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How Do You Love Your Pet? Great Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Cat Communications: What Is Your Feline Trying to Tell You?
The Importance of Exercising Your Dog

How Do You Love Your Pet? Great Ideas for Valentine’s Day
Love is in the air, especially during February when Valentine’s hearts and candy are everywhere. There are tons of ideas out there for humans, such as a romantic dinner date or a romantic weekend getaway.

However, if you have a pet, what’s the best way to show him your love on Valentine’s Day?

There are so many things you can do. According to the article, “Ten things you can do to show your pets you love them” at, there are things to do to make your pet feel very loved, including:

• Feed healthy foods. “Just like humans, pets thrive when they have a healthy diet,” the article said.
• Exercise your pet to enrich his life, and yours, too! Try walking, running and playing fetch for dogs; interactive play for cats.
• Learn your pet’s language and how he communicates through body language.
• Build a relationship through reward-based training classes.
• Ensure you take your pet for annual checkups. You can even visit the vet at other times to get your pet used to going there. Check with your vet’s office beforehand.

There also are other creative ways to treat your pet right on Valentine’s Day, according to the article, “8 Ways to Love Your Pet This Valentine’s Day” at They include:

• Specially made treats you can make at home.
• Get your pet a new toy. “Answer your pet’s pleas with a new toy, and indulge in a play session or three!”
• Give your pet an indulgent at-home grooming session, including “a quick bath, a loving comb-out, or just a brush massage.”

Although you have to keep the chocolate, wine and flowers away from your pet due to the danger they can cause him, there are many ways to show the love on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

Cat Communications: What Is Your Feline Trying to Tell You?
Cats are amazing, loving, finicky, and sometimes hard to figure out. They seem to have their own language. What is the best way to figure out how your cat communicates with you?

“Cats use a variety of signals (body postures, facial expressions, and vocalizations) to convey their message and avoid unwelcome confrontations,” according to the article, “What Your Cat’s Body Language Is Saying,” at When humans learn how to “decipher these feline postures,” it is easier to figure out cats and have a better bond.

The article offers advice on interpreting cat lingo:

• When your cat rolls over to display her tummy, it can mean she is content or the pose “followed by fully extended claws and sharp teeth” can indicate her being defensive.
• Cats are not big on people staring at them, as they find it to be a threat.
• “Learn the nuances of your cat’s vocabulary so you can detect the difference between a plea for dinner and an urgent cry for help,” the article said.

When your cat wants to show you affection, she has a variety of ways to do that from kisses to chirps and mews. According to the article, “How Do Cats Show Affection? 7 Cat Affection Signs” at, “Because some signs of cat affection are subtle, they are often misinterpreted and sometimes overlooked.”

Some signs include:

• Using their tails, which convey their emotions “through how they are held and positioned, and the degrees of fur puffiness,” according to Catster.
• Cheek rubs, which is something some cats do to greet people they trust.
• Showing affection through head bunting.
• Hanging around their person.

Although different than dogs show affection and maybe not as obvious, cats show their affection to their humans in many ways, so be on the lookout.

The Importance of Exercising Your Dog
Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you. When you have a dog, you literally have a reason to get up and move.

In order to get into shape physically and mentally, exercise is key. Obesity is becoming more prevalent in dogs and many are considered overweight by their veterinarians, according to the article, “Your Dog: Why Exercise Is Important” at “Obesity prevents dogs from enjoying many physical activities; it also decreases speed and stamina and makes it more difficult for dogs to deal with heat,” the article said. Obesity also can bring on a variety of medical issues from arthritic changes and torn ligaments to back issues and cardiac problems.

Before you start on an exercise plan, speak to your vet. The exercise you do should take the following into consideration regarding your dog:

• Age
• Breed
• Individual needs

If you walk or jog, ensure it’s not too hot and check hot pavement. Swimming is great, but make sure your dog can swim and that he wears a life vest.

“While some breeds have special needs that have to be taken into account, and dogs do slow down as they age, they still need to take part in some form of daily physical activity,” according to the article, “Exercising with Your Dog 101” at

Additionally, even dogs who are older, handicapped or blind can benefit and need exercise. Make sure not to push your dog. “Your dog should be happily tired, not exhausted, when you are done exercising her for the day,” the petMD article said.

It’s also great to mentally stimulate your dog, which you can do by changing up where you walk, and providing new and different play toys or games.

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New Year, New Goals, New You and Your Pet
Does Your Dog Really Need a Sweater When It’s Cold?
CBD Oil: What Is It and Should You Use It on Your Pets?

New Year, New Goals, New You and Your Pet
It’s a New Year and some people have made resolutions. Whether it’s to lose weight, exercise more, or shop less, there’s so many.

Having goals for the New Year might not be such a bad thing. They may be even easier to attain when including your pet. If you find something you can do together, it can make you both feel better and happier.

Start with a grooming routine for your dog or cat. It’s great for your pet and good for you to get into the habit. Remember, “grooming isn’t all about the fur – it’s also about being familiar with any changes to your pet’s body,” according to the article, “5 New Year’s Resolutions All Cat and Dog Owners Should Make” at

The article also suggests being up to date on your pet’s preventive care, so make sure to schedule at least a yearly vet checkup and talk to your vet about heartworm, flea and tick prevention. Keep your pets bedding, bowls and toys clean as well.

To ensure you both get exercise, “take your pet for a longer walk at least 3 times a week,” according to the article, “New Year’s Resolutions For You and Your Pet,” at

Other suggestions from the article include:

• Ensuring you and your pet eat healthier
• Spending more time with your dog or cat, whether it’s outside or snuggling on the couch
• Getting a new toy and playing with your pet at least five minutes a day
• Joining a class together, whether it’s agility, swimming, obedience or socialization
• Starting a saving’s account in case of a pet emergency

New Year means a new you and your pet. Include preventive ideas as well as fun ones and you’re off to a great start.

Does Your Dog Really Need a Sweater When It’s Cold?
Some dogs are made for the colder weather while others are not. According to the article, “Do Dogs Need Sweaters in Winter?” at, “dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers of fur than others, and some are not genetically suited to the environments in which they find themselves transplanted.”

Much of whether your dog is cold or how he warms himself has to do with his size, breed and oftentimes his age. It’s usually the “smaller, light bodied breeds, toy breeds, and breeds that naturally have very short or thin hair coats” who do well with a sweater.

Sweaters are helpful for senior dogs who may have a weaker immune system, the article said. Additionally, dogs with certain diseases such as Cushing’s also do well with a sweater.

Typically, larger dogs with dense hair do not need a sweater. “Their fur is already genetically designed to protect them from extreme winter temperatures,” the article said. Dogs in this category include the Siberian Husky and Malamute.

If you do get a sweater, measure your dog first to make sure the sweater is not too small or too large. Cotton or acrylic are washable and easier to maintain. Make sure there are no loose parts.

Be careful of hypothermia if you are in extreme cold weather. “Any dog, regardless of breed, can develop symptoms of hypothermia,” according to the article, “Why Some Dogs Really Do Need Sweaters” at Signs include, whining, shivering, and anxious behavior. If you see any signs get your dog inside and get him warm as hypothermia can be very dangerous.

Always remember to keep an eye on your dog and watch his behavior in the cold, and limit his time outside during inclement weather.

CBD Oil: What Is It and Should You Use It on Your Pets?
There has been a lot of talk and news lately about the usage of CBD oil and using it for pets. The topic can get a bit confusing and there’s a lot of information, including whether it is legal and if your veterinarian can prescribe it.

What is CBD Oil?

According to the article, “What’s the deal with CBD?” at Veterinary Practice News, “CBD is a component of both the marijuana plant and its close cousin, the hemp plant. Almost all of the CBD oil used in medicine is sourced from hemp.” Colorado State University has done a safety profile of CBD and studied it in dogs with a conclusion that it is safe for them. The school is also researching its efficacy in seizure disorders, the article said.

More and more veterinarians are considering that CBD oil is “safe and effective.” However, the downside is that it is technically illegal, so vets really shouldn’t prescribe it.

Hemp, however, is classified as a Schedule 1 drug. “Why?” the article said. “Hemp has the unlucky distinction of sharing a genus with the marijuana plant. Though it claims a mere 0.3 percent THC (and can’t even remotely get you stoned), this plant has been just as off-limits to farmers, sellers, and buyers in the U.S. as any other Cannabis plant.”

According to the article, “Cannabis Oil for Dogs: Everything You Need to Know” at, “Cannabis oil can be used to treat seizures, nausea, stress, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, symptoms of cancer, and gastrointestinal issues, among other health conditions in dogs.”

“Obtaining medical cannabis for your pet all depends on where you live and your state’s marijuana laws,” the petMD article said.

The best thing you can do is your research on the topic and speak with your veterinarian.

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Tips to Help if Your Dog is Leash Reactive
Best Ways to Socialize Your New Puppy or Kitten
Keep Up with Your Dog’s Grooming Between Professional Appointments”

Tips to Help if Your Dog is Leash Reactive
Having a dog means taking nice long walks. However, if his behavior becomes unmanageable while on a leash, he may be leash-reactive, making that walk unnerving.

According to the article, “These Dog Training Tips Can Help Your Pup Overcome Leash Reactivity” at, “Leash-reactive dogs are triggered by stimuli in the environment, responding with over-the-top behaviors that increase stress levels for the pet parent, the dog and everyone within barking distance.” Additionally, behaviors “can range from fear to frustration to true aggression,” however, there are dog-friendly ways to remedy the issue.

Leash-reactivity can mean a dog is anxious, fearful and trying to get away from the “stimulus,” the article said. The defensive reaction is used to “prevent further confrontations.” It can come from:

1. Lacking proper early socialization
2. A bad experience while walking
3. Punishment after he reacted
4. “Barrier frustration” whereby he is moved away from interacting with another dog before he is ready

You can help by “changing your dog’s perception of the stressor,” the article said. The goal is your dog eventually will associate more positively to the stimulus. Include treats and a “marker” such as a clicker or a particular word.

• Determine the buffer zone and keep your dog “below the point where he reacts to the trigger,” the article said.
• When your dog sees the “trigger,” mark it with the clicker or the associated word. Then provide the treat as a reward, continuing as necessary until you see the dog associating the trigger with the treat.
• As your dog is more relaxed, you can “begin to decrease the distance between your dog and the trigger during walks,” the article said.

Continue the method and always keep an eye on your dog to see how he is reacting. Keep treats with you as well.

Best Ways to Socialize Your New Puppy or Kitten
One of the many joyous occasions in life is bringing home a new puppy or kitten. You have to think about training, vet care, bedding, potty training, litter boxes, toys, etc. And don’t forget socialization.

According to the article, “Socialization of Dogs and Cats” at the American Veterinary Medical Association, “Socialization is the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities.” It’s best to start at 3 and 14 weeks for puppies and 3 and 9 weeks for kittens.

Start early so your puppy will be “a more confident, relaxed and well-adjusted canine,” according to the article, “Your Guide to Socializing a Puppy” at, which offers these tips:

• Teach your puppy to be relaxed in different situations so she can react confidently.
• Introduce her to sights, sounds and objects calmly and reward with a treat or toy.
• Expose her to other dogs, livestock, horses, birds, etc., avoiding dog parks at first, the Vetstreet article said.
• Introduce her to a variety of people, grooming, the vet’s office, car rides, shopping carts, visitors to your home.

The article, “Your Guide to Socializing a Kitten,” also at, says to introduce your kitten to different people, sights and sounds, which makes for a confident adult cat. Speak to your vet about when to expose your kitten to other cats.

• Get your kitten used to being touched and handled by different people.
• Expose your kitten to a variety of experiences so she is not scared or threatened later on in life, including a car ride, vet’s office, a crate, music, harness, groomer, other animals, tooth brushing, nail clipping and bathing.

The earlier you prepare your puppy or kitten for social interactions, the better adjusted and happier you both will be.

Keep Up with Your Dog’s Grooming Between Professional Appointments
Whether you have a dog who is high maintenance and needs regular grooming or a dog who is groomed less frequently, it’s important to keep up with grooming in between professional appointments.

“In addition to maintaining your dog’s beautiful coat, making sure that your pet is groomed will reduce the chances of many health problems, including painful tangled fur and the presence of flies and all the issues they present,” according to the article, “Keep dogs happy in between grooming sessions” at

The article offers simple advice:

• Remove your dog’s collar every so often when at home to reduce matting and irritation of the skin
• Brush your dog’s coat regularly.
• Clean your dog’s ears, especially if your dog has floppy ears, which are more prone to infections.

If you plan on at-home grooming in between professional appointments make sure you feel confident. You will get to know you dog, get in some bonding, and also notice anything unusual on his body, including lumps or bumps, according to the article, “7 tips for safe, stress-free grooming” at Animal Wellness Magazine. The article offers the following advice:

• Buy the right tools and keep in good condition, including brushes/combs, shampoo, scissors and clippers, blow dryers and nail trimmers.
• Find a good, safe and secure place to bathe your dog.
• Be patient and use positive reinforcement. Keep treats on hand “to reward good behavior, and give him lots of love,” the Animal Wellness article said.
• Go slow and let your dog get used to the experience and sounds.
• Groom regularly.

If you’re uncomfortable doing a full groom at home, do the basics and leave the rest to your professional groomer. You don’t want to accidentally hurt your dog or make him stressed so that he is afraid of getting groomed at all.