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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.

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Dangers of Thanksgiving Table Food and Your Pets
Declawing Your Cat and Why It’s Not Humane
The Importance of Socializing Your Dog

Dangers of Thanksgiving Table Food and Your Pets
People look forward to Thanksgiving all year long. It’s definitely a holiday where people love to gather around the table. If you have pets, they probably like to hang out under that table waiting for food to drop.

Feeding pets table scraps is especially dangerous during Thanksgiving. According to the article, “Thanksgiving pet safety,” at the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest. Poultry bones can damage your pet’s digestive tract. And holiday sweets can contain ingredients that are poisonous to pets.”

The article offers important tips:

• Keep pets away from turkey, which can cause pancreatitis. Other poisonous foods include onions, raisins, and grapes.
• Desserts are too rich for pets and chocolate is very dangerous. Xylitol, used in some sugar-free baking, can be deadly to dogs and cats.
• Yeast dough may cause gas and dangerous bloating in pets.
• Keep the trash shut tight and away from pets so they can’t get to the turkey carcass, any bones, or any string.

“Cats are actually more susceptible to the toxic effects of onions, garlic and chives; however, dogs are also at risk,” according to the article, “Dogs at Thanksgiving: Avoid These Dangerous Foods for Dogs” at Pet Central.

The Pet Central article also points to the dangers of macadamia nuts, which, when ingested by dogs, “can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia.” Other nuts including almonds, walnuts, and pecans can also be dangerous to dogs because they are high in fats and oils.

Keep your pets away from alcoholic drinks as well as salty snack foods.

Make sure to watch your pets on Thanksgiving to ensure they don’t ingest any harmful foods.

If you fear your pet has ingested anything harmful, you can call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control number at 888-426-4435.

Declawing Your Cat and Why It’s Not Humane
Cats love to scratch and sometimes they get into things they shouldn’t. From scratching furniture to other household items, it can seem like a nuisance for cat owners.

Some owners turn to declawing. However, it’s important to do your research before making any decision.

“People often mistakenly believe that declawing their cats is a harmless ‘quick fix’ for unwanted scratching,” according to the article, “Declawing cats: Far worse than a manicure” at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “They don’t realize that declawing can make a cat less likely to use the litter box or more likely to bite. Declawing also can cause lasting physical problems for your cat.”

Other countries have banned the practice, but it is still allowed in places in the U.S.

Cats typically start to scratch at 8 weeks old, and it’s normal for them. “It isn’t done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even,” the HSUS article said. “Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles.”

When cats start scratching, it’s time to teach them to use a scratching post.

Declawing is much more involved than people realize. According to “Position Statement on Declawing Cats” at the, “Declawing of cats, or onychectomy, is the amputation of the last digital bone, including the nail bed and claw, on each front toe. If the surgery is performed correctly and the entire nail bed is removed, the claw cannot regrow. The surgery involves the risk of anesthesia, excessive bleeding and postoperative complications, including infection, and is accompanied by pain that may last from several days to much longer unless appropriate pain control is provided.”

It’s important to do research and speak with your vet or an animal behaviorist for alternatives.

The Importance of Socializing Your Dog
You do so much to create a great life for your dog, from providing food, bedding, and playtime to toys and veterinary care. What about socialization? It is a very important part of keeping your dog healthy.

“Improperly socialized dogs risk their own health, pose an injury risk to others, and often jeopardize the ability to provide ideal medical care when it is needed,” according to the article, “4 Reasons Why Socialization is Important for Your Dog’s Health” at

Four reasons to socialize your dog are:

1. When dogs are poorly socialized they are afraid of new circumstances, setting “off neurological signals that result in hormone secretion by various glands in the body,” the article said. It can lead to stress-related conditions.
2. It’s very difficult for a veterinarian to conduct a full physical exam on an unsocialized dog.
3. Dog owners with poorly socialized dogs often limit exercise due to fear of encountering other dogs and people.
4. It can be difficult or impossible for a groomer to do their job on an unsocialized dog.

Start socialization early. Also called “Proactive Exposure Training” at Preventive Vet, it “can help to reduce the development of fears and anxieties in your growing pup,” according to the article, “How To Socialize Your New Puppy and Why It’s Important.”

Start getting your puppy used to new sights and sounds in the home, from the vacuum to the dishwasher. Bring him out to your yard to explore while he’s on a leash to ensure he’s safe. Introduce him to family and friends, including visitors in wheelchairs and those wearing hats. Make sure to take him on car rides and bring him to local shops that allow dogs.

The more you socialize, the healthier your dog will be, and that’s good for everyone involved.