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Count the Ways You Love Your Pet in February and Beyond
February is Pet Dental Month: Keep Your Pet’s Pearly Whites in Tip-Top Shape
Do You Know TNR? Trap-Neuter-Return Helps the Lives of Feral Cats

Count the Ways You Love Your Pet in February and Beyond

We love our pets; it pretty much goes without saying. And they love us back. Our loyal dogs are so dutiful. They protect our homes by barking at intruders, they greet us at the door after a long day of work, and they snuggle up with us during a home movie. Our devoted cats seem to listen to us when we have no one else around, and they love to cuddle up and purr in our laps.

But how do we show them the love?

Here’s some ideas to count the ways and make them count:

For dogs:

  • Take your dog for a nice long walk. It will make your dog happy and it will keep you both in shape.
  • Pet your dog and even give him or her a doggy massage.
  • Give your dog healthy treats, such as carrots.
  • Play with your dog. A game of catch is always a good idea to keep you both happy.
  • Pay attention to your dog, even if it’s just cuddling on the couch together.

For cats

  • Because most cats love to be clean, make sure you keep a clean litter box around.
  • Cats love play time, so invest in a toy mouse, some string or laser lights. It’s playtime and exercise for you both.
  • Keep some sturdy scratching posts placed around the home to keep your cat busy and engaged. It keeps their claws shortened and helps relieve stress, too.
  • Give your cat a couple places to sleep to feel safe and stay warm such as a bed or a box.
  • Snuggle up with your cat and give some scratches behind the ear. You’ll have a friend for life. 

Show your cat or dog the love, and you’ll be rewarded tenfold with a grateful and loyal friend for life.


February is Pet Dental Month: Keep Your Pet’s Pearly Whites in Tip-Top Shape

Just as the health of your teeth are important, so is the dental health of your pet. When you disregard their dental health, serious issues can arise, just as in humans. Since Feburary is Pet Dental Month, there’s no better time than to have your pet’s pearly whites checked by your veterinarian.

According to the article “Pet Dental Care,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association website, your pet’s teeth should be checked yearly to detect any problems and for the overall health of your pet’s mouth.

Take note of signs including bad breath, a broken tooth, discolored teeth, mouth pain or bleeding from the mouth. Any of these signs could be a serious dental problem, so contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, the article said.

It is less common to find cavities in pets, but “they can have many of the same dental problems that people can develop” including broken teeth, abscesses, cysts, tumors and periodontal disease, the latter of which is most common in dogs and cats. “Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet,” the article stated. Periodontal disease is associated with other issues including kidney, heart muscle changes and the liver. Discuss dental cleaning treatment with your veterinarian.

Along with a yearly checkup for your pet’s teeth, speak to your vet about prevention at home. This can include brushing your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. It “is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian,” the article said.

The trick is to be patient with your pet when getting him or her used to brushing. Talk to your vet before you start any regimen.


Do You Know TNR? Trap-Neuter-Return Helps the Lives of Feral Cats

If you don’t know about TNR — Trap-Neuter-Return — it’s time to find out about the program that is helping feral cats nationally.

“Trap-Neuter-Return is the humane and effective approach for stray and feral cats,” according to “Why Trap-Neuter-Return Feral Cats? The Case for TNR,” an article by Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit that helps to effect positive change for cats. The program has been in practice in the US for decades after it was proved to work in Europe. The article said that, according to scientific studies, TNR “improves the lives of feral cats, improves their relationships with the people who live near them, and decreases the size of colonies over time.”

The TNR program is simple, according to the article: People involved with the program in their communities set out to humanely trap the feral cats in the area. The cats are then taken to a veterinarian, neutered and vaccinated. Following recovery, the cats are then brought back to their outdoor colony. Those cats who are friendly and some kittens are sometimes adopted out to homes.

TNR is an effective program that helps the lives of feral cats by halting breeding, which improves health and prevents unnecessary litters. It is a program that easily and much more humanely stops the inhumane practice of killing outdoor, feral cats. Additionally, feral cats who are removed and brought to local pounds do not end up being adopted and are then euthanized, according to the article. TNR programs continue to be effective and successful.

To find out more about local TNR programs in the Phoenix area and to help, go to the Animal Defense League of Arizona or Altered Tails.

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