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Tips on What to Do if You Find a Stray Dog or Cat
Make Sure to Find a Good Vet When You Bring Home a Pet
Disabled Pets Need Love and a Great Home

Tips on What to Do if You Find a Stray Dog or Cat
You’re driving down the road and you spot something out of the corner of your eye. It’s a stray dog or cat. Your stomach is in knots, you are not sure what to do, but you want to help.

It’s not always easy to catch a stray who is scared, hungry and possibly hurt, according to the article, “What To Do When You Find a Stray Dog,” at “Loose dogs who appear to be healthy and willingly approach their rescuers can be leashed and taken to a safe location, but if approaching the dog could put you at risk, it’s best to call your local animal control agency,” the article said.

According to the article, “How to Help a Stray Pet” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), it’s best to be safe and ensure the stray animal is safe, too. HSUS offers the following tips:

• Be careful and “Don’t cause an accident.” If you see an animal in the rear-view mirror, brake, signal and pull off the road, and then use your hazards.
• Most strays are frightened, so don’t do anything to scare them. Prevent them from darting into traffic.
• Be careful and cautious when approaching.
• Try to “lure them into your car.”
• Call a local animal control agency or the local police for help.
• Check local laws about homeless animals if you decide to bring the animal home.
• Search for an owner first and then think clearly about next steps.

According to the HSUS article, “If you’re uncertain about whether or not to help or keep an animal you see alongside the road, here’s a final word of advice: First, think of what you would want the finder of your animal to do if they happened to find them injured without their collar.”

Make Sure to Find a Good Vet When You Bring Home a Pet
You have a new pet, and one of the most important things you can do is find a veterinarian. What do you look for in a vet and how do you find one?

A good vet “ensures better health for your pet and peace of mind for you,” according to the article, “How to Choose a Veterinarian,” at Secure a vet early on because “The worst time to look for a vet is when you really need one,” the article said. Don’t wait until an emergency happens.

The article advises to research vets if you need one for a new pet, if you are changing vets, or if you are moving to a new area. The article also offers the following:

• Ask friends or neighbors, and get a reference from someone who cares as much about pets as you do.
• Check credentials by going to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) website, and check the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners website.

According to the article, “How to choose the right veterinarian,” at the AAHA website, animal hospitals that are accredited by the AAHA, “show they are committed to meeting — or exceeding — standards in a variety of different areas (approximately 900 standards, to be exact).”

Those hospitals are ranked very highly and “must prove to a third-party (AAHA) that they consistently provide the safest, highest quality care,” the article said. High standards of care include:

• emergency services
• pain management
• contagious diseases
• surgery and anesthesia

The AAHA article suggests a “get acquainted” meeting. You can ask questions and get a feel for the vet, the facility and staff, and see if it’s a good fit. It’s important to have a good vet and a good relationship to ensure your pet’s good health.

Disabled Pets Need Love and a Great Home
Just like any other pet, there are many animals who have disabilities. You may have seen them in person or on television: the dog with three legs, the kitty with one eye, and the list goes on. These animals also need loving homes.

Oftentimes you would never know that a disabled dog or cat has a disability, as it “detracts little from a pet’s ability to live a normal happy life,” according to the article, “Disabled Dogs & Cats” at Puppies and kittens born with a disability don’t know they differ from the others. “The most common pet disabilities are blindness, deafness or loss of one limb,” the article said.

• For blind cats and dogs, there’s not much to do. “Dogs and cats use their senses of smell, hearing and touch to get around,” the article said. Leave things in the same place, and don’t place pets unattended high up on a chair or bed.
• Although dogs and cats typically have great hearing, they can adapt well to deafness, the article said, as they “become more sensitive to vibrations they feel. And like all dogs and cats, they are excellent readers of body language, so communicating with them is not as difficult as you may imagine.”
• Dogs and cats on three legs can do well. It’s important that they are at a “healthy weight.”

There are many products on the market for animals with certain disabilities. According to the article, “10 Ways Handicapped Pets Get Around” at, the following products can help:

• Dog and cat wheelchairs
• Body wheels
• Prosthetics
• Hip harnesses
• Body harnesses
• Pet stairs
• Dog ramps

All pets need homes, and the ones that may be slightly “imperfect” tend to make perfectly great family members. They don’t know there’s a problem and neither should you.

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When temperatures dip during the winter months, it can get pretty cold, even in Arizona and especially at night. There’s nothing better than a toasty sweater to get warm. From knits and cotton to V-necks and turtlenecks, there’s so many from which to choose. But wait, what about your dog? Does your furry family member need a sweater? How do you know?

There are tons of cute sweaters and coats for dogs. However, does your dog really need one? It really depends on the dog. “If you are concerned about your dog being cold, there is certainly no harm in putting clothing on him,” according to the article, “Do Dogs Need Sweaters in Winter?” at Dogs do have their own “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.”

Typically, it’s the smaller dogs, toy breeds and light bodied breeds with short or thin hair that do well with sweaters, the article said. It makes them feel better when they go out for a potty break or when on a walk. It’s even OK for them to wear around the house.

If you’ll be getting a sweater for your dog, the article offers some things to take into consideration:

• Choose material that is washable and doesn’t itch, such as a cotton or acrylic blend.
• Measure your dog for a good fit that is not too tight or too loose.
• Ensure you measure around the neck, the largest part of the chest, and distance from neck to waist. Make sure to leave the lower belly free.
• Make sure the armpit area and neck is not too tight or too loose.
• The sweater should be easy to put on and take off.
• Be careful of parts such as zippers, buttons, tags and hooks that can pose a danger.

For those dogs who are larger and fit for the colder months, sweaters are typically not necessary. For instance, “if you have a healthy, young Siberian Husky or Alaskan Malamute who’s acclimated to the cold and has the glorious coat common in the Northern breeds, you likely won’t have to invest in canine clothing for walks in the snow,” according to the article, “Do Any Dogs Really Need Sweaters or Coats?” by Dr. Marty Becker, DVM, at Dr. Becker said there are generally three types of dogs who benefit from sweaters or coats:

• Small dogs
• Older dogs or chronically ill dogs or both
• Dogs with a thin body type to include, Greyhounds and Whippets

According to Dr. Becker, these dogs all have a harder time “generating and retaining enough body heat on their own.”

Dogs with arthritis benefit from sweaters and protective clothing making it more easy and comfortable for them. Additionally, according to Dr. Becker, having a coat at home just in case won’t hurt your dog.

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Love Your Pet in February with a Dental Checkup for Pet Dental Health Month
Bringing Home Baby: How to Introduce Your Pet to Your Infant
The Pros and Cons of Pet Health Insurance

Love Your Pet in February with a Dental Checkup for Pet Dental Health Month

You love your pet and fuss over her with the best toys, the best food and long walks. However, do you know the importance of your pet’s oral hygiene? Just as you ensure your own teeth get checked and cleaned, it’s just as important to have your pet’s teeth cleaned and checked by the vet. February is a great month to show your pet dental love because it’s Pet Dental Health Month.

If your dog or cat has bad breath, it can sometimes mean there is an underlying health issue, “with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well,” according to the article, “February is National Pet Dental Health Month,” at American Veterinary Medical Association ( “To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA sponsors National Pet Dental Health Month every February.”

There are numerous reasons to care for your pet’s teeth. The article, “10 Reasons Why You Should Take Care of Your Pet’s Teeth,” at Pet Health Network provides great reasons:

• Healthy teeth means better pet breath.
• Dental disease can lead to other health problems. It can get to “your pet’s organs, such as the heart,” the Pet Health Network article said.
• When you care for your pet’s teeth you can “prevent other health problems, saving you tons of money over the long term!” the article said.
• Just as you brush your teeth, you should brush your pet’s teeth.
• Periodontal disease is serious. Get your pet “regular dental checkups and cleanings,” the article said.

If you have any questions about your pet’s teeth, daily brushings or having a dental checkup and cleaning, speak with your veterinarian. Remember, prevention is best.

Bringing Home Baby: How to Introduce Your Pet to Your Infant

Your pet has been your first “baby.” Now you’re having a baby and want to make sure everything goes smoothly when you bring home your new bundle of joy.

When bringing home a new baby, “your dog will face an overwhelming number of novel sights, sounds and smells,” according to the article, “Dogs and Babies,” at Your routine will change, and so will the dog’s, so it’s important “to prepare your dog for the arrival of your new addition” by teaching your pup how to safely be around the baby and helping the dog adjust to new changes, the article said.

The article suggests these tips before baby comes home:

• Teach your dog basic obedience. Consider a group class.
• Four months prior to baby’s arrival, “Gradually introduce your dog to the new experiences, sights, sounds and smells she’ll encounter when you bring your baby home, and associate these new things with rewards,” the article said.
• One to two months before baby’s arrival, start making the changes that will affect your dog’s daily schedule.

You can also make sure your dog is comfortable around other pets and people, according to the article, “Introducing Dogs and Babies,” at Pet Health Network. Try “carrying around a lifelike baby doll, talking to the doll, and showing the dog that the baby will be in a crib, carrying seat, and in your arms.”

When you finally bring home your baby, while your dog is being curious and smelling the baby, make sure to give lots of praise and show your dog love, according to the Pet Health Network article. If you are concerned about any of your dog’s behavior, make sure to discuss with your veterinarian or a dog trainer to address any issues right away.

The Pros and Cons of Pet Health Insurance

If you have a pet, you probably have heard about pet health insurance. Is it something to consider for your pet?

Pets are living longer because of the technological advances in veterinary medicine. These advances also mean “higher costs associated with the equipment, facilities and training required to provide these higher-quality services,” according to the article, “Do You Need Pet Insurance,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). “Pet insurance can help by offsetting some or most of the costs of diagnosing, treating and managing your pet’s illness or injury.”

The AVMA article notes the following:

• Make sure your coverage details are clearly spelled out by the insurance provider, from routine care to emergency treatment. Are there limitations or exclusions, and will your premiums go up as your pet ages?
• Ask about pre-existing conditions.
• Some providers may not insure certain pets or breeds, and some have a limit on the number of pets.
• Is there a multiple pet discount?
• Are there add-on options, such as dental care?
• Understand the policy and any limitations, from co-pays and deductibles to any other fees.
• Can you use the vet of your choice?
• Find out about the claims process.

If your pet has an unexpected illness or accident, pet insurance can most definitely ease your mind with regard to expenses. The article, “4 Reasons the Cost of Pet Insurance is Worth It,” at Canine Journal, offers some pet insurance positives:
1. It’s there if you have an unexpected surgery.
2. Costs of vet services, treatments and surgery are on the rise.
3. There are various plans, so you can choose the one that best fits your budget.

Whatever you decide, do your research, speak with your vet, and find out what’s best for your pet.