shelters are filled with dogs, cats, bunnies, horses and more. They all need homes. Even if you cannot adopt one at this time, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give to your favorite local animal rescue.

Most rescues run on donations and are staffed by volunteers who give of their time without pay. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts. The animals in their care rely on them, while the staff and volunteers rely on the goodness of the public.

This is the beginning of one of the most difficult times of the year for rescues as they become inundated with animals the closer it gets to the holidays. While you give thanks for all the good things in your life, you can give back to a local rescue.

If you don’t have a favorite rescue, go online, do your research and choose one. Find out what they need. Most rescues have wish lists that often include the following:

• Dog or cat food
• Dog or cat treats
• Cat litter
• Toys
• Blankets
• Dog or cat beds
• Scratching posts for cats
• Puppy pads
• Nail clippers
• Folding crates
• Disinfectant
• Pet shampoo
• Bleach
• Laundry detergent
• Paper towels
• Garbage bags
• Leashes
• Pet carriers
• Antibacterial hand soap
• Monetary donation

If you can spare some time to volunteer and play with the cats or walk some dogs at your local rescue, you’ll feel good, and rescue staff and the animals will be ever so thankful to you.