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It’s Pet Dental Month! The Importance of Caring for Your Pet’s Teeth
How to Keep Your High-Anxiety Pet Busy While You’re Not Home
Tips on Caring for Your Senior Pet’s Health

It’s Pet Dental Month! The Importance of Caring for Your Pet’s Teeth
February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and if you’re wondering why there’s an entire month about pets and their teeth, read on.

As it is with humans, dental health in pets is important for overall health. When it goes unchecked it can cause serious health problems all around. It is recommended that you have your veterinarian check your pet’s teeth and gums on a yearly basis as a preventative measure and to check for any problems.

“Dog dental disease has serious consequences, so maintaining good dog dental care is very important,” according to the article, “5 Reasons Why Dog Dental Care Is Important” at It affects teeth, gums as well as structures around your dog’s teeth and starts with the buildup of plaque, which contains bacteria.

“Plaque that stays on the teeth hardens into tartar,” the article said. “When tartar is above the gumline, it’s easily visible, and your veterinarian can remove it relatively easily during a professional dental cleaning.” However, tartar below the gums is what can be very dangerous and cause infection.

According to the article, “Pet dental care” at American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some signs that your pet has serious issues with his teeth include:

• Bad breath
• Loose or broken teeth
• Discolored teeth or lots of tartar
• Loss of appetite
• Pain around the mouth

The most common dental issue in dogs and cats is periodontal disease, which can occur by the time your pet is around 3 years old. The condition will only get worse as your pet gets older if nothing is done.

“Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth,” the AVMA article said. “Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.”

So, make that appointment to get your pet’s teeth checked.

How to Keep Your High-Anxiety Pet Busy While You’re Not Home
You love your dog but he has separation anxiety, so leaving your house gives you anxiety too. What can you do to help your dog for those times you’re out of the house?

There are dogs who, when left alone, become extremely destructive, destroying household items and even worse. Some start to become nervous even before you leave.

According to the article, “Does your dog freak out when you leave?” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), some of the ways dogs show behavior issues include:

• Howling, whining, and barking
• Destructively chewing
• Scratching and digging
• Urinating or defecating in the home

“It’s not fully understood why some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and others don’t,” the HSUS article said. “But remember, your dog’s behaviors are part of a panic response.”

There are a variety of reasons why a dog has high-anxiety when separated from their owner. According to the article, “How to Ease Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety,” at Fetch by WebMD, some reasons a dog may act this way include:

• Being left alone for the first time
• Ownership change
• A move from a shelter to a home
• Routine change

First discuss with your vet to rule out medical issues. For mild separation anxiety there are a few things you can do. “Give your dog a special treat each time you leave (like a puzzle toy stuffed with peanut butter),” the Fetch article said. “Only give them this treat when you’re gone, and take it away when you get home.” You can also try to be low key about when you leave and come home. “Ignore your pup for the first few minutes after you get home,” the Fetch article said. You can also leave clothes or another item that smells like you or try over-the-counter natural calming supplements.

Tips on Caring for Your Senior Pet’s Health
From their health care to playtime, things change as pets get older. Know what to expect so you can prepare and give your pet the best senior life possible.

According to the article, “Senior Pets,” at American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “While it’s easy to spot the outward signs of aging such as graying haircoat and slower pace, it’s important to remember a pet’s organ systems are also changing.” Senior pets are more susceptible to heart, kidney, and liver disease as well as arthritis or cancer. “Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats have a somewhat lower rate.”

Many older pets lose sight and hearing as humans do, and some get cataracts. Behavior changes can also be a sign of aging in pets. “Some behavior changes in older pets may be due to cognitive dysfunction, which is similar to senility in people,” the AVMA article said. Changes can include:

• Anxiety, nervousness
• Accidents in the home
• Little interest in playing
• Grouchy, irritable

“Your dog may develop arthritis or other degenerative diseases that cause him to slow down,” according to the article, “Tips for Caring for Senior Dogs” at You may find that your dog cannot walk or play for long or that he gets tired faster. He also may have trouble with stairs.

The PetMD article offers some tips, including:

• Ger regular vet checkups.
• Get a body condition evaluation to find out if your dog is at the proper weight.
• Feed a high quality diet.
• Brush your dog’s teeth for good dental health.
• Exercise your dog.
• Keep your dog stimulated with toys.
• Provide soft bedding, ramps to make stairs easier, and carpet for slippery floors.

Senior pets can have fulfilling lives. Be sure to be by their side every step of the way.

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How to Safely Walk Your Dog for That All-Important Exercise
Fun Outdoor Activities to Do with Your Pet During Cooler Weather
Getting a Puppy for Christmas? Rescue instead!

How to Safely Walk Your Dog for That All-Important Exercise
Taking your dog for a walk is great for exercise, the fresh air, and is healthy. You’ll have to walk your dog if you live in an apartment. Even with a backyard, taking a long walk is a good idea.

While your backyard is a great way for a dog to get exercise, the walk is an additional benefit and adds variety giving your dog something new to look forward to: the smells, the sights, the new sounds.

“Aside from the physical health benefits, dog walking provides opportunities for enrichment, socialization and training that a backyard may not,” according to the PetMD article, “Walking Your Dog vs. Just Letting Your Dog Out in the Backyard.” It’s not just good for socialization, it also helps you and your dog to bond.

For walks, you’ll need to find the best type of leash that is comfortable in your hand. According to the article, “Dog Walking 101” found at Fetch by WebMD, you can choose from a flexi-lead, which is good for walking in the park where your dog can explore further away. A nylon leash can cut into your hand if your dog pulls, but they hold up well in bad weather.

Dogs who pull may do so because they’re running after other animals or due to “canine enthusiasm for all the exciting signs and sounds you encounter on walks,” according to WebMD’s article. Try a head halter for excitable dogs.

While on walks, especially during warmer months, keep your dog away from flowers and plants that, if eaten, can cause stomach problems. Also, lawns and gardens may contain toxic products.

Teach your dog manners when meeting other people and dogs. And, if you’ll be out for a long walk, bring water, treats for training, and lots of poop bags.

Fun Outdoor Activities to Do with Your Pet During Cooler Weather
When temperatures drop in Arizona, there’s a host of great, fun outdoor activities to do with your pet.

According to the article, “5 Fun Outdoor Activities for You & Your Dog” at PetSafe, “Outdoor activities can reduce your pet’s destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or scratching. Being outdoors can also help your dog sleep better, build his confidence, and strengthen his bond with you.”

Fun outdoor ideas include:

• A nice walk or a more challenging hike at a nearby trail.
• Play fetch. If your dog has been inside for long, he may start to chew on things. “You can give them a task to perform by going outside and playing fetch,” the article said.

When you take your dog outside to participate in fun activities, “it’s about exercise, too, which your dog needs to stay healthy,” according to the article, “Outdoor Activities for Dogs: Fun Ideas Based on Personality Types and Interests” at “Exercise can help support your pup’s joint, muscle and heart health; help him maintain or lose weight; and stimulate his mind.” Check with your veterinarian first to be sure your dog is up for new activities.

According to Vetstreet, check out the following activities for your dog:

• Agility training, which includes running, jumping and sometimes barking. “Playing catch with a flying disc is fun for the high-energy dog, too, but activities with a lot of leaping can be hard on the joints and are best avoided for dogs with orthopedic problems, such as arthritis,” the article said.
• Flyball is for the dog who thinks catch is not exciting enough. “In this event, teams of dogs race over a series of hurdles, catch a ball and return.”

Whatever you decide, you and your dog should get off the couch and get out there.

Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Double-Coated Dog
Some dog parents may believe that shaving their dog’s double coat will help keep the dog cooler when temperatures rise. However, there’s many reasons not to shave these dogs.

Dogs with double coats include the German Shepherd, Husky, and Pomeranian. “The hairs are short and crimped, which makes them highly efficient at trapping air and insulating the animal,” according to the article, “Truths and Myths About Shaving Dogs with Double Coats,” at The Animal Rescue Site. Because of this they are warm in the winter and actually cool during summer.

It is a myth that shaving a double-coated dog in the summer will keep the dog cooler. Unless the dog is so matted that nothing else but shaving can help, it’s best to use a special tool to remove the undercoat, which, once thinned out will help the dog feel cooler, the article said.

According to the article, “From A Groomer: 3 Reasons Not To Shave Your Double-Coated Dog” at iHeartDogs, additional reasons not to shave a double-coated dog include:

• Shaving can damage your dog’s coat. It may very well grow back OK the first time but then come back patchy.
• It doesn’t stop shedding. The dog will continue to shed but there will be smaller hairs. “You may think shorter hairs would be less noticeable, but they can be much more difficult to clean up.”
• Dogs don’t sweat as humans do. They sweat through their paw pads and they pant to cool off. “Shaving them actually exposes their skin more directly to the sun and causes them to overheat,” the article said. “Brushing out the undercoat without shaving the topcoat is the best way to keep your dog cool.”

A respectable groomer will be honest with you and ensure you do right by your dog and his coat.

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How to Protect Your Christmas Tree from Your Cats
Gift Ideas for the Pet Who Has Everything
Getting a Puppy for Christmas? Rescue instead!

How to Protect Your Christmas Tree from Your Cats
Holidays are a great time for family, friends, and pets. If you have a Christmas tree, you may wonder how to protect it from a potential feline attack.

Although you love your cat, holiday décor in the home can pose some problems. “Rest assured that if a cat can climb something, they probably will climb it,” according to the article, “How to Keep Your Cat Out of the Christmas Tree” at “And that includes your Christmas tree!”

While you don’t want your cat to destroy the tree, it’s also important to keep your cat safe.

You can actually try a smaller, slimmer tree. “They can be another option in keeping your cat at bay, because of lack of area to climb,” the article said.

Cat parents will also want to deter the cat from marking the Christmas tree, according to the article, “How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree (Or At Least Try To)” at Pet Central.

The Pet Central article suggests the following safety measures to cat-proof your tree:

• Anchor the tree to the wall or ceiling so that it doesn’t fall over if your cat climbs it.
• Keep an eye on glass ornaments and sharp objects. If a cat gets hold of these, it can be dangerous.
• Electric cords are unsafe, so cover them to ensure your cat can’t chew on them.
• If you have a fresh tree, cover the basin under the tree because the water is often treated with chemicals and can be toxic to cats.
• Avoid tinsel as it can be a choking hazard.
• Try to separate your cat and the Christmas tree if possible.

There are ways to keep your cats safe and your Christmas tree looking wonderful by keeping close watch on both. Enjoy the holidays!

Gift Ideas for the Pet Who Has Everything
The holidays are here. So, what do you get the pet who has everything? Even if you spoil your dog or cat throughout the year, you still want to make their holiday special.

There’s a host of great gifts whether your home has dogs or cats or both.

The article, “The Best Dog Christmas Gifts to Give Your Pup This Year” at Pet Central has fun ideas for the dog in your life.

• Your dog will love it when meals are on time. Check out Arf Pets Automatic Feeder.
• Don’t keep the Christmas cookies all to yourself! Bake up some canine treats with Whisk & Wag Apple & Cinnamon Dog Treat Mix. Yum!
• A cute pair of PJs will help your dog get cozy and you can both sit around the fireplace. Frisco Snowy Nights Dog Cozy Fleece PJs are just what the dog ordered.
• The Wobble Wag Giggle Ball Squeaky Dog Toy is interactive and “makes attention-getting noises when moved or shaken and is a sure way to keep your dog busy whether they are playing with you or on their own,” the article said.

For that special feline in your life, the article, “Christmas Gifts for Cats: The Best Gift Ideas for an Un-fur-getable Holiday” suggests the following gifts:

• The SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy brings out the hunter in your cat during playtime.
• Cats can never get enough of a good scratching post. Check out the Frisco Cactus Cat Scratching Post.
• The Frisco Peek-a-Boo Cat Chute Cat Toy is for the cat who loves to explore enclosed areas.
• If your cat loves catnip, you can try the Yeowww! Catnip Yellow Banana Cat Toy.

Now you just have to decide. There’s so many options for pet gifts that you may just have to get them all.

Getting a Puppy for Christmas? Rescue instead!

If you have put a lot of thought into getting a Christmas puppy, remember that adopting is probably the best option. There’s tons of puppies available for adoption through various shelters and rescues. All it takes is a little research.

“When you adopt a pup for the holidays, you’ve not only made someone the happiest kid (or adult) in the world; you’ve also saved a life,” according to the article, “A puppy for Christmas,” at Best Friends Animal Society. “And there’s no greater gift than that.”

Before you adopt a new puppy, there are important things to take into consideration, according to the article, “Pets as Presents: A Good Idea?” at Is your family ready for a pet and the responsibility that comes with it? Some things to think about include:

• Ages of your children.
• Can you handle the costs, including adoption fee, vet care, food, etc.?
• Can you commit to the puppy for his lifetime, which can be up to 15 years.
• Learn about everything that caring for a puppy includes. “Don’t forget that an animal’s an animal,” the Petfinder article said. “That means cleaning up bathroom accidents and vomit, picked at furniture if you want a cat and dealing with other typical animal behaviors.”

The more you read, the more educated you’ll be and know what to expect.

Your local animal shelter is a great place to start. “According to the ASPCA, each year millions of dogs enter shelters, yet of the approximately 59 million owned dogs in this country, less than 20 percent are shelter adoptees,” the Petfinder article said. “By adopting at a shelter, you’re giving a homeless pet a new chance at life.”

What a great way to start the holiday by giving an animal a well-deserved loving home.