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The Importance of Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Clean
Possible Dangers of Rawhide Treats and What You Need to Know
How to Choose a Good, Nutritious Food for Your Dog

The Importance of Keeping Your Pet’s Teeth Clean
Always remember to brush your teeth. It’s something we’ve all heard since childhood. But what about your pets? Did you know that it’s also just as important for your dog and cat to have good dental hygiene?

Just as with humans, if you don’t take care of your pet’s teeth, it can cause other health problems. “Your pet’s teeth and gums should be checked at least once a year by your veterinarian to check for early signs of a problem and to keep your pet’s mouth healthy,” according to the article, “Pet dental care” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (

The most common dental condition among dogs and cats is periodontal disease, most often seen by the time your pet is 3. Prevention, of course, is the best medicine. If not, the disease will get worse with age, which can cause more serious health problems. These include issues with kidneys, liver, and heart muscle.

According to the article, “Dental Cleaning for Dogs and Cats,” at, “A professional veterinary dental cleaning is the only way to remove tartar from the teeth and under the gum tissue to protect your pet’s health.” And, while there is no cure for periodontal disease, keeping up with cleanings and brushing your pet’s teeth can help.

A dental cleaning is done under anesthesia and can include:

• Removal of visible plaque and tartar from teeth and under the gum
• Assessing dental disease
• Removing or repairing infected or fractured teeth

Have your pet’s teeth checked during regular vet visits. Also, see your vet when your pet has bad breath, is pawing at the mouth, or has difficulty chewing.

Remember, February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so make the call for your pet’s dental and overall health.

Possible Dangers of Rawhide Treats and What You Need to Know
It’s always a great idea to do research when it comes to the food and treats you give to your dog. The more you know about ingredients and where things come from, the better for you both.

If you provide rawhide treats, first find out what it is and whether it’s actually safe.

Rawhide treats are made from the inner layers of horses or cows. According to the article, “Rawhide: Good or Bad for Your Dog?” at Fetch by WebMD, “During manufacturing, the hides are cleaned and cut or ground. Then they’re pressed into chewable dog treats of different shapes and sizes.” Then flavorings such as beef or chicken are added for more appeal.

Dogs have a natural instinct to chew, so many people provide rawhide. However, the article said there are risks:

• May contain small amounts of toxic chemicals
• Possible digestive issues; rawhide is not digestible
• Can cause choking or blockage with serious situations leading to surgery or even death

According to the article, “The Dangers of Rawhide Chews,” at Petful, rawhide treats can also cause infection, and food poisoning for people and pets. “That chewy treat your dog chows down on has been soaked in chemical preservatives, ash-lye, chemical puffers, bleach and then colors and flavors,” the article said.

To reduce incidents, the Petful article offers safety advice:

• Always wash your hands after handling rawhide.
• Use the correct size chew for your dog.
• Supervise your dog when he’s chewing rawhide.
• When the chew is small and can be swallowed, remove it and discard.

For alternatives to rawhide, the Petful article suggests things such as:

• Vegetables, including carrots and green beans
• Nylabones
• Chew toys
• Dental chews

Whatever you decide, before giving your dog rawhide, do your own research.

How to Choose a Good, Nutritious Food for Your Dog
There are so many dog food choices. You want to ensure your dog gets the best nutrition for good health, but which food is best for your dog?

Cost may be a factor. But remember that you usually get what you pay for, so there is a way to strike a balance.

Check ingredients so you know what’s in the dog food. According to the article, “How to Choose the Best Dog Food,” at, “Keep in mind that ingredients are listed by weight. Ingredients that contain large amounts of moisture (such as beef, poultry, chicken, or fish) are likely to be at the top of the list because of the moisture content. Ingredients further down the list may offer even more key nutrients such as protein but may weigh less because the water has already been removed for a dry pet food.”

Other ingredients can include grains and gluten. Grains are a source of carbohydrates. “Dogs can easily metabolize these carbohydrates and use them as an energy source,” the PetMD article said. There are people who avoid grains due to allergies. Others try to avoid gluten. However, allergies to gluten are not very common in dogs.

According to the article, “Whole Dog Journal’s Approved Dry Dog Food List,” at Whole Dog Journal, ingredients to avoid in dry dog food includes:

• Meat by-products
• “Generic” fat source
• Artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors
• Sweeteners

While not all nutritional experts have the same ideas on dog food, they know that a good, balanced diet means good health for dogs.

“The healthiest dog foods contain high-quality proteins and whole, unprocessed grains and vegetables,” according to the Whole Dog Journal article. Buy food with high-quality proteins and stay away from ingredients with “vague wording” or anything that reads “poultry meal” or “meat meal.”

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How to Feed a Starving Dog Or Cat
What to Do with The New Pet You Adopted Over the Holidays
The Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet

How to Feed a Starving Dog Or Cat
Many people in the animal rescue world come upon dogs and cats who were rescued from truly bad conditions leaving the animals emaciated and starving. These people often know or learn about how to bring a dog or cat back to health and that includes not providing too much food.

According to the article, “Feeding the Starving Dog,” at, “When dogs that have essentially been starved suddenly have free access to large amounts of food, they can become very sick and even die.”

First try to get to a veterinarian so that the animal can be assessed and prescribed a feeding plan, the article said. If that’s not immediately possible, take the following into consideration if you are entrusted with a starving dog or cat.

It’s easy to want to overfeed the animal because he is starving, but don’t do it. “If an emaciated and starved dog is suddenly overfed serious consequences, such as refeeding syndrome, await,” according to the article, “Caring for an Emaciated Dog,” at “This is because a sudden load of carbohydrates in a large meal can create serious shifts in potassium and phosphorus concentrations in all body cells.”

The signs of refeeding syndrome include:

• Muscle weakness
• Muscle cramps
• Seizures
• Red blood cell rupture
• Heart muscle damage and rhythm irregularities
• Respiratory failure

Serve the dog small meals every six hours (four times a day) and the food “should have adequate mineral composition, especially phosphorous, potassium and magnesium,” the “Caring for an Emaciated Dog” article said. “By feeding a highly digestible, meat-based ‘Puppy’ or ‘Growth’ food, along with certain supplements, recovery and weight gain should be evident in a short period of time–that is, as long as the dog has a normal appetite.”

What to Do with The New Pet You Adopted Over the Holidays
After adopting and bringing home a new pet for the holidays, what do you do? First ensure that your pet has everything needed to fit in with your family.

“The key to adding a new pet to your life the right way, is by being prepared—not just on the day you bring your new animal home, but for every day after,” according to the article, “What to Consider Before Getting a Pet for the Holidays (or Ever)” at “A pet is truly the gift that keeps on giving.”

During the holidays, family members are either home from school or take time off. This makes it the perfect time to buy all the things your new pet needs while also spending time together.

According to the article, “10 Tips to Prepare for Adopting a Dog,” at, the following things can help you prepare for your new dog (and it can go for cats, too!):

• Buy everything needed, including collar, leash, food, bowls, bed, gate, treats, toys and grooming supplies.
• Make your home safe. Keep dangerous items out of reach or hide them. Decide who will walk, train and feed your pet.
• Designate a safe, private place.
• Give your pet the tour of the home to show him where everything is, including either the litter box or the yard.
• Introduce the family to your new pet. “The Animal Rescue League of Boston recommends bringing family members and other dogs outside one at a time to meet the new canine,” the Hillspet article said.
• Slowly switch your pet’s food.
• Start any training.
• Make sure you set up an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup right away.

When you prepare your home and your family for the new pet, it will be an easier transition for everyone.

The Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet
There are many things to do for your pet to keep her healthy. It begins with veterinary checkups, healthy food, exercise, and lots of bonding and playtime, too. There are also important vaccinations that keep your dog protected against various diseases that can cause extreme harm to your pet and even death.

According to the article, “Vaccinations” at American Veterinary Medication Association (AVMA), “Vaccinations protect your pet from highly contagious and deadly diseases and improve your pet’s overall quality of life.”

The AVMA article points to five reasons to vaccinate your pet:

1. They prevent various pet illnesses.
2. For preventable diseases, vaccinations help avoid expensive treatments.
3. Not only do vaccinations prevent diseases that are passed among animals, they also prevent those they are passed from animals to humans.
4. Unvaccinated pets can be infected by diseases such as rabies and distemper that are often seen in wildlife.
5. There are many local or state ordinances that require some vaccinations, such as rabies.

Vaccinations help your pet from contracting contagious diseases when in a public place. “Many contagious diseases are airborne and your pet could easily be exposed through an open window,” according to the article, “Vaccinating Your Pet” at Unfortunately, your pet could get out the door and encounter a contagious animal. Additionally, your pet could be exposed at boarding facilities, dog parks or at the groomer.

It’s important to speak with your veterinarian before taking your pet to any place he could be exposed. “It is also important to keep in mind that vaccinations take a few days to a few weeks to become effective,” the American Humane article said.

So, speak to your veterinarian to ensure your pet is on track with vaccinations.

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The Benefits of Food Puzzles for Pets
Great Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pets
How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Holiday Decorations

The Benefits of Food Puzzles for Pets
Food puzzles can be great ways to help dogs and cats have something to do when it comes to eating along with other great benefits.

Domesticated dogs and cats are like their wild counterparts in that they have a “need to forage for their food,” according to the article, “Food Puzzles for Pets,” at Best Friends. “Just like people, non-human animals need to have tasks that involve both mental and physical engagement in order to feel fulfilled, confident and happy.”

Food puzzles or foraging toys are an easy way to provide your pet with a job that helps with their physical and mental health. “Food puzzles are also great for pets who wolf down their meals because the animal must eat more slowly and, therefore, can savor the food a bit more,” the article said.

According to the article:

• Because animals aren’t born with foraging skills, you can guide and teach them.
• All animals are different and learn at varying speeds.
• Food puzzles are different just like your pet. Find the one your pet likes best.

There are a variety of reasons to buy a food puzzle for your dog because “they provide a wealth of benefits for both you and your pup,” according to the article, “Choosing the Best Interactive Toys and Food Puzzles For Your Dog” at Preventive Vet.

Some benefits include:

• Certain types are great for teething puppies.
• Some puzzles are perfect for fast eaters. Slowing your dog down can help prevent GDVBloat.
• Great for picky eaters who have a desire to hunt for food.
• You get a break because your dog is occupied.

Toy puzzles are also great for humans. You will get a chance to help your dog learn the puzzle and watch him enjoy hunting and foraging for his food.

Great Ways to Celebrate the Holidays with Your Pets
December means it’s holiday season. Who doesn’t love the magic in the air, the twinkling of the holiday lights and beautiful decorations, and a great dog or cat sweater? Celebrating means family, and that means your pets, too.

There are so many great ways to celebrate with your pets to get everyone in the spirit.

According to the article, “Why Cats and Dogs Are Excited for Christmas,” at, our pets might just know it’s the holidays for the following reasons:

• Snow! Depending where you live or if you’re traveling to colder weather areas, certain dog breeds will love a chance to romp in the snow.
• Shipments of gifts mean boxes everywhere, making your cat very happy.
• The holidays mean more attention for your beloved pets.
• Gifts: Everyone loves them, even your pets.
• Family quality time, which makes the holiday extra special for pets.

There can be a lot of added stress during the holidays. “That’s why planning ahead with a few dog-friendly activities can be good for both you and your dog,” according to the article, “10 Ways To Celebrate Christmas With Your Fur Babies,” at

Check out some of these fun ideas for you and your pet:

• Take your dog along for a car ride to check out the beautiful holiday lights in the neighborhood.
• Bake pet-friendly holiday treats.
• Place a holiday-themed bow on your pet’s collar.
• Get the entire family together for a holiday photo shoot.

Always include your pet in the festivities. Remember to keep your pet away from electrical cords, foods that can be harmful, and too much noise. If your pet gets stressed, be sure your pet has a quiet place to take it easy and get away from the noise. Keep everyone happy and stress free during this time of year.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Holiday Decorations
Holiday time means decorations and lights. Many cats love to get into things, such as Christmas trees and tinsel. The last thing you want is for your cat to have an accident due to a safety hazard.

The most obvious potential hazard is the Christmas tree. Cats seems to love to get into them and sometimes like to mark them. According to the article, “How to Cat-Proof Your Christmas Tree (Or At Least Try To)” at Pet Central, “You can’t change your cat’s instincts, but you can put safety measures in place to ensure their love affair with the Fir by the fireplace doesn’t end in tragedy.”

Here are some tips suggested in the article:

• Anchor the tree so it can’t fall over.
• Avoid glass and anything sharp, such as certain ornaments.
• Cover electrical cords.
• If your tree needs water, cover the base.
• Keep tinsel and ribbon out of reach as they can cause issues if swallowed.

There are other great ways to pet-proof your home during the holidays. According to the article, “8 Holiday Pet-Proofing Tips” at, “You also need to assess and prioritize the risks your household presents, identify your pets’ risk-taking tendencies and work to strategically minimize the most dangerous risks to individual pets.”

The Vetstreet article offers some tips of do’s and don’ts:

• Elevate the holiday tree by placing it in a tall pot or high on a pedestal.
• Make decorations inaccessible.
• Stay away from dangerous items such as real mistletoe: It’s “reportedly toxic.”
• Use silver duct tape instead of ribbon.

The holidays can be just as fun if you keep away the dangerous and toxic items so that your cat is safe. There’s nothing worse than having an accident, especially during the holidays. You and your cat can then have a stress-free holiday season.