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Should You Dress Up Your Pet for Halloween?
How to Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy All Year Long
Debunking the Black Cat Myth?

Should You Dress Up Your Pet for Halloween?
Halloween is just around the corner! It means fall is truly in the air, pumpkins are out in full force, and witches are buying up broomsticks as if they were going out of style. Should you buy a cute costume for your dog or cat?

Costumes are definitely not for all pets, according to the ASPCA article, “Pets in Halloween Costumes: Pro or Con?” which “suggests putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it.” Some pets love to wear costumes while others are not fond of it at all. Sometimes it can even cause stress.

If you know that your pet if OK with a costume, the ASPCA article offers tips:

• Ensure the costume doesn’t “constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow,” the article said.
• Check the costume so there are no pieces that are dangling or that can be easily chewed.
• Your pet should wear ID in case he gets lost or escapes. Remember, “tags or a microchip can be lifesavers,” the article said.

In Dr. Marty Becker’s blog, “The pros and cons of pet Halloween costumes,” take your pet’s personality into consideration. “If your pet is shy, old or excessively dignified, limit costume capers to a spooky bandana and put your dress-up desires into your own costume,” Becker wrote.

Ensure your pet’s hearing and sight are not compromised and that the costume doesn’t irritate the skin. If your pet tries to get out of the costume, he should probably not wear one. If you take your pet outside, be visible and use a glow-in-the-dark collar or leash.

Be sure that your pet doesn’t get into the candy. Have some of his own special treats with you or waiting at home.

How to Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy All Year Long
If you have a cat at home, it’s important to ensure she not only is happy, but that she lives a long, healthy life. While we often hear about taking dogs to the vet, it’s just as important for cats to get checkups.

According to the article, “How to Have a Healthy and Happy Cat,” at, as
“the cat population slowly increases, veterinary care provided to cats progressively decreases. Typically, cats fail to receive the same veterinary attention as dogs.”

It’s easier than you think to keep your cat healthy and does not have to be too costly. The article offers tips:

• Keep your cat inside as cats left outside alone can be prone to various dangers.
• Keep cats healthy with a yearly physical exam and twice a year for senior cats.
• You’ll need a carrier to transport your cat to the vet. “Teach him or her that it is a safe place and not a torture device,” the article said.
• A microchip can save your cat’s life if she gets out of the house.

Famous for being independent and curious, cats can sleep up to 20 hours in a day, according to the article, “Top 5 Tips for a Healthy Cat,” at They like to play, too, so be sure your cat has toys, from colorful string to toy mice. Also provide clean water and yummy food.

Because cats are very particular, make sure their litter box is always clean. You don’t want your cat to potty anywhere else in the house. The petMD article said that a “scoopable litter is great for easy cleaning on a daily basis.” You’ll be able to watch your cat for any signs of health issues such as changes in odor so you can remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Debunking the Black Cat Myth
Scary. Creepy. Spooky. Those terms have been associated with black cats who have been getting a bad rap for a long time, especially around Halloween. Superstitions abound around black cats including the one about them being unlucky.

Unfortunately, the myth about black cats doesn’t do anyone any good, especially black cats, who are more difficult to adopt at shelters because of their unfounded bad reputation.

According to No. 7 in the article, “9 Common Cat Myths Debunked,” at, “There are nearly as many superstitions about black cats bringing luck as there are about them being harbingers of bad luck.” Basically, it depends on who you talk to and their culture and in what part of the world they live.

There is a type of historical connection with witches and black cats, which then somehow brought the bad luck along with it. And “in some cultures, meeting a black cat can be a sign of good fortune,” according to Petfinder’s article, “Cats and Witches: The Magical History of Black Cats.”

Black Cats and Adoption

Because of so many superstitions involved black cats themselves have had some bad luck, according to the article, “Black Cats” at A stigma follows them so that they “are often overlooked at shelters,” the article said, which may be a “result of our deep-rooted, long-held cultural superstitions and fears about black cats.”

In the end, black cats are simply felines who need love just like any other cat. “They have their own personalities: some are loving, some are aloof, some playful, and some sedate,” according to the article.

Black cats bring love, fun, laughs, good times and companionship. They need homes just like any cat, so taking home a black cat will be a great choice for human and feline.

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How Service Dogs Help and Bring Hope to Veterans
Free-Roaming Cats with Tipped Ears and What You Should Know
What is Bloat in Dogs and What You Can Do?

How Service Dogs Help and Bring Hope to Veterans
The bond between service dog and veteran is immeasurable. Oftentimes, after arriving back home after serving, especially those returning from a war-torn area, a veteran may have physical impairments and/or emotional issues ranging from bad dreams and flashbacks to fear and depression. Many veterans have been able to bring a service dog into their life to help with the sometimes-crippling aftereffects of war.

Service dogs differ from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs. “Service dogs help people with disabilities perform tasks, which helps the handler attain safety and independence,” according to the article, “Service Dogs: Helping Those Who Served Our Country” at Companions for Heroes. “And PTSD and psychiatric service dogs provide emotional support with people that have PTSD and other mental health conditions.”

When it comes to PTSD and service dogs, however, the Veteran’s Administration at this time “does not necessarily endorse their use,” according to the article, “Service Dogs for Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder” at AMA Journal of Ethics.

Service dogs are not considered pets but rather working dogs. Because they have specialized status, the Companion for Heroes article said, they are allowed to go most places that the veteran goes, which includes restaurants and grocery stories. Their status is protected by federal and state laws as well, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) breaks down where they are allowed.

Service dogs go through very specialized training but also continue to be friends with their veteran; they are a team.

There are a variety of programs nationwide that train service dogs for veterans. The mission of PatriotPaws “is to train and provide service dogs of the highest quality at no cost to disabled American veterans and others with mobile disabilities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in order to help restore their physical and emotional independence.”

Free-Roaming Cats with Tipped Ears and What You Should Know
Have you seen any community cats in your neighborhood with something strange about their ears? Maybe you’ve noticed and something doesn’t seem quite right. What’s it all about?

Community cats, or feral cats, are mostly wild and live in colonies. According to the article, “A Closer Look at Community Cats,” at the, community cats are “born and raised in the wild” and typically “have been abandoned or lost and turned to wild ways in order to survive.” They should not be confused with stray cats, whom the ASPCA describes mainly as pets who have been abandoned or lost and are typically tame and OK around humans.

Oftentimes, community cats are cared for by people who manage their colonies, which begins with instituting Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). With TNR, cats are spayed or neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and returned to their colonies where a “caretaker” feeds, monitors health and provides shelter, the ASPCA article said.

In order to identify a colony cat who is spayed or neutered, ear-tipping (whereby an ear tip is snipped) is provided by a licensed veterinarian when the cat is under sedation. It is done so that future rescuers know which cats are fixed. “This is a painless and risk-free procedure,” the ASPCA article said, adding that it “identifies them as being part of a colony with a caretaker.”

Ear-tipping helps those who manage cat colonies know from a distance if a cat is spayed or neutered, according to the article, “Ear-Tipping Cats: What It Is and Why It’s Done” at

Ear-tipping “lets animal control officers know that a cat benefitted from TNR and has been seen by a veterinarian,” the Best Friends article said.

Cats whose ears have been tipped then do not have to deal with the stress of being trapped again for no reason.

What is Bloat in Dogs and What You Can Do?
Have you heard of bloat? It’s very serious and all dog parents should know about it. Dogs most affected are the larger breed dogs with deep chests, including Great Danes, Irish setters and German shepherds among others.

Bloat happens “When a dog’s stomach fills with gas,” according to the article, “Bloat in Dogs: Symptoms & Prevention” at “The expansion of the stomach puts pressure on the diaphragm, which then makes it hard for the dog to breathe.” Additionally, the dog’s stomach twists, causing shock and quick death.

“In certain instances, bloating is noted when the dog exercises immediately after eating,” the petMD article said, adding that an enlarged abdomen is the most obvious symptom. Other signs can include:

• labored breathing
• excessive drooling
• vomiting
• weak pulse
• paleness in the nose and mouth

Oftentimes, bloat follows after a dog eats a large amount of food, according to the article, “Bloat in Dogs,” at Pet Health Network. It happens fast and only your vet can determine bloat and what steps to take. “Sometimes bloat can be complicated by a deadly condition called gastric dilation/volvulus (GDV) or ‘stomach twisting.’ ”

Along with certain breeds, older dogs or those who have a family history of bloat can be at a higher risk. Because food is a major part of bloat, it is important “to keep your dog’s food under wraps to prevent accidental gorging,” the Pet Health Network article stated. Although there are no real ways to prevent bloat or GDV, the article said to talk to your vet to see if the following tips can help:

• Feed smaller meals more often
• Offer smaller amounts of water more often
• Limit exercise right after eating
• Keep your dog away from garbage or unknown food sources

Most important, if you suspect bloat, call your vet immediately.

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Keep Your Pets Busy When the Kids Head Back to School
Got a Furry Dog? Find Out If FURminating Can Help
Better to Be Safe than Sorry: The Best Way to Travel with Pets in the Car

Keep Your Pets Busy When the Kids Head Back to School
When your kids go back to school, the family pet might not be too thrilled. Your dog or cat is used to a full-time playmate, and she may now feel lonely.

After being with the kids 24/7 all summer, some pets may suffer from separation anxiety or may feel left out of family activities that come with a new school year.

Separation anxiety can include destructive behavior that includes pacing, chewing and howling, according to the article, “Back-to-School Separation Anxiety” at First check with your vet to ensure there is no medical issue. If it is anxiety or stress, discuss with your vet.

Remember fun for your pet doesn’t have to stop when school starts. You can get in on it, too. The article offers the following ideas:

• Doggy daycare including supervised play and exercise.
• Exercise your dog with a long morning walk.
• Keep your dog or cat feeling important and spend quality time together.
• Occupy your dog with a peanut butter-stuffed Kong.

According to the article, “5 Fun Things to Do with Your Dog When the Kids Go Back to School,” at, perk up your pets with the following:

• Introduce a new chew toy or a puzzle toy “that will encourage him to look for hidden goodies.”
• When you teach your dog something new, it actually helps alleviate boredom. Teach some basic tricks. Or get bold and try an agility course.
• Calming music soothes the soul and has been known to help relax people and dogs.

Ensure that your children make quality time for pets even if it’s a little bit after school. “Whether you’re going on long walks, taking trips to the dog park, or even just relaxing on the couch, do whatever your dog loves best,” the article said.

Got a Furry Dog? Find Out If FURminating Can Help
If you have a furry dog who sheds a lot, different seasons can mean extra hair. You’ve tried everything from daily brushing to frequent trips to the groomer for professional comb-outs. But that hair!

Shedding is natural for dogs and “non-shedding is a misconception,” according to the article, “Dealing With Springtime Shedding,” at

What about FURminating? Sometimes groomers offer the service as an add-on to your dog’s regular grooming. FURminating your dog helps to control the shedding. “You use short strokes in the direction of the grain of hair and work through the entire coat with it,” the article said, helping to release the undercoat on your dog.

FURminating also can be used for cats. While it’s not for every pet, there are many plusses as long as you do it correctly.

According to the article, “How to Use a FURminator deShedding Tool,” at, the following tips can help:

• Start with a dry coat
• Remove mats and tangles prior to FURminating. “If you can’t get them out, don’t try to use the FURminator to do so,” the Petful article said.
• Avoid areas with bruises or injuries.
• Remove burrs and other foreign objects before starting.
• Begin going head to tail in the same direction as the coat.
• Gentle, long strokes do the trick as well as moving the brush up and away from the skin. Remove hair from the teeth as you go along.
• Be careful around ears, stomach, genital areas and legs.
• Do not brush from tail to head.
• Do not use a lot of pressure and don’t cause pain.
• Don’t use in excess in one particular area.

Remember to clean your FURminator after use and properly store it away. It is also important not to use it on dogs or cats who do not shed much.

Better to Be Safe than Sorry: The Best Way to Travel with Pets in the Car
We’ve all seen cars drive by with dogs hanging out the window. Or the driver with a dog in their lap. There’s also the cringeworthy: the dog unsecured in the back of a pickup truck. So, what is the safest way for pets to travel in a vehicle?

According to the article, “Travel safely with your pet by car, airplane, ship or train,” at
The Humane Society of the United States, dogs are safest in a crate that is anchored with a seatbelt or something similar that secures it. “Dog restraints or seat belts are useful for preventing your dog from roaming around the car and being a distraction to the driver, but they haven’t been reliably shown to protect dogs during a crash,” the article said. Cats should travel in a restrained carrier.

Crates or carriers should allow your pet enough room to stand and sit as well as lie down. It should be well ventilated, according to the ASPCA article, “Travel Safety Tips.” If you don’t use a crate, never allow your dog to roam around inside the vehicle. “…and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.”

While there are a handful of safety measures, Petful’s article, “Shockingly Few Pet Restraints Actually Passed Crash Tests. THESE Did,” is an eye-opener as it discusses the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and its findings. In the U.S. there are no test protocols when it comes to substantiating manufacturers claims of crates and carriers, CPS said. This article lists the following as best performers according to CPS crash tests:

• Crate: Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8’ Tie Down Straps
• Carrier: Pet Ego Forma Frame Jet Set Carrier
• Harness: Sleepypod Clickit Utility

Do your homework to help keep your pets safe.