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New Puppy or Kitten? Tips to Raise Them Right
Pet Health Insurance: Do You Need It and Is it Worth It?
The Benefits of Giving Your Cat Catnip

New Puppy or Kitten? Tips to Raise Them Right
Spring is a perfect time to adopt and bring home a puppy or kitten. But with puppies and kittens come some challenges, and you have new responsibilities to raise your puppy or kitten right.

According to the article, “Tips for Adopting a New Puppy or Kitten” at Friendship Hospital for Animals, there are three things to keep him mind:

1. Make an appointment with your vet for an initial checkup and bring any paperwork that you received upon adoption. Discuss the vaccines your pet received and plan a schedule for remaining ones. “In addition, a poo sample is helpful so your veterinarian can make sure your new buddy didn’t bring home any unwanted friends (internal parasites) with him,” the article said. Ensure you get your pet started on preventatives, e.g. heartworm, etc.
2. Try enrolling your puppy in basic training classes and start socializing him.
3. Ensure your puppy or kitten is spayed or neutered.

You’ll want to puppy-proof your home. “Remove anything he might be tempted to chew or swallow, and close off vents, pet doors or any other openings that might allow him to become lost or stuck,” according to the article, “Raising a Puppy: What You Need to Know” at Buy supplies including food, collar and ID, leash, dog bed, and bowls.

For kittens, it’s important they “feel comfortable with you as soon as possible,” according to the article, “Bringing Home Your New Kitten” at When you bring your kitten home, place him and his carrier in a room where it’s quiet and allow him to explore at his own pace.

There’s a lot involved when bringing home a new puppy or kitten, but do your research and some work, add a little patience, and an amazing friendship will bloom.

Pet Health Insurance: Do You Need It and Is it Worth It?
Pet insurance is becoming more popular and more companies are offering it. Is it a good idea? What does it cost and what does it cover?

The answers vary depending on many factors, including the company you choose, the type of pet, the breed, the age, and then the plan you choose.

Pets are living longer these days. “As veterinary medicine becomes more technologically advanced, the cost of care increases,” according to the article, “Do you need pet insurance?” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Pet insurance can help with some of the costs when your pet is sick or has an injury.

The AVMA first recommends speaking with your vet and doing research to find out if pet insurance is right for you and your pet.

According to the AVMA, consider the following:

• Insurance plans should include the details and limitations and exclusions for routine and emergency care and if your premiums will increase as your pet ages.
• Ask about additional options including dental.
• Ask about pre-existing conditions and if they are covered.
• Is there a breed restriction?
• Find out about co-pays, deductibles, and other fees.

Do your research about monthly premiums and deductibles as well as the reimbursement plan.

“When you compare pet insurance plans, you should also remember to check out the exclusions in each covered category,” according to the article, “Getting Pet Insurance: What You Need to Know,” at “For instance, if a plan covers alternative therapies, it might not cover certain treatments like physical therapy or acupuncture.”

The article suggested finding out what’s covered, including:

• Vet exams
• Hereditary conditions
• Surgery
• Emergency care
• Cancer treatments

Along with your research, speak to others who have pet insurance, and ask lots of questions before you decide what’s best for you and your pet.

The Benefits of Giving Your Cat Catnip
Catnip. It’s what most felines go wild about. So, what is catnip and what are the benefits for your cat?

A member of the mint family, catnip is from Europe and Asia. Nepeta cataria is its actual name and has also been called catmint or catwort, according to the article, “Truth About Catnip” at Fetch by WebMD. From lions and tigers to house cats, most felines love catnip.

“Catnip’s allure is in its volatile oil, specifically one chemical in that oil — nepetalactone,” according to the Fetch by WebMD article. “Found in catnip’s leaves, stems, and seeds, it only takes one or two sniffs of that wondrous oil before susceptible felines are licking, chewing, and rolling head-over-tail in kitty bliss.”

It typically only lasts 10 minutes and makes some cats calm while others aggressively playful. When the feeling subsides cats won’t respond to it again for about two hours.

“Because cats do respond to catnip again and again, the herb can be a powerful training aid,” the article said. It can be used to deter cats from clawing on furniture or to create catnip toys for enrichment purposes.

Catnip works best on cats 6 months and older and is safe to ingest but not in large amounts because digestive issues can occur, according to the article, “What Does Catnip Do to Cats?” at “Use just a little at a time, and you can always discuss the correct amount for your cat with your veterinarian.”

Store catnip in a container that is airtight as it can lose its effectiveness. According to the PetMD article, it comes in a variety of forms including:
• Fresh catnip
• Dry catnip
• Sprays or bubbles
• Stuffed toys with dried catnip

Determine which type of catnip is best for your feline and ensure a happy cat.

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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.