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Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
How to Care for Your Senior Pet

Understanding Spay and Neuter for Your Pets
There are very important reasons to spay or neuter your pets. It’s also important to understand the meaning of the terms.

When you have your pet spayed (females) or neutered (males) at the veterinarian’s office or a clinic, you not only help to prevent unwanted and unnecessary litters, your pet will also be healthier and happier.

It’s also important because spay/neuter helps saves lives. “That’s because your choice to spay or neuter reduces the number of accidental litters being born,” according to the article, “Understanding Spay and Neuter” at Best Friends Animal Society. “And that means fewer pets entering shelters, where they might be at risk of being killed.”

According to the article, the benefits of spaying female pets include;

• No risk of uterine infections, ovarian or uterine cancer
• Reduced risk of breast cancer
• No risk of pregnancy

For males, benefits include:

• Less risk of testicular cancer
• Less likely to spray or mark with urine
• Less likely to show aggression

There are myths around spay/neuter. One is to allow a female to have a litter before spaying. “In fact, spaying female dogs and cats before their first heat cycle eliminates their risk of ovarian or uterine cancer, and it also greatly reduces their risk of mammary cancer,” the Best Friends article said.

Many people are unaware that “more than 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters annually,” according to the article, “Why you should spay/neuter your pet” at The Humane Society of the United States. “Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats.”

Additionally, when you spay/neuter you avoid many potential health issues that can have exorbitant costs.

For people looking for low-cost spay/neuter, check locally for clinics in your area.

How to Keep Your Pets Safe When Traveling with Them
If you’re one of those people who cannot bear to be away from their pet, even on vacation, then it’s time to talk about keeping your pets safe and comfortable when they travel with you.

Ensure your pet has a microchip with the proper identification, and wears his collar with appropriate tags and information. According to the article, “Travel Safety Tips” at the, “It’s a good idea for your pet’s collar to also include a temporary travel tag with your cell phone and destination phone number for the duration of your trip.”

The article said if you must travel by plane with a big dog:

• Book a direct flight.
• See your veterinarian for a checkup before leaving.
• Buy a USDA-approved shipping crate and ensure it has proper ID.
• Tell all airline employees that you have a pet in cargo.

For road trips, the article suggests:

• Take your pet on short rides beforehand.
• Keep your pet safe in a well-ventilated crate or carrier.
• Take a pet travel kit including food, bowl, leash, water, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid supplies, and travel documents.
• Do not leave your pet alone in the vehicle.

Before heading out on any trip, your pet should be up to date on vaccines “and depending on where you’re headed and whether your pet will be in contact with other animals, your veterinarian might recommend additional vaccinations,” according to the article, “8 Tips for Safe Travel With Your Pet” at

Discuss with your vet about preventatives for fleas, ticks and other parasites, the article said. Also keep your pets away from plants as some may be toxic.

Keep your pet’s medical information at hand. And try to look up the nearest emergency vet clinic closest to your destination in case you need one.

How to Care for Your Senior Pet
Pets live longer now due to improved veterinary care and better care in general, but senior pets need some extra attention.

According to the article, “Senior Pets,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (, “Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet.”

Larger breed dogs usually live shorter lives, and are considered senior at 5 or 6 years old. Small dogs and cats are typically deemed senior at 7.

Just as in humans, “age is not a disease,” the article said. People often develop certain health issues with age, and so do senior pets. With good care, your senior pet can live a healthy and happy active life.

According to the AVMA article, senior pets likely will slow down, get a gray coat, and their organ systems will change. Senior pets are susceptible to heart, kidney and liver disease, cancer and arthritis. “Cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of pets over 10 years of age,” the article said. “Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats have a somewhat lower rate.”

You can get a better handle on your senior pet’s life stage with a veterinary exam, according to the article, “How to Help Your Dog or Cat Age Gracefully,” at Follow up with your vet if you notice any of the following:

• Weight changes
• Decreased or no appetite
• Drinking more water
• Added lumps or bumps
• Seizures
• Disorientation

Ensure your senior pet is safe in your home. Carpet can prevent your pet from slipping, while a ramp or step stool can help him up onto the bed with ease.

Extra love and attention can help your senior pet enjoy his golden years.

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Shy Dogs: How to Help Your Timid Pet
Ways to Introduce a New Cat to Your Present Cat at Home
How to Keep Your Pet’s Paws Safe When It’s Over 100 Degrees

Shy Dogs: How to Help Your Timid Pet
Some dogs are outgoing while others are shy. There are many reasons for shyness but there are ways to help.

According to the article, “7 Things You Should Never, Ever Do With a Shy Dog” at, don’t tie your shy dog outside alone in public, don’t force her into fearful situations to desensitize her, don’t force her to work with an overbearing and dominant trainer, and don’t force her into noisy places with “unpredictable activity.”

There are naturally shy dogs and some who come from an abusive past. Socialization is very important for dogs and should occur between 7 and 14 weeks old. “This is the time period when part of the brain that builds associations is rapidly developing, and it is also the time when dogs can develop fears or phobias,” according to the article, “How Confidence-Building Exercises Can Help Timid Dogs,” at

Confidence building exercises can help timid dogs by retraining their brain along with removing “the fear stigma attached to various situations or things,” the petMD article said.

Start desensitizing with a good training reward treat to use only during the exercises, the petMD article said:

• While on a leash, slowly introduce your dog to the fearful stimulus at a distance to avoid a fear response.
• Your dog should know the scary thing is near but not show fear, and have your dog sit and pay attention. Praise and give treats.
• Get closer next time and repeat. Do this once or twice a day while getting closer each time.

“Your dog will start to build a positive association in his mind between the scary thing and his favorite thing, and pretty soon, your dog may automatically sit and look expectantly at you, waiting for a treat whenever the scary thing is present,” the article said.

Ways to Introduce a New Cat to Your Present Cat at Home
Two cats are better than one, but what do you do when you have one and you bring home a new cat? There are ways to help introduce the two to make the transition go smoothly.

“Throwing two cats into one environment without proper consideration of their positions is just asking for trouble,” according to the article, “Simple Tips for Introducing Two Cats” at If done right, you may get two good friends.

According to the article, here are some tips:

• Keep the cats separated in the beginning and put the new cat in an isolated room.
• The room should be like “home” and include litter box, food and water, hiding places, toys, and a scratching post.
• Ensure the cats can smell and hear one another. Feed the cats near the door on either side.
• “After 2-3 days, some cat experts recommend switching the cats’ locations so they can get used to each others’ smells,” the article said.
• Mix their scents by rubbing them with the same towel.
• After a couple more days, play with the cats near the door to build positive associations.
• If all goes well, after a week, have them see each other using a screen door or high baby gate. “Continue feeding, playing with and giving the cats treats within view of the other cats, but don’t force it!” the article said.
• The final step is a supervised face-to-face introduction.

“Once the cats are face to face, though, there will be some kinks for them to work out,” according to the article, “Introducing your new cat to other pets,” at The Humane Society of the United States.

With luck, the cats slowly will find their way together. If you see any aggression you may want to call an animal behaviorist or your vet.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Paws Safe When It’s Over 100 Degrees
When summer comes, temperatures rise, and sometimes the heat makes it dangerous for humans as well as animals. That can make it unsafe to walk your dog or cat on hot pavement. It can be detrimental to your pet’s paw pads causing severe burns.

There are things you can do when you take your pet for important daily walks to keep your pet safe.

According to the article, “Paw Pad Burns on Dogs: What to Do” at, when it’s especially hot outside, keep daily walks short “not only to ensure that he doesn’t get overheated, but to avoid painful burns to his paw pads.”

While a dog’s paw pads are meant to be pretty strong, hot concrete can do a number on them. A dog with burns on his paws may limp or cry out. Blisters on burned paws can occur as well.
It’s also very important to take the time of day into consideration when walking your pet. “Take walks in the cooler part of the day — the early morning and evening,” according to the article “How to Keep Your Dog Cool in the Summer” at “And carry enough water for both of you.”

Additionally, check the pavement yourself before you even think of heading out. As the saying goes, “If it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads,” the WebMD article said. Try to find grass to walk your dog, and avoid concrete and asphalt. If you haven’t yet, you can try dog booties as well. If you can find shade to walk under, such as trees, do that as well.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure both you and your pet are safe on your daily walks, and that your pet’s paws stay in tip-top shape.

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Dog Parks and What You Need to Know Before You Go
How to Choose the Right Cat Litter for Your Furry Feline
How to Socialize Your Cat

Dog Parks and What You Need to Know Before You Go
Parks are a great place for people and dogs to have fun. Then there are dog parks – a place just for dogs to romp and get together with other canines. What should you know before you bring your furry friend?

Most important is that dog parks have rules that should be followed so that pets and pet parents can enjoy them. The rules are there “to ensure good manners and help promote safety,” according to the article, “Play It Safe and Be Polite: Dog Park Rules You Should Never Break” at “For this reason, it’s important to know the do’s and don’ts of the dog park and to follow them every time you and your pooch visit the park.”

Some of the do’s include:

• Ensure your dog is vaccinated and protected against parasites.
• Keep your dog leashed until he’s in the off-leash section.
• Remove his leash before joining other dogs in play.
• Have your dog enter the dog park calmly.
• Keep small dogs and large dogs separate.
• Pick up your dog’s poop.

Some don’ts include:

• Leave young children, babies, and toddlers at home.
• Do not get distracted or leave your dog unattended.
• Leave very hyper dogs at home.
• Prevent your dog from mounting other dogs.
• Do not get in the middle of a dog fight.

According to the article, “Dog Park Etiquette: 7 Rules for a Well-Behaved Pet” at, keep home dogs who are not spayed or neutered. Also, keep puppies at home. They are more difficult to control. “People find them cute, but older dogs often think they’re a pain,” the article said. “Plus, those who haven’t yet had all their shots can be exposed to diseases.”

If you stick to the dog park rules, chances are you and your pooch can have a good time.

How to Choose the Right Cat Litter for Your Furry Feline
Cat litter is an important part of a cat’s life. But are all litters created equal, and how do you know if you are choosing the right one? From clay littler to scooping/clumping litter, there are many types from which to choose.

According to the article, “Preventing litter box problems” at, “Most cats prefer fine-grained litters, presumably because they have a softer feel.” But there are newer and scoopable litters that clump and have finer grains. Plus, they have less odor.

When you find a litter that your cat likes, the article suggests staying with it. “Switching litters constantly could result in your cat not using the litter box,” the HumaneSociety article said.

Cats who were previously outdoors 24/7 prefer dirt and could get into house plants. You can keep them out of plants with rocks placed on the soil. You also can mix soil into their litter. “A cat who rejects all types of commercial litters may be quite happy with sand,” the article said.

There are some things to consider when choosing a litter, according to the article, “How to Choose a Cat Litter Box and Kitty Litter,” at PetCareRx. These include:

• Choose unscented, absorbent, and dust-free litter. Dust can cause respiratory issues.
• Stay away from scented litters that mask odors. The scent is often a huge turnoff for cats who may choose to do their business somewhere else in the home. “To keep your litter box smelling fresh without scented litter, simply clean it more often,” the PetCareRx article said.
• Clumping or non-clumping? Clumping is easier to remove waste but it comes down to preference in the end.

When you find the right combination of litter and box that works for your cat, stick with it and everyone should be happy.

How to Socialize Your Cat
There are classes to help socialize your dog, but what about your cat? Socializing felines is just as important.

Building trust in cats and getting them used to other people and other animals at home is necessary. “A cat who is not socialized can be timid, distrustful, scared or aggressive,” according to the article, “How to Socialize Your Cat” at

With socialized cats, things will be better all around. Your cat most likely will be more “loving, trusting, affectionate and well-behaved,” the article said. Socialization is also essential when there are small children at home to help prevent being bitten or scratched.

Socializing your cat is not as difficult or as time-consuming as you may think. Some tips include:

• Have your cat adjust to being handled and held in your arms. Start slowly if she is fearful.
• Pet and stroke her slowly.
• Provide treats after a “touching” session, according to Catster.
• Add sessions including handling of feet and toes.
• Speak calmly in a soothing voice.
• Play with your cat by scheduling times each day and use her favorite toy.
• Never reinforce bad behaviors.
• Ensure your cat trusts you before introducing her to strangers, and do not force interaction.

According to the article, “How to Socialize Your Cat” at ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, the following tips can help when socializing your cat:

• Ensure she is up-to-date on vaccinations before interacting with other animals.
• Cats do great when socialized in pairs, so think about adopting two!
• Bring toys that are rod-style “that allow for some distance between your kitty and you,” the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance article said.
• Work on socialization in small areas, such as a bathroom.
• Take it slow and be patient.

Before you know it your cat will be the social “butterfly” at home.